Brooke Siler began her Pilates career in 1994 under the tutelage of Master Instructor Romana Kryzanowska. After receiving her national authentic Pilates certification in 1996 Brooke Siler began training famous friends on floor mats in their homes. Clients immediately were taken by the positive results of Pilates and by year’s end Brooke had begun the business of training from her home.

Many more famous clients were quick to refer their friends to Brooke, and before long word of mouth had spread to the press about this extraordinary fitness method being embraced by models and celebrities. It was a matter of months before Brooke’s business grew too large to continue in her living room. So, in 1997, she created and opened re:AB, which grew to become one of New York City’s most successful studio for authentic Pilates.


Hi, my name is Tavis Bohlinger and I’m the new European Correspondent for Gratz Pilates. Inthe coming months, I will be conducting interviews with some of the biggest names in ClassicalPilates in the UK and Europe.

Brooke Siler

In this first interview, I had the rare opportunity to sit down with Brooke Siler (before the quarantine!). She is one of the most renowned second-generation teachers to come out of Dragos in NYC. Brooke is full of vitality and insider information on the history of Pilates. That knowledge, and her candid personality, made for a stimulating conversation that we’ll be publishing in a few segments, of which this is the first.


Please leave comments below, and let us know what other teachers you want interviewed and questions you want asked!







Thanks for coming all the way down from London!


Of course, thanks for sitting down to talk with me. Let’s talk about your first book, The Pilates Body. What led you to write in the first place?


I come from a writing background. Writing is just how I express myself. I knew I had a book in me, but I just never thought it would be this book. While learning from Romana, I realized there was a gap between what Romana said, and what we as the apprentices understood. I started taking notes, and coming up with all these different analogies. Every time I did an exercise, my brain was going, “Oh, this is kinda like an alligator snapping its legs together.” Or, “This is like a rocking chair.” In The Pilates Body, I put both visual metaphor and verbal metaphor together. I fought very hard with the publishers to make sure that the pictures, not only the photos but the actual drawings, were as large as possible. Despite my initiative, however, that first book really came from Romana. I was at the studio every day listening to things she was saying, and then afterwards going home, doing the exercises again, and writing down what I was feeling and seeing.


So, of course, writing requires your hands. But you're also known to use your hands in your teaching, on people's bodies, directing them, helping them feel the work. Do you think the success of your career is due to, not just having the passion for Pilates, but acting on that passion through an intimate, hands-on relationship with every individual that you teach?


I enjoy the experience of getting to know someone's body, and my hands are a real help to me. I get a lot of information through my hands- I just feel things. What I try to do with my hands is to get you to feel something that you might not be able to feel without my hands. Then, my goal is not to have to use my hands anymore. I am trying to get you to feel something, because once you feel it, you can chase it. But if you've never felt that before, how are you ever going to know what you're trying to achieve?

However, I always tell people: “First of all, you have to be the teacher you would choose to have for yourself. If you're not good with your hands, please don't use your hands, because bad hands are bad.” I don't just touch for the sake of touching; it is with pure intention that my hands go on to somebody. That said, there are plenty of amazing teachers who don't touch at all!


Can you tell us just a bit about your experience working with Romana, and how you found her?


I was working at a small, little gym in the West Village while still doing post grad classes in writing, and I needed money. One day the front of the gym was cleared and in came this big Cadillac! I didn't know what it was called at the time, and I thought, “What the heck is that?”

"I could do hundreds of sit ups and push ups, but I couldn't do Open Leg Rocker; I couldn’t rock back up!"

The teacher who brought it to the studio invited me to her next Pilates class. When I went, I couldn't do it! I didn't have the flexibility or the strength, and I was trying to use just my limbs. I could do hundreds of sit ups and push ups, but I couldn't do Open Leg Rocker; I couldn’t straighten my legs nor rock back up! I literally left the class in angry tears of frustration. After that, I watched the Pilates teacher at my gym teach classes for a couple of weeks, and then I began taking her classes every day. One day she suggested I go meet Romana, so I went up to Dragos and I instantly fell in love with her. I spent the next 10 years learning from Romana.

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