Interview with Pilates Glossy

Jennifer Stacey, MS was interviewed by Pilates Glossy, an online magazine based in The Netherlands.   Learn about the Pilates Elders and to how to work with the apparatus. See photos of Jennifer’s amazing male clients and teacher.

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Pilates is here to stay.


This is part one of the 2 articles with Jennifer M. Stacey, MS., 51 years of age and owner of Peak Performance Pilates in San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, California, USA since 1989.

Jennifer Stacey with Alex Siragusa

Jennifer Stacey with Alex Siragusa

How did you get introduced to Pilates?

My background and my interest in Dance Science and Medicine led me to Pilates. I was a dancer, choreographer, a gymnast, gymnastics coach and a Physical Therapy assistant. At the University of California, Berkeley I was interested in a pre-med track and earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology, and minored in Dance. Cal had a strong dance department that specialized in both The Graham and Cunningham techniques. I still use the images from these classes to teach Pilates. I received my Masters degree in Exercise Physiology with an emphasis on muscle and biomechanics at the University of Oregon. My Master’s thesis was one of the early biomechanical studies using dancers. UO had one of the top biomechanics labs in the world and I was lucky to use it. This study led me to some amazing experiences with the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) and other organizations.

Where did you receive your Pilates education(s) and who was/were your teacher(s)?

I was so fortunate to study a long time with three Pilates First Generation Elders: Romana Kryzanowska, Ron Fletcher, Kathleen (Kathy) Stanford Grant, for approximately 15 -25 years. In 1988/1989 I went through the St. Francis Center for Sports Medicine and Dance Medicine program. In 1991, I was part of the first group at The Institute for the Pilates Method in New Mexico that created the first course curriculum for teacher training. Most of the Elders were on the panel. The group (from around the world) included respected teachers such as Jillian Hessel, Rael Isacowitz, Roberta Kirschenbaum, Michele Larsson and Eve Gentry. It was a unique collaborative experience. That curriculum is probably the basis for most of the major teacher education courses today. It was at the Institute that I attended workshops with the Elders Eve Gentry and Bruce King. From 1990 onwards, I was lucky to have studied and apprenticed under Romana Kryzanowska at Dragos by observing, taking lessons and teaching for Romana. What a privilege to be part of the culture of Dragos where 70 to 80 year olds were swinging on the rings and parallel bars. Romana gave so much to passing on Contrology. And the champagne in dixie cups was not to be missed! During the same time period I was fortunate to befriend Ron Fletcher (what fabulous stories he told!), attend and host several of his workshops. Ron was like the energizer bunny, so full of energy and so creative. He wore us all out – even though we were a third of his age! I was invited to teach at the first Ron Fletcher conference in Arizona. Ron also came out to San Francisco to take sessions from me when he had a shoulder problem. Kathy Grant attended the 1994 Ron Fletcher workshop that I hosted, while she was in San Francisco for an IADMS meeting. It was exciting to have Ron and Kathy and others like Rael Isacowitz and Moira Stott together in my studio (great pictures!). From then on I was able to observe and study from Kathy Grant and be an audience to her ingenious handling of each body that was before her. She taught her 45 minute morning Mat class at NYU Tisch a couple times a week. She was so conscientious, preparing detailed notes of what she would do in each Mat class, then she reviewed the class with her assistant, Blossom Leilani. Kathy took such care and thought into developing her curriculum and addressing her students’ needs. In her Pilates’ studio at Tisch, Kathy created programs for students that came in with injuries. By using simple, inexpensive props like small balls, tennis ball cans and bands, she challenged her students with exceedingly difficult but deceptively simple looking movements. She turned into a wonderful friend with interesting stories. She gave me permission to teach her famous Cats at workshops. Kathy attended workshops I taught at IADMS, and to my surprise, a daylong workshop at Rolates Pilates. Ron was highly effective at imparting the love of Movement; Kathy Grant the art of alignment and presence, mastering the use of props and solving any problem in front of her; Eve, with her M. Feldenkrais influence seemed to float, like she had no bones; Romana was able to teach so many teachers to keep Contrology going into the future. I often refer back to the copious notes I took while observing the Elders. I am saddened by their passing and miss them, but all their voices live in my head while I am teaching.
Robert Hall

Jennifer Stacey with Robert Hall

The interview is continued in the link.

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