“Connect your feet to your seat,” Romana Kryzanowska would often say. Not only was Romana one of Joseph Pilates’ most devoted pupils, she was also one of several ballet dancers who were introduced to him by the master choreographer, George Balanchine, whose own school was in the same building. Romana as well as many other dancers learned about the Pilates technique and how it helped and healed injuries, and as a result, Pilates quickly became accepted in the dance world. Countless hours are spent at the ballet barre, articulating and strengthening all parts of the body, especially the feet, and it was under the tutelage of Mr. Pilates that Romana deepened her knowledge about the feet’s relationship to the rest of the body.
I, too have a history with the feet, though not as dignified as ballet. Two weeks after my birth, my mother watched in disbelief as I dug my heels into the bassinet’s mattress and flipped myself over and landed on my back —I’ve always considered that my first athletic move. But when I six years old, my mother took me to the family doctor for a check-up, and he said my feet were flat, weak and that I needed corrective shoes. Destined to be physically fit, I dismissed his opinion, and followed my own athletic dreams — from high school all-around competitive gymnastics to a near twenty-year professional dance career. By the time I was introduced to the Pilates method, my feet had pushed, pressed, propelled, gripped, balanced, and articulated —quite an accomplishment for a pair of condemned feet.
Romana’s mastery of the Pilates method inspired me to emulate her, and though my feet still have their challenges, I use the knowledge and guidance she imparted, and infuse them into my own teaching. The concepts and principles of the Pilates method has a strong and balanced foundation, and it is the feet that begin the body’s journey.