I was born in New York City on October 9th, 1934 for both my parents, it was their second marriage. His name was Pedro San Miguel. And her name was Mary fetter. None this her first marriage. I had a, I have a sister, she had a daughter who had downs syndrome and my father had five sons by his first marriage. Well, my half sister lived with us and lived, I took care of her till she died in her sixties to actually, she lived her sixties. And she was a very special person and a special gift to us. And my brothers, I really did not know, well, I just met them on when we would travel to the states or just visited.
But I didn't know them well. My father was a very intellectual person. He, uh, was a free mason. They were, uh, both in very involved with the union, uh, unionizing. It was a very dangerous jobs because certainly, uh, the ladies garments, workers union, they wanted to unionize, which eventually up they did and they wanted to bring in the union and uh, the owners of the factory certainly. And on the different, uh, owners of the Garmin business did not want the union because it was only gonna raise the prices. And since my father was totally bilingual, he could, uh, work very well and neither society. And he was very young and very, uh, aware of, of what he wanted to do. And the very, I would say back then, they were all socialists. He had a very dangerous job. And I, I hear stories about how they were at one point trying to, uh, how to put a contract on him. And, uh, because there was this one, uh, business owner who did not want the union and felt he was causing too much trouble. And the story goes that it was only the fact that he walked out, uh, holding me that day that the man was ready to, to get rid of him.
And he found out about it much later that when my father decided that it was also getting dangerous forum in New York. So it was a good idea to take the family away. And that's when we moved. So from three to 11, I lived in Puerto Rico about growing up in Puerto Rico. I, uh, had a very privileged life. Uh, I went to the parochial school of the, with the American nuns, basically, not because we were or that religious because my parents weren't. And certainly my father was not, but because they had the best education and it was in English and it was very important to him that I'd be bilingual. And I was always, I started dancing lessons and I started piano lessons.
Uh, I'd have seven when I started dancing lessons and more or less the same age piano. And I was very, very skinny and I had no appetite. And I remember my father being very mortified and we used to have to sit at the dining room table three times a day. And it was like, oh, he's, because I wouldn't need, so they finally have said, found a doctor and said, well, why don't you start her dancing and might help her appetite? And it has, I have no appetite problems anymore. I loved dancing immediately and I used to have to walk the same route to go to my dancing lessons as to go to my piano lessons. When I was going to my piano lessons.
It took me forever to walk as a few blocks. But when I was going to my dancing lessons, it was like, couldn't wait. But of course my father never for one moment thought that I would become a professional dancer. Neither that my mother's certainly professional dancer, a ballet dancer. Uh, and uh, he had, he was very concerned that I, uh, be intelligent and that I, you know, develop the mind and that I'm most of all that I should never have to depend on any male to support me. That was a big concern from him. Uh, lady's role in then in their time with mostly that of housewife. They didn't want me to be a housewife. They wanted more.
We went back to New York, uh, right after the war, 1946. And, uh, we, we were going for the summer course at the School of American ballet and four days after we arrived, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. He'd said he had a chest pain. He, I'm going to go to the hospital and check it. A day later he was gone. So totally shocking. Uh, and my mother was devastated, of course. And so it took, it took like a year for her to get really back on her feet and pull herself together. But amazingly enough, she never interrupted my lessons. I went to my ballet class three times a week. The whole, my whole world was just like an earthquake when my father died because first of all, I was daddy's girl. And second of all, I mean, I guess run 11 year old, you can't even understand it fully, which was probably merciful.
I was not only going to the school of American ballet, I loved Spanish dance as well and had been very well trained in it. So I was also going in New York to Lola Bravo, a very fine Spanish dance teacher. Then a teachers said to me, one of my teachers said to me about the school of Performing Arts, which was brand new. Uh, I went, I was their second graduating class. So I had wonderful teachers. For example, the board of directors of our school had people like Martha Graham, Lucas Hoving, the pioneers of dance, and they would come by okay. [inaudible] and teach a class. And then I had Robert Joffrey, who was a member of the Faculty of Performing Arts as one of my teachers.
Besides being in Robert Joffrey's, a ballet company. Uh, my other teacher, Benjamin Heart Garvey, who's also gone, he had a company for a while. So I worked with him. Then upon graduation, sort of in SCA, Franklin Valley was starting a regular company. So I joined the San Francisco Franklin for two years. Touring for 48 weeks a year is quite challenging. And every once in a while we would stay in a place three days or have three days of performances. But that was a wonderful treat. But I have to say there was such excitement in every town because they didn't get any ballet. They didn't get for most places.
It was the first time there was seeing a dance company alive. I came home after the second year of touring and I said to my mother, I really have had it with tour. I want to find some work here. And the best job in town was the metropolitan opera ballet, which at that time had a ballet company of 46 dancers. There were like 400 people who additions and they had only openings for eight.
So I was fortunate to get in and I stayed at the Med for 10 years, 11 years, really with my university, with my home. I loved it. I love opera. I married the concert master of the orchestra and we had a huge put, much publicized wedding, Raymond gimme ethic. And we were married for 13 years. We were the, the beautiful couple in the ballerina comes and master [inaudible]
in 1958. Uh, one day I went, I went to class accidentally, the boy next to me thrust his leg out and caught me in a jump, uh, behind the knee, just right. And that threw my knee out. And, uh, I crumbled to the floor and I was taken to Lenox Hill hospital where a Dr. Henry Jordan was the chief orthopedic surgeon.
Dr. Jordan saw me and he said, well, only that you do not need surgery. That's the good news, but uh, you, you have to maintain your quadricep very strong in order to prolong your career. And he said, I suggest you do these exercises called [inaudible]. I had never heard of him. And he said, there, this lady and 200 West 58th Street Corolla trickier, and why don't you make an appointment and go see her? From the moment I walked in the door and that door opened, it was magic. It wasn't that the movements with that different, because I was a very well trained dancer and every kind of dance, but they were slightly different. They were not quite what I was used to.
Uh, the equipment and I'm not mechanical and never enjoyed, you know, being mechanics. But the equipment I found fascinating Corolla who was a perfectionist and she was very meticulous and very organized and it was just as the same way when she taught. She had two assistants at the time and they were Romana [inaudible] and Kathleen Stanford Grant. And I used to go, uh, in the afternoon when Kathy used to be on duty and just as a Corolla was a flying teacher. She also had, was a lot of mood swings. And I remember what I used to call the changing of the guards, which was when Ramana was leaving after Kathy had entered on.
My question to her always was, where, what, what mood is she in today? I was back dancing within a month and I kept going to her as a client for the next seven years. When I was there, Corolla worked, gave me her undivided attention. He really, uh, was very fond of me and she was, uh, gave me her undivided attention once in a while I got to work a little bit with the Romana and Kathy. But then after seven years had gone by, one day Corolla said to me, Lolita, you are talking about, uh, stopping dance at the met that you want. Just want to do television and you know, some less work. Why don't you consider teaching Gladys?
I had never really occurred to me. And I said, well, oh, she said there was a career transition program for dancers. Uh, this program was sponsored by New York University Vocational Rehabilitation and they will pay for your training. And so for six months I looked into it and for six months I went to Karola as an apprentice. I'm the only person that Corolla ever had as an apprentice. And the only person that Corolla trior certified the, the apprenticeship experience with Corolla was probably unique in the sense that she had had an assistance.
I had had people who worked for her that who as a job, I was not paid. I was, she was paid by the career transition program for dancers to train me as an apprentice so that I could teach you the work. So with a different relationship. And I was required to go there for a 20 hours a week, five days a week, four hours at that time. I went again in the afternoon. So I had much more time than when I was a client and would be in and out.
I had much more time than to work with Kathy. And that's where Cathy and I became very good friends and we socialize and our husbands, uh, we went out together as two couples and, and Cathy was wonderful teacher to me. I think also during that period, Karola started to realize that I had sort of pulled away and I was not interested in working for her, which was probably her, uh, interest in training. One of her interests in training me. And as she started to realize this, she thought of, started to pull away and I started to also think there's no way I'm going to work here. And so it was quite mutual. So one, I am speaking to Kathy, uh, towards the end of my training and we're downstairs and she's, I said to Kathy, well, I'm about to finish Kathy. Uh, my training at and, uh, I don't know what I'm going to do with this training because I'm not going to work for Corolla and I don't want to open up my own studio.
And, uh, I don't feel ready to just go out and, and so she looked at me and she said, well, really don't, why don't you go to Joe's? And I said, Jojo, who
We standing on the corner of what Broadway and 57 jobs. And He, and he was on 55th and eight. She said, as a matter of fact, I'll go with you. Yeah. That's what started this. Yeah, that's, and ever since then we've been real close.
And there were these two doors. And Kathy went in. We went in and when we got inside, it was a living quarter. It was their living quarters. There were two beds. And you know, that that kind of bread, there were the cooking, uh, utensils and clothes hanging and standing in the middle of all this was Clara in her nurse's uniform with her little white shoes, white nurses, uniform, sweet expression and white hair. And Kathy greeted her.
Kathy had worked with them and then she said, we were there to see Mr [inaudible] with that. The door opens and in he walks and you know, it was like a tsunami of energy. It was all, he felt this powerful, uh, vibrations. And uh, I looked at him and he was wearing his little black shorts and his white turtleneck cotton, cotton turtleneck that he had several pictures in, horn rimmed glasses. The hair needed a haircut and the little white Espadrilles type shoe and canvas shoe. And his feet and the pig chest. And Kathy said hello. And then she says, well, we are here because we want to be certified by you.
And he looked like he had never certified anybody. He didn't know what that meant. So Kathy says, Lolita was just certified by Corolla. Tria well all of a sudden you saw him pull up, get three inches taller. He looked at me, he looked away and he took a few steps. He said, well what does that mean? What, what did she do to her? What does she do when I jump mean? So Kathy explained, and Kathy told him that this was career transition program, that he would be paid to train us that there. And he said a lot of paperwork, no, no. Very simple paperwork and that we would be available to work for him as apprentices. Uh, five days a week, four hours a day or more if he required it or longer it was up to him.
So he said, fuck, go and get the papers. And we explained to him that there was done through the New York State University vocational rehabilitation because we were both dancers. We got all our papers in a couple of months and then we started at our apprenticeship and Cathy went, early mornings you would be opening the place because then she would go to Corolla and I went in the afternoon. It was interesting because we'd compare notes and we talked to each other and say, well, what mood was he in today? Or We'd say, oh, we had a good time today. He was in a good mood and we played a lot. That meant he challenged us.
And what was nice also was when I went to him, I was perfectly healthy so I could do everything. And what, so is Kathy healthy at that point so we could really concentrate on working? I would come in around two o'clock. I would work myself for like two hours. I soon found out that around two o'clock Joe had had his uh, uh, lunch and he had had his schnapps and he had had his nap and he was a much happier person. So that was when I chose to come.
And, uh, he had two assistants at the time. Hannah Sacca mirrored them and who, the German lady who had been friends of the [inaudible] for a long time and Baba seed and Bob was a hockey player. He was big and gruff and he was like a bear. He was very sweet and lovely, lovely man. We got along beautifully and each one of them gave you something different, which was wonderful.
I worked with Clara and Clara was always a treat because she was so sweet and tender and always in a good mood. She never, you know, sometimes he would walk in and the air would be tense because he would be in a bad mood and he had just yelled at somebody or told them to go out or something. And Clara would walk them to the door like she did with Kathy once when he had got angry at Kathy and she walked as that get out, out out. But Mr Pelaton Mack now out, so Kathy picks up her bag and goes out and Clara goes after Cathy and says, don't mind him. He's old. He's cranky. You come back tomorrow, he will have forgotten everything. Corolla was the first pupil of Joe to opened up her ow to open up her own studio in the city of New York with Joe's blessings.
And Joe made and I guess sold her the equipment that she had was all made by Joe. I mean, I found this out later. I uh, and uh, but I have, I have a feeling that their relationship sort of grew apart. And what gave me that feeling was that one day, uh, I, Joe Corolla used to do stomach massage with a box behind us, which was very helpful. She would place the box behind us and we would sit in front of the box to do stomach massage, which supported your back. And since she was my first teacher, uh, that's the way I did it. When I went to Joe's, I noticed that a Joe's, they didn't use the box.
They used the noval pad that we still have that oval pad we still use to sit on in order not to skid back to slide back. And one day, I guess automatically I took the box, I placed it down for to do stomach massage. And Joe came by and he looks at me and he said, who taught you to do that? And I looked up, I mean, I was surprised and he said, yeah, that woman over there taught. And I was, I picked up my little box and I took it back. But that gave me an indication that, uh, all of us not well, and I have a feeling I know who I, I mean Corola I told you was very, very clean and very, very meticulous and Corolla would call your doctor and give constant reports on your progress and re request suggestions on how to continue, uh, her, uh, work with you.
And certainly she would do this with Dr. Jordan. Uh, and Joe was not about to call any doctor to ask for suggestions or to give reports. And uh, Joe's plays, I told you was not very clean as they got older. Hers was always meticulous. You finished your workout, which was you finished by the clock on both places and you went and you sat on the chairs a large and you had tea and it was a much more gentrified. And then, uh, then Joe's place are Joe's manner. Uh, I Corolla, she kept control. She had a book and to the minute she knew when your next class was at, what time you arrived at that time you'd be pardoned.
And an hour later she told you two hours, uh, two classes before your card was due that your card was going to be. Do you end to Joe? No one had an appointment. Everybody went when it was convenient for them. Uh, some people paid by the month. Many people just took out cash and either handed it to me or handed it to Clara, handed it to whoever was around. Clara put it in her pocket of a little nurse's uniform.
And that was that. Once we, I was started with Joe going to Joe Pilato as Kathy and I Corolla found out very quickly, and it may have been that Kathy told her, I don't recall. And she was very, very angry with me. As a matter of fact, she never, we never spoke again, which was unfortunately because truly I'm very grateful to her as being a fine teacher and inspiring me to go onto this work. I received my certificate on February 7th, 1967 and Joe died in October 9th ninth which happens to be my birthday, 1967 that same year a Raymond you never,
my first husband and I had a child in 1964 the name was Carlos. So ty was going through the apprenticeships and have had the baby and I was teaching ballet class so I was very active and the child had allergies but that was, we had supposedly the best doctor in town. So that was being handled.
And then two days short of his second birthday he awakened and he was not feeling well. It was obvious. I called the doctor and the doctor came and I called his father and he was in rehearsal and I said when you finish, make sure you come straight home cause catalyst is not feeling well. And we were planning a big party for him for his second birthday. So the doctor came to the house and said, it's tonsils. And uh, uh, um, he, I know you're celebrating his birthday in two days, so therefore I'm going to give him a penicillin shot. And he had been tested for penicillin before and had been fine.
And uh, he did. And, uh, he said loud, let him rest. And uh, when we came back to the room, he was gone. And that was a big shock right through the holidays of the end of the year. I remember the funeral service, uh, Rudolph Bing, general manager of the met, uh, plus the, all the people from the Med were there and, uh, said to me, Lolita two is coming up to her was in April and you're not staying home, so get yourself into condition because you're coming into her dancing. I said, fine. I had been taking Pilat this mostly, I haven't taken an occasional ballet class, but it's not the same as being in toe shoes every day.
So I went, uh, the moment, uh, January 2nd or third, I was already back at Joe's, uh, working out and uh, it was a very emotional moment coming in because of course I'd heard about it and uh, for both of them, you know, Joe had lost a daughter yes. And from his first marriage, so they knew that they, everybody got on the bandwagon to forgetting Lolita and to shape. So only they can go back to work. So, well I did. I went to class, I went to be Latisse and then, uh, came, uh, uh, I think it's April that the company used to go their six week tour. I went back to the company dancing and they said, you not, you will shape you as well. Stays.
They know when I left it was I had had enough, I want to pursue other things. So that's when I started to well, to teach [inaudible] at different places, most often combined with ballet. I taught at a dance theater of Harlem. I had a scholarship class that I did a bilities with and then a ballet class I taught at the metropolitan opera, which was a wonderful experience because I got the singers and I [inaudible] and the musicians and the co chorusters plus the dancers. It was the, and that was [inaudible] and I taught at my Alma Mater, uh, performing arts high school, both ballet and [inaudible].
Then they designed an after hour group for me of dancers with problems with feet or spines that were very lordotic. And so I had, I had special class there and I became a, uh, bilingual mistress for ballets panicle of New York. I was there for three years. And also I taught her Clark Center for the Performing Arts and Clark Center for the performing arts. At that time, uh, the dance department was being directed by Kathy grant and Cathy, uh, called me and she said the lead that, how would you like to start a p lattice math class? Well, there was no such thing. No one had taught her this math class except Joe or Jacob's pillow, let's say.
And a reminder was a clock center teaching ballet. And I was, and uh, someone sent me an original from them day that day cause I didn't have the roster of teachers. Yes, he, yes. And I was very happy to get that. And this site taught the first bill at his class in New York. It was called Pilatos body conditioning.
One thing that was very clear to us in that last stage of Joe's life when he was going through heavy bouts of depression was that whenever he was in one of his bad days, as we called it, he always said the same thing, that he was unhappy, he was frustrated, he felt bad because he had not accomplished what he wished to accomplish with the method. Again, I keep, I've upset it always. He thought of himself as the universal reformer. He truly felt he could change the world through the method. And, uh, he felt that his days were numbered, which they were when you, when we thought back and that, uh, he had not accomplished what he wanted and Cathy and, and I were very happy when, uh, the PMA started. And each one, each one of us wrote a check right then and there to help the PMA to buy stationary and stamps because the, you know, they had no money.
They were working out of Kevin Bowen's office. And uh, we would go to the conference that she came to the conferences for several years and we would always sit together and she would look at me and say, they sent this amazing look at all these people. If he could only see that, and I would always say to her, per Kathy, he sees it. Joe was a pacifist and Joe was a lover of nature. Joe Didn't understand why there was all this strive and he really felt he could change the world through his method. And that also is one of the things that motivated me and much later on to place a statue and munching.
Glad back because I w I had already moved to Florida. I had retired from my, a ballet company as artistic director. I'm still the director of the school, but as artistic director and I was dedicating myself to out this. And that's when I started my mentor program. And, uh, one lady called me up from Germany and she said, I can't, I'm a single mother. I cannot come to Florida all these times. Would you consider coming here? And I said, well, uh Ha, where do you live? She said, Dusseldorf. And she said, well, how far? And I said, how far was that from munching? Glad back. She said, Oh, very close, 20 minutes by car. I said, I'll be there. We set up a group and I'll be there.
And that's when we first gave celebrated fie Latisse Day in munching ladder back in the year 2009. And I was shocked to find out that people in his hometown that people didn't know who Joseph [inaudible] was, that you went to city hall. They didn't, they had this much on him, that they listed him as brewer, his occupation. They knew that there were many more inquiries about Joseph p Lantis recently. And then yes, he's well talked about, but it wasn't too, we made them aware of who Joseph [inaudible] was and even them. So they were quite indifferent. That feeling that he had, that the method never went anywhere. And yet it was not true.
The method was known internationally. I was doing workshops internationally for a long time and somehow your home, your country, your hometown, uh, very special to you forever. And to think that it is home, own hometown, I felt on the place where he was born and that there was no awareness of this man where he was so important to so many of us throughout the world. And I said, I'm going to do something about it. And I must say in May, 2011 when we placed the plaque right at the side of his birth was one of the happiest days of my life.
I truly felt I had accomplished something that was dear to me.
In 1971, uh, Joe had passed on. I was quite busy teaching ballet and [inaudible] and I have to say that I have day has not gone by since I learned a lot this, that I have not practiced bill at this. I do [inaudible] seven days a week. And I, uh, was approached by some Puerto Rican colleagues. I had gone to me with me to performing arts high school to Thought, Oh, ballet company in New York called Puerto Rican dance theater.
And I thought to myself, you know, like, not you. I thought you were coming from a different place.
I think we make it very Greg pair because, uh, I liked the independence in a woman and in my, as a colleague, uh, in, in back in the bank when I worked in Citibank for example, I always promoted, uh, people, especially women to be more ambitious and to do greater things for themselves. And so I liked that. And as a matter of fact, I don't think I, uh, work well with, uh, with a wife that was a dependent wife. In addition to being married, Lolita and I have worked together professionally because I W I was asked to go to, uh, Puerto Rico because of the company I worked for at the time. Um, had, um, a, um, a branch in Puerto Rico. They asked me to spend, go down to Puerto Rico and, uh, spend about six months. So I asked Lolita, would you like to travel to Puerto Rico six months? And she said yes.
And we went to Puerto Rico. But, um, it turned out that we stayed for 26 years because, uh, Lolita was asked to start a ballet company. [inaudible] for the Puerto Rico, which still exists. And it's the finest, uh, classical ballet company in San Juan, Puerto Rico. And I became, it's, um, in addition to participating of course as a, in the member, as a member of the board of, of the board of directors, I became the stage manager. So, um, I became the stage manager for the company and we traveled and I used to do all the shows for [inaudible].
They knew me well enough to know I wasn't going to sit on the rocking chair and, uh, twiddle my thumbs. So you, I'm finally said to them, well, you better, uh, follow her advice on training her replacement because we already bought a house in Florida and real be moving. And, uh, she's not on, she's going to be around the corner to answer whatever problems you have. So that's what happened. We moved here and then they said, well, what are you going to do? I said, I'm going to teach PE lattice. And he said, oh. And I said, that's right. That's exactly what I'm going to do. And that's exactly what I did. I said, no more teaching ballet. I don't want to hear about teaching ballet. I want to hear about directing ballet companies. Be Loud.
This was like, wow. People had discovered it after the trial and we could call it a [inaudible] and everyone in the whole world wanted to learn Pilatos and everybody was knocking at my door to learn fee. Latisse so I started going around the world teaching p Latisse and need am had retired. So we would travel together. We both love to travel. So, but there were years in which I was, I did 28 weeks away. Uh, and that was a lot. So, uh, that was, uh, in the 2005, well, the mentor program started in 2009. And my dear friend, Julian Little Ford, uh, may he rest in peace once I said to him, you know, Julian getting tired of all the traveling, it's fun. But after awhile he says, well, I don't know why you're doing all this traveling. He says, why don't you let them come to you?
Why don't you sit home and let them come to you? So I said, you know, I've been thinking of that. And he said, well, don't think about it till it. And surely I started my mentor program and that's when I received the call from, uh, a munching. Glad back to go to Germany. I'm doing a mentor program there and I now, I think I'm on my 26 programs, 25th program. And uh, uh, I haven't, uh, I have them coming internationally. My disciples that Colita his disciples, those that graduate my two year long mentor program, and I have them from everywhere, every, all six countenance, which was truly surprised to me. I didn't anticipate it.
And then they once said, you know, we need a teacher training program. I said, teacher training, I don't even know how to open a computer. How am I going to get a teacher training driller? Well, two years later with the help of my dear friend Lillian Velasquez and Pat Stevenson and some other of my teachers and disciples, I have finished my Lolita's legacy. It is called, it's taken me two years. It was very hard work, but I'm quite pleased with it and there's not only manuals is videos and none of it is for sale and can be taught only by those that have graduated from my mentor program, my disciples, one of the things that I aim for my teachers to feel is the essence of [inaudible]. And by the essence of the lattice, I mean the essence of who are professional parents were of these two very humble people who truly died without any money, but with such a incredible belief and passion for their method and they were really so special. And the method is so incredible. I'm a, I'm going to be 80 soon and I am in very good health. I feel good and I work a lot and I have tons of energy and whenever anything doesn't feel right, my medicine is [inaudible]. I go into my gym and somehow I come out cured in spite of the many ways and the many schools and I respect all of them that we can all really get together believing in the one thing that is most important and that is the teaching of the pilotis method. Giving service is your best reward.
You know, knowing that you helped somebody knowing that you said something to somebody that helped them along the path of growth. And we give health through people we correct so many things that they're doing erroneous in the body that are affecting their total health. That that's the satisfaction of doing this work. And that's, that's the beauty of it. That we really can help others. And very few people can say that in this world we contribute.
How do I want to be remembered? Well, I like to be remembered that I w I worked hard and with great deal of passion was up towards some courses that I believed in because I'm a dancer and I am a beloved. This teacher. And those two things are very important to me. And to give people the feeling of how wonderful these things are and helping them along their own path like others helped me. And I think being a teacher is a privilege. And I think it is a yogis that say that it is the last reincarnation is teaching.