Most dance related injuries are due to repetitive stress on a soft tissue structure or joint generally caused by muscular imbalances, technique alterations, inflexibilities, and instability. The use of Pilates Methodology and equipment is an essential component in the success of the dancer to both prevent injuries and recover after them.

Joseph Pilates trained a multitude of dancers after he immigrated to New York and by chance opened his Contrology Training Studio next door to the New York City Ballet and within close proximity to several others. Often times, Martha Graham and George Balanchine would send their dancers to Joseph Pilates for rehabilitation. Dancers like Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Ron Fletcher, Lolita San Miguel, Eve Gentry, and Carola Trier turned to Mr. Pilates with knee, ankle, and back pain. Many dancers found relief from their pain after a few sessions with Joe, which allowed them to continue pursuing their dance careers. After their treatments, they were all very active in giving back to the Pilates community. The marriage of Pilates and dance is undeniable. Both methodologies use the whole body in their movements and focus on using the mind, discipline, and breath to create optimal posture and long, strong and flexible muscles.

Desima has received Pilates and movement education from Legendary Dance/ Pilates Educators:

  • Polestar Pilates Elder, Lolita San Miguel, who holds the distinction of being one of the only two known practitioners to have been officially certified by Joseph and Clara Pilates and awarded degrees by the State University of New York to teach the Pilates Method. Lolita soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet for over ten years and Ballet Mistress for Ballet Hispanico for three years and founded Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico–now Puerto Rico’s finest ballet company– and was its Artistic and Executive Director for 27 years.

    Desima's focus on feet placement, as well as using a dowel for correction is a direct result of training under Lolita.

  • Pilates Elder, Ron Fletcher, a Martha Graham Dancer and World Renowned Choreographer, who was trained by both Joseph and Clara Pilates. Mr. Fletcher developed The Fletcher Pilates® Program of Study, the most comprehensive and definitive international Pilates educational program of its kind. His program derived from the physical conditioning method developed by Joseph and Clara Pilates in the 1920s and expands to include its evolution and interpretation by Pilates Master Ron Fletcher. Desima has warm memories of her time with Mr. Fletcher who hailed from Missouri, and affectionately called her "Kansas".

  • Pilates Elder Kathy Grant, a first-generation master Pilates instructor who learned the method directly from its creator, Joseph Pilates. Like so many others, Kathy discovered Pilates in an effort to recover from an injury in the 1950s and worked with Joseph Pilates until she was able to recover and successfully return to dancing Dancer in the Broadway production of Finian's Rainbow and Kiss Me Kate, as well as performing with Louis Armstrong, Bill Robinson, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington.

    Kathy went on to teach Pilates and carried on the traditions of Joseph Pilates while also creating her own unique exercises and legacy. She was one of only two teachers who Joseph Pilates actually certified to teach Pilates. Known for her ‘cats’, ‘balls’ and ‘straps’, the Kathy Grant work encourages an active exploration of proper movement patterns in a playful, experiential environment.

  • Pilates Expert, Alan Herdman studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance and was working as a teacher and dancer when, in the late 1960s, he was invited to New York to learn about the Joseph Pilates Method. There he worked intensively with Carola Trier and Bob Fitzgerald, two instructors who had been trained by Pilates himself.

  • Eric Franklin, founder and director of the Franklin Method., He earned his BS from the University of Zurich and his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and teaches at universities and schools throughout the world including the Juilliard School in New York, Rutgers University, the University of Vienna, the Royal Ballet School and the Laban Center in London. Eric is author 19 books, including of Dynamic Alignment through Imagery, Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance, Relax your Neck – Liberate your Shoulders, Pelvic Power, Inner Focus, Outer Strength and Beautiful Body, Beautiful Mind.

  • Elizabeth Larkam, MS Ed Polestar Co-Founder and Balanced Body Educator, Gold Certified Pilates Method Alliance teacher, she was educated by the first generation Pilates teachers Ron Fletcher, Eve Gentry, Carola Trier, Romana Kryzanowska, Bruce King and Alan Herdman. Elizabeth is a guild-certified Feldenkrais practitioner, certified Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis™ instructor, Franklin Method teacher. She received her bachelor’s and master's education at Stanford University. Elizabeth worked as a Pilates and Dancemedicine Specialist with the San Francisco Ballet and Cirque de Soleil, a lecturer at the University of San Francisco in Exercise and Sports Science and a Reebok Master Trainer. She is a mind-body spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and a contributor to PilatesStyle.

  • Dr. Suzanne Martin started as a dancer, performer and choreographer, earning a baccalaureate and master's degree in modern dance. After sustaining back spasms and subsequent hip injuries due to falling during a performance, she sought the help of the newly formed Dance Medicine division at the Center for the Performing Arts. She was later invited to join the staff and became certified in Pilates Rehabilitation in 1987 and ultimately earned a doctorate.

    Dr. Martin publishing a pilot study on elite female ballet dancers. She was the in-house PT for Smuin Ballet, and taught Issues in Dance Medicine at SF State, kinesiology at St. Mary’s LEAP program, as well as nutrition for the School of the San Francisco Ballet. She excels in the treatment of hypermobile people, including dancers and those with scoliosis as well as breast cancer survivors.

    Dr. Martin publishes books, DVD'S and teaches continuing education courses. She contributor for Dance Magazine, A Better You, and Dance Studio Life.

© Pilates Performance & Rehab