Discussion #3319

Cary Regan on Romana

80 min - Discussion


Cary Regan began working with Romana when she was a student at SUNY Purchase. In this discussion, she shares how Romana helped her rehabilitate her knee after tearing her ACL and that led her to become a Pilates teacher. She talks about the differences between the industry in the past compared to now as well as how her relationship with Romana changed over the years.
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Jan 15, 2018
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Chapter 1

First Experience with Pilates

My first experience with, actual experience with Pilates, the technique was at SUNY Purchase and I was there for my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and it was mandatory that all of us took Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska was the teacher. On my first session there with Romana, she started us on the Mat and I was like, "Oh my goodness, why do I know three quarters of these exercises?" And I just didn't know why I knew them, I knew them by other names and so I just worked it out. I'm like, "No, this is going to be fun." But I'd never experienced the other pieces of equipment, the Reformer, the Chair, the High Chair, the Barrels, and things like that. Any of the props. I knew like three quarters of the Mat though.

And later on I found out that I had learned Pilates actually, or at least this aspect of the Mat work when I was nine. And that was in 1966. And that was when I attended the Henry Street Settlement House School. And that's where Alwin Nikolais was the artist in residence. And what I found out was that Hanya Holm was Alwin Nikolais's teacher at Bennington College and Nikolais wanted a warm up that was not going to have any affectations, no designs on the body of say, an imprint of somebody else's choreography.

Say Martha Graham has the curve in her exercise technique, or Balanchine has the really abstract, over crossed thing in tendus, arabesque, different things like that. He wanted something clean, pure and working all the muscles. But once they did the work that he wanted to do, which would be a going across the floor and center, that would be something that would be their style. But they didn't want to have any affectations of any other dance form on it. So apparently I had been doing it since I was nine.

But I will say over the years, if you do not take care with this work as the Nikolais teachers did, if you don't impress upon them the really working from the core. What I achieved as a modern dancer to Nikolais Murray, which was great for me was I was so fluid. I was so sequential. I was so fast. I was like a ripple in a speed demon, but when we would stand up, the style of their exercises were to be on a forward plane where you lean. So you tended to use your quads. So as a kid, as 12 you know, I didn't know this 'til I went to high school for performing arts when I'm 15 and I'm studying Martha Graham's technique now. Now I'm like, "Oh, I know this." But you know, it was one of those things where I'm like, "Well, these things make sense." But when I got to SUNY Purchase and Romana was there, I'm like, "Oh, I see

what was missing or lacking." When you teach Pilates out of its context and not teach true Pilates, all the aspects of Pilates, you can then go into any style you want, but you have to go with the core and with the other major muscles developed, not overdeveloped or not underdeveloped, but balanced. And that was what Pilates was for me at SUNY Purchase. And then six months later I severed my ACL at SUNY Purchase in a mid air collision, a leap in the air that went wrong. And most doctors were saying, "That's it. Forget it. Give it up."

It was 1976, they didn't have the surgeries that they have today. They didn't have the skills except Romana. Romana was like, "Ah, don't listen to them. They're so far behind. They have no idea what they're doing." I gave her the exercise sheet that I got from us with special surgery and she goes, "What did they expect you to do? Your thighs are going to be giant lifting 25 pound weights. This is ridiculous!

Throw this away. Let me give you all your exercises that you need." And so that was when we realized that Pilates may have the fluidity for the Mat or you can do it in an intermediate Reformer, advanced Reformer or whatever. But when you have a specific injury, it is a Pilates instructor, teacher of many years who knows how to put your exercise program together. And that was the genius of Romana. She had eyes to see any inconsistency. Never make you feel bad about it. Like, "Darling, yes, come over here.

I'm going to fix this. Lift. Lift. There, you're beautiful. Always stay like that, lift." She always was about beauty and happiness but she did end the exercises to be true to them in the basic way of working from your core. She had a way and an approach to go after it. She might not give you the words, terminology, and anatomy, but she gave you those specific exercises, whether it be on the Mat, the Magic Circle, the Wunda Chair, the High Chair, that we're going to engage the muscles you needed to strengthen that area that had been weakened. So that's how I first came to Pilates.

So there you go. No ACL, still wanted dance, still dancing. Knowing though that I really needed the equipment that Pilates offered and I'm no longer in college, there were not many Pilates studios and certainly why would I go to anyone except to Romana. So I approached Romana and said, "I need to do these things." I can have a Magic Circle, but I did all these Standing Side Splits, going up and down on the Wunda Chair, everything I needed for stabilization of a knee that could dislocate anytime, unless it had that stability from the muscle control. So Romana said, "Okay darling, well let's see. We'll start in June at 7:30 in the morning.

I have you for a workout with other people for the summer every day at 7:30 in the morning. If you can't make that, well then you just can't become a teacher." And so before that you were able to work out and do the workout I knew. And that was pretty much all I knew, almost everything except for the very fancy exercises like the Flying Squirrel, I didn't know that. And then I didn't know the Guillotine, some of the Guillotine, I knew basic stuff from basic intermediate, advanced stuff from SUNY Purchase. So we came there, I think that there were five of us that summer and we worked, and we worked, and we worked, and we weren't paid and you didn't pay her. No money changed hands. But you were to assist the other teachers. And if she saw that you had any kind of abilities, she may help you, especially, you would go over and you start teaching the Mat. Everybody taught the Mat. So on the first day, meaning 7:30 in the morning, you watched her for a couple of hours and then at 11 o'clock she looked at me and said, "Go over and teach the Mat." First day. So that was it.

Now some people say, isn't that? But remember I started in 1975 and I started as a person who had an injury. So therefore I was a person who had to become very astute as to what alignment in placement meant and where I was working from because it meant everything to me because I wanted to dance. And a doctor would tell you that, "Well, that's like a horse running the race with a broken leg. So good luck with that one." But Romana was not that person who gave up. And then there were so many times when you were there it was the housing of so many other dancers, performers, that it was this little family of like, "Wow, you got a job! Okay, great. I'll cover your shift. I'll cover you extra. You go." There were only eight of us. There were eight of us. If one dropped out totally, then she got one more in there. Never were we more than eight, maybe max nine teachers, four in the morning, four in the afternoon.

And it just flowed because the clientele already had the discipline within themselves because the majority of the clients were professional dancers if not already, dancers of high-skill trying to become professional dancers, actors like Candice Bergen and Jill Clayburgh, and these people are waltzing in and they're working out. They just get to a machine and work out. They know what they're doing. It's not like they don't know what they're doing. So when you saw that as a teacher, you then really hone in on the client. You're like, oh, they got it.

So now let me get picky. Then you could get picky with them and it was a wonderful feeling because that's what they needed. When you're going to go on the stage, you need to be so on point that you understand the minuscule changes in your placement that make it or don't. They don't usually break the person, but the body fatigues. Some girls in the Ailey school, they get those legs up there, they've got beautiful extension and they're holding on for dear life and impala and they make it through grit, sweat, blood, tears. That leg will not come down. Same thing with the Martha Graham dancers and when those dancers came and you gave them the facility of the core and now you don't have to hold your leg from your quadricep. They all go, "Oh my God, what a relief!"

They were dancing and they were professional and they were gorgeous, but that was the perimeter, the internal workings of how they use their legs and their arms. That was not quite there. So with like going to work and figuring out a puzzle in a body of a person who is already so skilled. So that was pretty much up to the mid eighties. And it was exciting to work with. One teacher had Makarova, famous Ballerina, working with Patrick Strong.

He was one of our star teachers. Everyone loved Patrick, he worked them out hard, worked them strong. But whenever his clients had a little tweak or muscle off or he goes, "Oh, work with Carrie." Because I took the time and the patience to be like, okay I've got to get them on stage, no matter what they've got to get there today, you know, and then it's the slow, it's the stretched out because they're already strong. And so it was great to have that play of like one person, I'm just going to run them through fast, but at the same time with attention to form and another person, they're getting on a stage tonight, they're not not getting on stage tonight. We weren't PTs and we never even talked about that. It was just the exercises done in the modification way. And that modification may be slow and long and hold and stretch slower.

Don't put too much weight on it, less springs on this. Those were the modifications that Romana taught us through time and time again. And all I can say is in my time, we were like journeymen. And truly other teachers could say to me, the baby teacher, "Carrie, it will be better if you did it like this, or try it like this." Oh, they saved your butt too. It's like they walk over and say, "Hmm. Headpiece down." Don't even say anything. Not Sari. Sari would be

screaming across the room. But most of them, they just go,"Put these down, it's a safety issue." It was just a compliment. We didn't want the clients to think they had a teacher that was not skilled yet. And we didn't want the teacher to be humiliated by mistakes that actually people can make for many reasons, but we hopefully don't make them at all. So that was the environment. It was tight. It was close. And for myself and for Phoebe Higgins, we were there. Phoebe was there in 1980 to '89 and I was there '81 to '89. We were there. We were longevity, you know, and what you learn over that course of time in a studio environment with Romana, I don't know how you get that in workshops because you trusted her, and you saw her every day, and that woman was there every day.

She was not out. She was hardly, I don't think she was sick maybe but twice that I can remember with her lungs, like a pleurisy kind of thing. And she was always there and always on. She just was. She was open and if she had nobody, she'd come back out from her office and see what was going on in the studio and be like, "Oh darling, let's try this today." And you'd pick out a thing that she would do and you were like, "Oh my God, we're going to do that? I've never even heard of that!" And we had the Foot Corrector, "Go get your pointe shoes on, pointe on top of the Foot Corrector, hold onto the Ballet Barre and a pulse 2,3 and then rond de jambe the leg around and back, back, back, back, back and down." So for me, Romana was not the stagnant kind of manual of, these are the exercises and that's what's stuck. And that's what you do. And if you can't do this, then you skip that and we do something and you move on to the next exercise you can do. It wasn't that. And I'm glad to have had that time to see her creative scope, always within the idea and classically trying to maintain Joseph Pilates's work.

Chapter 2

Working at Romana's Studio

When I started working with Romana it was on June 6th, 1981 at 29 W 56th Street on the sixth floor. And when you looked out the windows, you saw Madison Avenue building 666. I'm like, "Oh, this is going to be an interesting job I have decided to go to." So Romana was again 29 W 56th Street. And they had been there, I don't know exactly how many years, but I do know they had a 15 year lease. It must've been somewhere after Joe died and Romana and possibly Clara, I don't know, moved from the original studio on Eighth Avenue to this one. But I do know that it was a 15 year lease and it came up while we were working there.

So the teachers that were working there when I first got there were Romana Kryzanowska obviously was there, Sari was working there, Paci she was then. And then there was a woman named Mary Lundy who then has subsequently gone to I think Long Island and works out of her home. Phoebe Higgins is friends with her. And Phoebe Higgins was in the morning staff as well. Maybe in another year or so Carol Appel joined the morning staff. Then in the afternoon staff was John Winters, and Lori Scandura was a Broadway dancer and appears in the book of Philip Freidman and Gail Eisen on the Pilates method as a model, as a teacher, and a student. Then there was Patrick Strong and then there was Douglas Ficacelli. And there was another man named Danny Burke who was an actor and also was a pianist. And he also did piano tuning, and he taught me a majority of the then called "male" exercises that really Romana didn't teach women. So the afternoon staff was like all men, except for Lori Scandura and then me, the baby teacher.

So when I came in, and I say baby teacher, when a baby teacher comes in, the Pilates studio doesn't really have, then didn't have like a signature, "Hi Brett. You're going to be working today. You have your first time and you'll be working today with so-and-so." You were never told who you were working with. So as the clients came out of the elevator, the desk was right there and then they would see you as a first-timer and they'd say, "Little Carrie, it's for you." And be another first-timer, "Carrie, it's for you." And I was like, "Oh my God."

And someone comes out with like a bandana around his head and a spiky bracelet. You know, the eighties. And they're like, "Carrie, it's for you." It's like, oh my God, all day long. I'm teaching first-timers. Five hours of Pilates first-timers. But you learn a lot from teaching first-timers. Five hours of first-timers is a lot. And then John, Jonathan Winters, especially if I would get a male client, they would want to make the male client not more comfortable than the woman client, but wanting to make sure he got the exercises that he could be familiar with so that this way they would want to come back.

They don't want to think they're doing a woman's workout. So John would always make sure we put in, you know, some workout for them, whether it was working the arm springs up at the Guillotine or whether it was working the Dips off of the High Back Chair. He wanted to make sure you did at least two to three things that were hard for a man, just to let him know It's not just for girls, but this was the way it was. But I got to learn some of the things, the whole Sawati section. Romana didn't teach that to women. And in my time, I mean she might've taught it, afterwards 1989, '90, when she got involved with Sean Gallagher for their certification and really documenting all the exercises and not separating it, but she's like, "Oh no darling, you don't want to do that. You don't want to get big shoulders, you don't wanna do that. Get nice, thin shoulders." But I learned it with John and it was great. You know, the male clients came in the afternoon. They wanted to work with the male teachers and there was, and also that's when the guys got off from work, whether it's the lawyers or the Broadway entertainers right before they would go to the Broadway show, they came in the afternoon. So the afternoon was flying. And I will say that, there were quite a few times, everything was by hand.

It was notes for the cards, everything on what you did with the client, you know, you can, we didn't have like beginner, intermediate, you know. We wrote all the exercises that they did and then it was pretty much you could look at a card and you're like, oh yeah, they're good and they're good to go. And then maybe there'd be a little star, building towards doing the Star or the Planks or things like that. Just so that there was a literal card. So any teacher that picked it up could see what the client had. And that was for privates. But if you saw a client who was kind of, you know, lazing around maybe on one of the Reformers and you could pick it up say, "Oh, I think you know what comes next, let's go." And we never did it to insult them, but it always felt like, I don't know, not that you were a gym teacher, but that you had that freedom. I know I was afraid of my gym teachers in junior high school. It's like, let's go, whistles and everything. I'm like, okay, you've got to do this.

We didn't have whistles. So we just were like, "All right, let's go, keep it going." And you had to keep them moving. So the studio went fast in five hours. It was over so fast. That is a wonderful thing. And always the way it was then is that you, once I saw John work with a woman and she came in in a wheelchair and I'm thinking, "Oh my God, what's he going to do with this in a wheelchair? And so it was just your, you knew as a teacher to not have your gaze on just that one person. It was like, use your eyes and see what John is doing.

And even though you're paying attention here, you can catch a few things from what's going on there. So that was another thing, was awareness of all the people in the space. And for myself, I can't get rid of it, and sometimes it was a little annoying to other teachers and they think I'm looking at them, and it's just because, I don't know, I saw something, I went there, I just can't help it. And you know, if anyone knows Sari, she was trained that way, and it's Phoebe as well. But I haven't seen Phoebe teach for awhile, but I know Sari still is possessed to say, "Oh, what are you doing over there?" It just, it's in us, and once it's in you, it's hard to get rid of, to ignore somebody else's mistake. So that kind of training for those amount of years made us all aware of each other and the clients and the injuries. So when people ask, I know I'm not a physical therapist, but over time, over time and time, and we're talking nine years of time of watching Romana work with people who have injuries, people suffering from cancer, people on their way out so far from cancer.

We had one client Romana worked with, Maria. When the final note came through that there was nothing left that they could do for her, Romana came to the book and to the desk and said, "Take her name out. You're not charging her anymore." And Romana would work with this woman 20 minutes every other day. If she had another shrink to come in, Romana was working with them. And that's really, I believe, the heart of who Romana is, that she, you know, money is money and you have to have it to pay your rent to do this and do that. But she had the love of knowing that you can give to other people, the physicality that really heals them.

And I think she knew Joe knew that too. He was another big man with stories. His stories were like, "Oh, the IRS guy came up, said you haven't paid your taxes, Joe. He's like, you look horrible. You're suit is gray, your face is gray, your body's falling apart. Just to get all that, I'll work you out for free. And even if you don't want that, then just get out of my house." So mine is that.

It wasn't about, it's not about the money. You need the money for this and that. Romana loved the work, you know, and you saw it in her humanity towards people like PK Steers who had MS and she did all kinds of little creative things for her. She had her holding onto the top rim of the Cadillac and just walk, step together, walk, step together, walk, and walk back and, but you know, to first get PK stretched out and then to use her legs with something rather than here. So that is the charm and the beauty that I found in Romana and that she instilled in me and seeing it's work, but those people who were injured or sick or on their way to leaving the planet had still a will and a fight to want to be there. And they were present when they were there. You didn't have to force them like, Oh yeah, put your foot in the strap, the other leg. Now that it's just like the other two, you had two legs, you know, and these people were struggling and they found a way to come to the studio and Romana was there and bubbly and this and that and I mean bubbly personality.

I think she had more bubbles in her personality than she ever drank in champagne. You know, she doesn't drink champagne as much as people said she did. It was a rare occasion. It certainly wasn't an everyday thing. I think maybe February was gray and dark, maybe on a Friday in February, but she really didn't drink that much. When I came in, the whole price thing, you signed up for five sessions and it was $125 for your first five sessions.

And those were one-on-one. This was 1981 and it went on well into 1985. Same price, never changed. Then it changed a little bit, but not much. And that ensured that you would have five sessions and in your five sessions, instructors were basically really teaching you, now maybe not your first session, but by your second session, they already had you involved in, you put the spring on, you take the spring off, you do. So this way, by the end of your fifth session, you had what you want to call the basic Reformer or whether it's the Footwork, the Hundred, the Leg Circles, the Short Box, the Knee Stretches, and the Running, let's say that, you know, then you go to the Mat and in the Mat you had that.

And then definitely in the Mat they'll put that chart there. But understand that even when you finish your first five and then you came in and you had the chart there, there still was a teacher. So if I had four teachers on the morning, I had one teacher that was available each hour for privates and I had the other three teachers to scope the whole studio. It's not hard to scope six machines and four mats in a rectangular room with mirrors. And you got to know like, oh this person. Like there was one guy, I won't use his name, but he was a a restaurant owner on the Upper West Side, Anita's Chili Parlor. The guy was the sweetest guy in the whole world and he really tried to remember and everything, but he was quite thick in the middle and when he did the Backstroke on the Reformer, he stretched and he pulled so much he somersaulted backwards.

He was so kind of Rollie Pollie in the middle, and he somersaulted and landed on his feet and everyone was like, "Yay! You sis it!." I mean cause there was not, you know, through like we were, thank God there wasn't a lack of event, but certain things they happen when they're not attended. It was like there, you know, it's so thick here, the upper body is so heavy. Then when he stretched up, he like somersaulted totally backwards off the edge there. So usually you're at hand and you get to know like, oh Charlie's doing the Backstroke. I better get over there and just make sure that he doesn't fall off. You know, or you saw that somebody like got the Gondola Pole, you know, like you just had that feeling like, let me just drift over this way now to make sure that this is happening.

And you kind of drifted that way. So that's the thing. If you, but you never sat, we never sat, none of us sat down in a row in a Montas to do if it happened, you were strict muse, you were told not to do that. It was just out of the question. You know, I just did not say, if you needed to sit and you could use the bathroom or you could go and say to somebody else, I need a five minute break. Which I liked. The studio went in that way and I became a manager of the afternoon and Phoebe Higgins became a manager in the morning and it was easy because then it was like, you know, you're not feeling great today. Look, why don't you just go get a Yo, you know, we had a little refrigerator had thing so you didn't mandatory that everybody was on the floors. I can handle and go ahead, go away. Bob Lukens can call in from, you know, an audition 'cause I got a call back, Carrie. I'm like, okay, Bob will didn't stay but I'm supposed to be at work. Don't worry about it, Gosh, you're covered. You know, it's like we just do it. So that there wasn't that pressure and Romana really kind of loved this. She didn't want any one client becoming dependent on any one teacher.

And she was right. I mean it happens now, but because now it's all one on one private, there's so many more private. We don't do that open studio. And I don't want to say open studio like an open gym because you do have teachers watching you. And believe me, there are some people that now come and do what they call independent workouts. And I want to say, what are you doing? Stop it, you know, who gave this woman the right to work out? You know, she's doing a mess. She's just making a mess, left them. Right. But in the other way, I had every right to step over to her and say, you know, you have to clean up your shoulder positions, you have to work with the tempo that's not so erratic and wild and chaotic. You know, you had that. And it worked for us, you know, worked for a monitor for, I dunno how many years, I'm sure Joe worked in that fashion as well. And I don't know about Mary Bowen but I assume she did too. You know, so, and Shari was, and that was Shari. Now, those were those days and now I work where you teach, you know, one-on-one or you teach classes and we didn't have classes in those days.

Now we have classes I'm not really opposed to, especially when it comes to the Mat. And I'm always a big proponent of, you know, get that Mat clean and we can make a lot of other things happen on the Reformer. But we're in this world today. So I do have to teach Reformer and it's a little bit challenging because if you've only had two classes and then you decide you're taking or you've never taken a private and you're going to take your own form of class and it's, it's a lot. It's not impossible because I'm used to that old way of like got those three, at least I don't have three that I've never taught. It's almost easier if you have five people that have never taken the class before. They're not going to get through much. But you know, that's what you're going to do. When I first got to the studio,

Chapter 3

Changes in the Studio

it wasn't Romana's. I never, I thought it was Romana's studio when I first was teaching there.

I didn't know until I realized, I found out she had a board of directors and the board of directors made Romana the artistic director of the whole studio. And I've got to meet the board of directors 'cause they all were Pilates aficionados. I mean that's why it formed, whether it was, you know, Mr and Mrs Begley, I can't remember all of them now. John Steel, Bob [inaudible], Bob seed, somebody else I'll remember. And you always knew as I go when so and so comes in at six o'clock. If he walks through that door, when Jimmy Leptin are going to have to get James Lipton, if that person walks off that elevator, you make sure that there's a Reformer for him. Oh Bob Sweet was the name 'cause he got the hot pink Reformer. Don't ask me now when I first went there, the Reformers were in this kind of amber, like an Amber Stone color kind of Naugahyde. And as they disintegrated over time they started changing into colors like orange and turquoise and hot pink.

And that was not under Romana but under we'd tie because I don't know, he was upholstering them himself actually I believe. And so that's what happened beginning, it was all this kind of burdened amber kind of leather looking Naugahyde, you know, like a tawny color stuff. And there were six Reformers and it was a rectangular room. So it was elevator come off the elevator to your right. Will that be your left? So your right is going to be for Mats with the Handles and the Foot Strap, you know all classical and but a little smaller, shorter, not as long as present day ones.

And then there was a Spine Corrector that was housed up against the wall and the [inaudible] team was there and then you had a Cadillac that was low. Instead of a Cadillac being high, it was like you chopped off the bottom of the full Cadillac and just put it on the floor and then they called it a half Cadillac, which was, it had the Push Through Bar on the scaffolding or the metal tubing and then just flat out but had a handle in the front was on wheels and you can move it anywhere you wanted to. I don't know, it's just portable. Then you had the desk, there's the elevator, here's the desk and on the other side of the desk is six Reformers straight down the row mirrors, mirrors on every single wall. There were mirrors, there was just mirrors everywhere. And then in the back there was the full Cadillac and it was a wall and then a little exit to Romana's office.

And then the back dressing room for the men. And on this wall was the Ballet Barre. She had a Ballet Barre for correctors. Were there some Magic Circles 'cause you do those plays like Carola Trier, love to do those, squeeze plies. And then you had the Ladder Barrel and then the High Chair and another exit to a women's dressing room and shower area. And then there was a little office where they kept the linens and the towels and the old steel cabinets that had to be, they would tell them me, you know, which is not hard to be only like five. They had to be six feet, those cabinets. And there was like three of them. And one day I was like, I never knew what was in them. I never really looked until one day a man came to the desk. I said, well have you been here before? He goes, of course I've been here before. And I was like, oh, what's your name?

He's like John Philip Sousa, the third. I said, you mean Dah, Dah, Dah de bump? He's like, exactly. And I was like, well one is like go in the back, he's got a car. And I'm like looking for John Philip Sousa the third in the archive of Po. And there he was. I was like, then I was like, oh my God, who else is in this? And I'm sure showing Gallagher has those file cabinets and everything else. But it was funny to see how, and we'd go in occasionally and there you would see those, those cabinets were filled, huge amount of people that had gone through Joe's life and through and on.

And so in that respect, in Romana's office, there were some eight by tens that were written to Joe. And then there were some eight by tens that were written to Romana, meaning like Jose for rare, I mean likes to jail, you know, so famous, you know, Eddie Albert and you know, different people that were there. And Romana would know that time too. 'Cause as far as I learned, Romana herself first went to Joe when she was 17 with the ankle injury and Balanchine had sent her there. So that keeping of all those things, it was just so many people went through it. And as you see from all those things, Romana would talk about.

She loved it, she didn't, she didn't really want it to end in the sense of, not that she didn't want to incorporate more people, but you get so addicted to being in your own family of like artists and seeing that the dancer really needs this knowledge to perform their art and to be able to see somebody come from an old injury or bad patella, broken patella, pull it back together, don't worry, get you back on stage. You know that kind of, almost like sports there. You know, how they feel about sports and athletes. I think that's how Romana felt about the dancers and she saw that sometimes people got too casual with the exercises. They're like, oh, they don't even know what this can do for their body because they never do anything with their body. But Palabra is so I inch, those are not her exact words, believe me. But it's that phentermine of like, oh my goodness, you know, she's a housewife. That was Romana. One of her words. I was like, but you know, you still, you can be whoever you are as a human. She wanted you to take care of the work that we're trying to give you and make it so that you know, I didn't finish teaching you and all about this.

And then two seconds later you collapse your whole posture and you let it all go. Oh, will you tell me to pull that up, right? I'm like, well I did all of the sessions over now. Right? It's like, yeah, we're going to do, you didn't maintain it for a little while, you know, maybe for like a week. So they wanted to say that with that you can be the dancer who began self-correcting faster than the average person. 'Cause it meant their livelihood to them. And I can say what Joe would've said. Romana had many words to say about him, but then again, he didn't have much money. He threw people out of his studio all the time. I want to take Clara had to go and get them or otherwise they couldn't pay the rent. So that kind of perfection that maybe he wanted, Romana was a little bit looser with it. Not as tight. And for myself today, some teachers who've experienced me that are classical maybe see me as too casual or too like, I don't know, she's trying to be funny this at one man's comedy acts she's got going here, you know?

But I have found for myself throughout the years that when I'm meeting new people and new clients and if they are not professional, at least I have to let them have a bit more humor to get a little closer into them because they don't understand this seriousness of, I didn't want you to drop shoulders and keep them down. Now don't do that again. You know, it's like what? They're just not going to be able to respond. They're just not there. And with a little humor, I was like, okay, guess what? We're gonna bring the shoulder down for the fifth time. How about that? And then they're like, okay, snotty Carrie. But I still tried. It is still reminding this same repetition, but it just, I just can't do it hard because they just get tighter. And today we are more of a service to the clients. I'm not saying we're a mani-pedi, but you know, because we want them to be involved in it. You know, mani-pedi, you just sit there. They do it to judge Hare.

But so we are service, but it's the services for you, the client. And so whatever we give you, if you really want to see a transformation, you have to come with us. That the more than 50/50 I'll give you 100% but you got to give me back at least 65 for us to make a change. They know. So that's what I would say was different about my experience now as opposed to one, it was just like, oh my God, I'm going to stretch Makarova before she goes on the Met stage tonight. I'm going to do the Bicycle Stretch on the Cadillac and she's going to touch her foot, her head, her neck, her back.

And I am not going to believe I'm doing it. It was just a thrill. Larry Stanton was an avid student of the Pilates method. He must've come in every day, if not, you know, at least three, four times a week. I'm like seven o'clock in the morning. And he was also the president of RSI as a toner. So when, but they had the funds in the backing behind their name era sites, the tournament slippers in gloves, that's the company. And they wanted to establish and stay in the same location, which everybody was like, whew, thank God. So that's when the board sold their shares and Romana did have shares.

It wasn't like she didn't have anything, it's just that she didn't have controlling shares. But they sold terrorists. I said toner. And when they came in, aerospace attorney came in. Larry Stanton was a client and his assistants came in and they didn't do big changes in the, say the gym, but they did make it so that we all had to wear uniforms and thank God I was only 110 pounds because I had to wear a royal blue cotton ribbed unitard with a little, what you call those crop top tops and in the corner over here, like a name tag harmony on the shirt. It's at era isotone a of fitness center using the Pilates method. So we didn't think like alive it. We were like, hmm, that's strange.

You know why we call that? And then we got special little Arrow sites, the Tony's shoes we had to wear and everything was like little RSI, Sedona, but everything managed well. The students were happy. The teachers were all the same. We all had, now we all had health insurance and we all had a week's pay vacation and we had like, things that Pilates teachers still don't get today. But unfortunately what happened to that situation, it probably would have been great to stay. But Philip Morris was merging with the company. So these two giant companies and Philip Morris said, we've got to go through all your companies. I think they would be our truest. I'm not sure.

But like my insurance card was thoroughly insurance and something else was delays. Like it's just those, what do you call it? The pantyhose that was in an egg, they would call legs. So I was like, look, how many companies own or were a part of many companies. So when Philip Morris said, you have to go through, he looked down and he thought, well, this place is a loss. And Larry Stanton tried his damnedest to not say we're gonna dissolve. We did pro bono work with the arthritis foundation, which was amazing.

Phoebe had a couple of people that just just came out. Stella, I mean, they came in twice a week for like six months. At the end of six months, one man who came in with two canes, Bernie Tope and two canes and by the end of six months, no more canes. So Larry's standing was trying to show the companies that this is a very important community thing and an exercise for them that you really can invest in. And they were like get rid of it. So it was Larry standing who has had to dissolve the Pilates part of the Rsis I toner and unbeknownst to us, Romana kind of worked him towards we tie [inaudible] and we tie OAM, became the next owner and we're back to the Pilates studio and I'm not exactly sure of the years but by, and then things started to change a little, not big with the technique 'cause again we tie had been there for a very long time. He was an instructor but now he was the owner and you know, he had some ideas and one of them was this thing called the Shuttle 2000, which was this kind of, I don't know, looked like a Mazerati kind of bucket seat low to the ground thing that NASA had made. And it had five Bungee, eight bungee cords on it and to get different strengths. And he brought one into the studio and he was like, Carrie, I want you to go over there and work on that and see how much of the Reformer you can transpose onto this Shuttle 2000. I'm like, okay, go there.

And it was just w but what it did have was this platform that you could jump off of. So that's when, prior to that, there was no Jump Board in the Pilates method that I knew of. And it certainly wasn't in Romana's studio, but it certainly is an aspect of recuperation and restoration for athletes and dancers. The biggest fear for any dancer after an injury is to jump. And so this was possibly something that could work, and he had bought the rights for the whole eastern seaboard that he sell it, but I think pretty much shortly at, Oh, and then he had this other idea that he was going to make videos of all of us teaching all different levels. And if then he was going in, we're going to start something in Soho now again. It was like 1988, 87, 88. So he was already in Soho. Right. His mind is going so, and he was going to put in his place. So you only had like one maximum of two teachers that would have to do it and a person would come in and they'd be on the shuttle to the very black and this very, very high tech, right. With VHS tapes.

And you could go to the library and there's Carrie doing this or Bob doing this or Phoebe doing this and you can take those tapes out and put it in. But you know, is it owed to Joe? He had it on Greek Corinthian plaster pedestals with the monitor that you would like flip this thing in. Well I thought Romana might lose her mind and she was like, oh my God. But not surely. After that the whole thing kind of fell apart.

Then financially he just went overboard and it was a very expensive space. But had he been able to handle that space, it was also an interesting space because we had then 5,000 square feet of space and he had incorporated using a space allowing it for JRW Physical Therapy. Did their first space there and Ohashi of Ohashi out to Shiatsu massage in school. He came up and looked, he liked the work, he liked the Mat and he agreed that they were build authentic. They have to last. She is a very authentic, so that was a big Spence the, so she's screened room and the futons and we had practitioners that would come up and do massage as well. And now that plenty space, I would think it was in the design building and things. 151 E 56th street and that was like a car or something designed.

So it had a lot of rooms. So the Pilates room again still had the six Reformers, three in the front, now three behind the elevated platform area that were the four Mats, Ped-o-Pul, Ladder Barrel. We never put the Guillotine up in that space. And then you had another Chair and the Cadillac and a staffroom and then you had room for, you know the PTs, both of them have at least two tables, right? [inaudible] and then the Ohashi, you know she had two rooms. Oh my God. It was gorgeous. But it had to be at least 12 by 12 so, and then there was a locker room for the women, locker room for the men and three showers. So it was a big space. So back then the overhead, the rent, not the overhead.

The rent for that space was like $10,000 in 1987 big space. And how would say shell was downstairs in the next building and he was a chiropractor and he became a client of the Pilates studio. And that's how Howard laces into we'd tie. And when the whole thing fell apart in 1989, April fool's day like that, Howard got a Reformer in his office and started power Pilates with Phoebe Higgins is the main teacher and person who helped Howard in his office. Jared w got one Reformer because we, I had totally crashed on them. I'm Romana I think, got to put two or 4 million and draw goes, not sure about that.

And the rest went into storage. Everything went into storage. And I went to DRW Physical Therapy with Bob and healer, Paul d who had that year. He'll appalled. He had trained to be a teacher as well. Did Pam Party trained to be a teacher that year? But they were not fully fledged teachers. And the girls from Boulder had already gone back to Boulder and were getting Romana to fly out there to work with them towards their certification or whatever it was. But it all fell apart fast in 1989 and everybody had to regroup and it wasn't a good time.

Chapter 4

Pilates Trademark

The trademark was a very thing for many of us because there were only eight of us, the ones who were certified. I mean, I wasn't certified until that last year in 1988 as my certification. And even that we tie, put a little kaboshed on it. I'm like there are the Corinthian columns and wall. I'm like, I don't know what's stationery story. Got it in, but you know, but anyway, and it says Carrie beginnings and it's, we tie signature and it's Romana's signature and it's the place ink seal, the goal, whatever we got. But it's the seal everyone business Banta seal, you know, we were just, it fell apart. So we just went on and did what we did until Ken and I had to eventually leave JRW Physical Therapy. We were working in a tiny room, one Reformer and a Wall Unit. And might I add the Wall Units? The Wall Unit was made by Steve Giordano. Now Steve I knew from SUNY Purchase and he was, you know, Lori Coleman there from that same time at SUNY Purchase in the dance division. But Steve was going up to SUNY Purchase and opening the Pilates room, you know, not illegally, but he had to do it through ways of like the palladium club and the [inaudible], you know, he had to find it because it wasn't a line through the university to get a teacher there. So He'd say, so then NVM a club, but he was Kinda guy like that, you know, always.

But he made really nice equipment and so he made me a Wall Unit for JRW Physical Therapy. He did a really nice job and he was good like that. Steven spent a lot of time with Romana. He's like the only single person in the whole world that has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Pilates from SUNY Purchase. And he worked that out with Romana and the SUNY Purchase the State University of New York. And he has that. So he's an interesting guy. So now we're back where the whole thing fell apart, right. So I'm there now.

I went down to the Village and I worked in a dance studio. I rented space from what? They had a 13,000 square foot dance studio, Lynn Simonton and Phoebe and I had been teaching Mat classes there on the weekend and now I rented, oh no, about a 600 square foot space room that had been an Alexander teacher's place. Now I took it over, but no one could get Pilates equipment from Gratz. It was like a freeze on it. This is like 1990 so then somebody in the dance space with a dancer from California and she talked about how Balanced Body. So I wound up buying a Balanced Body Reformer because I couldn't get a Gratz. No one would go out and sell Gratz.

It was just the thing we tie had ordered multiple pieces of equipment from him. He made them a wee tie, never. And one of the girls in Boulder can confirm that they paid for the full price of the Reformer and we took the money and never gave the money to Gratz. She just took it for himself. So Gratz was very angry at that time.

So he was not going to make equipment for anybody unless Romana told them to and that Romana wouldn't really suggest that anybody work outside of a studio independently. She preferred you working within a studio I believe. And we had to make a living and she has like, so I had to go to Balanced Body, so I word amounts, body equipment. Bob came down for a little bit, he was like, oh this is crazy equipment. I don't like this equipment. This is too dangerous daddy control. And I'm like, well you control the g, you know, it's like you should be able to learn how to control it if yours. No do philosophies. So I never had any fun with Balanced Body equipment. I mean one time I didn't, I had one other piece of equipment that had the rope that the ropes and the higher things and I was like, you know, this is good for some things. You know, I'm not opposed to different things. I've met all the pieces of equipment out there and it's like driving a different car. It's, you know, maybe don't like it.

Do you really think it doesn't do the same work? I think gap to have your mindset to do the same work on a different piece of equipment is what I think. But I didn't fail from working on volume, Balanced Body equipment. I mean if you're going to manufacture it fast and things like that, the quality, sometimes they've seen different pieces of everybody's equipment. It depends how you, what's a quality control on it and they, you still have to be in control and so if you can control the bounce body equipments and something's wrong with you, that's all I can say. It's a smooth light. You like the heavy ride that push it out.

I came back, oh my God, my shoulders are going to die from grads and kill me after I'd been working on Balanced Body and I was saying, you know, you get used to it. But when I first came back I was like, oh my God, what is this? I'm moving a truck over here and Balanced Body. You Go, who's you? You? So you have that. So it was hard and then it scattered. And then everything had to regroup once again.

And Bob needed to follow his green card. So he went back to Romana and I think Sean had a business with Steve Giordano prior to buying the said a seal of Pilates studio. And that was called Synergy and Romana and Sean and Steven were combined as a unit to teach certifications under Synergy. And then a year later he bought, so he says 93, the Pilates studios, inc CEO or whatever. And what made me angry was that I had two people that I had trained and I said, well, you know, whatever I've trained you in, if you take anybody's test, if you can pass them, they're not teaching

Pilates so I had two people and they both did it, the Synergy. And then when he bought Pilates, he said they had to recertify. What was he teaching? What was Romana teaching differently and Synergy. And that's when I really distrusted, you know, Shawn is like, you know, come on now you're like a scam artist. You just want more money out of people. And of the original eight he offered us all grandfather, the u n if you pay $2,000 for Phoebe, I at proof, let's say five $2,000 forget that man. He's like grandfather you in for 1500 grandfather him for five 1000 grandfather him for 500 grand. I was like, she was like, Phoebe went in on it.

I think I had zero grant funding then and she's like, you're not going in. I said, I'm not even going in on zero. And I said, I've already done this man's office and told them I would wash toilets and walk dogs before I worked for him so I couldn't say anything. So Phoebe and Phoebe. So what happened is BB ditch, but she was working when po wasn't called Bao applies that, but it was at Howard's to shells and this and that. And then the police guild in the old days things, it was like, I don't know, some kind of different kind of Germany and it said, and the plays, Gill, I was like, I used to call him the Pilates police. If you see a Pilates studio sign, call the officer if you do this, like what is this reporting on people and everything. And if you work in a studio where you're working, not alongside, but applaud his guild teacher, you must let us know and you'll be in your certification will be null and void anyway if you don't quit.

So then how is his shell had a big fight with showing galleys because Howard had a letter from Lee Thai. So this is the part where you just go, I think they like Carrie, what are you going to do? I'm like, well, I technically got certified in 1988 but in 1981 I was teaching there and I had my taxes to show it. Now how do I teach something and I'm not legal to teach it or I'm not qualified to be a teacher? They're like, what is this certification thing anyway, but I am certified in 88 and you bought placing. So my idea was, hey, here it goes. If I went to Harvard and got a degree in English and you came along 20 years later and decided to change the criteria, it does not nullify my degree from Harvard. So you have to honor. And what is your big deal about honoring eight people? Anyway, it wasn't like with thousands of people, it was eight people.

It was Anthony Rhubarb. It was Phoebe Higgins. It was Shari. It was myself. It was Katherine Shapiro. It was Patty Garvey and Melanie Buono and Elise, somebody bacon. That was it. There was eight of us. That was that. And so that's where I was like, what he foolishly went around, he could have convinced a lot more people that he was truly the owner of this Pilates studio and everything [inaudible] had he not, and it would've made a lot more money had he then incorporated all the elder teachers and used it as an umbrella to have workshops and ongoing necessities for education or continuing education than he did losing money in the battles he fought. So it made me very, not better, but I was like, I'm determined. I'm not given, and I'm the only one of them that didn't give it and everyone, but if we can't, we can't teach Pilates. I'm like, yeah, how's it gonna stop me?

I'm going to do it. I had to do it small. I didn't make a lot of money, but I didn't stop. I was right in there in Seattle, right next to the lawyer Coleman up on the hill and there were their certification program. Armani asked me, why don't you join us? I said, oh, wash dogs, wash toilets. I'll work for you, but you work for him. So no thank you. That was it. And eventually she saw in him and she left. So for her in Shari and Daria, I don't manly know, Daria from baby, you know, three years old, her daycare, she was on all the equipment by seven. She could have taught probably she knew all their exercises. She was, you know, this was, her daycare was Pilates, so that was Daria.

But the Shawn and Bitterman, I don't understand because he's an excellent Physical Therapist. And I would assume to be an intelligent man, but a woman who backed we tie once told me, you know, financially backed him to buy Pilates and everything that no matter who it is, when they use Pilates for greed, they will come down, they'll fall down. And that's what she told me. And she was a very polite person from years. She was there in 1981 when I was there and she knew we tie well, you know, and she helps support him, supported him to get the studio. But she said, you know, later on when I spoke to her and she said, Carrie, he's going through a catharsis now. He hasn't realized, you know, what he needed. You know, there's like greed and you know, that I don't think we'd ever present in, Joe Pilates from what I've heard, nor in Romana greed wasn't there. She had to make a living. She had to survive and she didn't own studios, but she did own her knowledge. And sometimes people abused using her for her knowledge and not really giving her imprisoning, limiting her fears.

Sean did limit her then. Then she couldn't even go and do workshops on her own. He was like, oh no, you can't do that. You're working with this. I was like, oh boy, he's just a task master mean it's too much for me. So you know, I don't know. He lives on and that we all live on. And I think in myself, when it became for the whole litigation, I was on the class action side and seven hours, seven and a half hours, my deposition was, and I had all the little things Pilates old things to prove that Shawn cannot own the Pilates word and never intended to hurt Romana. I think that people found that they were siding with Romana this 'cause Romana's feelings where if this becomes generic, the work will get hurt.

And in that, I have to say sometimes I see what she was definitely talking about. If you have things that are trying, if you're not polite, now we're generic. We're ice cream. Well, I don't want to name names, but there's some ice creams. No, thank you. I don't need to eat that ice cream. It's not worth the calories. And yes, I will have some child Bella over here. And that's worth it. You know?

And I think that's unfortunately what's happened with Pilates is like their astronomy. Like, oh no, I don't think I need to get on a giant machine. And what is this jump and kill myself from side to side. And why'd you call it Pilates? Eh, you know, you just jumping in on a name and a history of a hundred years and you are so not the future of Pilates that you know, that that's what it is. And I think the teachers that I've met so far in New York, upon returning to New York in 2003, Brooke Siler studio, she was a student of Romana certify Romana. She had a wonderful studio. She had a very small, limited certification course. She wasn't looking to just have 20 people in there.

She only took six a year. I mean, she was not trying to make money off of it, but she doesn't want to attach her name, believe me, to anything that is less than stellar. And now I'm at uptown place, that's where I'm presently teaching. They have different styles of Pilates, not classical, not all classical. There is Core Pilates as Power Pilates as well. Pull up power Pilates is pretty classical, almost 97% classical. And the only reason why I say for a powerful audience is just that it just got, it just became a very important manual and this is how you do something. And previously in this, earlier in this conversation I spoke and said how Romana made you realize how you needed to be more flexible. But that's the problem, you have to trust.

Romana wanted it small because she only wanted people she could trust. I had in mind Romana once said to me in theatrical was, Carrie, what are you supposed to do? They pay this money, they take the test, they do the hours, they take the test and she just knew they were not teaching material, but it's not her. It's just not her called this day. They take the test, they passed the test, they did the tests, they did the hours, they paid the money. And you still not quality studio in for teacher in my time Romana as of September came. So he did June, July, August, walk in September five of us. Then she taps one. Oh Sky was so dude, your is, must've improved so much this summer. You know darling, I really don't think you're teaching material. Next one, the Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. It's like three of the five gone and that she didn't pay.

You didn't pay her any money and she didn't pay you any money. And then once you got that, then you got paid. Not Alive back. You got bad and then you moved up. You know, like stuff like that. But that's true. She said to me in Seattle after lunch with Laura Coleman, she was like, I missed that. I wish I could just see what you can do and then tell you what I see.

There's something missing in you. Not everyone is a teacher, not everyone is a teacher. And that's what Romana wanted to bring an eye to fruition. And as of my experience with Brooke, Oh yeah, those princes, some of them, we were so hard on some tears and crying. I'm like, Oh my God, here he goes, the drama, he goes, the drama. But they, the later on when they did finally pass and they're a year later, they finally call me and they're like, oh my God, can I guess what happened today? And I'm like, ah, now we know, we thought that you were just being so mean and, but oh we just said, yeah, there you go. 'Cause you said you don't, and Romana said that to me too. In Sierra, she goes, Carrie, you just don't make a teacher in a year. Just can't make a teacher in a year. And so for my experience, I was there for nine years. So, you know, I had this home of, and I understand and feel for people who might come from, you know, Spain or Korea or Russia or California, wherever to come and do these seminars and this and that. They don't have that at home and I don't have that home anymore.

Where you feel comfortable enough that your own family member? I mean, I know it's my family. I'm from a big family of seven. If my brother tells me, I'm like, it's only your business. But in the polite, his family was, they've, Lorie comes over and he says next time for him, try that only on two springs. Okay. And then I'm like, okay. And it was not an insult. I didn't feel humiliated and it worked, you know. But she had her eye on me teaching somebody else and she thought and she politely came over to me and told me what she thought would work because she had how many more years of experience than I did. And that's the only thing that experience can do if you let it.

If you let someone else's experience wash over you and try it then, but if you have your ego too big, you're not going to be the teacher.

Chapter 5

Seeing Romana in Later Years

So Romana didn't have a whole lot of Pilates parties, but a couple of times a year she'd have a party and I'm like, Oh God, and don't go to Romana's party. You know, she's not intimidating, but she's very, it's a persona. She's like [inaudible]. I'm like, all right Phoebe, we're going. And Margaret Skinner, that was the other teacher who is the apprentice. But that year, and so going around Montessori, and this is a couple of years into being with her, but I haven't been to her house yet. So we go to her house and walk in and I'm like, oh my. And there is like oil paintings on the wall. I mean big oil paintings, they're huge and stuff and the couches and the this and the band. The dogs. And you got everything.

And then I'm going to say it wrong probably, but you could, somebody could correct me. I think it's called a therma. It's a, it's where a tea comes out or coffee. It's Russian. It's like copper and it's, anyway, you'll look it up and yeah, and so anyway, she would come down to the end and we've had anyway, hors d'oeuvres and champagne and Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And she's in some, you know, calf Tenney kind of thing, lounging in very proper posture and always lifted and everything. And they said, Oh yes, I'll find darlings. I will do the tea readings. And I'll say, oh, Phoebe, I do not want tea readings. I don't want tea readings.

And then she does everyone, she pours the tea and she looks in the cup and everything. She goes through it and this, that, and then she'll say, okay, now it's my turn. She is mine. Oh, that's, see, carry on. We have here. Ah, oh wow. Well like, oh, what is it? Well, it's a revolver, like a rubber solver. Romana then a black cloud, like this is a ligand Visium like I told you, I didn't want, my daily thread is like a black cloud goes, don't worry. Maybe I'm misreading it. Maybe the revolve is your strength and your protection of other people.

That's like, yeah, right. Whatever it is, it'll blow away. Don't worry about it. And I was like, oh, she just doesn't like me. So that's my funniest day of month. She kept alive. The Pilates work in its classical form. I appreciate the work of some other people, Eve Gentry and Kathy Grant and such.

But Romana kept it at his flow in the sense that if it be from beginning to end, if you look at the charts that were a part of the archival work, the first exercise being the Hundred and going all the way through, Romana taught that flow. That was your goal, to have that flow and the same in the Reformer and to keep alive as many of the other, you know, kind of gymnastic exercises and the like. And then transitions. I mean, some of the transitions are new to me, but you know, I didn't make them, I don't know, I remember them. Somebody made, I don't think Joe bourred between the Wunda Chair doing the Arm Press Downs and then got up. I don't think that happened, but you know, far for me to say, but I believe I'm on a cap that alive. And she kept it in a one studio once you to, she was there, you know, from the time of that she took over there until 1989 and in 1989, she strapped herself back up, went to Dragos and said, I'm going on again. So I don't think she ever gave up. And I think there might've been, had she had a better taste in men, she might have found a partner that may, I mean a business partner that would have let her have a little bit more freedom in the sense of not running her around the country teaching. Because like I said, I think you learn more from being with her in her own studio space than for her to go for a monitor, go to another studio, it's performance and for a monitor to be in her own space is Romana.

And so that's where you learn who Romana is. When you see her teach her own clients and when she's teaching in a conference, it's performance and not that that's bad. You know, she's wonderful in performance, but I think she's more at ease when she has a, and when you go to a conference, oh you got how many 50 million Pilates teachers. When you see our teach clients that have, you know, needs and little falters here and they're older and she'll show you what she does, then she, you can see what she does. So net sense. I think she will go down in history as the person who held the Pilates work together in its entirety. And I think the other teachers are the ones that were able to take it and break it down or try to show you what was Joe doing in the back room.

You know, where Romana we said, oh that's backroom work. That's for like all the Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And you can get very intrigued by that. And then it becomes so tense. But I mean, I'm not against a lot of exercise methods or work like Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, this and that. But the bottom line is you've got to put it all together so they could run down the street and that's what I feel with breaking it down. Okay, you can break it all down and now how are you gonna let me see. You put it all back up. There's gotta be a time to reassemble.

And that's the human being. I don't think Pilates done dissected is too slow. It needs to be done when it needs to be done. It's just, I think what Romana did was she tried to keep it, you know, as vital and then not to key it. Those were the exercises, that's where, who he was. He loved to take something that's broken or hurt or somebody else that says, I don't you give up. Especially, you know, the work with Eve Gentry. I've worked with a lot of women who had double mastectomies, you know, but that's in the eighties and nineties. With Eve Gentry, that's in the 50s right. And so, you know, that's groundbreaking work that he was doing there 'cause they weren't doing that and that rehabilitations for women who had double mastectomies. And so, you know, it's wonderful. Michelle Larson, I met her, she's a wonderful person and I love her work. I've taken a workshop when she was in town and it reminds me of the modern dance sensibilities, of that beginning of what I had and I want to have more Ballet flair to it. They all had their part, but I think not only because I don't know the extent of the other people's work, I must say if there's one thing I regret is I didn't have time to study with more Pilates elders to see what their takes were on it.

But Romana's always made sense to me. I mean, again, there might be some of that more Ballet affectation on it, but I'm Polish together, raise you up and makes you good. And she did that out of one studio in a really hard city, New York. I mean, I love Romana in a sense that everything that she gave me, she gave me the ability to dance when doctors were saying you've got to give it up. And she was like, oh, don't be silly. And then she came to my rescue and she did it with the Pilates work. And when everything split up in 1989 and then where am I on a crush with the ACL reconstruction? I was like, Oh God. Really? And I saw everyone's little panic and Romana it was all about her and Sherry and that's all she could deal with. That's who she was protecting, and Phoebe and myself, we got scattered. So that hurt, you know, a little bit like, Whoa, are you, that's the world. That's it. We gotta find our own way now. And then when we did, she didn't like what we would do. You know, it's like you can't have it both ways. So that's the part, it's just that, I don't know, I'm not a parent myself, but I've seen it with my friends and I've seen it with other people and I've seen it with choreographers. Marie Lewis, now Nikolais, when the company split Nikolai's Marie's gonna do, you know, then they had to come back together when times got hard, you know, but for Romana, I think it was about trust more than anything else, that we weren't going to do bad Pilates.

I met her in 2003 in a restaurant downtown, I think Laurie Coleman was hosting her for something and so they were having her out for dinner and I was going to a show and I saw her and she was there in her Moroccan slippers and her this and I'm like, Romana? And she's like, Carrie? I said, yes. And she's like, where's your red hair? And I say, well, it faded. She's like, does it happen to red heads? They fade? Romana she's like, oh, well maybe you shouldn't fade. Maybe you should try to bring it back, whatever. And I sent her a bottle of champagne or a table waiter comes over to me and I'm sitting here drinking lemon drops with my friend before we got to the theatre. It's like lemon drops, then champagne to two style and so, and she is like, she wants you there for the uncorking. I'm like, oh my God, did she really say that to the waiter? He just popped it in. All right.

So I go and walk in and there's Lori Coleman and I forget her, Lauren, her partner at the time in business. And then there's this woman next to me over here and Romana is at the table. She's like, Carrie, how are you so lovely for you to send a bottle of champagne? And as my friend Elizabeth and she's like, and this is Cha-cha. And I was like, and I've had to limit jobs and say, charge him marine gay. I mean like Cha-cha really touched you. And she's like, yes, Jada.

Then the man over in the other table, I realized it was. So anyway, they don't row and they want us back in our chair. And this is Carrie. How long have I known? You know, I was like, since 1975 she's like, and they're all faces. They're like, because no one knows a thing of who I am except Larry Coleman. So that was the part of Romana too. It's just like, you know, she just, whatever would, that was her time with people. And then when that was one I was gone and you and nobody knew about each other. Nobody, you know, and everyone thought that they were the closest to her.

It's like everyone's like, well the woman in Brazil's really the closest or I'm like, really? Who is the woman in Brazil? I don't know. That is so, I don't know a lot of people, but I can say it's for the time I spend with her, you know, I loved her and hope to understand that I had to move on and I couldn't be there with involvement. We, Sean, it wasn't about Romana, you know, I wished I could have gone on, but for many other people that I didn't attempt it cause I think I knew her for nine years and when I knew she had like shut the door and it wasn't really any going back. And I watched her shut the door on Peter Fiasco and Brooke Siler. And you know, it's just like these are people that absolutely adored you, wined and dined you and you know, loved you. And why did you so much?

Everyone wants to have what we've Romana say. If she saw me teach today, you know what she'd say, oh that's not good. Oh that is good. Or could be bad. You know, everyone still has it that she's over their shoulder going, do you really think that's good? So in many ways that's like, having just like a deity now that's just like looking down. It's like, I don't think so or yes or it's things like that. And she was, I think she was honest when she thought something was good, it was good and we thought it was bad. It was that. And the only time she could not say was when she was in between needing a paycheck from somebody who, you know, she wasn't sure about. So by SAR, she know, she would know that I loved her and I always would tried to live up to her.

I asked ideals of do it working with the Pilates system.


2 people like this.
Thank you! Loving these interviews! 😍
2 people like this.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
3 people like this.
As with al of this project, I really enjoyed Cary talk about her time, her perspective. It also helped to tie together various events that occurred in that time line, so now everything really makes sense. Thanks so much.
1 person likes this.
That was so interesting! I love these special features that you do. Thank you so much!
Cary Regan, speaks to the history of the Pilates method with incredible detail, ability to connect fragments, bridge gaps, reflect the past, and demonstrate what it is to thrive in the present Pilates environment. Pilates Anytime has the largest and continually growing library of special features that we call the Pilates Legacy Project and I am so thrilled that we have just added this important contribution. I'm sharing the trailor to the library that you can find here on the website as part of your membership. From there, you can explore the 60 or so videos in whatever fashion you like...
Follow Romana's lineage, or perhaps you prefer to learn about Kathy Grant. You can even take class with her (and Blossom and Cara) and NYU! How about Ron Fletcher?, or Eve Gentry? ... Mary Bowen, Lolita San Miguel, Carola Trier... They're all there! I hope you'll all take the exploration. Thank you Cary Regan!
Lore Miller
1 person likes this.
Thank you Cary for sharing this historical journey you experienced training and working with Romana. It was absolutely fascinating to have so many intimate incites into the Romana saga and Pilates history pieced together. Brilliant!
Debora Kolwey
Dear Cary. I don't know if you would remember me from a couple of times I came to the studio between 1985-1989. The second time I had torn my ACL and you held my hand, insisting I do side splits when I was terrified. I so love your interview! Thank you! You bring my own memories into such clarity; it's like sharing family stories with a relative you haven't seen for a long time. I can't stop smiling. Thank you!
Eric C
Thank you for this great interview. I think anyone who works in the exercise industry can hear their own story amongst the constant shifts in location, owners, and greed that Cary talks about experiencing in her historic Pilates career. To work long term we have to be open to rolling with the waves of change and upheavals that are ever present in our industry AND, just like Cary, know when you'd rather scrub toilets than follow a trend...
Cary, I am so glad to see you on Pilates Anytime. I am so grateful for your teaching at JRW of me to become a pilates teacher. Even though we are both nyc folks our paths do not cross yet. Thank you again! Love Lesley Powell
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