MSMS Presents Irene Dowd and Steven Fetherhuff

Training Strategies for the Hypermobile Client

  • March 6 - 7, 2021
  • $325

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Saturday and Sunday, March 6 & 7 2021
from 1:30-4:30 pm EST

a 2-day, live online workshop

Hypermobility syndrome is being more and more widely recognized. This is because many individuals exhibit genetically-based collagen laxity and/or potential over-stretch and weakness of the soft tissues of their bodies. Since collagen is a major component of skin, fascia, ligaments, tendons, blood vessel walls, and the encasement of organs, lax collagen can contribute to quite a variety of functional challenges. Aging is also associated with collagen becoming more lax (this is why older people become more and more wrinkled, for example). Sometimes people can develop more hypermobility of a particular joint, or joints, as a result of injuries or from intense long-term training practices (e.g. yoga, gymnastics, dance, etc.).

Whatever the cause of a person's hypermobility, training someone who possesses hypermobile joints requires special attention to proprioception (which is less accurate in presence of hypermobility), protection of joints from over-mobilization and forceful stretching (that could contribute to joint injuries and degenerative changes), carefully progressive dynamic strength training and muscle balancing (to provide a "protective physical insurance policy" which facilitates sustained sense of safety while preserved freedom of motion in action), and careful attention to how daily life activities are performed (so as to avoid unconsciously over-mobilizing particular areas).

In this workshop, we will learn how hypermobility is actually defined and identified. We will review some of the most recent research pertaining to various potential consequences for a person living with hypermobility, as well as what might be done to minimize the un-desired consequences. We will focus specifically on feet, neck, lower trunk/pelvis as they coordinate with the entire body. Participants will be introduced to training strategies and protocols that are designed to optimize function of people who are hypermobile. Participants will be guided through physically experiencing each of these strategies both in Pilates settings and other contexts.


Irene Dowd is on the dance faculty of the Juilliard School, Movement Research and the Hollins University/ADF MFA program in dance. She has been a regular guest at Canada's National Ballet School and NYU Tisch School of the Arts for many years. Formerly, she taught in the Master’s program in Dance Education at Teachers College, Columbia University for 18 years, and the Master’s program in Arts and Liberal Studies at Wesleyan University for 9 years. Irene is recipient of the 2014 Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching at the American Dance Festival, 2015 Juilliard John Erskine Faculty Prize, 2016 Dance Science & Somatics Educators Lifetime Service Award, and 2018 Honorary Fellowship from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Author of Taking Root to Fly (now in the 11th printing of the 3rd edition), she has maintained a private practice in kinesthetic anatomy and neuromuscular re-education for over 45 years in NYC. Irene has choreographed for Peggy Baker, Margie Gillis and other solo dancers in recent years. Her work has been taught in schools and dance companies across the US and Canada. Recently, she completed a digital archive which can be viewed at: irenedowdchoreographies.com

Steven Fetherhuff has been a student of the Pilates Method since 1990. He completed his teacher training at the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado, and received his national certification from the Pilates Method Alliance. He has studied with many of the leading educators in the field including his long time mentor, first generation Master Teacher Kathleen Stanford Grant. Steven has taught students and trained teachers in France, Japan and throughout the US. He co‐creates anatomy and movement workshops with neuromuscular educator Irene Dowd and presents annually with Ms. Dowd at the Pilates Method Alliance International Education Conference. Steven lives in New York City where he maintains a private practice and is the Pilates Program Coordinator at the Hospital for Special Surgery, working within the medical community to provide pilates‐based movement education for physical rehabilitation patients.