Introduction #2859

Ron Fletcher Guillotine

5 min - Introduction


In this quick video, Diane Diefenderfer shares a footage from a video she, Ron Fletcher, and Balanced Body filmed years ago. She talks about how Ron wanted to bring back the Guillotine because he felt that it was not utilized like other pieces of equipment. She also explains how movements we see on the Tower or Cadillac feel different on the Guillotine, and how it can be easier to find correct placement during these exercises.

Learn more about the new Guillotine Tower on the Balanced Body website.
What You'll Need: Guillotine

About This Video

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Feb 06, 2017
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Hi, I'm really excited to be here today to share and introduce some footage from a video that Balanced Body and Ron Fletcher and I made about almost 16 years ago now. So it's been quite awhile. At that time, Ron wanted to kind of resurrect, bring back the Guillotine, which he felt had not been in use in many, many studios, mostly because it was too difficult to install. I have a vivid memory of the original Guillotine that I worked on with Ron at the Ron Fletcher Studio Body Contrology in Beverly Hills, California. And this was a long time ago, like the late seventies, so I'm kind of dating myself here. But anyway, it was this huge hulking piece of equipment that was bolted into the floor and the ceiling for security. And we would use it for stretching and alignment. And I'm sure many of you are familiar with it, but maybe not. So thus the reasoning to introduce some of this film. Ron and Ken Endelman knew that part of the reason that it hasn't been so popular is because of the installation. And since then there has been some great improvements made, freestanding Guillotines, which are fabulous. So there's no bolting or screwing into floors or ceilings.

But the one that I have in my studio, Ken brought down to Costa Mesa and Ron wanted to make this video and bring back some movements and movement sequences and not really exercises but beautiful fluid movement patterns that he had remembered from the old days. And so Ken came down and installed this 15 years ago, 16 years ago, this Guillotine into my studio and it is bolted into the floor and into the ceiling. So I have one of the kind of original ones, almost original. And we proceeded to make some work and it's just, I think I said an honor and a privilege to show this because it means so much to me. Ron felt that many exercises that we have subsequently done on the Trapeze Table or the Cadillac on the Tower end of the Trap Table with the springs pulled from the bottom are things that were originally intended to be done on the original Guillotine. And so most of this video that you will see shows all of it, really shows how these exercises are done properly on the Guillotine, the bending and stretching where I'm underneath the bar and it's wonderful because I have a great sense of my pelvis is in neutral, my back is flat, I'm anchored in the sacrum, so there's no chance of injury in the back. And then I can actually, unlike on the Reformer where we can't really see our leg and footwork, if we have our head down, I can watch my knees and my feet, my ankles, everything for alignment. So whether I'm parallel or turned out. So it's a great tool for the user, the teacher and the student to work differently than we're able to do on the Trapeze Table or on the Reformer.

But some other sections you'll see that I really enjoy are the Teaser series. So I really liked the Teaser series because of how I'm able to, not just me, but whoever's doing the work is able to lie fully flat underneath the Guillotine and depending on strength, proportions, range of motion, there's a lot of advantages to where you place your hips and pelvis prior to coming up into the teaser. And then Ron goes a little wild with it, giving some, as he always did, some extras to challenge a little bit more. And it's just kind of choreographically the way he worked. It was wonderful. I mean, he was creating, he knew what he was doing certainly, but he was creating in the moment. And I just, that was just so special for me. I felt like it was for me. Of course it's for everyone, but that was part of the beauty of this. There's the Monkey on the Cadillac, which again, because of how the bar is, pulled from the springs from the bottom, the mover needs to sit quite far back towards the end of the table, which may or may not work for some people.

The way it's done here on the Guillotine is again a little bit more forgiving about where you can place your hips, buttocks and pelvis. So instead of being the monkey, it's really, Ron calls it the High V, and you'll see this when you get to that point. And then the other one that is featured here is the Leg Hip Opener. That is one of my favorites. And again, I'm able to stretch out fully underneath the Guillotine and arrange my pelvis and hip and knee and thigh in a really, I think healthy used of external rotation rather than on the Trap Table or Cadillac. It's a little, I feel like I'm almost off the edge. So by all means, you know, we do the Guillotine exercises on the Trapeze Table, but now that the Guillotine has been so beautifully brought back with an ease of use, and it's easy to put into the studio with what Balanced Body's done.

And I think that the patterns of movement that Ron has presented and shared with me is just something really special. These were years when Ron was at his very best. I mean, everyone that worked with him probably has a favorite story. But for me, this was some of the best times. Thank you.


I had no idea that such an equipement exists at all! This seems fantastic.
Michele B
Very nice, I'd love to see a class on the guillotine! There is one at a studio where I work and I feel I don't use it enough since my certification studio didn't have a guillotine.

You look so amazing Diane! Love this introduction and your lovely memories of Ron! Thank you
Samantha S
Loved to see this old footage as well as the explanation of the history and origin of these exercises and of the work of Master Teacher Ron Fletcher! 
Natalia C
It was so interesting to me to not only see what the guillotine looks like, but also how it is used with some original footage. What a lovely thing to have and share!
Gianna  A
The guillotine looks like such a great tool to really find core stability and be able to do more choreographic movements in exercises like the teaser or monkey! Great footage & amazing to see Ron and how he cued!
Ashley O
Wow I loved the variation on the teaser with the single arm and leg movements as well as the monkey on the guillotine. I wish I could try that one because I always feel like I’m going to slip right off the Cadillac !
Coral S
Wow, so fascinating to see these exercises on this piece of equipment. I especially enjoyed seeing the teaser series and the choreography Ron had you do with it! Such lovely movement always.

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