Whats new?

We are pleased to announce that we have now taken delivery of the Gyrotonic Leg Extension Unit to complement our existing pulley towers.

We would like to thank Abel Horwath for his expert guidance to members of our team in the instruction and rehabilitation opportunities available using this inovative addition to our treatments.

Look out all of you who have lower limb problems!

 

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This history has been provided by Balanced Body. Please check out their website link at the bottom of this history where you can buy some of the best Gyrotonic & Pilates Equipment available on the market.

The Pilates method of exercise was created by Joseph Pilates, who was born in 1880 near Dusseldorf, Germany. Joe was frail as a child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He overcame his physical limitations with exercise and body building, becoming a model for anatomical drawings at the age of 14. He became accomplished in many sports, including skiing, diving and gymnastics. Joe went to England in 1912, where he worked as a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard.

At the outbreak of World War I, Joe was interned as an "enemy alien" with other German nationals. During his internment, Joe refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs. An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, but not a single one of Joe's trainees died. This, he claimed, testified to the effectiveness of his system.

After his release, Joe returned to Germany. His exercise method gained favor in the dance community, primarily through Rudolf von Laban, who created the form of dance notation most widely used today. Hanya Holm adopted many of Joe's exercises in her program, and they are still part of the "Holm Technique." When Joe was asked to teach his fitness system to the German army, he decided to leave Germany for good. In 1923, he emigrated to the United States. During the voyage he met Clara, whom he later married. Joe and Clara opened a fitness studio in New York, sharing an address with the New York City Ballet.

The Pilates Method is not just a series of exercises but a complete approach to developing body awareness and an easy physicality in day to day life. It requires commitment from both the teacher and the client as it takes time to improve and change the body's postural and alignment habits.

Pilates is an exercise-based system that aims to develop the body's "centre" in order to create a stable core for all types of movement. Through the process of regular classes, the body 's structure realigns and a balance is achieved within the musclo-skeletal system. Eventually the body will move with maximum efficiency and minimum effort. As studio classes are generally of small number (4/5), a high level or personal attention ensures almost one-on-one training, maximising a person's potential without risking injury. It is gentle, but focused exercise with the potential to become aerobic in its advanced form. The Method tone, stretches and mobilises and is often used to rehabilitate injuries, making it popular with athletes, dancers and anyone who wants to develop their individual physique and physical potential. Pilates is an all-encompassing mind, body and spirit exercise - a whole approach philosophy that is often shared with other techniques such as yoga, Alexander and Feldenkrais.

A class in a studio will involve working on specially designed equipment, primarily using resistance against tensioned springs, in order to isolate and develop specific muscle groups.

By the early 1960s, the Pilates' could count among their clients many New York dancers. George Balanchine out "at Joe's," as he called it, and also invited Pilates to instruct his young ballerinas at the New York City Ballet. In fact, "Pilates" was becoming popular outside of New York as well. As the New York Herald Tribune noted in 1964, "in dance classes around the United States, hundreds of young students limber up daily with an exercise they know as a pilates, without knowing that the word has a capital P, and a living, right-breathing namesake."

While Joe was still alive, only two of his students, Carola Trier and Bob Seed, are known to have opened their own studios. Trier, who had an extensive dance background, found her way to the United States after she fled a Nazi holding camp in France by becoming a contortionist in a show. She found Joe Pilates in 1940, when a non-stage injury pre-empted her performing career. Joe Pilates assisted Trier in opening her own studio in the late 1950s and the Pilateses and Trier remained close friends until the respective deaths of Joe and Clara.

Bob Seed was another story. A former hockey player turned "Pilates" enthusiast, Seed opened a Studio across town from Joe and tried to take away some of Joe,s clients by opening very early in the morning. According to John Steel, one day Joe visited Seed with a gun and warned Seed to get out of town. Seed went.

When Joe passed away, he left no will and had designated no line of succession for the "Pilates" work to carry on. Nevertheless, his work was to remain. Clara continued to operate what was already known as the "Pilates" Studio on Eighth Avenue in New York where Romana Kryzanowska became the director in around 1970. Kryzanowska had studied with Joe and Clara in the early 1940s and then, after a fifteen year hiatus due to a move to Peru, re-commenced her studies.

Several students of Joe and Clara went on to open their own studios. Ron Fletcher was a Martha Graham dancer who studied and consulted with Joe from the 1940s on in connection with a chronic knee ailment. Fletcher opened his studio in Los Angeles in 1970, where he attracted many Hollywood stars. Clara was particularly enamored with Ron and she gave her blessing to him to carry on the "Pilates" work and name. Like Carola Trier, Fletcher brought some innovations and advancements to the "Pilates" work. His evolving variations on "Pilates" were inspired both by his years as a Martha Graham dancer and by another mentor, Yeichi Imura.

Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel were also students of Joe and Clara who went on to become teachers. Grant took over the direction at the Bendel's studio in 1972, while San Miguel went on to teach Pilates at Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rica in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1967, just before Joe's death, both Grant and San Miguel were awarded degrees by the State University of New York to teach "Pilates." These two are believed to be the only "Pilates" practitioners ever to be certified officially by Joe.

Other students of Joe and Clara who opened their own studios include: Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Mary Bowen and Robert Fitzerald. Eve Gentry, a dancer who taught at the Pilates Studio in New York from 1938 through 1968, also taught Pilates in the early 60s at New York University in the Theater Department. After she left New York, she opened her own studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gentry was a charter faculty member of the High School for the Performing Arts, as well as a co-founder of the Dance Notation Bureau. In 1979, she was given the Pioneer of Modern Dance Award by Bennington College. Bruce King trained for many years with Joseph and Clara Pilates and was a member of the Merce Cunningham Company, Alwyn Nikolais Company, and his own Bruce King Dance Company. In the mid-1970s King opened his own studio at 160 W. 73rd Street in New York City. Mary Bowen, a Jungian analyst who studied with Joe in the mid- 1960s, began teaching Pilates in 1975 and founded Your Own Gym in Northampton, Massachusetts. Robert Fitzgerald opened his studio on West 56th Street in the 60s, where he had a large clientele from the dance community.

Joe continued to train clients at his studio until his death In 1967 at the age of 87. in the 1970s, Hollywood celebrities discovered Pilates via Ron Fletchers studio in Beverly Hills. Where the stars go, the media follows. In the late 1980s, the media began to cover Pilates extensively. The public took note, and the Pilates business boomed. Im fifty years ahead of my time, Joe once claimed. He was right. No longer the workout of the elite, Pilates has entered the fitness mainstream. Today, five million Americans practice Pilates, and the numbers continue to grow.

 

 

Stott Pilates equipment photography copyright Merrithew Corporation 2001. All rights reserved.

 

Performance Physio Ltd. 1994 - 2006. Perfomance Physio and Performance Pilates are Registered Trade Marks of Performance Physio Ltd.