Discussion #2230

Jean-Claude West - Abbreviated

40 min - Discussion


We are so honored to have Jean-Claude West on our site! In this shorter version of his discussion, he shares how he went from a movement student to a teacher of teachers. He also tells us about the relationships he had with many first generation teachers including Kathy Grant, Mary Bowen, Bruce King, and Eve Gentry. His desire to keep learning led him to many modalities and inspired him to create many pieces of equipment including Functional Footprints, the JC5600, and many more prototypes. He has influenced so many of the top Pilates instructors in the industry including Elizabeth Larkam, Madeline Black, Brent Anderson, Rael Isacowitz, and more. He is often known as the "Ghost Man," but after watching this discussion, you will see just how big his presence is in the Pilates community!

If you are interested in learning more about Jean-Claude, watch his full, in-depth discussion. It takes you through his whole life up till present time.
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Jun 26, 2015
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Jean-Claude West is a teacher of teachers. He's a movement analyst and technician with rich hands on skills and an even richer background. In addition to receiving his masters in motor control, Jean-Claude furthered his knowledge through his own deep explorations, observations and experience in the school of life. His collaborated with important mentors and colleagues from so many fields that he defies being identified with any single modality or being placed in a box and array of leaders from the [inaudible] dance bodywork and fitness communities refer to John Claude and his work with deep appreciation for his insights and expertise regarding movement and physical embodiment, not to mention his various invention supporting his work in this regard. For many years, young cloud West has been out there quietly working in the trenches with us and for us sharing his own evolutionary process and development. Now, it is my great honor to invite him forward today in conversation both to acknowledge his service and alert the larger community to his contributions. Welcome Sean Cloud West. Thank you.

I would like to know how you transitioned from being a student of movement to becoming this teacher of movement. But I don't want to skip any big events in between. So can you just start to walk us along the line that, you know, eventually led to [inaudible] and so many other things? Sure. So it's an I, uh, you know, I, I graduated my theory in Chemistry and I, I landed in the Berkshire was a Massachusetts of all places. Cause I had a very good friend who, um, uh, had taught at a YMC camp there.

And he says, here, come and join me in the brochures. You know, why you're in this hiatus. So I did. And, um, you know, in the Berkshire's, uh, that, that's a big hub, big artists colony, and it's where Jake is Pello is where Ted Shawn read this, say Dennis started modern dance, the pioneering of it all, a lot of theater, a lot of arts going on. And, um, so when I was there, uh, I still wanted to pursue my martial arts and, um, but I found it in this town of Great Barrington and there was this dance school that, uh, had, uh, an advertisement for Tai Chi. And I went there to see, uh, uh, about it and, uh, uh, asked the woman who ran the dance school, whether the teacher was still there and she has no, there's, there's, he's gone. That was not an old advertisement. I went, oh, I was disappointed. And she says, well, you're welcome to take this a adult modern dance class. And Cause I've taken a ballet class actually when I was an Undergrad. And so I said, well, you know, I knew the a, it could at least keep me flexible and, and uh, keep me tuned up for the martial arts. Uh, cause I had already kind of put my time in on it. I just wanted to stay fit. So I took the class and, and uh, at that point, you know, with my martial arts, I had already, um, finessed a straddle, split up, had very flexible hits and, and, uh, I can pin my leg by my ear and, and uh, I can actually kick almost like a six o'clock. Wow. Sidekick.

You know, I had that kick. Yeah, sidekick six o'clock. And, uh, so, uh, you know, when she saw that, saw my strength and my flexibility, uh, she really, uh, kind of pulled me, she wanted to, uh, definitely get me into her, um, her performing group that she had in residence within her school. Modern dance. Correct, exactly. I also became a scholarship student at, at a ballet school there and uh, and the Berkshire is, and also Jacob Sapelo was there, so I took classes there. But along with that, uh, um, I, uh, audition to, well first I took this adult modern class outside that school and, uh, it was actually a class, the teacher was my, uh, future wife and, uh, she asked me to, uh, be a, um, performer and a piece that she was auditioning for a, uh, a state grant. And, uh, that's how we met. I'm curious just when you're at Jacob's pillow, which is, um, for those who don't know, Joseph [inaudible] taught there I think in the summers. Um, and with the child. And I don't know if, if that was a known, you know, at the time, I think we're talking, wait, what years are we talking, by the way? No, we're talking early eighties, early eighties.

So generally people don't know about Pele's, but did at Jacob's pillow, I'm guessing they might. Did you ever hear about it? Never heard of, no. Uh, but you know, I took class with the Paul Taylor Company and Jose [inaudible]. So did you become professional? No. No, no. Uh, you know, semi-professional. I, you know, I got paid a little bit. And, uh, so then my, um, well she wasn't my wife at the time, but Ana, uh, we, uh, found she got a, a fellowship at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts. And, uh, so we moved to North Hampton and during that time I decided I would pursue a little academics. So I pursued, uh, some of the, uh, um, the courses in the program called biomechanics at Umass Amherst. And, uh, while I was taking those courses, uh, there's in north Hampton, there's this, um, market called thorns market and in thorns market on the third floor, there's this, there's this gym and it's called your own gym. And I went in there, it looked very arcane and it had, do you know, all the equipment was made out of wood and metal and had these springs polities and this was a z Jim owned by Mary Bowen, Mary Felon.

And so this is the time I got my first exposure to Galatia. You just go into the market, the market being like a food market. And then I had restaurants and department stores, but on the third floor they had had this uh, performance space called the gallery. And then you're on gym. And um, so you just go in, I go in and I see that and I say, wow, this is intriguing. So, you know, and it was at this time, you know, we're talking, that's probably 83. Yeah, it was 1983. And uh, I go in there and it's like $60 for the summer and you get a private lesson. Once a week and $60 for the whole summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And, uh, I know times of change and I had this a German woman teacher, uh, who taught me privates, who taught me the repertory and, and, uh, I went at it and I the end. And what was great about what Mary Bowen had constructed was I learned a lot of the repertory I learned more so than the other place, cause she has to study with a lot of the first generation teachers along with Joe and cell and Claire. And so I got exposed to a lot of the repertory.

And so what was your first impression of [inaudible] then? You talked about the space, but what did I, yeah, so I walk in and I see the equipment, you know, I, I, I'd done some weight training and used that. I used the universal machines, kind of this multipurpose, uh, um, apparatus. You can train every muscle in your body, whatever it is, one piece. And, and, uh, so when I saw the plots and I saw springs, you know, what is, what is that gonna do to you? You know, that's not enough resistance to create strength. Well not the case. You know, this a teacher went after me, you know, and you know, I realized that, uh, my core wasn't as strong as I thought it was cause I was, you know, as strict from the court within the context of my martial arts. But I'm not within the context of pilates where a pitch is much more demand on them. That's spinal support. And um, and I like the idea that it, uh, it really, I felt more integration as I was doing it. Like when I go on the reformer and I started to use a leg press work, but not to think of leg pressing to develop stronger quads but feel integrated through the leg press work. So it wasn't about how many springs I had on it, but how I implemented the, uh, the leverage. Okay, keep going.

Tell me why this is great. So now you've met Marybelle and at some point, Brian. Yeah. And so in a way I didn't, I didn't meet very Bowen cause she was the owner and she, you know, is, is a, a union analyst. So, and she had our practice both in Connecticut, in New York, and then up in Massachusetts. She wasn't there at the Times. I was there most of the time, so I didn't really meet her, uh, when I was, uh, studying at Urine Joan and, but also, uh, as I said, I was pursuing a mass, some master courses in biomechanics and was doing motion analysts doing forced plate work, um, more can these courses, static dynamic courses in the engineering program. But it was pretty sterile. I didn't, it wasn't, I was just doing it to kind of, you know, as my wife is pursuing or my future wife was pursuing her MFA at Smith College. Um, but during that time, uh, there was probably one of the first dance medicine symposiums.

They were at Umass Amaris where they brought in this orthopedists, uh, from Boston named my Kaylee, who is one of the Dance Orthopedics Pioneers, Ruth Solomon, who's one of the big dance kinesiologists along with a couple of other speakers. And along with that was Martha Myers, uh, who was the, uh, um, she was the head of the, uh, uh, American dance festival. And also at the head of the Dance Department at Connecticut College. Okay. And, uh, somehow I got to meet with her and we had lunch and she was wondering my, about my interest in, uh, science, the movement and how I was putting out the dance. And then she invited me to come down to the, uh, Connecticut College to teach a, a class with talking about how you can, uh, work with some of the, uh, constructs of physics in dance, you know, either through partnering or technique. So I went down and kind of like, um, winged it and taught a class there. But along with that, I met a modern dance teacher, uh, named Shirley Houlihan, who is a, uh, a company member of large Lubavitch. And um, she says, oh, so you have you studied plots before? And I said, well, I am doing a little plots. It's this gym called your own gym. She's, well, you know, you should really go down to New York.

And there's this teacher that I work with who really transformed me and it's just look, and she hyper extended her knees and her knees pointed inward. She just, I learned not to do that through this teacher. And I said, wow, who was that? And she says, it was this woman named Cathy Grant. And, um, so at this time I was already, um, uh, put my admissions in for a Columbia Teachers College and this program called motor control. And I got in and so I was gonna moving down to Manhattan. So, um, Mary Bowen, um, said that she would write a letter for me for, to, uh, be introduced to Kathy grandkids. Catch grant. It was quite difficult intuitively. Yeah. You had to write a letter of introduction. So, sorry, just for timeline, we're now in 84. Five, yeah. 84, 85. Yeah. And Kathy would have been at Bendel's at that time. Yeah, she was, I don't know.

You had, you couldn't just go in and pay money. No, no. You, you, you had to pay your dues because I, yeah, she, she had all the, uh, who's, who's, you know, uh, both in the dance world and also in the, uh, the social world. And, um, so Mary writes a letter saying it's a letter of recommendation, letter recommendation. Yeah. And so it took me about maybe six weeks to get into and then I finally arrive. And, um, there's, I go up to Bendel's and uh, you know, then I don't, I don't, I'm sure the story has been told many times, but you know, it was a floor. You got off of it. It was the, um, hairstyles and, and you had to walk down this hallway and to the right with the restaurants and to the left was this exercise room. You walk in, it's this low ceiling, two in a square foot area. Wow. And there's Kathy grant right at the entry point, uh, with your equipment.

And it was just a, it's a full studio. It's a full studio. You know, it had a Cadillac to reformers and uh, a ladder barrel and a small barrel and a couple of mats. But you know, she had anywhere between three to five people working at a time and that small space, but they all respected their spaces. And, um, so the first thing that she noticed with my head alignment, my head was a little off and my sternal notch here. And so I had to go through this trial of, uh, lying supine on my back and putting a ping pong ball on the notch and my sternum and just bringing my head up symmetrically. And, uh, I had to do that for several weeks, you know, just that, you know, cause she wanted to see me do that symmetrically before she would, uh, broadened my repertory. The first thing that comes to mind is it reminds me of grade 300 kicks that you are. But the second thing and maybe more outstanding is what would make you stay. That's a good, good point. Um, what I mean, a ping pong ball on your right. Right. I know she's, what would make you stay at that point? Uh, I think it was more, cause I was scanning and I was looking around what other people were doing and they were doing these crazy tasks. I mean, it's hard to describe what the magic circle or being inverted and breathing.

And they were all in their own little ivory towers, you know, you know, they're not looking around. They were very attentive to what they were doing. And I think that was the intrigue. Who, who are you working out next to? You know, who would the types of people in there? You said? I think there were dancers with some of the major modern dance companies in New York City ballet and yeah, and, but again, there are a lot of um, people in the New York social world that I didn't know, but they were quite the who, the suse. So that explains a little bit of why you couldn't just go into, right, right, exactly. I mean she had no problem with market. What, what, what was the session costs at that time? $13 and 80 cents and 80 cents.

Yeah, it was a tax, some of the tax amount. Was that a lot, did it seem like a lot or no, I would seem relatively, yeah, I think he knows it was a stretch for my mind. My pocket for sure. And how often would you go? I think I was going maybe twice a week. Yeah. When I went down to New York City to live there to pursue my degree at uh, and motor control. Uh, when my wife was teaching at the small school called, uh, Simon's rock college in Great Barrington. Uh, one of the people who was the head of the dance department there who was from Tennessee, um, had some, um, friends that started this one-on-one fitness center right when new personal training was starting on the upper east side. And they were looking for people trained to take on their clients and their names were giddy and Patty Cohen and the gym was called Poly Chen. And it was on the upper east side on 75th, between first and York.

And when I went there, it was this beautiful gem. It had state of the art equipment, a very art deco in interior design. And a, the clientele was, you know, Broadway people, investment bankers, cause it was a pretty high budgeted, uh, fee for, for working there. So we would rent the space, they would supply the clientele and then we'd also bring in our own clientele. There.

So now you're in school from motor control, you're taking Pele's and I'm, and you've become a [inaudible] personal trainer doesn't make money. Yeah, correct. You know, I, I worked at the gym for another, I think another year and a half, like 85 to 87 and realized that, you know, I was again now putting in about 30 or 40 hours a week. So I was spending a lot of money in rent, right. And I said, wow, this is crazy. Throwing out all that money in rent. So I decided to open my own space. So I found this a loft down in Noho, north of Halliburton. It was on Bleecker street between Lafayette and Bowery at the time. I, um, my wife had a part time job as an assistant to a, a Broadway producer and he had a handyman carpenter that I used and he brought down this table selling everything. And, um, I got the, um, patents of the applied use equipment from Mary Bowen's husband, uh, who was a carpenter. Yeah.

And then I also took measurements off of a Cathy's equipment and I built, uh, two sets of my own equipment, you know, two reformers, a trap table, high trap table, high low table, uh, tall chair, small chair, a ladder, barrel, small barrel. But along with that I also bought, um, for a refurbished to acknowledge equipment. Equipments I have is kind of married to two my days of gym. I had thought they had a lot of value [inaudible] and I really wanted to bring them with me. A lot of questions coming out of this one. Um, first of all, Kathy and Mary obviously knew you were doing this right here. They were in support of you even though I guess technically your competition.

Okay. Yeah. Well kind of, but you know what I mean. Kathy had no problems. Okay. Got It. Got It. And Mary's right in several places. Right. Um, and, and that you had to make your equipment, was there no place to order it was there? Yeah, I mean a, you know, balanced body wasn't there, you know, that kind of volume. You had to wait a long time.

And plus I didn't really know about the existence of current contract and current concepts at the time. And um, so I got sample springs from Kathy there cause I think there was one company in Connecticut called Newcomb Spring Company bought, made the springs for Romana and some of the other plot of Corolla studio. Um, but I decided not to go that route and I found this guy named, um, Ernie Suckler who had this spring company called ABC springs. And I gave him the samples and it wild. I mean I went into his shop and it was total chaos. He's giant. You realize what, how large these machines are that make the springs but they're here. No, I gave him the sample of springs.

He got his calpers out and measured the length and what it was, tomato, blah, blah, blah. So he, uh, he made springs for me. Some of my equipment was kind of customed like especially my trap table. I made it, it's hard to explain, but it had extensions beyond the, the, the rectangular cage you have above. But I guess I'm trying to pinpoint it. W W I mean, not a carpenter, but you are a biomechanist. Well, I did learn a lot of carpentry because actually during a two summers when I was an Undergrad, uh, my calculus professor was built houses and I assisted in building houses.

So I learned how to work with power tools and routers and table sols. I knew I didn't know how to create a joint, a solid joint. Yes you do. I've worked with you. I had also a fit tron bike. It's a bike made by Cybex. Okay.

Which made rehab equipment and I got newsletters and this one newsletter arrived and I never forget, 1988 and there was this prototype, seated and standing, um, [inaudible] machine that worked on the rotary stabilization at the knee and the hip and just stand on it. You stand on it or you sit and you rotate the, the, uh, the desk. And I went, wow. I said, it's like a lazy Susan. I can do that. So that's when I started to apply at lazy susans on the sliding thing. So I had a sliding, turning out machine. Uh, and I used to, Lacey's isn't a lot for the standing leg in the dance context is always working on that externally rotated hip position and a few other products now on the piles world. That right. Y'all use that right yet her name all over him. So we're right, right. Yeah. So during that time I realized that, you know, using a lazy Susan in order to be Mesh or synchronize your mechanical axis of your leg to the Makino axis as the Lazy Susan, you know, the center point of the Lazy Susan, a true pivot point, any beyond anything beyond the center point of the Lazy Susan Christen Arc, that's how the hip works. You know, you really want to be on the center point of the Lazy Susan, but in order to do that, you'd have large lazy susans to support the foot. Therefore your feet would be too far apart. So I had to figure out a wave, well, how can I do that?

So I created a device called a functional footprint along with my colleague Katie Keller. Just a whole nother story. Um, which uh, UFC three inch lazy susans. And it was a shape of a foot, but the lazy Susan was right at the pivot point of where the mechanical wax. So the leg is, which is right above the a cuboid navicular, you know? Right, right. Where the medial arch is. And you can buy these today, you can buy these today. A balanced body balanced body is heath vendor for the fund a class on Palladio's anytime about functional footprint like um, before I can correct, yes. But anyway, um, yeah. How long ago did you make that in this same time period?

Those who evolved in the, uh, the winter of 92. Wow. I'll never forget one day. It was in 1990. Um, at this time I was working a lot with professional pans community and um, I worked a lot with the companies Lard Lubovitch and I had a, there was this company being formed called the white oak project. It was a cofounded both by Mark Morrison McCale version of call. And uh, they had their first Herschel process in the spring of 1990. And I get this phone call from one of the, uh, one of my friends and members of the company and he says, you got to come down, you know, um, we to have somebody to work on our bodies. And along with, uh, uh, Nisha, Nisha because, uh, at the time, uh, when Nisha, uh, started this company, uh, his physical therapists who know, cause he's very, um, respects, uh, you know, that therapy is needed for all the answers.

Cause they were constantly tweaking the body. And, but, uh, the therapist for the American ballet theater at the time was locked up, you know, with American ballet theater. So he couldn't come down. And not that I was gonna substitute for him, but you know, they wanted to bring balance, somebody who can work, uh, with their bodies to keep their bodies intact. Bring down where was white oak? A white oak was actually going back down to where I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where I actually was in St Mary's Jerick, Georgia, which is like an hour 50 minutes north of Jackson. You had to lay in it, you had to land at Jackson Hill to get the white oak. So I went, oh my God. And at this time I, you know, I didn't work a lot with my hands. I worked a lot with queuing on the equipment, queuing motor control, but um, you know, wasn't working heavily with my hands, you know, as far as intention.

So I really wanted to have equipment. I went, oh my God, what am I going to do? So, um, I am not going to take the whole studio. Right. I can't take the studio. And so I, I had this, a very good friend of mine, Daniel Peters, who was a dancer along with being this incredible carpenter. So I, um, kind of conceptualizes, um, four and one pieces of equipment, which is a reformer, a, a trap table, a partial trap table, a chair and a mat. Well, what is this called? It's, well, you know, it's funny cause I saw one of my clients said, you got to come up with the name, you know? Yeah. So I don't know what my calling is. Well, you've got to have your name on it, you know, I said, well, how about your initials? And I said, well, okay, JC, what year were you born? I said 56. Oh, we'll call it the GC 5,600. So that was the name. She said her soc euro was born. That's fantastic. Where is that?

So the JC 5,000 is taken of different journeys, but eventually, uh, I had, um, current concepts make it apparent and, uh, I don't know how many you made, but I don't know what the numbers are, but there was quite a few, uh, especially, uh, several of my students. I mean, it's like the, you know, talk about universal farmer. It's like universal plot of Studio [inaudible], W C, e a, u, the grouping of all those pieces of equipment. But it allows you a lot of creativity. And I think since then, people have really adapted the combination of using the, the vertical post of the trap table to assist on doing some of this stuff you do on the reformer. I want to know more about your time in the Palladio's world now if we could.

Yeah, sure. Um, I've heard Mary Bowen say she's worked with you for seven years and I understand that to mean you were teaching her, right? Yeah. She came down and say, yeah, so or client or whatever you want to call it. Did you, did you study? Who else did you know? I'll just throw out a few names. Um, Bruce King. Yeah, well through Mary, you know, um, like she was in the know of a cause. As I said, when I initially studied the pilot, he said, you're on Jim up and on North Hanton she was, she had already blinded a lot of, uh, first-generation teachers like, uh, Kathy and Bruce King and Ramana and along with studying with Joe and Claire, is that right? It was, ah, it was a blend of things. Did you meet him? Oh yes. I met Bruce King and I probably had maybe eight or 10 sessions. And uh, what was he like? There's, yeah, he was an interesting guy. You know, you had this book called rule rule of the bones, bones, right.

And it really was much about that, you know, he didn't want to see a lot of muscular strain as you performed the repertory and you know, he, he was in it, you know, all, he was also a modern dancer at the real pioneering days with Hanya home. And you also danced with this, um, company of Eve gentry's. Um, and uh, so when I studied with Bruce and my wife and I were going out to, uh, Santa Fe in 89, I think that's what it was. He says, oh wow. You know, um, if you go out to Santa Fe, you should really check out, uh, this police teacher and him Eve gentry. Had you heard of her before? Never. You know, I don't think the name people would it hurt her? It hurt? No, cause no, she, uh, in a way kind of isolate herself being, being at, being out there. She was out by herself. And, um, along with Michelle Larson who was really the productivity, you know, she stayed with her for years and I, so we went out there and I got the meaty youth and, um, uh, we had an exchange for over a weekend. Um, she worked on me and I actually worked on her and at this point she was 80, 81 years old. And, um, she was just an incredibly giving person. She brought out our movie projectors, showed me movies of her working with Joe [inaudible] and again, share your own movies. She had her own movies and, and uh, you know, I didn't really know who I was working with at the time because, you know, it wasn't until, you know, it's always after, after the fact that it'd become this historical icon. Um, but, uh, I am you, you've shown me and hopefully we got to show it, um, some footage of you working with her and it's wonderful to see you and Ana and eve working together with Michelle Larson behind the camera. It blew me away.

Um, but why did you film it if you didn't do it all? Film, anything? Yeah, I, this is actually starting off, but can I have with my, uh, when my wife and I got married in 1988, some of the wedding money, I actually said, oh, I'm gonna buy myself a good movie camera. So at the time I bought the Sony v Eight, uh, it was a high end eight millimeter video camera. And um, so it's more to do with the techie side of things rather than [inaudible]. Exactly. Yeah. She got mad at me, my wife. But anyway, so we had that the bring along, cause it wasn't one of these giant, you know, VHS camcorders, which is super cumbersome. I mean there's an eight millimeter. Um, anyway, so I was archiving, I was already starting to archive. I was kind of intrigued by the whole thing. And um, yeah. So I got to meet eve and Shelley's had, this lasted a week. And then, uh, we flew back to Manhattan and uh, I forgot, maybe a half a year, maybe a year later. Um, I get a letter from eve saying that, you know, that she loved our interaction and she would very much like to come out and possibly co-teach a course at my studio. Never happened. Um, because I think she was going through a lot of, um, illness at the time, but she did come out eventually and visit me. She did. Yeah. And, uh, she stayed at my studio and it was great timing because it was at this time that, uh, Mark Morris was just, I think he was premiering our dido in an is this new ballet production he just came out with.

And I brought eve along with me and at the time I'd been working with mark, so I had a relationship with him. And so I brought her backstage and, uh, introduced to the mark and she introduced herself. She says, do you know that I was one of the original dancers with Hanya Holm? Mark's reply says, wow, you must be ancient. It's like totally, totally took you back by surprise. And what'd she do? She t she laughed. Yeah, we're asked as mark mark. Mark loves do that.

If he's having fun with you. So I'm being efficient. But um, anyway, so that was a fun moment. So then when we, uh, during the time she stayed with me, we had to go, my wife and I had to go to her wedding and I left he there and not knowing, Eve invited Bruce Down to my studio and Bruce King and they played around with my equipment for hours. So when I came home, I mean he was comatosed too. She just burnt herself out because she was having a heyday comparing with Bruce of what they were doing, you know, within the Plata thing. Oh, it's just wonderful. Yeah, it's too bad you were gone with your VA, right. Oh, that's fantastic. Um, what about Romana or Corolla? Romana uh, I, I got introduced to a Corolla through Kathy, just one time to sit, uh, have her introduce me to her. Nothing came of it. Ramana, uh, the only time I met her is I actually bought my first magic circle from her, which I still have. And it has, he handles with the original wood handles with the, uh, the, um, the serial number on it. Oh yeah, the plate. The plate. Yeah. And uh, yeah, so that was my only interaction with her. So you never worked with either one of them? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

What about Ron Fletcher? I knew who he was. I knew he was a Martha Graham Dancer, a term iconic, his teacher and um, uh, Jennifer Stacy was sponsor him, you know, and teaching out of her studio and cause she was a student of his, and I'll ever forget, I got this one phone call cause I think he lived down in Texas and he had a donkey farm somewhere. Yeah. The Texas. Yes. Yeah. And uh, he was coming out to, to teach in San Francisco and I got this phone call and it's Ron Fletcher and he got injured by being kicked by one of his donkeys and his calling. He's calling me to yeah. To want to work on him while he's here while he's here. And it never happened. Oh, okay. But, uh, that was my interaction with Ron Fletcher. I am an archivist too. It turns out all right. I want to be, and so I'm doing my best to try and a great drive. Oh, thank you.

Um, so a couple of summers ago I went filming a bunch of interviews for that, the Pele's legacy project and your name kept coming up over and over again. And then, um, and it always has but not so much as it did in that one consolidated time for me. And, um, so there are other names that I don't really know the full story or if there is even a story, but there are other names. I'm just curious if you could kind of help me put the pieces in the puzzle that, that you've influenced or you know, like for example, rail as Sakowitz writes in the forward, uh, I don't remember the exact story, but I know your name is in that story, so that, that was, um, cause uh, when I say with Cathy, she was, um, I thought she utilized the small chair more than anybody else. And I think, um, at this time, I think maybe rail was, um, Brian, uh, was a part of the Institute of fiscal studies out in Santa Fe, probably. Yeah. And so I think he approached me on, uh, he would be the best person. And I said, well, Kathy Grant [inaudible] I think yeah, the work on the chair and everything. So I connected the two together. Okay. And yes, he definitely considers her one of his major inspirations.

However little he might've worked with her one to one, but, right. Ken Andelman do well. Yeah. It, you don't care. Again, sir, we have an interest relationship because I'll never forget, um, God, I don't know when it was, it was a, I guess it was back then as in 1991 during the thyroid when I went out there, he was, I, yeah, I went to Sacramento to see his, uh, production place while it was just a 1500 square feet with one other person. And there was a big boat there because, uh, foreman was also a, a boat guy was restoring this boat and, uh, it was pretty amazing where his growth has gone. Oh boy. Yeah. I think it's like 750,000 square feet. I might be underselling that or, right, right.

My sister's gone huge from two people to that. Yeah. Did you, did you go, he always said, because he wanted to see the JC for 600, so I brought that out there. Okay. That's what she did produce. He did. Yeah. And why don't we know, um, I think, you know, you know, I didn't have a patent on it and, uh, it w nor, I don't know if I could have, you know, I've made the transformation of it cause it wasn't an acclimation, but I w I was one of the pioneers who did that. Yeah. But, um, you know, Joe [inaudible] came up with all the functions, you know, on the equipment. And I think because of that, other vendors who make plies equipment, we're starting to make the same thing or similar to it. And I think in a way, um, balanced body or current concepts, whatever the name was at the time, decided that uh, that uh, they no longer needed to do that, that they need to focus on those ones that other people are now making. Okay. Oh, I see. I see. Okay. Um, okay. What, if any involvement did you have or know about of the trademark lawsuit in 1995 to 2000?

Well, I, I, I don't know if Kennel remember this, but I'll ever want to tell them I wasn't on Bleecker street. He called me up when he was just killing the idea that he was onto something big time and he didn't mean to be making equipment right now. Oh, he was already making equipment? Yeah, but, but he was wondering why they should buy the 100 his name from the sky, who's going to sell it to him fo for I think like, I don't remember the amount. It's like $500 and Kane was like squirming about that. Do you mean the domain name or do you mean the actual plotty trademark or would the actual phone number? Yeah. Because someone else owned it because they didn't know what they had in her hand. Right. They did. They probably weren't spelling out spelling it out. Yeah.

And so we ended up doing that and then Ken and I one time took a, yeah, he got it. By the way. That is their number. No, no, I know exactly. And then one time we went for a bike ride and, and uh, it was right when Sean Gallagher was, um, uh, throwing his weight around, you know, as far as what he had in his hand, his first trademark names. I even got a letter. You did? Yeah. You know, when I was [inaudible] I said like, yeah, like I was teaching a sequence, plot plot is really an exercise workshop and that alone using plot caught me there. You're opening a letter. And, uh, actually I met Sean and in Manhattan when I was on 27 Bleecker street when he first came down from purchasing and had his first, uh, studio back in Manhattan with, um, Steve G or Donna [inaudible]. And I actually observed him treat and cause I knew he was a highly respected physical therapist. Yeah, no integrating acupuncture needles with his work and stuff. And I said this is before the big Hoopla of who owned what.

Okay. I'm not, I'm not done yet with that. You guys did, cause you were there, it sounds like. Um, so, so you're friends with Kennan and Shawn is, is you've met him at least, um, and respect him as Barb. So did, did, did you, you've now been served or not served? Um, can you give it a letter? Okay. Did you do anything about it? Did you honor it? [inaudible] yeah, I, I, I, there wasn't a reason I needed to put Polonius on my workshop. Okay. List [inaudible] that wasn't easy. That was easy. Do you think it's just putting it in print, right? Yeah, I mean I can say that where, I mean it wasn't like he, I want that. It's just I could put it in print.

Were you aware of what took place when the trial began? I mean, were you, were you at the trial at all? No. No, I didn't have any to do with it. Nothing. Um, did it change anything from your perspective now, you know, Kathy grant had and, um, Mary Bowen were in support of you opening up the studio and now this is going on. Did it change your perspective or did, did you feel anything changed in the community because of that? Or did you not notice it during that time? Yeah, this is, cause this all happened when I was out in California. Right. That's right. Okay. But even still, yeah. Um, no, not really. Uh, at that time I was, uh, teaching seminars and I wasn't totally relying on, just applies cause I, I wanted to teach, um, Maura, can you say Alonzo aspects in the, okay. What's next for you? Oh, um, you inventing anything? Yeah.

I'm working with a colleague of mine who actually just so happened to be the, uh, the, uh, husband of my first case study as far as working with a professional dancer. His wife was the dancer I worked with back in the, uh, like around 84 85. And, um, he's, uh, been a, a professor at a physical therapy school in Manhattan for over 20 years. And who is it? This is Marshall Higgins notion. And again, he was one of the therapists under Marquez for a short period along with being, uh, the physical therapist for the [inaudible] project for years. Oh Wow. And he's also the in house physical therapist for the Mark Morris Dance Company. And uh, but he and I have had a 30 year relationship and uh, he and I are trying to develop a way of developing a modular system that can address, um, asymmetries and in a three dimensional sense of motion of the spine and the pelvis and, uh, connecting that to functional movement so that it can interface with any movement system, whether it's Gyrotonic or pilates or whatever.

But it really pinpoints some of the, uh, um, intrinsic asymmetries. I mean the, uh, asymmetries. This, how the spine or the, uh, the chunkers between the spinal segments that the set joints operate and how they organized to create, um, movement demands. This is something you would add to, um, the Gyrotonic machine or politeness. Just be an add junk. Oh, okay. Yeah. Natural. Yeah. But it would be in a separate p a prop, I guess I call it modular system system. Yeah. So that, um, we're hoping to bring that together in a very codify way so that they can, um, they can, uh, influence any move in educator. Fantastic. Will you teach more out on the so-called circuit? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Great. Yeah, that's great news coming out, coming out. You know, you're going to end up on the web soon. Right, right, right, right. Yeah.

I want to have online postings of, of how to work the system. In fact, yes. I know place. Yeah. If you're interested. Exactly. Sorry. I'm just kidding. Um, well I honestly don't know. What is it that's a big loop, you know, 30 years later. Yeah. There, well, I doubt it's finished either. You know, when I think of loop, I think of either too many times around or I'm finished and I, um, I kind of see you more as like a, an infinity sign, um, both for your influence and, and you don't seem to stop. Um, don't ever say that. That's the, uh, yeah. I keep on going back. It's the influence of my, a friend and colleague, my loner. She never stops. [inaudible]. Um, is this inspiring? You know, and again, I never really studied with her, but, uh, just watching her move through her career, it makes me want it to stop.

Well, that's good news for the rest of us. Yeah. Thank you very much for doing this. Yeah, no problem. Thank you. Yep.

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So much from one person. We are all so grateful to have people like Jean Claude who has an ever ending curiosity.
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Thank you! Can't wait to watch through the whole of the interview!
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This is such a delightful and inspiring Interview! So well led by you, Kristy, and so informative to all of us around the world, who don´t know much about the beginnings! I loved the little video-clips with Eve Gentry! What a treasure! Thank you!
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Thank you Kristi and Jean-Claude for sitting together, sharing and giving us this history! I am forever grateful that I found the Pilates Method as a young dancer and that my journey has been so rich and vibrant. Movement education wouldn't be the same without the contribution of Jean-Claude, and sounds like we have so much more to look forward to! I look forward the the exploration!
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I love these journey's into the past and understanding who and how these teachers influenced and continue to influence Pilates
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I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you Kristi and Jean Claude. It’s a wonderful gift to hear these stories and I look forward to watching the full interview!

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