She broke a few myth bubbles and was perfectly delightful and funny!
First myth broken.
Joseph Pilates did not die as a result of the smoke inhalation from the fire in the building where his studio was located. But he did in a sense die of smoke inhalation, he died as a result of his habit of smoking cigars. Two years after the fire, Joeseph Pilates died of advanced emphysema. .
Joe and Clara lived in an apartment in the same building were the studio was, as did Bruce King. In fact, the fire raged mostly around the storage area, where Joe had a space, located in the back of the building, closer to Bruce's apartment (Bruce's place was affected and he had to move out).
The day after the fire, Joe walked into the storage room to assess what he had lost to the fire and stepped though the floor. His foot went through the damaged floor, about up to his knee, and a nasty scrape on the outside of his low leg was the extent of his injuries.
Second myth broken.
"It had to be Joe's way or not at all." The myth about the Pilates method (and Joe) being so compleatly structured without need/room for development, creativity and invention. Best answered by Mary in her own words, drawn from an answer to an article in The LA Times.:
"Joe was not rigid. In the 6 years that I was at his studio, I often created exercises and variations in his presence which he always allowed. He affirmed a creative approach to his principles. Some Pilates participants seem to have forgotten this. Joe's reminder to me was "Just be sure that you are always aware of the whole body at all times no matter what you do." The Pilates Method is about wholeness.""
Third myth broken.
Not even half of the exercises that is today taught in a turned out position was ever seen turned out in Joe's studio. Most of it was in parallel.
Mary is an inspiration, I am very happy to have met her. Go to her web site: