Romana Kryzanowska

In 1941 Balanchine (famous New York choreographer and personal friend of Joseph Pilates) sent one of his dancers, Romana Kryzanowska, to study with Joseph Pilates because she had an ankle injury. Under Pilates’ instruction she recovered from her injury, and stayed on in the studio for many years to study and eventually taught side by side with Pilates so that, when he died in 1967, she was the person who was chosen to run his studio and carry on his work.

Romana continued studying with Clara Pilates (Joe’s wife) until her death a decade later and kept teaching the method that Joe and Clara Pilates passed on to her for over five decades. No one else worked for such a long time with Joe Pilates, and, consequently, no one understood the method with the same depth as Romana.

Judy Gill-Dougherty with picture of Joseph Pilates

Jay Grimes (First Generation Master Instructor and pupil of Joseph and Clara Pilates) said in a interview with Ideal Magazine:

“One of the things Romana doesn’t talk about is that throughout all those years (after Joe’s death), she is the one who kept Pilates alive. Clara continued to work, but she was in her 80s and there was a limit to how much she could do. It was Romana who kept the whole thing going.” Technically, says Grimes, nobody knows Joseph Pilates’ work better than Romana Kryzanowska, and he believes she embodies the true Pilates spirit.

Everyone studying Pilates today can trace their roots back to Romana in one way or another. Either their teacher, or their teacher’s teacher or their teacher’s teacher’s teacher was trained with or by Romana. The closer this connection is to the source the closer the work is to the way it was intended to be by Joseph Pilates himself. Romana’s Pilates is the company formed by Romana and Sari who both trained closely with Jo and Clara Pilates for decades, to continue Pilates’ work- you can’t get much closer to the source than that!

Information sourced from &