“Where is the ruler?”
First thing I think is that it is really early in the morning. Six o’clock in a London basement near Oxford street, just behind Hyde park. And Mr. Alan Herdman is alone at his desk, looking for a ruler, fixing some dates for the upcoming day.
“I like to be here before anyone else. When I come later, there’s another feeling, another pace. That’s my studio, I like it to be set in my way”.
Everybody knows him, everybody has seen him teaching in some video or workshop all around the world, but you can truly understand his work only if you see him in his studio. And that’s the way he likes to train his teachers: mainly by practicing in his studio. As a skilled craftsman, he wants his teachers to learn by seeing and touching, feeling the work on daily life.
If you see him in contact with his clients you couldn’t say he is the living legend everybody knows. He’s so easy going that you could think he’s just another of his trainees. He listens so patiently to everyone, and smiles without any problem, all the times. An eternal flame of curiosity always sparkles in his eyes. He shows you everything with such simplicity that you couldn’t think you didn’t notice it before. And that’s the measure of his genius, and his generosity. He doesn’t teach you anything as if it were new, he just teaches you to look at the reality that already stands in front of you.
“If it has a logic, do it. If it hasn’t, stop doing it”.
And that’s how he learned the method when he started, “a while ago”. After two experiences in America with Bob Fitzgerald and Carola Trier he found himself alone, on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Without any easy connection or any manuals or videos, he had just his memories, his clients and his logic. Something that really made the difference, and still it does. He had to find out a way to answer any doubt by his own means. He asked physiotherapists, ostheopaths and whoever was able to give him some cue to make that method work better. Not to become more popular, but only to make it work efficiently for his clients.
Funny as it seems, we’re all now almost in the same situation. Joe passed away long ago, most of the elders did the same, we’re alone facing the future of this method without any living connection with the original source. And Alan has been here more than forty years ago. He has forty years of experience of being in the future of Pilates method. As for his studio, he has been here before anyone else and has given us the right pace.
What we’re facing now is not only what to do and how to preserve the method, but how can we bring this method in the future. He already did it and is still doing it. Every morning, at six o’clock he’s there, at his desk, looking for his ruler and getting ready to learn