Named after the late Romana Kryzanowska, a protégé of Joseph Pilates, Romana’s Pilates is likely the most athletic form of Pilates available to the public today. Born in Michigan, Romana studied at the George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York City. As a professional dancer she sustained an ankle injury for which George Balanchine sent her to Joseph Pilates to assist the rehabilitation of the injured foot.
Located in the same building as Jo’s home studio, was Martha Graham, a dance icon in her own right and Balanchine. Both regularly sent their students to Pilates for training and rehabilitation. In fact, Joseph created dozens of apparatus pieces including what today is known as the Cadillac.
The Cadillac started out as a hospital bed with a steel frame to which springs were attached to provide resistance to help patients regain strength, flexibility, stamina and control after enduring an injury that rendered them temporarily immobile.
The Pilates method was first introduced to Americans upon Jo’s arrival in the United States in 1925. He and his wife Clara ,both immigrants from Germany had just immigrated to Hell’s Kitchen where they opened a small home studio teaching his original creation and fitness regime called Contrology. Here is some archival footage of Joseph teaching at his studio on 8th Avenue in New York City.
A few years into Romana’s training with Jo, she decided to marry and started a family of her own. Now married to a Peruvian prince she had two children, Paul and Sari who later would become the 1st generation of Pilates teachers instructed and trained by Romana herself. Krysanowska returned to New York City in 1956 to continue her studies with Pilates and to teach alongside with Jo and Clara. After Jo’s passing in the 1970’, Romana continued to work closely with Clara until she too passed.
Romana in fact operated the Pilates studio for several more years until the studio was closed to give her the opportunity to travel more freely to build and teach a new generation of Pilates teachers capable of keeping Jo’s legacy alive long after her passing. In the process Romana taught thousands of people promoting a selected few to become Teachers – Trainers of the Pilates method. This would give birth to the Romana’s Pilates network the way we know it today.
As Romana grew older, her daughter Sari Mejia Santo took over the day to day operations. Upon Romana’s passing in 2013,her granddaughter Daria Pace,took the reigns and with the help of level instructors in certification centers all over the world controls the Romana’s Pilates network.
Romana’s Pilates teachers are handpicked and have studied the Pilates method for a while before being allowed into the apprentice program. Each teacher goes through a rigorous 600 hour minimum trainee program that upon successful completion becomes the foundation of their professional career and further development as life-long students of the Pilates method.
Teachers within the network have access to some of the most accomplished 1st and 2nd generation teachers thanks to certification centers located throughout the USA, Europe, Russia, and Australia. Romana’s Pilates prides itself to stay true to the Original Method Of Body Conditioning the way it was handed down from Pilates to Romana as his appointed successor. Because of it, teachers within the network have access to the most comprehensive and unaltered Pilates exercise library available today.
As a globally operating network, continuing education events, workshops and private sessions distinguish Romana’s Pilates teachers from the vast number of Pilates teachers. This also shows in the quality of the training Romana’s Pilates clients receive.