I have known Lolita for 22 years. It's been a while. It's been a great experience. For 22 years I've worked alongside of a magnificent person. I must say that the first time I met her was pure coincidence. I was going to Ballet Concierto because I had a child who took ballet. It was my daughter, and at the time I would travel to the base where the conservatory was of the ballet company and I would wait for my daughter every day on Saturday.
But I've always been a very active person, so for me it's very hard to sit for a while. So I would get up and run around and see what was misplaced and put it back. I would pick up a paper that was left by a child, or go to the bathroom and close a faucet. Eventually the assistant director of the school, which was Carlota, she noticed that I was always doing stuff, so she would call me and I would assist her on copying paper, or going to the mail, or maybe closing a door, or getting children out of harm's way, or just directing parents outside. During that time, Lolita was in and out and I personally had never met her, but I did notice that she was like a whisper of fresh air. Every time she came in, there was just this strong personality that would walk in, ready to conquer whatever she had to conquer.
It was impressive the way she walked. She was very elegant all the time, very well dressed and always perfect. I mean, no matter how hard she worked, she was just immaculate. And I admire people that can keep all that composure. So for me it was quite an experience. So one day I was sitting around and Carlota said, "I need a favor from you." And I said, "Sure, what do you need me to do?" "I need you to go to Lolita's house."
And I had never been to her house or even met her, so I said, "Sure, I'll go." And she needed some help. She just had an operation on her foot, and I was there, and I went to assist her, to help her out. And that's how I met her. I met her at her home, and I remember that day very well because she had a lot of shoes, and she was trying to get a shoe for the foot that she could wear a shoe and the boot that she had. And I helped her get the shoe, and I remember I put all her shoes and I aligned them inside the shoe racks and I helped her out. And that's how we met.
And it was quite a different way of meeting someone. So then as time went by, she asked me if I could come work for her. She wanted me to help her selling functions for students, for the company performances. So I did that. I went and I sold tickets for the children to come to see this performance, the theater, the ballet, and have them exposed to this quality of life because most of them would never have ever known about ballet if it weren't for that. And my background is teaching.
So because my background was teaching, for me it was interesting to go and and do this. So it had relation to what I like to do, it had a purpose. Eventually I did that work and we sold lots of functions and it was great and I got involved with the Nutcracker. So eventually she had me come into the office part time and I would help here and there, assist. One day the registrar got open, and she asked me to become her registrar for the conservatory until she could get someone. I stayed there for quite a time and eventually that position was filled and then she called me and she said, "Now I want you to come to the main office and work with me." And as time progressed, that's how I became more and more involved.
And from part time I went to full time until I was basically doing all the positions. I knew the company inside and out. I knew where everything was. I was always ready to assist in any way I could and that's how I met her and that's how I got involved with Lolita and her company. I believe Lolita has a mission in life and what she uses as the fuel for that mission is all the knowledge she's achieved through life. I believe that in her work and in her life two things are very present. They're movement. Both of them are movement.
One is Pilates and one is ballet, and maybe I should say that her first love was ballet at one point, but she then found Pilates when she needed to find Pilates. I remember that when she found Pilates, she had suffered an injury and it was Pilates that brought back that sense of movement, who made her conquer that injury, who made her once again well. Wow, this is miraculous. I imagine her and knowing how active and mobile she's always been in her life and how movement through her life has become the way of living. She has been able to use that, infuse those two in a way that is amazing. The fact that she can use Pilates for ballet is a miracle.
It's wonderful. In her company, when I brought my daughter to her studio, what amazed me was, first thing my daughter did was Pilates work and she was barely five. So we're talking about the little children doing great things for their body because they're strengthening their inner core and they're getting a sense of what their body is, their limbs and their extremities and evolving that so as they grow, they can use it not only in ballet but through life because it's essential. So she has that ability. She's been able to take those, to infuse them in a way. And not only that, she hasn't left them static, which is amazing. What I find very fascinating is she uses the knowledge that she learned as core on both and she's fused them. But now again, she's evolved them because she's used Pilates and ballet, but also she's used her knowledge of Pilates to grow and to understand the movement. And it's become a way of developing and achieving her mission, which is to never let your body stop moving and never let your mind keep learning and growing. And those two are fused together.
And if you come to think about it, she internalized mind, body, and spirit because she has a passion, she has a movement, but yet she wants to strive for that upper knowledge. What do I like about Lolita the most? I like the fact that I can sit with a woman that's empowered but also is very humble and very free about giving her knowledge freely. I mean, it's amazing to see somebody that can do that, that has all this knowledge and is willing to give it to you and it empowers you and at the same point you feel, Oh my God, you know, this is incredible. So that's what I like the most about her. That she can step back, kick her shoes off and be with you.
And get to know you. And I must say something. During the Pilates master mentor program, I have evolved as a human being as well. I'd been involved with the program from all sides of it, but I've also become very aware that people need mentors. People need to have someone that has knowledge talk to them because there is this symbiotic interchange of words, not at a moment where that person connects with another and it gives them a sense of assured that they can come out of their inner self and bloom. And I've seen it so many times. It's amazing. I talk from the heart here.
I am telling you to see people come and talk directly about their personal life in a way that probably they've done to nobody else, that they have literally shed off their clothes without any regrets because they know that the person that's listening to them is having the heart to listen to them with the same spirit. It's like a connection, and I've seen that so many times and that's the beauty of being with Lolita and when I'm working with her and when I'm seeing others involved with her. One of Lolita's most valuable accomplishments that I think is the fact that she came with the idea of putting a plaque in Joe's birthplace and the importance of that plaque has to do with the fact that we have to owe recognition to this man and she knew that. She knew that this way she could unite the Pilates community and not only united the Pilates community, but also to have the European country where he was born know who he was.
One of the other things that I believe that should be accomplished, because this is something that's always been in her mind and it's been been in her heart, is recognizing Joseph in New York because that's where he came and that's where his method was developed. Most of all, he came to our country, like many other immigrants come, with an idea. He set forth that idea. He brought his knowledge that he had gained through adversity and he took it and he became positive and in a way symbolized the American dream. And he had an American dream and that was his method. And for Lolita, it would be something that's in her mind because at the end of the road, we need to recognize that he was that man 50 years ahead of his time.
And that's what she wants to recognize. He was a man born ahead of his time and we owe it to him. We have gained so much from him, and that's Lolita's goal. And it should be there. It doesn't matter who does it, but it has to be done and it has to be done in a grand way because he was grandioso. Lolita is very approachable. I want them to know that there's a big heart in this person and that in her life, Pilates has become something very important and fused in her way of living, that it's not something that's taken lightly.
And the other thing that I want people to remember is to evolve. That yes, Lolita learned Pilates a long time ago with Joe, Clara, with Carola, with Bob Seed, with Kathy Grant. She learned from a lot of people and she took that knowledge with her and it became her base, but then she took that base and she made it bigger. She said, wait a minute. The world is evolving. Let's move on.
Let's take that. Don't leave that, but take it with us and make it stronger and make it perfect for Joe. Because in a sense, that's what I hear Joe always said. He always wanted to strive for more, to keep going, to keep tweaking, to keep learning, and that's what I would like Lolita to be remembered as. As a person that continued that legacy, that continued that sense of responsibility that we have because that was a gift given to us.