Ron Fletcher was a Pilates master, trained in the principles of Body Contrology by the method’s founders, Joseph and Clara Pilates. Because of his training, Fletcher is considered a “Pilates elder” or “first-generation” instructor, as well as a pioneer in the Pilates movement.
In addition to his career as a Pilates instructor, Fletcher was also a Martha Graham dancer, an author and a choreographer. After studying his trainers’ methods for 20 years, Fletcher developed his own fitness regimen, which incorporates Graham-based elements of dance into the equipment-based movements of Body Contrology.
In 1972, Fletcher opened the first Ron Fletcher Studio for Body Contrology in Beverly Hills, CA. In 2005, he founded the Ron Fletcher Program of Study, a formal education program for Pilates instructors. At the time, his method was known as “the Ron Fletcher Work” or “Fletcher Work.” In 2008, however, he was given exclusive trademark rights to the term “Fletcher Pilates.”
Fletcher died from congestive heart failure in 2011, at age 90. [i]
Fletcher’s method combines Pilates exercises with Graham techniques, standing work and percussive breathing [ii]. While the traditional Pilates method relies on equipment-based exercises alone, the Fletcher Pilates method utilizes standing exercises through Towelwork, Barrework and Floorwork, allowing participants to practice outside of a studio [iii].
The Fletcher Pilates Program of Study is a licensed post-secondary school, which offers a comprehensive teacher training program to prospective Pilates instructors. Although based in Tucson, AZ, Fletcher’s training and continuing education programs are now offered in five US locations, as well as Australia, Canada, Columbia, London, Madrid, Mexico, Singapore and Tokyo.
The school’s ‘Comprehensive Program’ is based on the apprenticeship-learning model that Fletcher received from the Pilateses. Its core curriculum includes study of Pilates equipment and matwork, as well as Fletcher’s signature techniques. In order to enter the program, students must complete the following prerequisites with a Fletcher Pilates Qualified Teacher:
- 30 private sessions
- The Fletcher Pilates Preparatory Course
- 20 group classes [iv]
The 30-hour preparatory course is typically broken into ten sessions. If the course is unavailable, students must complete 30 hours of group and/or private sessions with a qualified instructor. The entire prerequisite process typically lasts three to six months.
Once completed, students may enter the Comprehensive Program, which consists of six five-day sessions taught over the course of a year. During this process, they must also complete 5-10 hours per week of observation, teaching assistantship, self-practice and casework. For more information on the Fletcher Pilates training program, visit www.fletcherpilates.com.
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References:[i] Woo, Elaine. “Ron Fletcher Dies at 90; Opened West Coast’s First Pilates Studio.” Los Angeles Times. articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/11/local/la-me-ron-fletcher-20111211. Published Dec. 11, 2011. Accessed Jan. 27, 3014.
[ii] Wisner, H. (March 2008). Back to Pilates: The Ron Fletcher Work Combines Pilates, Graham, and Percussive Breathing for Maximum Potential. Dance Magazine.
[iii] “FAQ.” Helios Center for Movement. www.heliospilateschicago.com/about_2.php. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
[iv] “Fletcher Pilates Program of Study.” Fletcher Pilates®. www.fletcherpilates.com/programs-events/comprehenive-program. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.