We had the good fortune of connecting with Devika Wickremesinghe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devika, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
i can feel my body tighten a little as i choose this question/choose to ponder the language of “success” and “brand”. feels crunchy, and tight, like air is being sucked out. the way my body feels when i read the words “late-stage capitalism” . my body also believes people want good things. so im going to choose to take some space around this and take an invitation to consider some different ideas related to those words. i think one of the important parts of maintaining a sense of integrity and feeling right with myself in my teaching work, creating pilates videos and online instruction, is elements of play. Playfulness and humor keep the work open, giving folx and their bodies choice. And it helps me to maintain choice as well. When there is that space to choose I feel aligned with the work and I think that translates! Maybe makes it feel a bit more empowering for people. At least it feels better in my bod when I make jokes and try not to take things too seriously, Thats an invitation we could all use, most of the time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Enjoy every sandwich, pay your dues to the Institut IDGAF, and compare notes with love.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The community of teachers, dancers, students in my Pilates training lineage as well as in dance and somatic circles have enriched my life and I think added to a feeling of being right with myself (“feeling of being right with myself” I think is how I am defining the word “success” here) I’m indebted to the work of activists and academics who are not Pilates teachers or dancers. Alexx Shilling was my first Pilates teacher, who put on Nina Simone while we were exploring Mat work. Anula Maiberg was such a radical and generous colleague and mentor who was using language of inclusivity and body positivity before it became a catchphrase. She gave me the courage to get weird and be myself in a sea of cookie-cutter Pilates teachers operating in supremacist body shaming culture. adrienne maree brown is a constant source of inspiration for incorporating pleasure into every part of life especially work especially organizing especially teaching. Colleagues Madison Page and Jessie Young have uplifted my teaching practice in incredible ways. And Pieter Performance Space, created by Jmy Kidd, directed by Dorothy Dubrule, and lifted up by a thriving weirdo spaceship community of folx gave me the actual space to expand my Pilates teaching work into a creative act.
Instagram: @pilateswithdevika , @institut.idgaf