TFT’s first iteration was a one-day live event in which instructors volunteered their teaching time and participants made donations in exchange for small group Pilates sessions taught by three instructors in a round robin-style format. It was small but festive and we raised a modest sum that went to a local hospital that offers free wellness services to its patients. One of the volunteer instructors, the inimitable Juan Estrada of Real Pilates in NYC, led the final group session and punctuated the last moments with a shout of “F*** Cancer!!” This has now become a tradition for the final moments of TFT.
From there, TFT has grown. The second-year saw instructors from multiple studios in NYC volunteer their time for our event, and the studio featured a blank wall where participants could write a message about the person they were honoring or remembering that day. In its third and fourth years, TFT moved to a larger venue that was able to accommodate even larger groups, and we held events in multiple states: Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and California. We distributed all proceeds to various hospitals as well as a nonprofit organization that offers wellness retreats for cancer patients. In 2020, forced into a virtual format by the pandemic, we were able to add additional studio partners across the US and to connect everyone via Zoom, which served to enhance the sense of community and camaraderie I had hoped to build. Each of three virtual mat sessions (Restorative, Intermediate, and Advanced) featured a Survivor Instructor who also shared a little bit about how Pilates helped her through her breast cancer journey. I’m grateful to Dorothy Stewart of Pilates of Dallas, Amanda Ross of The Pilates Project in NJ, and Jennifer DeLuca of Bodytonic in Brooklyn for sharing their teaching expertise as well as their poignant stories of strength and survivorship through Pilates.
Teasers For Tatas continues to grow and is taking place virtually again this year on October 10, 2021. It’s a fundraiser of course, but more importantly, it’s a celebration of strength and rejuvenation, of community and support, and of feeling good inside one’s body, along with an acknowledgment that we should never take that for granted. If you’d like to join us for this celebration of Pilates and perseverance, visit teasersfortatas.org to register. If your studio would like to join us in promoting TFT in your community, or if you are or know a Survivor Instructor who would like to teach for TFT next year, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.