Discussion #1381

Roberta on Carola

15 min - Discussion


Roberta Kirschenbaum shares stories about how she found Pilates and Carola Trier and how many times she was told to try Pilates before she actually did. Roberta also tells us how she acquired the space where Joseph Pilates had his studio and what it is like to work in that location where Joseph, Clara, and all of the Elders have been.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Feb 17, 2014
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Hello, I'm Roberta Kirschenbaum and I'm a platas instructor and I'm a native New Yorker. I grew up in Rockaway beach and I pursued a career in dance, uh, proceeded to discover [inaudible] and then continued my career by getting a masters in exercise physiology. I hence became a reflexologist, a licensed massage therapist and I now own and direct a lot of these PyLadies in New York City at the original site of Joseph and Clara PyLadies original studio. This space that I'm on, that we're in now was originally when I was a dancer. This was Clark Center Dance Studios. I had no idea that it had been, it had gone from Pilotto studio to Clark Center Dance Studios. Those are the way I understand is that the reason that Joe Platas came to this site here was because the original Madison Square Garden was a few blocks away and he basically worked with boxers and so it was convenient for them to work over here.

How I found this space was one day happens to have been on my mother's birthday, uh, my hairdresser's in his neighborhood and I was coming to get my hair done. And I sit on the corner of 56th and Eighth Avenue. And every time I would pass this building, I would always do my usual humble. Thanks. And remember my dance days when this was Clark Center dance studios to me in this on the same floor and always to thank Joe and Clara plots that because of them I, I now have a have a job. And this one day I looked up at the window and there was a huge sign in the window that's at space for rent. And I just started to shake. It's like, oh my God. And I went to my hairdresser and I said, well, what do you think?

Should I investigate it? And as I understand it, all of the PyLadies mentors or first-generation PyLadies t-shirts have all been here, have all walked up the stairs during one February morning and eight o'clock ballet class during the first porter bra. I'd been down, my back snapped and I couldn't stand up. I proceeded to walk like an elephant to Louise Robert's office. And she said, I think you need ponies and you should go see Corolla traer. And I said, what's PyLadies and who's Corolla? Trior she gave me the phone number. Um, and I did not go. I went home, sat with my back to Baz and Epsom salt and rested and proceeded to continue my dance career. I started curl in 1984. So this one had to be 82, you know, 82, somewhere between 81 and 83 something around, I would say around there because it took, it took a good year or two before I stepped foot into girls' studio.

This editor from Vanity Fair magazine had suggested that I start that I should do Palladio's with Corolla. Treren I just giggled and said, oh, this is the second time someone has mentioned this to me. Um, you know, I'll, I'll give it some thought in one ear, kind of an out the other. Um, and finally the third try was my dancing partner. Mark Mantis who lived in, in my building, gave me as a birthday gift one the first platas book that came out, the Polonius conditioning book. And in it he wrote, go for it. This is what I, what, this is what I think you should do for the rest of your life. And I said, okay, what is this plot? He's letting me go seek it out. So, um, I since Corona's trior name had been mentioned more than once, I, I went to [inaudible] studio. I waited of course until April of I guess 1984 till I got my tax return because at that time, uh, [inaudible] was $17 a session.

And, um, I knew that it was going to be an investment if I liked it. So I waited till I got my tax return and I called up Corolla and made an appointment to start Claudius. Well, first let me say my first impression of Corolla when I walked in into her studio, because when I talk about Corolla now, it's, is as if it just happened yesterday. I mean, the impression, the memories, the influence that curl has had on had on my life then and now still I can, I can remember so many things is if it just happened yesterday and we're talking 1984. Um, so the first day I went to visit, uh, I went to corona studio for my appointment. She greeted me at the door, this four for 10. I had no idea what she looks like, this four for 10 little person in this valleys skirt with ballet slippers and graciously welcomed me into her studio where I was instructed to sit down on this bench and just sit and observe what was going on in the studio. So I was observing people teaching at that time. In fact, I might've been observing Deborah lesson the first time I know that I was observing a dealio Ferraro. Um, and I just sat there and just watched Corolla and her teachers teach a variety of clients and I just waited patiently until Karola came to speak to me and then continue my interview before signing up for my first session. I was just in awe because I was looking at this oddly looking equipment and next to an 80 year old woman was a professional dancer next to a, an average housewife and they're all doing the same thing.

And it just amazed me like, wow, all these different bodies. And all these different kinds of people all doing the same exercise. What, what, what is this about and why was I drawn three times to, to seek this out? So definitely I was really curious. [inaudible] um, was, became, was very easy for me. I didn't go to Corolla with any injury. You know, I grew up on the beach, I was cross trained, I swam water, skied rollerskated, did lots of normal activities besides dance as a dancer. I probably tried every style of dance there was. Um, and so [inaudible] just became another physical challenge.

Um, and I started noticing as I was doing plays how similar it was to the variety of dance that I had studied as well as swimming and bicycle variety and just very everyday activities. And so plotting B was, was very easy for me in the, in the beginning for the beginning, intermediate level. Um, and Corolla just, you know, took a liking to me because I learned quick, I learned fast and quick. So as, as I told you, this was April of like 1984 and Corolla closed for the summer. She closed for seven weeks in the summer and Debra lesson was working there at that time and Debra lesson was actually leaving to open up her own studio on Green Street. So I immediately asked Corolla, can I train to be a teacher and please? And she said yes. In September training was Corolla. I worked for Krulish. I started, I made $3 an hour. And um, basically I just did whatever Corolla told me to do, not necessarily really understanding what I did, but as I said, since I was able to perform the exercises so, so easily, um, that I just worked alongside with, um, uh, Delia Ferraro and Corolla. And I would either sit on the bench and watch her teach and exercise.

And when it came to my teaching, someone Corolla would just say, okay, Roberta teach. And he stretches. And basically I would just either repeat what Corowa said or she would stand beside me and she would put her hands in my hands on that person's body and talk as they were doing the exercise. So that not only was I t she was talking through it, but I was feeling how their body moved each time holding their feet in a particular way. So I would feel how the muscles move and what, how that would translate up the leg grow ahead. In terms of anatomy, there was the pictures of jokes. [inaudible] is up on the wall, the anatomy pictures that Joe is modeled for. Um, she, I don't remember her really talking in anatomical terms. It was more do the movement. You're in a dance class, do a plea.

When you do play in a dance class as a teacher, talk to you about the turnout specific muscles that you're using. Each time you do a plea, a, you execute the movement. So it was more of you saw, you saw how the body worked and cruel. It probably didn't talk as much about anatomy as much as she used her hands to push and push that body into the place that it needed to be to execute that movement. She had a dressing room in the back. It was one dressing room for men and women with their really cool old fashioned sliding things. So if it was the men, you slid it to the men's side and women, you slid it to the women's side. Women, we were not allowed to wear any hairpins, any jewelry, maybe earrings, I'm not sure. Um, you had, and your hair had to be tied up. You weren't, your hair was not allowed to sweep her floors as they would say you were barefoot. And of course your feet were clean.

We only worked out for 45 minutes. Your session was 45 minutes and then you rested for 10 or 15 minutes before you left. Why? Because Curl said the springs were very powerful and you were really stretching and lengthening your body in such a way that you are not to go out into the world having [inaudible] just stretched and then go into your contraction world outside the streets of New York and then you would spasm. You can spasm really quickly the other way. So the idea was to, after doing all this stretching and strengthening, was to rest your muscles for about 10 15 minutes, let your muscles come back to resting lands, and then you were ready for the outside world. I as a [inaudible] anxious, wanting to learn more and more about, as I said to Corolla one day, I said, Corolla, I need to do more than 45 minutes. 45 minutes is not enough time.

I need w why can't I work out longer? She said, okay, do whatever you want. Workout as long as you want. So I worked out for two hours and I felt great and I walked out of Suzette's, yet this really feels great. And the next day I couldn't move. The next day my body was just too much too soon and I just couldn't contract it right in. And then I really understood and Corolla let me learn that lesson on my own.

And then I understood it was better to work in small increments more regularly than to work a longer period time. In a short time Corolla did not talk about Jo and Clara very much when I was there. I was one of the, I was the last one teacher there, Corolla trained before she retired. Any cues or any phrasings that Corolla use I attributed to curl was saying them. My favorite one being doing long stretch Corolla would say with your, you know, your hands on the foot bar and your feet on the shoulder as she would say from your shoulders to your heels, your body is like steel and I still use that one all the time. Now whether Joe said it, I don't know.

One of my jobs was to schedule appointments in Corolla's little handbook, which I still do today. Um, I transferred over to the mind body system a couple of years ago, but I still continue to do the hand, the handbook. And it is invaluable because you can trust your hands better than you can still trust a computer. So I'm really glad we have this check and balance system, you know, going on. So I continue the same thing. I also keep cars. Corolla kept a card for each [inaudible] for each client, which she had these specially printed to her specifications as to how she would like to breathe, you know, have the clients, um, balancing what they owed, et cetera along the way. And I continue, I make have made my own cards a little bit bigger than these cards, but I still do the same business practice. I pretty much copy exactly what I learned for Corolla because it worked for her. I saw it very simple. It was very simple way of operating a business, a small business. And it worked for her. And I continued, I still continue to this day to do the same thing. Corolla was just, was just, it was just a fabulous teacher. The more that I see my own TDC now that what I remember.

I mean, it's just, it was just so clear how she got bodies to, to do the, these deceptively simple exercises, which for me were, were more simple than the, the hard part of teaching was to try and get people who weren't as physically coordinated to perform this kind of exercise, which I thought was so easy. So what do you mean you can do it and to appreciate through Corolla and how teaching someone really slow, how to get someone to do these exercises? Like I said, they were easy for me, but not for someone else. [inaudible].


Thank you, looking forward to more.
Hi, I'm curious to know what's written in the headline
on the card?
Thanks Roberta for your spoken memories . I thorougly enjoyed my classes with you in NYC and cant wait to visit again hope your well x
Roberta you are beautiful, thank you for your classes in NY last January see you soon. Kiss Muriel

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