A look back at the breast

Pink ribbons, pink Susan G. Komen kitchenware, and 5 hour energy pink lemonade. The only colors we used to associate with October were orange and black, but now pink (in the best way) has taken over. It is nearly impossible to go anywhere this month and not see a form of breast cancer awareness. Even though we’re still “racing for a cure,” I think it is important to look back and see how far we’ve come.

Did you know that back in Ancient Egypt before 1000 AD, when they observed a form of breast cancer, it was common practice to cauterize the infected tissue? While some form of cauterization may always be used to remove unwanted growths, it was no match for cancer cells. Fortunately, since then we’ve found alternative methods.

Prior to the 19th century, most people did not live long enough to noticeably develop breast cancer. Once improvements were made in sanitation, the increased occurrences of breast cancer began to draw attention. The first successful treatment of breast cancer was achieved by surgeons Jean Louis Petit and Benjamin Bell, who chose to surgically remove lymph nodes, breast tissue, and chest muscle. In the 1880s, another surgeon by the name of Halsted, piggy-backed on that idea and began performing mastectomies. Although most patients had long-term pain after the procedure, the invention of the mastectomy raised the survival rate from 10 percent to 50 percent.

First Mastectomy

This treatment continued until the 1970s, when the removal of just the cancerous tumor (known as a lumpectomy) became more popular. By 1985, research proved that a lumpectomy combined with radiation was just as effective as a mastectomy, without the impingement.

In the past twenty years, researchers have made leaps and bounds. With ongoing studies looking at similarities between not only patient reactions, but also potential risk factors. Since doctors have discovered that the cancer affects the entire body (not just the infected area), treatments have appropriately evolved. This has resulted in chemotherapy, pills, and now even some preemptive treatments to replace any harmful genes. Treatment is more customized than ever before, focusing on the genetic makeup of the individualized patient.

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As it stands, 1 out of 7 women develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Thankfully, diagnosis is not a death sentence like it was in Ancient Egypt. Each patient diagnosed has millions of people indirectly (and some directly) supporting them throughout their treatment. It’s only a matter of time before a cure is found.

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Will The Real Joe Pilates Please Stand Up?

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The fitness industry, known for being notoriously fickle, has embraced Pilates- even if it can barely pronounce its name. Most people think it is merely a form of exercise that can yield strong abs, but what they don’t know, is that there is a man at the core of these body changing exercises. Today, Pilates has over 10 million practitioners all over the world, As the New York Herald Tribune noted in 1964, “in dance classes around the United States, hundreds of young students limber up daily with an exercise they know as a pilates, without knowing that the word has a capital P, and a living, right-breathing namesake.” Those who have studied the method, know it is so much more. They know it is the work of an actual genius, Mr. Joseph Hubertus Pilates.

Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. A sickly child, he suffered from Asthma, Rickets, and Rheumatic Fever. At an early age he was fascinated by the ideal Greek man who balanced mind, body, and spirit. Pilates or “Contrology” as Joe actually called it, has its roots in his personal experience. Determined to heal himself from his ailments, he gained inspiration from Anatomy books and the movement of animals he watched in the woods. His passion to cure himself led him to study many types of movement including yoga, boxing, diving, and gymnastics.

In 1912 Joe lived in England and was a defense instructor for the Scotland Yard. When WWI broke out in 1914 , he was placed in an internment camp where he fine tuned his method and was able to successfully rehabilitate injured soldiers by removing the springs off their beds and using them to exercise their fragile bodies. This is was the origin of first piece of Pilates apparatus.pilates.240

After the war, Pilates returned to Germany but was uncomfortable with its political and social conditions, it was then he made his decision to emigrate to America. In 1926,on his voyage across the sea, he met his future wife, Clara. Together they opened the first Pilates studio in a former boxing gym, right here in NYC, at 939 Eighth Ave. His gymnasium attracted the professional dancers (that had rehearsal in his building) actors, business men, and normal people alike that would willingly subject themselves to his authoritative prodding in hopes to be transformed by Uncle Joe.

At FORM Pilates we focus on learning Pilates as it was intended: one-on-one. While we know that Pilates is both and investment in time and money, we want you to have the most out of your sessions. This is why we offer an introductory special to all first time clients at our NYC studio. This customized approach allows our instructors to specialize a Pilates program just for you. Build your foundation solidly. Sessions are by appointment only so reserve the first of your 3 private sessions in our our New Client Special today!



You’re Only As Old As Your Spine

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If you’re squeamish about growing old, listen up. Joe (Mr. Pilates to you), lived and died by his method. He was convinced that the further we got away from our primitive selves (squatting, hunting, gathering, and well, moving), the further we moved from our health. He used his exercises like medicine and prescribed “common sense remedies for common sense ills”.  It’s no shock that Pilates was ahead of his time both in thinking and innovation so it’s a wonder everyone isn’t doing Pilates. Simply put, Pilates keeps you young. Strength and flexibility, coordination (both muscularly and mentally), improved posture, balance and core strength, improved bone density, and joint health – not to mention it’ll make you look damn good. Joseph said it best, “ You are only as old as your spine. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young!!!” How young are you?

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Ok, so now we’re gonna get a little technical here (try not to snooze on me). This is important stuff, the place where you see the light because when you know better you do better. Right? Think about your spine for a moment. It’s the thing that’s holding you up, yo. You have 24 articulating vertebrae and 9 fused that make up your sacrum (the triangle area above your bootie crack) and your tailbone. In between the ones that move, are intervertebral disks, yes the ones that can slip or herniate. This whole show houses your spinal cord which routes all the nerves of your body from your brain and brain stem. If you don’t keep your spine aligned, free moving, and roomy you can experience pain and/or organ disfunction, since your spinal cord sends signals from your mother board of a brain. Simply put, this shit is important so if you neglect your backbone you’ll be sorry. So, what’s a gal to do?

By now you may be thinking, “This is bad news,” or “I’m screwed,” or maybe even “making space in my spine is impossible.” I assure you my friend, it isn’t. We’ll start at the bottom, of your spine and of this process. Pilates, there’s that guy again, said “It’s the mind that builds the body”. With a little faith and lots of conviction envision your spine like a column of french macaroons (deee-licious). The muscles of your abs, back, and sides form a corset around this pillar. You’ll want to wrap those muscles firmly around your macaroons (mine are salted caramel flavored) and lift. That’s right, physically and mentally elevate those cookies so as not to create crumbs and waste those expensive patisseries. While you may not see or feel tangible results immediately, with patience and persistence I promise you’ll see results. Even Joe says so, “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

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So, let’s begin. Pick your favorite Pilates exercise, such as the neck-pull on the mat, Teaser on the Reformer, or Rolling Back on the Cadillac. Anywhere you do Pilates (and even the places where you don’t, like standing on the subway platform) lift those Macaroons like your life depended on it, because like my mentor Shari Berkowitz says, “it does.” If you don’t know any Pilates moves or have no idea where to begin we are here to help. If you’re in NYC come and visit our lovely little studio and we’ll show you how it’s done. If you’re in some far away land, check out our YouTube channel for free video workouts, and if you want help finding an instructor near you we’re happy to help with that too. Pilates is not just body changing but also life changing. Now let’s live life like we have the spine of a 20 year old!

Interested in keeping your spine healthy and young with Pilates? Live in NYC? Visit our USQ studio and see how one of our amazing instructors can get you moving free and fine! Don’t live in the city? We have videos and audio workouts you can do out home. Check them out here.

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List Building 101

This video blog is all about lists- email lists that is! Do you know that your email list is THE most important marketing tool you have? Not your Facebook page. Not your Twitter followers, but your organically grown email list.

No list? No problemo. Here’s three quick and easy ways to get people to sign up for your email list:

  1. Just ASK! Getting people to agree to get your newsletter or regular Pilates communication is less complicated than you think. We tend to not want to “bother” people and don’t even ask. How will people know that you even have a list if you don’t tell them?? Tell them you are building the thing and they will come…you’d be surprised;) Have a link to your email list on your biz card, on your website, and pimp it out as much as you can!
  2. Offer a killer freebie on your site Assuming you have a website, and assuming you have an email marketing provider (if not see the ps below), you should be displaying your email sign-up link front and center. If that’s the case and you’re still not getting bites, try offering a little treat in exchange for peeps emails. It can be a short video, a free consult, or an informative article you’ve written. Just the simple act of exchange will make the interested give up the goods.
  3. Shout it out social media style Make sure you tell your followers and fans that you have a list. You can even share exclusive content just with your list to get them to sign up. Put a prominent link to join your list on your page or profile, and make sure to post or tweet weekly about your email list.

Follow just these three simple tips and you’ll see your list grow in no time! Remember that your list is more valuable with 5 organic emails than 500 uninterested ones. List building takes time but eventually you’ll see results.

ps- if you don’t have a website click the link below to get a FREE 30 min strategy mesh with yours truly for easy tips on how to do it inexpensively. If you have a site but don’t have an email marketing provider I recommend: The best free option: Mail Chimp Integrates with MindBody Soft: Constant Contact Newest email marketer on the block: Emma

If you like this video make sure to like it and share it with everyone you know;) Leave your biggest email marketing challenges and freebie ideas below!

Not quite sure if you’re ready to get your coaching on? Enter your deets here and let’s stay in touch!

 

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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Why You Should Pretend You’re A Vegan

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve had your bouts with Vegetarianism. There was that time in once in high-school when you thought that eating a cheeseburger from McDonalds without the patty was a “veggie” burger. The time you declared yourself a veg because you only eat fish, which you already never ate. Yes, we were cool before it was cool to be Vegetarian. Turns out, that it’s not just good to beef up (no pun intended) your intake of plant based foods while also shunning animal products such as dairy and meat, but also good for you.  If the thought of giving up your steak is unquestionable- you can at least eat like a vegan a few days a week and still reap the benefits. Here’s why it’s healthy to eat like a vegan, or at least pretend you are one:

  • It can make you skinnier Not that I condone the idea that “skinny” is better than “fat” (ugh, I just hate typing those words!), but it’s a fact. Vegans just consume less calories than the carnivorious types. Also, because lots of processed super market foods contain animal products, Vegans tend to read labels and avoid foods they don’t make themselves. For example- marshmellows contain gelatin which is made from boiling skin, bones, and other animal parts. Or,  red dye, aka cochineal is made from grinding up insects!!!! Yuck! That’s enough to turn me vegan for good!
  • You will be healthier. Bill Clinton did it after his heart woes, celebs like Ruben Studdard of American Idol fame lost his unhealthy weight by becoming a vegan. The German Cancer Research Center did a study where they found that veggie men reduced their risk of early death by 50%, women by 30%! The better health can be contributed to the fact that you’re stuffing your face with green stuff loaded with vitamins vs saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, antiboitics, toxins.
  • You will be a concious eater. No more can you just pick up fast-food on the way home, as a vegan you’ll have to plan your meals to insure you actually get enough of the good stuff. Meal planning and reading labels makes you a concious eater and that will not only make you feel better inside and out but cause you to put your attention on creating a healthy life for yourself. That’s good anyway you slice it!

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Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t fret! There’s simple ways to work the vegan lifestyle into your routine. Try swapping your cow’s milk to almond in your cereal. Plan to cook veggie a couple days a week. Suggest going to a vegan restaurant instead of a steak house every now and then. In upcoming posts, I’ll be featuring some Vlogs (video blogs) with my good friend and vegan chef Jenné Claiborne , so stay tuned! Try treating yourself like a vegan- your body will thank you inside and out!

Do you dream about vegetables? Already cooking veggie-style? Maybe you have a recipe you’d like us to do a Vegan redo? We’d love to hear about it! Leave your comments or pictures below! 

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photos courtesy of sweet potato soul blog

How I Got My Business Balls

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Business is well, business. While it can be creative, exciting, and fun- it can also be cut-throat. You have to be tough to survive, and even tougher to thrive. In my time as an entrepreneur I’ve had to grow up, put on my big girl panties, and get fierce. I had to build up my ability to deal with difficult situations and ask for what I want.

My story is not unique. Every week in my coaching I hear of women, just like me, that have difficulty standing up for themselves and feeling in control during conflict. Running your own business requires cajones. You have to be willing to act like a “man” to gain respect. Just think of Mr. Pilates himself. Would be wishy washy with his clients? Joe wouldn’t so why should you? Watch this little video about how I got my Business Balls, and how you can find yours too!

Now, make sure you take these two simple steps to get powerful in your business:

  1. Make a list of 3 situations that you need to be stronger with your business
  2. Then under each, list 3 small exercises you can do to help you get gutsy

Next, follow through with your steps and remember what Joe said- “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” Just like your one hundred….a little workout won’t kill you and you’ll be happy you showed up!

Got your balls (or ovaries if you please)??? If not, lemme show you how to get some!  

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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How Sitting Can Kill You

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It’s a fact, sitting can be detrimental to your health. A recent medical journal study showed that people who sit for most of their day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. Scary! To make matters worse, sitting may not just be bad for your heart but also for your posture. Sit all day typing away on your computer? You’re inviting muscle stiffness, poor balance and mobility, and lower-back, neck, and hip pain. Ouch! Bottom line- we weren’t designed to sit for hours on end and we’re paying the price for it. Sitting is this generation’s cigarette.

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So, what’s the big deal about parking your butt in a chair for hours a day? You belong to a gym, you workout. Well, it turns out that even if you still manage to squeeze in five 45 min workouts, but sit for 5 hours or more… you’re still just an exercising couch potato. Get this- new evidence suggests that the more you sit, the greater the likelihood of dying an early death NO MATTER how much you exercise or how lean you are. Yikes!

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Now we know how our heart suffers when we’re desk-bound what’s up with the rest of our bod? To fully understand, go with me on this quick anatomy tour. Let me introduce you to your fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that plays an integral role in supporting your form. This dense connective tissue covers all of our muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as all of our internal organs. Grab your 3D glasses to get a in depth view of how it supports your organs and joints from your head to your perfectly pedicured toenails. In it’s natural state, fascia is elastic and pliable, but it can become constricted due to traumas, accidents, repetitive motions, or poor postural habits (like sitting in front of your computer all day). So while fascia is a go-with-the-flow kinda guy, it tends to “set” in the position our muscles are most in. Shoulders hunched forward, neck craning forward, knees bent, hips tightening, booty muscles weakening. Click. Your fascia is taking this as a photo of where it should be living. NOT. GOOD. Not to mention painful. So, what’s a office bound creature to do?

 First step is to make sure you are getting that regular exercise when you’re not at the office or traveling on the plane. That’s first and foremost. Secondly, think in terms of movement. You MUST get moving throughout your day! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand up when you’re talking on the phone, walk around the office, consider even getting a standing desk. Anything that gets you off your arse and up and at em. Your body will thank you.

Now’s your chance to get active and live longer as a result! We know that Pilates is both an investment in time and money- and want you to have the most out of your sessions. This is why we offer an introductory special to all first time clients at our studio. This customized approach allows our instructors to specialize a Pilates program just for you.  Build your foundation solidly. 

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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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