Entries in Instructor/Studio Profiles (27)
By Kathy Kukula
Walk through the door at The Pilates Centre in Norwalk, Conn., and, among the forest of Reformers and Towers, you’ll see something that’s all too rare in many Pilates studios: men. And while some of the guys are the financiers and media executives that this coastal area is famous for, quite a few of them spend their time in more old-fashioned pursuits: in a rink, a pitch or a boxing ring. In the past two years, owner Jennifer Mongeluzo and her team of four trainers have strengthened and stretched a growing cadre of pro and semi-pro hockey and rugby players, Muay Thai kickboxers, boxers and mixed-martial arts fighters. Here’s how she did it:
It was a full house at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York Monday night as members of the Pilates and dance communities gathered to pay tribute to Kathleen Stanford Grant (1921-2010), a first-generation Pilates teacher who studied directly with Joseph Pilates and taught the Pilates method for more than 50 years. The celebratory evening was filled with laughter, dance, music and stories about the life and spirit of this multi-faceted woman who “dedicated her life to making all others dreams come true,” as Sarita Allen, one of her students, said. The celebration began with an African drumming processional and was followed by a mixture of dance performances, video footage and almost a dozen speeches from family members, students, colleagues and friends. For those who weren’t able to make it, I’d like to share some highlights from this special evening.
By Anne Samoilov
Welcome to the second installment of my Pilates Mentors series. I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. I am so excited to share with you my conversation with Marguerite Ogle. Marguerite is best known for her work on About.com as the Pilates Guide. She has built an extremely thorough site which provides information for Pilates students as well as instructors.
By Anne Samoilov
I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. We can all learn a lot by observing other successful businesses and applying what is relevant to our own. So, today, I am peeking under the hood of Lynda Lippin’s Pilates in Paradise practice. Lynda works on the Caribbean private resort island of Parrot Cay, where she is the Pilates and Fitness Teacher at COMO Shambhala Retreat. With 20 years of Pilates teaching under her belt, Lynda also sees clients in New York City, works as a Usui Reiki Master, has several blogs and is very active in social media.
Anne: I know you are a respected fitness professional in Pilates, reiki and personal training. After being in this service-based industry for several years, I’m wondering if you have established other income streams which are more automated?
Lynda: I think it is extremely important for Pilates instructors to create multiple income streams for themselves. The internet is a great place to facilitate this. I give away a couple of Pilates ebooks for neck and back pain, and sell inexpensive Pilates audio [content] as well. Plus I have paid advertising on my blogs that brings me a small regular income. In addition, you can sell products to your clients for profit (small props, books, dvds, supplements that you believe in, clothing, etc.). But the internet is key. I created my audios two years ago and they are still selling and receiving great reviews. And I recorded them directly on my Mac using Garage Band - quick, easy and lucrative!
Pilates-Pro.com is happy to share another tribute to Kathy Grant from one of her closest proteges, Blossom Leilani Crawford.
By Blossom Leilani Crawford
I remember my teacher, mentor and friend as being a unique, magnetic life force. She was always a symphony of ideas and oppositions, expressing herself and her opinions at the expense of no one and nothing. She was tough as nails.
We met in 1993 when I was a freshman dance student at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Before I even met Kathy I heard that she would push the students, but that she would help me “find my center.” What I found was a woman whose incredible career as a dancer and arts administrator made her a Pilates teacher, and a person, like no other.
Kathy treated everyone with the same nurturing, iron hand and with an eagle’s eye on the details. She insisted on excellence, both from herself and from her students. She had a work ethic that never wavered - always arriving early and always wanting to do better the next time. Not better than anyone else, just better than she did before.
I can remember just a couple of years ago - the subway outside her house was out of service, it was about 85 degrees outside and she was about 85 years old. No matter - she walked the mile to the next train station and got to her NYU class ON TIME! She always said, “I have no patience, but I won’t give up.”
She is well loved and remembered by countless people from all walks of life. We students remember her now with a shake of our heads and a laugh - and many irreplaceable memories. She helped so many of us in a way that was completely her own. I think I speak for many of us when I say that she did help me find my center and so much more. There isn’t, and never will be, anyone else like her, and I miss her already.
Blossom Leilani Crawford had the great fortune to meet the late Kathy Grant, a Pilates Elder, in 1993 at the Dance Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where Blossom was a new dance student. In the ensuing years, Blossom had the honor of being a student, a teaching assistant and ultimately a protege to Ms. Grant. At the suggestion of Ms. Grant, Blossom was certified by Romanna Kryzanowska in 1999 and has since been teaching Pilates throughout New York City and around the country. Blossom owns Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn, NY, and teaches mat classes at the Mark Morris Dance Center.
The Pilates community was saddened by last week’s news that Kathleen Stanford Grant passed away at age 89. A dancer, choreographer and protege of Joseph Pilates, Kathy taught the Pilates Method for more than 50 years, most recently at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Here is a touching portrait of this influential teacher from her longtime friend and fellow first-generation teacher, Lolita San Miguel.
By Lolita San Miguel
There are certain relationships one makes which quickly and deeply evolve to form the unbreakable bond of true friendship that neither time, nor the distancing that personal or professional commitments usually cause, can ever shatter.
Kathleen Stanford Grant and I had that type of friendship for 52 years. We would see each other after not communicating for months and pick up as if we had just seen each other the day before.
I first met Kathy when in 1958 I suffered an injury, and upon the advice of Dr. Henry Jordan, a renowned doctor who treated injured dancers, I went to Carola Trier for rehabilitation. Kathy and Romana Kryzanowska were Carola’s assistants at the time. Kathy was a thin, muscular, ex-modern dancer with short-cropped red hair, freckles, polite and disciplined and already had that wonderful “eye” for corrections. My sessions were in the early afternoon, which coincided with Kathy’s shift.
Kathy and I had two additional strong bonds: dance and being very proud of our heritages. The 1960s and ‘70s were passionate years of change, and we both felt a responsibility to give to our people, she to the African-American community through Dance Theater of Harlem and her husband’s Broadway projects as a producer, and I to the Hispanic community in New York through the Puerto Rican Dance Theater and other Hispanic activities. Our training and background and the talent and privileges we had received gave us a strong social conscience. So these two “kindred spirits” became friends instantly and often we socialized and went to dinner with our husbands.
It was Kathy who gave me one of the biggest surprises of my life one day while we were talking in front of Carola’s studio at 200 West 58th Street in Manhattan. After many years as Carola’s client, I had decided to train as a Pilates instructor and possibly open my own studio and was about to finish my 6-month, 520-hour apprenticeship with Carola. I expressed my concerns to Kathy, however, for I didn’t feel ready to open my own studio and told her that I would just integrate Pilates into my ballet teaching.
Kathy casually said, “Why don’t you go to Joe’s?”
“Joe who?” I asked back.
“Joseph Pilates,” Kathy said.
By Michelle Fama
A career in Pilates can take you just about anywhere, including the set of a cutting-edge reality series. Instructor Michelle Fama, owner of Core Pilates NYC, was recently offered the opportunity to train the cast of If I Can Dream, a new reality show that streams live online 24/7. Here’s her behind-the-scenes look at working on a show that doesn’t really have a “behind-the-scenes.”
My suck into the Hoover-vac of reality TV began early. First there was my “Survivor,” Season 1 finale party where guests casted their votes next to a lit tiki torch outside my Brooklyn brownstone apartment. I shed tears for Ryan and Trista’s blooming love on “The Bachelorette” and have texted “vote” for my Idol faves more times in a row than I would like to mention. And, who doesn’t cry when they “move that bus” and reveal a new house?
So when I received a call from producers of “If I Can Dream,” a new hybrid TV/Web show from “American Idol” co-creator Simon Fuller, I was ecstatic. The show gives viewers a documentary-like look at what it takes to achieve success in Hollywood. A cast of six young people — two musicians, an actor, two actresses and a model — leave their hometowns and live together in the Hollywood Hills. Their every move is streamed live online by over 60 fixed cameras as they rehearse, write music, socialize, plan their careers…and do Pilates!
How did they find me? They had just outfitted the “Dream” house with a new bamboo Reformer from Root Manufacturing and asked Root to recommend a Pilates instructor that could train the cast and teach them how to properly use and care for the Reformer. Having just furnished my NYC studio with Root equipment, Root recommended me.
The show’s mission is to give these kids opportunities to help them on their journey toward stardom. Producers realized the undeniable benefits Pilates could bring to the cast members’ Hollywood pursuits. It would help them with the voice, acting and modeling auditions that they would be filmed doing. Along with Pilates, the cast gets weekly yoga sessions with a yoga instructor who visits the house.
While I have been scheduled to train the entire cast, I’ve only gotten half of them at any given time since their audition schedules and classes keep them busy. I created their Reformer workouts based on easy-to-retain exercises organized by areas of the body – arms, legs and butt, and core – rather than training them through a classically ordered session. With such a bustling, social household and busy schedules, I needed to deliver quick routines that they could safely do if they worked out solo or in a time pinch. When I train more than one at a time, I take them through a classical mat class as well.
Improving posture and flexibility is aspiring model Giglianne’s goal, while actor Ben wants core strength to improve his gym workouts. Although the cast had never done Pilates before, they were excited to have the chance to see what the hype is all about. Each came with individual requests such as easing tight hamstrings and lower back while carving the core. They are not required to do the workouts, but the workouts kept them interested. They are all sold on Pilates so far!
My biggest challenge is remembering that the cameras are always on. My first day in the house I made a comment about how sloppy 21-year-olds can be after seeing one of their messy bedrooms, and proceeded to blurt out language worthy of a bleep while setting up the Reformer. A friend who was helping me, clueless of the cameras, turned beat red after her how-does-reality-TV-work questions elicited the “It’s confidential – I can’t answer” response.
While I’m pretty sure that a few slips of the tongue and my tough training tactics won’t get me voted out of the house anytime soon, I’m not so sure the cast will like my lecture on Reformer etiquette next time: I just clicked on the live feed from the Laundry Room where they keep the Reformer and noticed that the handles and straps were sloppily dumped on the floor, and someone had placed their guitar on top of the carriage.
Will someone be working out tomorrow at lunchtime? Will the straps still be in the same place? Will you catch me training them? Log on to the Laundry Room cam, and keep me updated by posting comments here. For real-time action on and off the Reformer tune in to ificandream.com or hulu.com for episodes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle Fama is the co-founder of Core Pilates NYC and is the NYC chapter head for the United Pilates Collective. Prior to establishing her Pilates brand in 2002 and growing it internationally, Michelle lived and adventured extensively through Africa, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and South America as a journalist and travel writer.
The Growth of Pilates Collectives
How to Run Your Pilates Studio Remotely
New, Eco-Friendly Pilates Equipment from Root Manufacturing
Pilates and the Voice
By Nicole Rogers
Owning your own business is a tough job. Most Pilates professionals know this because they’ve had some experience going into business for themselves. Freelancers, studio owners, and people who teach from their homes can all share stories about the joys and challenges of being your own boss.
So what happens when your partner in business is also your partner in life? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to look into these Pilates-studio romances. We found three couples—the Collets, the Winters and the McCullochs—willing to open up and share the ins and outs of being in the ultimate Pilates partnership.
by Lauren Charlip
We’ve noticed several Pilates group equipment circuit classes pop up lately, so we decided to rustle up the instructors who teach them for a closer look at this new trend. Some teach just one circuit hour a week and some base a large chunk of their business on group circuit work. Each has their own unique way of running things. A few themes did emerge among the instructors we spoke to: They all agree that multiple-apparatus work allows for a deeper, more well-rounded experience for the client, and that a circuit class is an affordable way to reap those benefits. They also stressed the importance of previous experience on the Pilates equipment for clients before they join a circuit class; the more machines involved, the more complicated the skill set. For more details on how different studios and instructors are adopting this format, we’ve provided five takes on Pilates equipment circuit training from around the country.
Chicago Pilates instructor Laurel Silverman teaches out of her home and rents space at One Mind Body & Being to teach group classes. She hit upon the circuit idea when only one client showed up for her Reformer class and she realized she could move her onto other apparatus. Because that client had mostly Reformer experience, the difference in the work was readily apparent. Silverman noted her client was making new connections and that it was much easier to gauge her strengths and weaknesses. “I started thinking clients who are only able to afford Reformer classes are being done a disservice without access to other equipment,” Silverman says. She began to spice up her Reformer classes with a new apparatus exercise here and there. “Clients really took to the idea. I first started incorporating one exercise that we would circuit through, then we would talk about it and compare,” Silverman says. “It was amazing to see changes when they got back on the equipment that they’re used to.”
By Lauren Charlip
Not only is Pilates for Pink a way to raise money for a great cause, but it has given two Los Angeles studio owners—with studios mere blocks away from each other—a reason to come together and put a new spin on the program.
Maria Leone and Shari Berkowitz both own studios with teacher-training programs, a rare occurence in any neighborhood. Leone owns Bodyline, a PhysicalMind Institute certification studio, and Berkowitz owns The Vertical Workshop, and directs Power Pilates’ West Coast teacher-training program. Together they’re putting on programming for Pilates teachers that will raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Pilates for Pink this Sunday, October 18.
Each will be teaching a professionals-only mat class at Bodyline (which will also sponsor its own Pilates for Pink class for clients). Leone, ruminating on how she’d make her third year as a Pilates for Pink host different, came up with the idea of having a guest teacher.