Perform: A Trieste Yoga Studio And The Art Of Change

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by In Trieste

Trieste business strong: We chatted with Gary Brackett the co-founder, artist and yoga teacher at his hip yoga studio and arts center Perform to find out how they are coping with the impact of the virus disruption.

Gary during his yoga lesson

How have these past few months been for Perform?

Gary: Perform has had an exceptional two months considering lockdown. We started working with Zoom offering on average two lessons per day, following all the disciplines that we have: yoga, pilates, and Feldenkrais method classes. We had a couple of groups of pranayama (breathing technique) and meditation. We were also able to launch 5 O’clock Sunday series based on the body: the first one was body and soul, then we did body and theater, we had one on body and voice and the last one was on body and image. All that was exploring the various aspects of what we like to call mind-body work.

Gary Brackett during one of his lessons

Were your clients enthusiastic?

Gary: We had great participation for the first couple of months. We offered the first month completely free and got quite a lot of clients but then we obviously needed to pay the rent and so we launched a crowd funding event and it went very, very well. We were so pleased that the community supported us. But we did lose some people as they started making different choices as other courses on other platforms were available. However, the first two months were quite successful.

How are things going now?

Gary: In May we decided to do a strict subscription, an abonamento, which means people had to pay. So naturally we lost some clients. Also people were going back to work, so I think that was also the reason some dropped out. But it’s going quite well for us: we’ve got 50 people signed up and we have 56 lessons for the month of May, which is 13 lessons a week. We are very happy.

An Aeroyoga class at Perform, via Cesare Battisti 26

How would you describe your overall experience with online classes?

Gary: It’s been very successful. We’ve had people join us from outside of Trieste, friends from Naples, Rome and various other cities around Italy. It’s been lovely, a good way for people to see each other and to stay in contact.

Was it an easy change?

Gary: It was a bit of a transition for everybody. For teachers, online yoga is almost an alienating experience. You feel like you are disconnected from your body and from your students. It takes some getting used to. But you sort of forget about the difficulties and go on with the class. Seeing how happy people were to see each other made it all worth while. And at the end of every lesson we always turn the microphones on for students to say “hello!” to each other.

International Yoga day 2019 at Giardino Pubblico, Trieste

What does future look like for Perform?

Gary: It’s hard to say. There is some talk of letting groups meet together in June in public gardens. We are trying to work with cafes near our school that work in Giardino Pubblico to have classes outside and meet our students there. But we’ll see, it all depends on the government.

What will change?

Gary: Our students are asking if we can continue using Zoom platform even when we go back to school, so in the future we may have live virtual classes simultaneously with the actual classes. There are some other things that will probably change: the number of people that can come into our space, and how much distance we need to keep.

What will stay the same?

We felt very connected to our community our students and people form afar. It really gave us a good sense of who we are. We are going to move forward. Maybe some new teachers are going to join us, maybe some teachers are going to go away in the fall. We are praying we’ll be open in September as far as our school is concerned. We’ll see how it goes. Every fall is a bit different for us: we make some changes, some people come, and some people go, that’s the beauty of living in an international city like Trieste. But we’ll see. One thing’s certain: we are looking forward to things getting back to normal .

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