Class #4752

Advanced Floorwork

40 min - Class
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You will learn the intermediate and advanced floorwork sequences from Ron Fletcher's book, Every Body is Beautiful. Diane Severino breaks down each exercise from the book, including a few that were made for her! You can also enjoy photos from the book so you can see Ron's vision for his work.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Hi, I'm Diane Severino and I will be going through some intermediate and advanced movement sequences from Ron's book, Everybody Is Beautiful. That's all of you. Ready to start, kids? All right, this is the opener. This is called Ron Fletcher's Spine Roll and leg lift.

Alright, sitting up divinely tall, pull up from that floor, contraction over, and a slight pulse for eight. And lengthen two, exhale two, stretch two. Over the diamond, hold. Now release from the low pelvis. Four counts, I'm not counting them out yet, till you're hovering over that leg.

Now keep pulling up, pulling up, pulling up, pulling up. Heels lift, we contract down, tucking under, keep the breath flowing, arms lift a little in front of the chest. Here's the leg lift part, a little diamond lift and hold. Contract up, keep it round, over that diamond. Stretch for eight, two, three, four, and five, six, seven, hold eight.

Release that pelvis, waist in progression, shoulder blades neck and head left. Lift. And contract, two, three. Now we're gonna do two of these diamond lifts. Waistline is down lift.

Look how small that lift is. Two and hold. Smoothly up. Eight again, stretch, two. See, you're warming up a little bit more now.

You can go over a little further. Hold release, low back two, three, four, up, up up and contract. Don't sink, make it flow. Three, lift and low. This for your low belly.

Three and hold. Scoop and over, two, three, four, and (exhales). Then eight out, two. See how it moves and contract. Four leg lifts.

Lift and low. Very hard to get that low belly. That's why Ron invented this. That's what lifts the legs from there. Smoothly up over stretch.

Two, three, four, lengthen out. It's a pulse, don't tug on your toes, Out, two, three, four, lift on two. And Ron wanted, I wanna show you how to do it wrong. All right, we just take the roll down. Don't do this.

You see how I'm just using my leg strength. Here, it's that low belly, like a magnet's on your inner thigh and your calf and they're lifting at the same time. Get it? Oh yeah, that's a hard area to get, especially if you had any little surgery. And over two, three, just four, release out.

Two, we're gonna go to the next exercise now. Pull up, pull up, pull up! Okay. We're gonna go into an exercise now, called Buddy Sperber's, that's his name, Pelvic Press with Body Lift, okay? We're gonna take the arms now into the center of the diamond. Following the hands, you're gonna lift them up.

Gaze on the diagonal. You're gonna reach the arms way back behind you and place the palms on the floor. You're gonna take a scooping contraction, open the chest till you're flat like a coffee table. Put a cup on your navel, now spill the cup. Bring your butt down right underneath your head, release the arms.

See how I didn't sway there. Up to follow the gaze and lay thin the neck down. Gonna do that pelvic lift twice, lift. Open the chest. Not too far back with the head, scoop.

Keep the weight on the outside of the feet, all the way up. Squeeze the button belly and now spill. That's it, suspend and touchdown. We're gonna do that twice. Tuck and up.

Squeeze the butt, lower. This is where we hold here. Release the hands, up. Can you see your fingertips? We're gonna do that three times.

(Diane groans) And stretch. (exhales) Keep the breath, inhale! Butt and exhale. And lift, see that curve? It's like a wave, isn't it? Oh, yeah! Three! And right underneath your head with your buttocks release up and for four counts. And, (exhales) scoop.

Add equal weight on each hand, two and low. And my focus is the same. Three, squeeze the butt. And for four, lift. And arch, arch, arch, it's okay to arch here.

Stretch that spinal column and return, up. Here's where you lengthen the neck. And, down. Very nice, you all! The reason I said to watch the neck, when you're using the breath, if you don't lengthen the back of the neck, you cut off your airflow. I'll show you wrong again.

Not gonna do this over and over again, but all right. We're here, we're here, we're here. We're here. Now, here's a sound trick. Here, I can talk perfectly fine.

If I flipped my head here, I didn't do that on purpose, that Daffy duck sound. That's how much you shut off your air. So always lengthen through the back of the neck. It's a law. Now I'm going into a exercise called, The Tendon Stretch, okay?

You're gonna flex your feet back and you're gonna hold onto your toes. Choosing days. You're gonna keep your head on your knees as you lift that right leg. Pull it forward as you're pulling back on the toe and the shoulder. Exhale down, inhale and lower, all the way up and down.

Try to keep the same parts of your buttocks on the floor. So as you lower that leg, you're not shifting off of those sit bones. Accent up and inhale, stretch. And you're pulling back on the toes, so it stretches that Achilles' heel, too, yeah? Inhale and pull back on that shoulder, so it doesn't drift forward.

Smooth and lower. And lift and in. And last one on this side. Now we're gonna go up to the right leg. And you're gonna hold the leg.

Release the hand, now point and flex. Stomach in, flex. Point and flex. Point and flex. Point, hold the flex.

Lower. Kick your hands, two. (exhales sharply) Three, way up! Accent the up, four, five, six, make it look good! Seven, now hold that toe! Grab it! And end of the side. You're gonna lift. You're gonna let go. And you're gonna point and flex.

You know what's interesting? That when we did the book... We started the book in 1976. Hold, we're gonna kick. We started the book in 1976.

I'm 1976. What do I mean by that? I'm 76 years old. Now look, I can still do this. I can still do it now, holy cow.

Isn't that something? And bring it in. Now we're going to roll down and we're going to do, Judith Krantz's Pelvic Press and Spine Roll. Place your feet right underneath your knees. I'm gonna adjust my backpack.

All right, we're taking a contraction up your regular spine role. And again, you know the drill one vertebra after the other, till you're in a nice straight line, shoulder hip to knee. You come back. Reverse order, kick that waistline. That's why I'm wearing a belt to remind me, so I don't skip that.

Till you're flat. And again, scoop. Take your breath up. (Diane exhales) Not too high, don't arch. Nice and straight, and contract.

Rolled out. Now, just be aware, body awareness, Ron always talked about it. How are your feet as you roll up? Are you rolling to the outside edge? Don't do that.

Keep the weight on the big toe, pinky toe, and center of the heel. Just like we would in standing. There's that belt. Get that down, Diane. Thank you.

And again, keep that belt down your waist as long as you can, get that scoop. Yeah, it's good for you. And it really articulates the spine. Exhale down, that's it. Keep the breath flowing.

And we're gonna go up to that pelvic press height. I shifted, I'm gonna adjust my feedback a little bit. Now we're just gonna lift the right heel in the air. Again, being aware of your foot centers. And lower exhale and lift, inhale and exhale.

Now I feel, this is my body awareness. That left foot just shifted. You talk to yourself. You tell it what to do. You're the boss of that body.

And lift the right heel, exhale lower. And lift the left heel. And lower. Now, aside from the feet, you wanna be conscious or body aware. Are your hipbone shifting?

They shouldn't be moving. Here's where the secure buttock, the squeeze of the buttocks, and the pulling in of the lower body. We're alternating as I'm talking or working in concert with the rest of the body. One thing affects the other. Keep that foot center, and lower, and lift, and lower.

We're gonna take a roll down and then we're gonna do both heels lifting at the same time. Waistline, waistline, fight it, yes indeed. And touchdown. And scooping again, hollow that low belly. Big ice cream scoop, scooped out that Ben and Jerry's, get out of there.

All right now, both heels together. Lift as high as you can on your arch, on your fore starch, lower. Inhale lift, exhale lower. Squeeze, squeeze. Hammer hammer.

That's right, exhale and lower. And way up on that arch. Relax your throat. Freedom in the neck, don't tense. Can you feel that butt working?

So you got everything happening here. Stomach, butt, feet. Good for your spine. One more. Hold, heels out, roll down again.

Tuck. And waistline before the butt. Very nice. Ooh, I Feel that. Okay, our next exercise, we're gonna extend the legs out.

All right? We're gonna do an abdominal exercise that Ron was very fond of. So extend your legs. This exercise is called, Jim Levert's Belly Flattener with Leg Stretch. Ron liked to keep it simple because he wanted to reach everybody when he was instructing you on his movement sequences. So from here, it's reminiscent of our hundreds.

We come up and we do four counts here in an abdominal position for abs. One, two. (exhales sharply) Then open. Inside two, three, four. (exhales sharply) (exhales sharply) Keep reaching your chest forward. So use your upper abs.

(exhales sharply) So this gets your inner thighs stretched a little bit more. Keep reaching. (exhales sharply) (exhales sharply) Even though we're highlighting the book, Everybody Is Beautiful, remember Ron Fletcher taught pilates. We always did our pilates classical mat. You must keep doing that mat, 'cause even this exercise, though it's a little different than the hundreds, you get strong 'cause you do your hundreds.

So, don't disregard it, even though you are adding Ron's movement sequences to your regular workout. (exhales sharply) Keep reaching your head forward from your abs, your upper abs, or your neck will kill ya. Don't let that happen. One more. (exhales sharply) Yes, indeed.

That was Jim Levert's Belly Flattener. Okay. We're gonna go into another Ron's exercises. Rod Fletcher. Lower the legs, use the belly.

Spine roll. We'll upper leg stretch. I'm gonna bring my arms way back behind me. Okay, this is a roll-up. Arms, upper abs.

We suspend, you lower. Your chest goes to the floor, four bounces. Point your toes, three, four. To upright. You flex the feet and start your contraction.

You point as you roll back and reach and arms, so, like a roll up in the Pilates mat. But added with Ron's movement sequence. Chest to the floor, arms way back and as high up as you can get 'em. And roll up. Two second.

Make sure you come on your legs. You're not tilted forward, and flex the feet. And point to roll down. Reach long in the waist. Arms, head suspend, and lower.

Out with the chest, two. Scoop that stomach and up. So, upright, ooh, I can remember Ron doing this. The hands are sort of a contracted hand too. Ron and I couldn't get away from doing a little gray in there.

(Diane laughs softly) That's in Martha. And low. And I scoop my legs a little bit wider in the second as I go from that suspension and roll up. Command the legs and contract it back. And here's that one vertebra after the other.

And roll up. Suspend breath and smoothly down. Wider legs, chest to the floor. Two, three, four and up. Ron was so flexible.

Oh my God. His second was unbelievable. For you, nodding to answer, second is this position. His were like way out one, two, and his chest was splat on the floor, it was amazing! I still want to be like Ron. (laughs) Who doesn't? Hand, arms, head, there's all your spine role.

Suspend. And fold with the chest, not there yet. And lift. All right, we're gonna stay in this position for the next exercise. And this is Paula Kelly's Torso Shaper with Leg Extension.

I'm gonna angle a little bit to you so you could see the angle. Pull up, you're on your legs. Here's off your legs, it's not wrong. Here's behind your legs, a little bit wrong. Here's just right onto the legs.

You're gonna take your right arm and you're gonna scoop it. Why is this called a Torso Shaper? 'Cause what changes your direction? It's the torso, arm over the leg. You're gonna come back to your back elbow as the arm and leg and that leg bends.

You're gonna extend the leg three times. And touch and two, look towards that hand. And down, three. Exhale. And four.

Suspend again to lower. And we do the other side, lift. Here's your torso twist. See what a nice line that is? Go down to the elbow as that knee bends, gaze.

Lift and lower. And two and, don't schlep, pull up. Three. Here's the four, suspend. And lower.

And circle, torso change. See how those lines are so nice? Precision in movement saves you in the long run, from doing it wrong. (laughs) Lift, here's that torso. Wave thin out of that hand. And in, lift and lower.

Are you looking? Never close your eyes when you're exercising because the eyes deal with the position of the neck and head. I hesitated there 'cause I'm so in alignment and balanced, I didn't know what side I just did. (laughs) Lift And lower. Lift and lower, pull up out of the waist! Three and lower. Four! Out and down.

Excellent. Now I'm gonna do an exercise named after me, Diane Severino, Leg Stretch in Seated Fourth. So I'm gonna draw the legs to the side. And we're gonna go. This is called the fourth, all right?

Leg will pretzel here. So it takes from the same theme of the proceeding exercise, where it's the torso or the change of the back, that changes the direction. You're gonna put your backhand down. This is what's called on the walk it's braced into the floor. The hand is on the hip.

This is to remind you that the torso is gonna change because that hip is pulling forward. See how that changed my direction. I'm now facing the opposite wall. I'm gonna lift my knee in the air. My ankle bone link is down.

Here's where it's called, Leg Stretch. You bring the knee down first, pull up, try not to lean forward, kick your butt. And what happens? The hip pulls you to face front. What happens again?

It's the hip that changes you to face away. Your back should be to your leg. The thigh lifts, hand to the ankle, stretching long as you can with that back leg. And knee comes down and leg bends. Hip pulls you back.

And the hip to the ankle. Knee, slide it, try not to let it drift. Keep it behind your buttocks. Pull in. And down, lift away from the floor.

You're thinking up, that's it. Knee up. Don't let you heel come off the floor in this position. And oh, this is so good for everything And lift. And the hip.

Knee, stretch it out! Knee flat, and knee. And back. And in. And the hip. And the knee.

Heel down, inside of the heel down and knee. And back and sit, we're gonna switch to the other side. And bring your legs to me. Wow! On the side. Whoa! And we split to the floor.

Hand on the hip, lift! And it's the hip. So proud, to the ankle. Here's the knee lift. Ankle bone down, heel down. Pull up! And knee and heeled in.

Doesn't come. Oh! I shouldn't do that. (laughs) I almost went into to grayer movement there. And knee, pull up! And almost back. And knee and hip. Here's that buttocks in the hip joint, centering you.

And it's the hip and the knee. Stretch. And the knee. And way in! Pull up. And it's the hip.

And the knee. Slide that thing, baby, yeah! See, that's so good for that inner thigh. And in. And stretch. And lift.

And out. And stretch. And knee. And in. Now we're gonna continue by changing to the other side for an exercise that's, again, for your hip and waist slimmer.

And this is called, Diane Severino's Hip and Waist Slimmer. One arm out, one arm across. We're just gonna transfer that leg and the arm in two different directions. Reach as long as you can. Try not to shift off the hip you're sitting on 'cause this takes the outside of your, ooh.

It'll take away from the outside of your waist muscles. So you're trying to get the arm and the leg as far away from each other as you can. And keep looking at that top hand, yeah! So you get your neck involved in it. Ideally inhale, exhale. You don't want your moving leg to drop too much.

Keep it up, baby, and switch. Get way away from each other. And smoothly back. Hold in that low stomach, please. And stretch.

See that nice line from foot to hand? And the same thing, hand foot down. Oh, I touched the floor. Bad Diane. And stretch, one more.

Reach! And out. And hold. Stretch the legs. Just transferring you to the other side. Over and split.

Adjust yourself, on forward. Leg back, a scissor and way across! Arms, eyes follow. And inhale and exhale. And pull up out of that waist. And point your toe and do everything perfectly. (laughs) And stretch it, baby! And reach it back! Get that leg way behind you.

And way back! And arm back. (Diane exhales) And arm back. And, (exhales) one more. Oh, reach it! And, hold. And stretch.

Now, we are going to do Ali McGraw's exercise. I'm gonna switch around here. This is Ali McGraw's Back Strengthener and Hamstring Stretch. You're all warmed up. So you don't have to worry about your hamstrings.

Roll down, right leg up. Eight pulses back, keep back and contraction lift. And two, (exhales) just follow the leader. Six, that's me. Eight, you throw the leg down.

You sit tall! You contract back other leg, eight. Watch your elbows stay high. Five, six, seven, eight, throw. Release. Contract.

And six, two, three, four, five, six. Lower, sit tall, contract. And six, two, three, four, five, six. Lower, sit tall, it's fun. On four, two, three, four.

Lower, sit, and back. And one, two, three, four. Have fun with it, it's fun! On two! And lift on two! And one and plus. And lift and pull and lift. And fly and lift.

And it's a happy movement. It's happy. And pull, and lift, and pull. And lift. See? It was (laughs) very happy movement.

All right, so that was Ali McGraw Back Straightener. Why is it a back strengthener? If you pull in your stomach and you work correctly, your back will be strong. All right, we're gonna go with a exercise we're gonna come to the side again, this is like a little posy cheesecakey thing. You notice how much work we do in the waistline in this work?

Here's your pose, tada! Camera snap, click. The leg goes across, you transfer it. You lay all the way out, long line from your fingertip to the back foot. Then you come up and you pose it again. Yeah! Then you retrace your step, and you come in.

We're gonna switch to the other side for the same thing again. Pose! And forward, way around! And lay out. And click around. And in, and out. I can't believe I could still do this exercise.

And lay out. And lift. Wait till you see it in the book. And in. And switch.

And leg across high! And lay out. Try to get that back leg up and across. And in. Hands down. And change.

And across. Up! Pull like someone's pulling you by your toes! Lift! Around. Here's that other exercise I did for the ladies. That prepared you for this. And change, and across.

Hi! Out and way up! And across. In. And change, up. And the last. Up.

Lay out. Pull! Up. Around. And let's see that beautiful pose! Open that chest! Open that chest. And return.

All right, for our next little Ron Fletcher exercise, We're gonna do, Diane Severino's Inner Leg and Girdle of strength. We're gonna lay on our ankles. Ankles? Those are my elbows. You're gonna bring your heels close to your inner thighs. Your heels are in the air.

You're in a nice contraction. You're trying to just keep the heels in the air as long as you can, till they're flexed. You point, squeeze your butt. Flex, squeeze your butt. And now try to keep the heels in the air.

As you draw them to your inner thighs. And again, extend, stretch the wrinkles out of you. Heels, point, squeeze the back. Flex, squeeze the butt. Pull in, try not to sink into your elbows.

Whoa! My feet are sticky. And brush through the foot. Squeeze and squeeze. So, every exercise we've done from the Ron Fletcher, Everybody Is Beautiful today, with Deborah Mendoza and myself, every exercise really works every part of your body. 'Cause even if you're not actively, heels in the air, doing another part of your body, you're holding it correctly, so it's activated.

Every movement is a whole body exercise. Squeeze the butt, yeah baby! Squeeze it! And heels high, get those heels up! Up, up, up! I'm talking to myself. Heels up, wrinkles out of the heels. Point, squeeze the butt. Flex squeeze the butt.

And this really opens up your hips. All you dancers, even for your baby dancers, this is a wonderful exercise done on the floor, to open up the hips so they can get wider turnout. But not forcing it. Flex, in, one more. And scoop that stomach.

And point, squeeze the butt. Flex, squeeze the butt. And out! Right now, I'm gonna switch and I'm gonna go onto my knees. All right. So how am I gonna do that from this position?

Well, I can do this, and I can do this and I can swing around. All right. On the knees. This is called Katherine Ross's Hinge with Back Arch (laughs) How we came up with these names? I don't know.

Alright. You separate your legs slightly. Later on, people that might need pads for your knees. I'm only gonna do two of these. All right.

It's the same contraction, but taken from a your kneeling position. Pull up, pull up. Separate, pull up from the floor. You must, you must. All right, you take a contraction back a hinge.

And then you center. Contract. And center. One more and hold. Contract.

Circle the arms to your ankles. You pull up. Open that chest, stretch it! Contract back. Release the hands and come up. I have to address my legs.

I spread a little bit, it's slippery. And contract back. And up. And contract. And up.

Contract a whole circle. Stretch that back. And contract. Side hold. And up.

You know why I only did two now, right? (laughs) Without a pad, it's a little difficult. Alright. Now I'm going to stand to do an exercise. That's called Diane Severino's Tendon Stretch with Leg Lift. All right.

Now I have to figure out how to get to a standing position. So I think I'll go to here. I'm bringing my knees together. I'll curl my toes. I'll pull back.

Oh, why don't we do a little bounces here? (laughs) Bouncy wouncy, wouncy! Keep your ankles together, please. And your knees together. And now let's straighten the legs. Let's take a little bounce down here too. That's it.

And we're gonna scoop and align the spine. Lining up. All right. My name's on the top of this exercise. Tendon Stretch with Leg Lift.

Let's get a nice correct alignment. Your right leg and right arm. Heel down, we're just going to press for the tendon. Up and press. Eight times, two and press.

Three, well seven times, I corrected myself. Six. It's been a while, seven and then watch. Kick! Whoa! What happened there? I haven't done this in a long time! That sucked! I'm doing it better the next time.

One and two, pull up. Three and four, shoulders down. Five and six. Here we go, Diane. Seven, kick! Better! One, two, three, four.

That's it, pull up! Six, seven, kick! Hold. See, you can always improve. We're gonna change sides. And back. All right, let's see how this side goes.

And one, and two. Three, and four. Five, six, seven, kick! I did it! One and two, three, four, five, six, seven. Kick! That's the way we do it. Ron Fletcher's book, Everybody Is Beautiful.

And Ron really meant that. It doesn't matter what extra tissue you have, no! So the interior of your body, that makes a difference. Ron Fletcher's book, every body was beautiful. Sold out of its first printing. Why?

Because it's a great book! You all get it. Thank you so much.

Pilates Legacy Project - Playlist 18: Every Body is Beautiful

Comments

4 people like this.
You are simply wonderful, Diane!
Wow!!!!!!!! What a nice morning! Thank you!
Bellissimo
1 person likes this.
My hips & I both thank you you for a wonderfully unique class. Your personality is the cherry on top!
Wonderful, thank you Diane!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Diane for the wisdom, grace, legacy and humor. Loved this. Love the red unitard. Want one.
2 people like this.
Excited to see Diane back, so beautifully gracefull And like the previous comment I always love the humor
1 person likes this.
Diane you inspire me. That move at 9:31 where you say " I can still do this" is indeed flexibility, strength and body intelligence. I can do it as well but we both know it is not that simple. You and your life's work... BEAUTIFUL, we are grateful. Thank you so much.
Love it Diane Thank you!
Brought me back to my dance days in NYC (last century!) Loved this class and  had me smiling through the entire video- thank you!! Definitely saving this one on my favorites list.
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