Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.
Joseph H. Pilates
Joseph and Clara Pilates began their revolutionary work in the early 1920s in New York City. Pioneering physical and movement therapy, they called their new fitness modality “Body Contrology,” a term which to them implied articulate and fluid physical control. Body Contrology – now known simply as Pilates – is a complete physical conditioning program, incorporating strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and endurance training. The dual emphasis on movement awareness and efficient body mechanics is key to improving posture, alignment and overall body balance. The integrated focus on both extrinsic and intrinsic (core) muscle groups addresses the body as a whole.
In place of exhaustive, tediously repetitious exercises, Pilates involves refined, purposeful movements requiring concentration and physical awareness. The form is elegant, graceful and balanced. The goal: proper body alignment; lengthened, well-toned muscles; flexible joints and increased physical strength, stamina and mental clarity. Once the core/intrinsic musculature is strong and the spine is properly aligned, Pilates becomes almost artfully balletic… a kind of movement performance.
Practiced in the early days by elite dancers and a select few professional athletes, Pilates is now in the fitness mainstream and is considered one of the most versatile and effective overall physical conditioning methods in existence. An estimated 7 million people worldwide now actively participate in a Pilates-based fitness regimen. Clearly, the revolution envisioned by Joseph Pilates nearly a century ago has become a reality.
Following Pilates’ death in 1967, his wife, Clara, penned a now-famous letter to the studio’s noteworthy disciple, Ron Fletcher. In this letter, Clara Pilates wrote, “There is far to go with this work – this work is in your blood and you are the man to create and develop it from this point on. Go and do!”
Although Fletcher declined Clara’s subsequent offer to direct the original New York Pilates studio – opting instead to open his own studio in Los Angeles – he has done far more than just carry the Pilates torch. Obviously, Joseph Pilates’ vision for and development of his work ended when he died. And loyal as she was to her husband’s talents, Clara Pilates steadfastly insisted “This is just the tip of the iceberg” and “Just stay true to the A-B-C’s.”
A gifted dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Ron Fletcher kept that notion foremost in his mind as he continued to lend his own vision, sensibility and genius for movement to the original Pilates method.
Fletcher Pilates® evolves directly from the original method taught to Ron Fletcher by Joe and Clara Pilates. Combining the principles and precision techniques of classic Pilates with his extensive modern dance background, Ron Fletcher developed an organic, flowing and artful series of movements – deeply engaging the body, mind and breath – that are as challenging to perform as they are satisfying to master. While staying true to Pilates’ origins, Fletcher developed his own innovative Towelwork, Floorwork and Percussive Breathing™ techniques creating an even more comprehensive movement experience.