Where are they now?
Angela Sauvé followed her passion for Pilates while growing a community of movement enthusiasts
Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Teacher Trainer and Education Partner, Angela Sauvé, 43, was one of the first Pilates instructors in her home town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, just across the border from the US city of the same name. And it definitely gave her an advantage.
The beauty of competition
“Sault Ste. Marie is a smaller community, and at one point in time I was the only PiIates teacher. At the same time, Pilates wasn’t as well-known as it is today. So, I was sort of responsible for educating people about what Pilates was while also teaching them,” says Angela. “And I think it gave me an advantage actually. I got to grow my clientele without having any competition.”
As great as this might sound to other Pilates teachers looking to differentiate themselves in a more crowded marketplace, being a solo teacher, while also juggling motherhood and a growing demand for her services, made life challenging for Angela. So, she decided to grow her professional network by hosting, and later teaching the Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement curriculum.
“I think it’s a real privilege to be able to offer teacher education and to have new teachers in your community. I’ve personally found it to be really inspiring to teach and work with people who have all sorts of different backgrounds, languages, abilities and specialties.”
This positive outlook has served both Angela and her community well. “It actually just means that more people in our community are teaching and doing Pilates, growing their practice and staying healthy,” she says.
Building community through collaboration
Like many instructors, Angela works with a studio—Empower Bodyconnex—as a full-time sub-contractor, where she knows she can rely on one of her colleagues to keep her clients moving while she is away. Afterall, most movement and fitness professionals know that when it comes to clients “sticking with it,” consistency and momentum is key.
“I appreciate being able to have people that I can refer my clients to while I’m away,” says Angela. “In fact, I love how my clients get excited about working with one of the other teachers at the studio while I am away.”
But, for Angela, that’s just one of the many benefits of working with a team of instructors and other wellness professionals rather than going it alone.
“In our studio, we have a combination of yoga teachers, Pilates teachers, massage therapists and other manual therapists. I find this to allow for really great collaboration where we share clients,” says Angela. “For example, I may have a recommendation from a massage therapist to try something with my client, and vice versa. We really can collaborate (with, of course, the client’s consent).”
Of course, at the end of the day, what really matters is whether or not this approach benefits clients. Angela explains how this collaborative approach is a win for clients: “From a client’s perspective, they feel very taken care of. It’s a one stop shop where they can come in for their class or a private session and then also book in for a manual therapy appointment as well.”
How it all started
But what was the impetus for Angela to get into Pilates in the first place? She explains it this way: “I was away from home for a few years to study kinesiology. During that time, I became pregnant with my daughter and moved back to Sault Ste. Marie. When I returned, I found that I was really yearning for more knowledge in terms of anatomy and movement.”
Fortunately, that’s when she had her first experience with Pilates. “To me it was this beautiful merging of what I was studying and how good it felt to move this way. And that’s when I decided to pursue Pilates Comprehensive teacher training.”
Angela chose to do her Comprehensive Pilates teacher training with Body Harmonics because of its evidence-based curriculum and focus on “meeting people where they’re at.” She also just liked the “vibe.”
“I was really drawn to Body Harmonics by the friendly atmosphere,” says Angela. “I had done my Mat training with another school and decided I wanted to take my training to the next level by pursuing Reformer training. When I called BH, I just remember being greeted with real kindness, and when I visited the studio in person, I recall that Margot remembered who I was. I just really felt welcomed there. And that was it for me.”
The one draw-back was that when she did her training back in 2006, she had a long way to travel from The Soo (as it is affectionately called by locals) to Toronto and back. Eight hours each way, to be exact. She also needed to do the training via private tutorial to accommodate her schedule.
So, between 2006 and 2010, Angela pursued her passion and completed over 1,000 hours of in-class training hours and practice teaching, as well as multiple exams, to earn her Comprehensive Pilates Teacher designation. After years of working with clients, she wanted to expand her scope and was accepted into the Body Harmonics Train the Trainer program. This qualified her to become a Body Harmonics Education partner in 2019 and begin offering Pilates Certification and Continuing Education courses to her local community.
The pandemic’s silver lining for Pilates students and teacher trainers
While her dedication paid off in terms of creating a career, and community of movers, she loves, she’s quick to point out that one of the upsides of the global pandemic was the way she, Body Harmonics and their students embraced and benefited from online learning.
“I think I was maybe even the first person to run Pilates Level 1: Mat Express on Zoom for Body Harmonics, and it went so well. I just remembering feeling so excited about being able to connect with people and offer the training to people regardless of their location.”
Today, Angela continues to work full-time as a teacher and deliver Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Certification and Continuing Education courses in her role as Education Partner. Not surprisingly, the wealth of experience Angela has developed in the field means she has some wonderfully practical advice and insights to offer which we’ve included below.
Angela’s advice and insights for new and aspiring teachers
- Take a lot of classes so you can really experience some of the different teachers and teaching styles and gain an understanding of what Pilates is all about.
- Dive right in and you won’t regret it — follow your curiosity!
- To build a sustainable career through all stages of life, trust that juggling several commitments can work. If you have children, consider working on evenings and weekends then switch to full-time hours when they become more independent.
- To build your client base, start with your friends and family. With the confidence you develop and through word-of-mouth, your network will grow organically.
- To help clients commit to regular exercise, sometimes it’s the simplest things that work best: Take a genuine interest in your clients as people first, check-in with them after a class or session, and always make yourself available for questions.
- Remember to have a life outside the studio. Angela balances her passion for Pilates & Movement by making time for her kids, running, reading and laughing until she cries with her sister.
“It’s a busy life between being a full-time teacher and spending time with family and friends,” says Angela. “It’s a wonderful life!”