To meet Chris Blagdon is like a breath of fresh air. His zeal for life and warmth radiates around his studio. New to the marketing team for Edinburgh Pilates Centre, I got the chance to meet Chris to find out more about his background in dance, how he came to Pilates and what drew him to Edinburgh.
“Professional tights wearer.”
Chris Blagdon joined the Scottish Ballet Workshop, the educational and experimental arm of the Scottish Ballet, in 1976. From dancing in Orfeo ed Eurydice (Opera) to Cinderella to Picnic to Economy in Straitjacket but Still Room for Movement in the late 1970s and more, Chris danced in numerous productions that allowed him to travel and go to places where they had never seen professional dancers. Whilst with the company for nearly twenty years he received fantastic reviews for his work:
“They laughed too, catching every nuance of Christopher Blagdon’s masterly characterisation of the doll-maker Dr. Coppelius.” – A review in the Herald Scotland, 27 November 1992
When asked what it was that he remembers most from this time, he talks fondly of the family of dancers in the company that supported one another personally and the trust that they shared with each other to be honest about their performances. His time as a professional ballet dancer also gave Chris an immense set of skills that he would take forward in life and later to Pilates teaching – discipline, old stories, how to understand music and the wonder of how the body works are a few examples.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in how the body works and the people that answered this the best were Pilates teachers.”
After playful teasing a friend for doing Pilates, Chris was challenged to try it in 1982 at a studio in London. At the time, Chris was free of any injury and his stamina was at its peak due to the number of shows he was doing. The instructor put Chris through his paces and despite his high level of fitness, Chris left absolutely shattered – as am sure many of you can testify to! In the next day’s dance class, Chris marveled at how his leg’s positioning had improved and how his dance classes became much easier. Since then, Chris has never looked back.
Edinburgh Pilates Centre
Originally opened by Jane Paris, the Edinburgh Pilates Centre was the first studio to be opened in Scotland.
Many years later, Chris was looking for an opportunity for something to do once finishing professional dancing. Working in Pilates made sense and in 1994 he was offered to run the Edinburgh Pilates Centre from its original founder Jane Paris. Chris has given back to the Pilates community in various ways. He is acknowledged in ‘Teaching Pilates for Postural Faults, Illness and Injury: a practical guide’, 2009, for making the Edinburgh Pilates Centre available for photography sessions for the book.
Taking the Edinburgh Pilates Centre from strength to strength, Chris has created a team of friendly experts to help run the sessions alongside himself. Pat Morais is one such example. Pat is a fully qualified teacher of Yoga and Alexander Technique in her own right teaches at the studio on Mondays.
For anyone that is unsure about Pilates, then I would highly recommend having a chat with Chris. His nature is infectious and his expertise is obvious to anyone that walks into the studio.