October 2014 | Toronto, Canada
"The minute I took myself through a workout on the Gratz Reformer I realized there was something different about the equipment and found myself having to modify what I knew."
Lili Viola Pilates is a boutique studio that specializes in one-on-one instruction and small group classes. It is located in midtown Toronto, Canada. It is Toronto’s first, and so far only, classical Pilates studio. We only use Gratz Pilates apparatus. The reason I opened the studio is because I needed somewhere to teach authentic Pilates and there were no studios in Toronto for me to teach out of that had traditional apparatus, with the exception of Equinox on Bay Street which I had just left. Toronto is home to Stott Pilates and their certification school, so almost all of the teachers and studios in Toronto teach this system and are outfitted with their equipment.
At the moment our staff consists of only myself, as well as a part-time instructor, Stephanie Schreiber, a 3rd generation teacher, trained and certified at True Pilates in NYC by Sari Mejia Santo. We also have an apprentice, Kate Dotsikas, who is working one on one with me while she prepares to enroll in an authentic Pilates certification school.
In the spring of 2014 we welcomed 2nd generation teacher Peter Fiasca and Cara Hazelton to our studio as they lead 8 Pilates teachers and 1 apprentice from various educational backgrounds through a weekend of workshops on the traditional system. It was wonderful. We hope to continue to bring renown authentic Pilates teachers to our studio who can inspire, instruct and equip Canadian Pilates teachers to learn and teach Joe’s wonderful and original work. The next step for us is to set up a certification school so that we can train and certify future teachers and make classical Pilates more prevalent in our city.
My real story begins with Gratz. I had originally trained and certified in Stott Pilates and had taught that system for over ten years. Classical Pilates training was unheard of in Toronto. In the spring of 2013 I was hired to manage Equinox’s Canadian inaugural club on Bay Street (our Wall Street). Equinox, being an American company, and having regularly outfitted many of their Pilates studios with Gratz apparatus, chose to equip their Toronto studio with Gratz, not realizing they would have a difficult time staffing the studio with appropriately trained teachers.
The minute I took myself through a workout on the Gratz Reformer I realized there was something different about the equipment and found myself having to modify what I knew. This however, would not do. I came to the conclusion I better find out the reason why the apparatus was different and what the science behind it was and stop trying to reinvent the wheel. As a crash course on classical Pilates I started to watch video tutorials on Pilatesology. And that helped a lot! I was also fortunate to have a classically trained teacher working alongside me for about a month. She showed me how vigorous and energetic the authentic system is and encouraged me to re-certify. This led me to investigate authentic Pilates schools, and brought me to Brooke Siler and re:AB Pilates in NYC in the fall of 2013.
I was fortunate to be admitted into Brooke’s training program as a bridge apprentice, and complete my training with her before re:AB closed its doors recently. Brooke has been the best thing to happen to me. She has taught me not only how to teach the work authentically, but how to fall more deeply in love with a system I thought I knew but have come to realize I had barely scratched the surface. In January of 2014 I opened the doors to my new little studio, featuring 1 Reformer, 1 Cadillac, 1 Wunda Chair, 1 Ladder Barrel, 1 Spine Corrector, 1 Small Barrel, 4 raised mats and several accessories such as Magic Circles, a Foot Corrector and Toe Exerciser. I am welcoming a Pedi-Pole soon, and can’t wait to order an Electric Chair and an Arm Chair! So my story began with an experience on Gratz that changed the course of my career and therefore my life!
Stephanie Schreiber is a 3rd generation Certified Pilates Teacher at our studio
Many of the clients I have followed me from before, and have quickly discovered the difference classical Pilates and Gratz have made in their bodies. Since starting to do the original exercises on Gratz, they are getting stronger, more flexible and moving with greater ease. Exercises they found difficult in the past on other equipment, and taught differently, are becoming achievable and enjoyable. What I’ve discovered is that you cannot teach a variation or derivative of Pilates on Gratz apparatus, and you cannot, in my opinion, teach authentic Pilates on anything else, at least not on any of the other equipment I’ve worked on in the past.
I am so happy to be a pioneer in bringing authentic Pilates and Gratz to Toronto, and the only thing that could sweeten life for me more would be to see classical Pilates take this city by storm and have a classical Pilates and Gratz conference held here.