The Pilates Elders

There were just a few original students of Joseph Pilates who went on to found their own studios and teach the Pilates Method. Several of them are very well known names in Pilates today, and most Pilates teachers can trace their “lineage” back to one of these original students.

Often called “the elders”, the people usually included in a list of the original instructors are:

Clara Pilates

As the wife of Joseph Pilates she worked closely with Joe for many years. She continued to teach and run the studio after his death.

Kathy Grant

One of only two students who was actually certified to teach Pilates by Joseph Pilates himself, Kathy Grant taught Pilates at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, holding a faculty position there since 1988. She passed away May, 27, 2010.

* Photo credit: Noboru Morikawa

Romana Kryzanowska


A close student of Joseph Pilates, Kryzanowska took over as director of Joseph Pilates studio a few years after he passed away. Romana is one of the most well known and highly regarded keepers of the classical Pilates tradition. She continues to teach Pilates.

Mary Bowen

Mary Bowen: Became a Jungian Analyst but continued to study Pilates with Joseph Pilates, and other of his students. She continues to teach Pilates with a slant she calls, “Pilates Plus Psyche.”

Ron Fletcher

Ron Fletcher: Ron Fletcher was a dancer with the Martha Grahm dance company. He opened a Pilates studio in L.A. and went on to develop his own Pilates style which is now known as Fletcher Work.

Eve Gentry

Eve Gentry: Was a dancer who, like Ron Fletcher, brought her dance training into her work as a Pilates teacher thereby expanding the Pilates teachings. In 1991 she was one of the founders of the Institute for the Pilates Method.

Lolita San Miguel

Lolita San Miguel: She was certified to teach Pilates by Joseph Pilates and taught for many years. She founded Pilates Y Mas Inc. She continues to teach Pilates.

Carola Trier

Carola Trier: Was the first person to open her own Pilates studio with Joseph Pilates personal blessing.

Jay Grimes

Jay Grimes: Another dancer, Jay Grimes studied extensively with Joseph Pilates and with Clara Pilates after Joe’s death. He also studied with Romana Kryzanowska and eventually taught with her. He continues to teach Pilates.

Bruce King

Bruce King was a member of the Merce Cunningham dance company. He opened a Pilates studio in New York City.

Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald opened his own studio in New York City.