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              Pilates for everyBody® Method | History

The History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He was a frail child with an inspiring interest in body- building. This interest continued into his teen years, and in 1912, he decided to travel to England to train for boxing. While he was residing in England, World War II started, and he was interned for a year as an enemy alien. During his incarceration he taught his fellow inmates wrestling, self-defense, and body- building. Later, he was transferred to The Isle of Man for the duration of the war. He began working with patients disabled from the war. Here, he developed the resistence tools with springs and devised the early machines to strengthen the patients. Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates After the war, Joseph returned to Germany to train the Hamburg police. He kept developing his ideas for equipment creating much of what we see today. In Hamburg he shared these ideas with modern dancers, such as, Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman and Hanya Holm where it is still part of the warm-up in Holm's technique.
In 1925, he was asked by the government to train the new German army. Unhappy with the political climate in Germany, he traveled to America. During this journey, he met Clara, his wife-to-be and partner. Clara and Joseph landed in New York City where they established an exercise studio in the late '20's.
During the early years, there were no gyms available for dancers. With Joe's type of integrated body-work, it wasn't long before notables like Martha Graham and George
Balanchine were working out at Joe's. The similarity of movement patterning and body training, the lack of facilities and the use by the great choreographers of our time cemented the long relationship between Pilates technique and the dance world.
studio reformers
Wall reformer The list of users, past and present, include dancers, actors, entertainers, politicians, athletes and socialites. Currently, the method has been accepted by the medical profession and is used in rehabilitation programs at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, and the Cleveland Clinic as well as being an adjunct training program to several ballet dance academies and university programs. Since the 80's, countless Pilates studios have opened, broadening the range of those receiving the therapeutic benefits of Pilates.

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