The 75th Pilates on Tour: Reflecting on a Milestone

As we look forward to celebrating our 75th Pilates on Tour conference in Sacramento, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at the many milestones along this journey.

Photo of the Tower Bridge in SacramentoWe’ve come a long way since the inaugural Pilates on Tour in 2004. The first conference, with about 65 attendees, was held at the Miyako Hotel (now Hotel Kabuki) in San Francisco, featuring Tom McCook, Elizabeth Larkam and Madeline Black as presenters. The participants were enthusiastic, and the idea took off. Two years later we held our first international conference, in Toronto, followed by Rome in 2007.

Today, Pilates on Tour has become the premier continuing education conference for Pilates experts, and more than 6,500 students from 83 counties and all 50 states have participated to date. We’ve had 170 instructors, including Kathy Grant, Lolita San Miguel, Mary Bowen and Ron Fletcher. We’ve loaded and unloaded 500 tons of equipment (a fully loaded Boeing 747-400 weighs 450 tons) and enough Reformers to extend more than 5 miles if laid end to end.

At Pilates on Tour, we’ve launched new products (including the EXO Chair, IQ, CoreAlign and the Begin Chair). We’ve also had our fair share of surprises, including a fire (at our hotel in Korea) and flooding (at our hotel in Venice, Italy). We admit, we’ve also had a number of interactions with the law during loading and unloading…including jamming an underground parking garage in Cincinnati and blocking in a number of armored cars making bank deposits. There was the time we got our truck stuck in Philadelphia and fully obstructed the main airport road for about 20 minutes. And I can’t possibly leave out the time we were surrounded by police in Miami wondering why we were loading a truck with boxes labeled “POT.” Fortunately, our brushes with the law stop there and I’m still here to tell about them.

There are many moments I will never forget. From meeting Kathy Grant for the first time in New York and having her punch me for not knowing who she was, to chowing down an amazing meal at Borough Market in London, POT is an event I’ve looked forward to from conference 1 to 75.

Producing events requires Boy Scout levels of preparedness. You really never know what will happen and I can honestly say, we’ve made more trips to Home Depot than I care to admit. Most importantly though, we’ve helped shape the Pilates industry, bettered all of our practices with continuing education and had fun doing it. Here’s to 75!

Al Harrison

About Al Harrison

Director of Education, Balanced Body

Al has a unique combination of skills spanning engineering, health care and business. He has spent the last 10 years building the education division of Balanced Body Inc., the world’s premier supplier of Pilates and mindful movement equipment and education.