Teacher Focus Feature~ Carrie Campbell

Carrie Campbell was well known to me even before I ever set eyes on her face. Her name was synonymous with teacher, and in fact years after first hearing about her, she ended up being one of my teacher trainers at Power Pilates. With a sing song in her voice and a smile on her lips she’ll kick your butt with some creative flow and choreography. Today we are fortunate enough to now have Carrie at FORM. Perfect proximity for butt kicking and a little schooling if need be….here’s her story:

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Anyone who walks behind, instructor Carrie Campbell, can obviously tell that she was a ballerina. Her toes point east and west instead of north and there’s isn’t a foot that isn’t pointed when it leaves the floor, an obvious byproduct of some serious training. The year was 1995, Carrie was living in Austin, TX, and It was her first year in a professional Ballet company. During an overhead lift she was dropped accidentally and broke her foot in five places- ouch! In an effort to get back in point shoes as quickly as she can she could, Carrie began taking Pilates with a classically trained teacher who only charged $10 per private session. After three or four sessions a week for about a month, Carrie came back to Pilates stronger than before and with a new obsession…Pilates.

While Carrie has had almost fifteen years of experience teaching the method, she still finds inspiration in Pilates. She loves how the work can really challenge you but not make you feel like you’ve been beat up after a killer session. She’s found that other forms of exercise can leave you feeling so exhausted and sore it can be hard to go about your daily life- not so with Pilates. Instead you fell stronger, more energized, elongated, aligned, and ready to take on the world.

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Carrie doesn’t pick favorites so she works with bodies of all ages and skill levels. Her clients range from 87 years young to 15 years old, but If she had to pin point a specialty it would definitely be pre and postnatal Pilates. Apart from her comprehensive Pilates certification, Carrie holds 2 certifications in Pre and Postnatal fitness and has studied directly with midwives and doulas. To her, pregnancy and motherhood is an amazing journey so, by helping other women through their motherhood experience- she gets so much back. Carrie gives all the credit to Pilates for both of her healthy, happy pregnancies as well as the ability to bounce back to her pre-pregnant body so quickly after birth.

When Carrie isn’t teaching she’s at her other job… being a mom, which is she professes to be way harder than teaching. She has two beautiful children, Grace (7) and Charlie (4) and they keep her VERY busy. She also loves to cook, go to the theater, practice yoga, take barre classes, and travel.  To Carrie, Pilates is not just a workout, but a way of life. She has seen the rewards of practicing Pilates extend far beyond body aesthetics. According to Carrie, Pilates will give you a better body but also so much more!

5 Things I bet you didn’t know about Carrie:

  1. She and her sister and were born on the same day 2 years apart.
  2. She met her husband on a blind date.
  3. She has lived in 6 different states not counting summer ballet camps/gigs.
  4. She went to a boarding school, North Carolina School of the Arts.
  5. She had a snowball fight with Mat Dillon in NYC during the blizzard of 1996! Jealous!!!

Carrie is currently in the top 10 for Pilates Style magazine’s Next Pilates Anytime Instructor contest!!!! View her video and vote for her by clicking the image below. Official voting begins August 18th. Go Carrie!!!

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Teacher Focus Feature~ Angilique Campbell

My first thought when meeting the amazingly gorgeous Angilique Campbell was that she was a Nubian Princess in a past life. Statuesque and striking, standing 5’8”, she is a pure joy to be around. She has an air of poise and self-assurance that makes you want to be her and an relaxed nature that makes you want to also be her best friend. Don’t let her beauty and hysterical stories fool you- she will kick your butt Pilates style!

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Angilique started her career in movement teaching group fitness classes that focused on cardio and strength training. During her packed classes her keen eye found that many students had issues with their bodies. Her desire to help address correct and restore them to proper movement led her into Pilates. She started taking Pilates mat and apparatus classes and fell in love. Immediately she felt the benefits of the method and decided to get her certification through Power Pilates.

Angilique’s favorite part of teaching Pilates is the challenge it provides for all fitness levels. She works with professional athletes and dancers helping to improve their game or performance with her rigorous regime (I told you she was a tough cookie). She’s also keen on the fact that Pilates is a perfect fit for rehabbing injuries since it can be modified for those with special needs. She even gets to practice this softer side of Pilates weekly since she also teaches out of a physical therapy office here in Manhattan.

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She enjoys working with the variety of clients but especially with dancers because she also dances. She loves that dancers have a great sense of body awareness but then also need the conditioning outside of classes, rehearsals, and performances. In addition to the dance community, Angilique also loves to work with men. She sees them lifting weights and running but neglecting their core and flexibility training. She gives them exercises to help improve their core strength, increase their flexibility, and show them that Pilates is not just for women! It was created by a man after all…Joseph Pilates!

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When Angilique’s not in the studio she most likely is getting a fierce mani/pedi! Her nails are kinda an obsession and she can name almost any color on the shelf. She takes yoga, ballet, contemporary, and modern classes regularly, sometimes three in one day! She loves a great brunch and is diligently practicing her French with aims to become fluent.

Here’s some fun facts about Ms. Campbell you might not know:

  • She gets her nails done so often that the salon she frequents  gave me her Korean name, Soo Hee
  • She loves cooking and will take classes to learn new recipes and is always experimenting on her own at home
  • She loves animals and often goes to the pet shop just to play with them
  • She had emergency eye surgery this year which prevented her from going blind. She loves going for follow up visits because she has the biggest crush on her surgeon:)
  • She’s fancy like the Iggy Azalea song

Click on the video below to get a taste of the goodness that is Angilique then click here to book with Angilique in our Union Square studio for a sweaty workout or a cure for what ails you.

photos courtesy of  Simon McDermott-Johnson and Nina Robinson

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New Teachers on the Block

Remember when a new kid would be placed into your classroom and be forced to stand in front of the class while everyone monotonously welcomed them? We’re attempting to do a cooler, blog version of that with the new teachers at FORM. The upside being, we won’t actually know if you politely said “hi” or if you threw a paper airplane at them.

In alphabetical order, because any other order wouldn’t work at school, please welcome:

Alissa Alter – I’ve already lied to you. Alissa’s not really “new” at FORM, but she is one of our favorites. She manages to be a ray of sunshine but still down-to-earth. She’ll kick your derrière but with a smile on her face so you won’t even see it coming.

Fun fact about Alissa: She can’t get enough of her French Bulldog, Walter.

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Angilique Campbell – I’m pretty sure “fierce” is the first word you think of when you see this lady. Let me know if you agree. Fortunately, her temperament eases any reluctances you may have about doing Pilates.

Fun fact about Angilique: She gets a different color manicure every week and knows the names of the colors by Essie and OPI. She was even given the Korean name, So Hee (pronounced sue-hee), by the nail technicians at her favorite salon.

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Claire Danese – Previously a classical Ballet dancer, Claire has the poise that women long to achieve and maintain. She’s also incredibly patient, which may stem from being a mother of two children.

Fun fact about Claire: She went to the Royal Ballet school, which was a boarding school in a Royal Hunting Lodge in the middle of Richmond Park in London.

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Monica Delgado – I’d classify Monica as one of those silent but strong kind of women. While she’s always smiling when you see her, she can easily sneak in and out of the studio. More than likely, you’ll want to be friends with her after just a few sessions.

Fun fact about Monica: Monica has traveled to 24 different countries in Asia, North and Central America, and Europe.

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Nicole Desmond – Nicole has that extra flair that makes you notice her when she walks into the room. Some might say, it’s her red hair, others would say it’s her personality. She brings a welcomed variance to the Pilates world.

Fun fact about Nicole: She is a cocktail connoisseur and rum expert and every spring she judges an international rum competition in Miami.

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Jamie Graham – I may have lied again…whoops. Jamie has been with us for over a year now, but she is new to certain clients. She has the aura of zen yogi with the discipline of a dancer. Before you know it, she’ll have you doing exercises you didn’t think you were capable of doing.

Fun fact about Jamie: She makes a mean raw kale salad!

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Makela Spielman – Makela has such a kind presence that I wasn’t surprised when she said she had worked with a variety of rehabilitating clients. With the spirit of a mother (because she is one), she’ll guide you through exactly the kind of workout your body needs.

Fun Fact about Makela: Her sister, who was 3 years old at the time, named her.

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All of these women are phenomenal in their own way. Whether you’re 18 or 78, they will help you reform your body into the best version possible. Each instructor has their own days and times during the week when they are available. Give us a call or shoot us an email to set up a session with them. If I could, I would be taking Pilates session with every one of them! In the words of Levar Burton on The Reading Rainbow, “but don’t take my word for it.”

If you’re interested in FORM Pilates and the instructors above, email us and we’ll find you the perfect match!

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Interview With An Instructor: Edya Kalev

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May is my very favorite month of the year. For starters it’s my bday month, all of the flowers are a bloomin’, and the hellacious humidity of NYC hasn’t hit us just yet. Now May has gotten even better. I’m learning how to massage- wait for it….massage myself!

As part of our continuing education series we’re hosting a workshop for a wickedly good method called MELT. Ever felt after a looong day at the computer or on a plane that your body was wound tighter than bundle of piano wire? While we believe that Pilates can help put you back on track (obvi!) science now shows that that’s just not enough. Enter MELT. In conjunction with a regular Pilates practice this is the missing piece to release “trapped stress” that lives in our connective tissue which surrounds every joint, muscle, nerve, bone and organ. In short, MELT-ing will set you up for optimal performance in your Pilates practice.

Join expert instructor and MELT teacher trainer Edya Kalev, May 11th at my Union Square studio, FORM Pilates to learn it for yourself. This workshop will introduce you to the basic MELT Core program, including MELTing the ribs, and pelvis, decompressing the lower back, and releasing the neck. In addition, Advanced Core techniques will be covered for those who want to jump right in and challenge their newfound stability. All participants will receive a printed “MELT Map” to take home containing all the exercises, illustrated and with detailed instructions. All are welcome, and no previous experience is required. Click here to register to join us while we learn to MELT into rebalance!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Including where you currently teach.

I am an Advanced MELT Instructor with a background in education. I used to work in living-history museums, in many different centuries, in many different costumes.  It was really fun!

Now I teach weekly MELT classes at the JCC Manhattan, the West Side YMCA, The Breathing Project, and in various locations in Washington Heights.  I teach workshops at fitness centers, yoga studios, and Physical Therapy offices in NYC and MA.

2. How did you find Melt?
I found MELT at the JCC, took my first class in 2006, and went up to the instructor afterwards to ask when there would be a training.  I knew right away I wanted to teach it. I became certified in 2007 and have been teaching ever since. Now I also assist Sue Hitzmann in her trainings and coach other instructors.

3. What was your inspiration in the path you chose?

My body hurt.  It doesn’t anymore.

8660080040_376ec5ac9a_m4. What is your favorite MELT exercise and why?
For MELT I love the 3 Dimensional Breath Breakdown.  It’s so comforting after a long day. A second favorite is the Soft Ball Foot Treatment.  Feels so good and makes such an immediate difference in how I stand.  My head feels lighter.

 

5. Do you have a motto, a favorite quote, or mission statement that you live by?

Feel and follow. If you trust your body and just follow it’s lead, it will take you in the right direction.

6. What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
I have a 3-year old little girl.  She MELTs another part of my body completely!

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Interview With A Pilates Instructor: Benjamin Degenhardt

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Benjamin and I met on Twitter. Yes, that’s right Twitter. Turns out that the twiter-sphere is a great way to connect to our community and this time it lead me right to Mr. Degenhardt. There are so many things that I love about Benjamin, but what first drew me to him was his enthusiasm for the history of Pilates. His passion to know how Joe lived, thought, and  intended his method to be is inspirational. I’ve nick-named him the Pilates anthropologist.

Benjamin will be visiting my little NYC studio this month. He’s presenting an amalgamation of two great seminars. His 4-hour workshop starts with an exciting journey into the past. We’ll look at rare archival writings, discover what Joe Pilates was looking to achieve, the philosophy behind his method, as well as his plans for the future of Contrology. Next, his ‘Upright Pilates’ will focus on the essence of the Pilates method – transferring the results of the work into our everyday activities and achieving functional strength. Click here to get more info on the workshop and to register. Ben will also be available for private, duet, and semi-private sessions at the studio. Don’t miss this chance to see all his research and Pilates artifacts as well as be touched by his teaching. Now onto the interview…

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Please make sure to include where you currently teach.

My name is Benjamin Degenhardt and I currently reside in Boston, MA. I have been involved in the Pilates world since 1999 in addition to an extensive dance and movement teaching background. I created 360° Pilates, a continuing education program designed to reconnect instructors to the original teachings of Joseph Pilates, with a keen eye on modern knowledge of functional movement. Most recently I initiated a campaign called March MATness to inspire people to incorporate Pilates into their everyday lives. You can find me online at benjamindegenhardt.com

2. How did you find Pilates (or your area of expertise)?

Pilates Mat classes were part of my dance training about 15 years ago. Needless to say, it was a complete game-changer! It helped me stay strong and healthy through several dance-related injuries, and I never lost Pilates out of my sight throughout my dance career.

 3. What was your inspiration in the path you chose?

In addition to the amazement about the impact Pilates had on my physical health and life in general, I remember being completely in awe of the wealth of knowledge my teachers had about human movement, and their passion for teaching. They are still my biggest inspiration, and it fulfills me to be able to pass some of their generosity on to other teachers now.

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 4. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

If I had to pick one, it would have to be The Hundred. While it seems to be so different from all the other exercises, I find that it truly packs the challenge of the entire Pilates repertoire into one simple move. In less than a minute it warms you up and tells you more about your body than most other exercise ever could.

5. Do you have a motto, a favorite quote, or mission statement that you live by?

Communicate selflessly. Teach generously. And move scrumptiously.

6. What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?

I’m a true Pilates geek, so much of my spare time goes into continuing my education, as well as researching the history of Contrology. I managed to collect well over 200 pages of original writings by and about Joe Pilates, as well as over 4 hours of video footage. It fascinates me how clear Joe was in his trajectory, yet how lost we are as an industry when it comes to pinning down what Pilates actually is. I am hoping to shed some light on just that with my work. But when I am really away from the studio and my materials, I enjoy movement of any kind (and try to immerse myself in a new physical activity every year), traveling, and I’m a bit of a foodie – good thing I love to exercise!

Benjamin Degenhardt is the mastermind behind 360° Pilates, a continuing education program for Pilates teachers. He has been involved in the Pilates world for over a decade in addition to his extensive dance and movement teaching background. While performing as a dancer he found a passion for teaching movement and, inspired by Joe Pilates, immersed himself in the study of injury prevention and body mechanics. With his expertise in historical Pilates and modern fitness he established himself as a “teacher of teachers” and conducts workshops around the globe. He has maintained a true passion for the Pilates method and its ability to improve people’s lives. You can find him and his articles for Pilates teachers on his website at benjamindegenhardt.com

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An Interview With A Pilates Instructor: Christine Baltes

This new series, is the first of many posts of interviews with my peers, mentors, and Pilates greats. For it’s maiden voyage, it’s an honor for me to be interviewing one of my very first true dance teachers, Christine Baltes. Chris taught me the beauty and discipline of jazz dance and quickly became one of my favorite teachers. Years later, Christine’s daughter, Nicole (who also happens to be a Dancer. Guess it runs in the family) and I met in my studio in NYC. We became fast friends and soon after I was reconnected with her Mom, who (you guessed it) is also now teaching Pilates. This truly is a small world. So, now that we’re reunited and it feels SO good, we are planning to use our super powers for only good….

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We’re super excited to host Christine at our Union Square studio, FORM Pilates in March! She will be teaching a Master Class March 28th as well as being available for Private, Duet, and Semi-Private sessions March 28th, 30th, & 31st. Register for the Master Class here and email us to book a session with this master. THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED! Onto the interview:

Tell us a little bit about yourself (including where you teach)….

The first thing that comes to mind when asked what am I all about is, passion.  Sometimes, I could just burst with all the love & passion I have inside of me.  I am a dancer, an artist, a choreographer, a teacher, a mother, a wife, and a sister. I am sarcastic, funny, disciplined, ethical, caring, silly, business minded, dedicated, nurturing, and yes, shy at times.  I am the oldest of seven children and the only one in my family who pursued dance.  I put myself through dance classes and at the age of 18 years was making a living with a dance career. I have always been lucky enough to have a career that I love.

At present time, I teach at a community college, professional dance studio, and in my pilates and Gyrotonic studio in Southern California. Most recently, I created choreographic sequences and have been giving Gyrotonic for Dancer group classes at two of Gyrotonic master trainers facilities.  I love what I do.  

How did you come to Pilates and Gyrotonic?

I came to Pilates after I blew out my knee in Nov 1991.  During my first pilates session, the instructor was poking & prodding my ribs, abs, hips, etc. and I said to myself, ‘I love this’, ‘this is exactly what I do to my dance students’, and it made me work on myself. I have been a practionier ever since.  It wasn’t until 2001 that I actually decided I had the time to get certified.  

I can’t exactly recall my first introduction to Gyrotonic, but I do recall that I sought out Marie Jose Blom at Long Beach Dance Conditioning to work on myself through her teachings of pilates. It was through her that I eventually tried out the White Cloud, now known as the Gyrotonic Pulley Tower. That lead me to seek out Gyrotonic Master Trainer, Donna Place, mainly working on rehabbing areas that needed attention.  I instantly loved the complexity and ‘real’ life movement patterns that the Pulley Tower & Gyrotonic program offered. I felt like it had similarities of taking a dance class.  The Gyrotonic method really is how people move, let alone the dancer, thus my gravitation to this program.  

 What was your inspiration in blending Pilates and Gyrotonics?

Well, I don’t necessarily blend the two, but rather pull the concepts of movement from the Gyrotonic method and apply it towards all movement- whether it’s pilates, dance, yoga, etc.   Human movement isn’t linear, it’s anything but; twisting, leaning, turning, spiraling, bending, and circling.  I have gained so much knowledge working with the amazing people that I have.  I love to really study an individual and figure out what they are doing by breaking down the movement so they can improve their quality of life and enhance their movement. I am also very grateful to learn a great deal of technique from one of the greats of American jazz dance, Gus Giordano.  He shaped me at a young age and it’s because of him that I have such a strong technical dance background.  

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Today, there are so many fusion of pilates styles. Classical, east coast, west coast, contemporary, combinations such as cardio-pilates, yogalates, barre pilates- you name it, it probably exists. Bottom line, its all movement.  I stay true to having proper technique and the importance of a sound foundation. No matter what combination of pilates, or any other program, clients will flourish with a great foundation/technique.

In working with clients in my studio, I have access to not only pilates equipment, but Gyrotonic as well.  Sometimes, I will give a client an entire pilates session, sometimes, Gyrotonic and sometimes the combination of the two.  I pull from every source of training and knowledge that I have gained throughout my many years of moving. This is what helps define my teachings.

What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Wow, what an interesting question.  I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that.  Without really going through the entire repertoire of Pilates, I simply must say, it’s the entire package.  It is complete when you practice a range of exercises that work on your entire body.  I will say though, that the fundamentals are what I typically focus on mostly.  Too many people really don’t know or understand the simple basic things.  Without the understanding of this, your workout, is being cheated.  I often get asked, “What is your Core?”  People to this day, still don’t know where that is nor how to truly use it.

Do you have a motto, a favorite quote, or mission statement?

There are so many wonderful quotes that are inspirational to me, but can’t think of one at the moment.  This is silly, but this question is like asking me to tell a joke.  I never can remember any.  Awhile back, the phrase Freedom in Form came to me.  So, I registered various domain variations of this, so maybe that is a statement in itself.   

 What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?

Sunday is my only day off, and I treasure spending time with my husband.  Doing anything but work related stuff.  I love going to the beach & enjoying the sunshine and ocean.  I realize one could consider this work related, but I love to take class; dance, pilates or Gyrotonic, but I won’t do that on my only day off, rather setting time aside for me to workout, between working with clients or teaching dance.   If the weather is nice, (and it is most of the time in Southern California) I enjoy being outdoors. I get excited to see my favorite tv shows as well as see concert dance performance.  I guess if I had to pick one thing, and if my children lived near me, it would be to spend family time.  I not only love my family, but love to spending time with them. 

Christine Baltes Is a master teacher, specializing in jazz dance technique and recognized as a teacher who “teaches”. Originally from Chicago, IL, Christine was trained in ballet, modern, tap & ethnic dance forms with specialized study in jazz dance with Gus Giordano, one of the fathers of American Jazz Dance.  Ms. Baltes possesses a California Teaching credential in dance and a certification in Pilates. (classically trained with sessions from Ron Fletcher, Rael Isacowitz (BASI), Marie Jose Blom (Long Beach Dance Conditioning) She is a Gyrokinesis® pre-trainer, and certified in the Pulley Tower, Leg Extension Unit, Jump Stretch Board and Archway of the GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM. Christine’s teaching career spans over 40 years and she has held faculty positions that include the University of California, Irvine, Chapman University, California State University, Long Beach, Orange Coast College, Orange County High School for the Arts, and more. She has taught for studios that are leading the industry for professional dancers such as DeFore Dance Center (Orange County), Debbie Reynolds Dance Center (L.A.), Elevation Studios (Long Beach), Lou Conte Dance Center (Chicago & home for Hubbard Street Dance Company), Gus Giordano Dance Center (Chicago & home for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago Dance Company), to mention a few. She has trained many dancers who have received scholarships into the Ailey School, Lines Training program, Ballet Hispanico, Julliard, Hubbard Street summer program, Giordano, and the Graham School. Others are working in the entertainment industry with resumes that include Usher, Britney Spears, Pink, George Michael, National Tours of King & I, Wicked, Cats, Cabaret, Miss Saigon, Fosse, 42nd Street, Arthur, Fiddler on the Roof, Rent movie, Vegas shows and the list goes on & on.

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