As the season of making merry is nearly upon us I thought that I’d share a couple ideas for throwing a studio party that I’ve developed over the years. Nothing big, but still worthy of sharing, I think. Originally, this party would happen in early December, but in time I realized that late January was a better time. The holiday crunch time was over and since January tends to be a busy time in the studio it ends up being a good way to celebrate new beginnings, old friends, and to light up the darkness of mid-winter. This also keeps the celebration holiday-neutral and more seasonally based which I like.
As is probably clear, I’m a crafty kind of gal. This means that for me, parties are all about the decorations. My annual studio party involves hundreds of snowflakes that I cut out of paper, strung together along fishing line, and taped to the ceiling. In the dark evenings, the snowflakes cast shadows all over the walls of my studio, it was quite magical. The decorations were up for the party only. I didn’t want them to distract from our work in the studio, and I wanted to keep the magic of the evening contained. As the years went on and people wanted to learn how to make their own snowflakes, I started another tradition of a snowflake cutting party. This one happened in the fall and involved homemade donuts. (Because we also like to eat). Decorations, are clearly not needed for a party. But I do think that some kind magical tradition makes such events more special over the years. (No photos of the blizzard exist, seeing is the only believing in this case).
I also developed a menu for the party that I tried to stick to throughout the years. This involved home-baked goodies (alfajores in honor of Sari, dried fruitcake because it’s delicious and nutritious, snowflake cutout cookies for obvious reasons, and a special chocolate mint cake from my own family’s tradition), and a minimal mezze. I chose to keep the offerings fairly healthy, and alcohol-free. I wanted to strike a balance between sharing holiday fun and honoring the goals of a healthy lifestyle that go along with maintaining a Pilates practice. (Yes, I realize that alcohol is a standard within the Pilates tradition, but I’m not much of a drinker and many clients over the years have indicated that they prefer alcohol-free social events).
In the first couple years of this tradition, because my clients all had individual relationships with me, everybody wanted to talk to me, and only me. I invented a Pilates quiz game to serve as something of an ice-breaker which we’d play for a few minutes every twenty minutes of the party. As the years went on, my clients developed their own relationships amongst each other and the community surrounding my studio took on a life of its own. At this point the games weren’t necessary and I could relax and enjoy the fun rather than be the center of attention, a role with which I never felt completely comfortable.
Lastly, I want to share the idea for converting my reformers and high mats into party seating. Seeing the benches at Brooke Siler’s studio many years ago gave me the idea.
1). With your final layout plan, place cleaning towels on the floor underneath where you plan to have the benches so that the wheels of the carriages won’t leave marks on the floor. 2). Remove the handles from the straps and disconnect the straps from the rear wheels. Keeping the clean parts facing out, wrap the straps around the shoulder blocks. 3). Undo the springs and lift the carriage out of the frame, place it carefully on the towel. 4). Move the frame over the carriage. Fold in the foot bar. Place strips of a yoga mat along the frame for some stability. Place a high mat on the frame to make a bench.
THE STEPS IN PICTURES:
Up later this week two recipes from our annual celebration to light up the dark season: delicious and nutritious dried fruit cake, and chocolate mint squares to enjoy only once a year. One of the things that I love about the Pilates community is the level of creativity that it boasts. I’d love to hear other folks merry traditions! Please share yours in the comments.