If you're looking to redefine what your body looks like and have always admired the long, lean look of ballet dancers, Pilates may be for you.
As professionally trained dancers, both Susan Brilliant and Tricia O'Donnell were quite aware of Pilates. Years after their dancing careers ended, the two decided to become instructors. Their apprenticeship and classical certification in Pilates entailed 600 hours of instruction from a master teacher who studied under Joseph Pilates, who originally designed Pilates as a strength and conditioning system for returning veterans after World War I.
"We're only one generation removed from Pilates and we adhere to the principles he originated," O'Donnell said.
You might ask where they adhere to these principles? The answer: at Pilates in Port, the studio they opened up at Inspiration Wharf 10 years ago.
Fast-forward a decade and their business is healthy, despite the economy. According to industry estimates, in the U.S. alone, the number of Pilates participants has increased more than 600 percent in just six years. Baby boomers are fueling its growth, according to Brilliant, who said, "In terms of overall health and well-being, you either use it or lose it."
Brilliant and O'Donnell said business doubled for Pilates in Port when they took a risk last summer and decided to enlarge their space and add equipment. They now offer small group classes yet maintain an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, according to the partners. "Clients get individual attention and we tailor exercises to personal needs," O'Donnell said.
The two also say that size, shape and age don't matter for benefits to accrue. "There I was 62 years old, motivated, with many interests, ready to go … but the body was not keeping up with my active mind," said Paula Vonuits, who frequents Pilates in Port. "It's been almost a year since I started with sessions and now I walk with a zip in my step and can walk up a flight of stairs without pain."
Another client, Kecia Kerr, added, "I love Pilates because it's improved the shape of my body, flexibility and posture. Overall, my physical and emotional well-being has been transformed."
Pilates in Port offers group and private classes seven days a week. To celebrate spring, the studio has instituted a special group class at $20 and an introductory private class at $40. For more information, visit Pilates in Port's Web site or call (516) 767-8109.
Pilates Day at Evolution Pilates
Pilates Day is an annual, international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May every year. The mission of Pilates Day is to foster the public's appreciation and awareness of the Pilates Method through a network of varied, innovative, and high quality grassroots Pilates events accessible and affordable for all.
The special day is part of a program of the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) with Pilates Day events being produced and hosted by PMA members. One of those members is Port's own Evolution Pilates. The studio will host a free intro mat/tower class at 11 a.m. Saturday as part of its Pilates Day for Long Island