"My discovery of Pilates is a disapointingly practical story - although, to my surprise, the journey from practical to passionate was surprisingly swift!

Following my 17years as a ballet dancer with London Festival Ballet, and as a principal ballerina with Northern Ballet, I eventually moved into teaching. It soon became apparent that some kind of official qualification might be mandatory for the faculty of vocational dance schools, so rather than backtrack I decided to broaden my knowledge and 'do that Pilates thing' I had so often heard about in my career. I was initially somewhat taken aback by the length and intensity of training with Body Control Pilates, with whom I still train today, but was soon hooked, and can't count the number of times I've thought - "Why didn't I know this when I was a dancer!' Pilates makes complete anatomical sense. From rehabilitation to top level sports enhancement, it works. I have been running classes in Bakewell and the surrounding area since the year 2000, and have seen the difference it has made to my clients, their posture, their pain, their performance, their confidence and their ability. I have been training students and dancers on the reformer at Northern Ballet for the past 10 years and am now hugely excited to have my very own in Claire Dobinson's School of Dancing in Rowsley. I work in association with the wonderful Bakewell Physiotherapy Group and am also a Body Control Pilates supervising teacher. I am also trained in HIP PIlates (High Intensity Power Pilates) which is proving very popular (and sweaty!)

My courses have included Pilates for the Older Person, Pregnancy, Breast Cancer and Hip Replacement Rehabilitation, Osteoporosis, Improving your Golf, Pilates for Runners, Stretching, the Breath as a Lantern, and of course a whole variety of equipment ......

Walk tall, feel free, be happy." - Viki

Victoria Westall-Eyre

Viki trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) age 17, dancing all the major classics and in the annual Nureyev seasons at the London Coliseum. After 7 years she joined Northern Ballet Theatre and became a principal dancer under the direction of Sir Christopher Gable. She danced all the principal roles, many created for her, and toured extensively with the company in Uk and in Europe. She also appeared as a guest artist in New York, Florida and Germany.

Retiring from the stage after a career of 17 years, Viki went on to teach for many of the top vocational dance schools and institutions, studying the Ichino technique with Yoko Ichino herself at BalletMet in Columbus.

Viki became a Pilates teacher in 2001 and teaches reformer and matwork up to Advanced standard, is a Body Control Pilates supervising teacher and works in association with the excellent Bakewell Physiotherapy Group.

Viki is Head of the Associate Program at Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds (where she also teaches both students and company members Pilates on the reformer) and is also part of the Graduate program faculty. She represents the Academy in Italy as part of the FormAzioneTersicore project. Viki writes and reviews for Dance Europe magazine.

Photographs from Viki's stage career as a professional ballet dancer. Many of the roles were created for her.