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Background

Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967)

Joseph H. Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1880. A sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, he dedicated his entire life to becoming physically stronger. In his youth, Pilates studied and became proficient at body building, diving, skiing, and gymnastics. By the time he was 14, he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.

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Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967)

Joseph H. Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1880. A sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, he dedicated his entire life to becoming physically stronger. In his youth, Pilates studied and became proficient at body building, diving, skiing, and gymnastics. By the time he was 14, he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.

In 1912, Pilates moved to England where he earned a living initially as a boxer, circus performer, and a self-defense trainer of English detectives. After World War I broke out two years later, he was designated an "enemy alien" and interned with other Germans at a camp in Lancaster and later on the Isle of Man. Pilates became a nurse in the camp and trained other internees in physical fitness exercises he developed. He was widely credited when none of the inmates succumbed to an influenza epidemic that killed thousands of others in England in 1918.

After the war, Pilates continued his fitness training programs in Hamburg, Germany, where he honed his methods with the city's police force. In 1926, disenchanted with working with the German Army, Pilates emigrated to the United States. On the ship to America, Pilates met his future wife Clara. Upon arrival, the couple founded a studio in New York City. Joe and his wife personally supervised their clients at the studio well into the 1960's.

Pilates and his method, which he called "Contrology", soon established a following in the dance community. ...
Later on, athletes and other performing artists performing studied under his Method.

Pilates practiced what he preached and lived a long, healthy life. He died in 1967 at the age of 87. Today, his methods and exercises are used worldwide by dance companies, theater groups, students at performing arts schools and universities, professional sports teams, spa clients and fitness enthusiasts at health clubs and gyms. The exercises have become increasingly popular with the general public.

Reference:
"The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning" by Sean P. Gallagher & Romana Kryzanowska

Romana Kryzanowska (1923-2013)

Romana Kryzanowska met Joseph Pilates in 1941. She was just 17 years old and a dancer working with the legendary choreographer, George Balanchine. Pilates, who called his method "The Art of Contrology", immediately took Romana under his wing and the legacy was born.

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Romana Kryzanowska (1923-2013)

Romana Kryzanowska met Joseph Pilates in 1941. She was just 17 years old and a dancer working with the legendary choreographer, George Balanchine. Pilates, who called his method "The Art of Contrology", immediately took Romana under his wing and the legacy was born.

When Joseph Pilates died in 1967 at the Age of 87, it was Romana who kept his studio going and his dream alive. Today, the conditioning system he created is simply called Pilates, and its leading practitioner, known throughout the world as "The Teacher's Teacher", is simply called Romana.

Reference:
"Romana on Pilates – the Legacy Edition" - DVD

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