Gratz Gallery | Christina Maria Gadar performing a series of Up & Down Side Kicks on the Low Folding Mat

Image courtesy of Christina Maria Gadar


"The up/down side kicks develops torso control while toning the inner and outer thigh of the working leg. The challenge is to keep the working leg and hip in the same chamber as the top leg floats up and squeezes down directly above the bottom leg. Once my students are set up for the side leg kick series with their elbow, shoulder, waist and tailbone on the back edge of the mat and their feet in the center of the foot block in front of them, I like to stand directly above them with their hips in between my ankles as a guide to keep their hips stacked while moving their top leg up and down.

The Gratz difference: Teaching the mat work on the top of the Cadillac or on the floor with a yoga mat can not compare to teaching it on a padded mat with foot blocks and hand dowels. I know because I've taught it that way for thirteen years, and when I finally realized that the folding low mat could work in my space, all my students expressed how much better it was.

The padding protects the spine on rolling exercises and makes students use their powerhouse much more to get back up into their balance position, the removable dowels help open the chest on the neck roll and is a useful tool in the corkscrew exercise, and the foot blocks guide in the set up of so many exercises like the spine stretch forward, open leg rocker, saw, and side leg kick series. The mat has the foot strap like the Cadillac, but spotting students in the mat work is so much better when they are on the floor versus on top of the Cadillac. Compared to the barrels and spring basted apparatus, the padded mats often get passed when setting up Pilates studios, but I discovered that it is just as important as the rest of our equipment and is a worthwhile investment." - Christina Maria Gadar


About Christina Maria Gadar
A dual citizen of Brazil and the United States, Christina Maria Gadar is a New York certified Pilates instructor, having completed rigorous training under master teacher Romana Kryzanowska (who was personally trained by Joseph Pilates). She is the author of Pilates An Interactive Workbook, a timeless guide to classical Pilates, and is in the process of writing her second Pilates book, a teacher’s guide for working with young children.

Christina was introduced to the Pilates matwork at the age of fifteen while a student at the Boston Ballet. During her ballet training she was coached privately for six years by world-renowned premier danseur Fernando Bujones and had the honor of performing the solo “Raio de Luz” which he choreographed especially for her. She also studied extensively with Madame Tatiana Legat of Russia and Li-Chou Cheng of China. After receiving dance scholarships from the Massachusetts Arts Council and the School of the Boston Ballet, she went on to dance professionally with BalletMet under the direction of John McFall, Columbia City Ballet, and the Sarasota Ballet of Florida where she met her husband Filipp Gadar.

While dancing with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Christina started the Pilates apparatus work with Kathy Dandois-Boivin. Ten years after her initial introduction to the Pilates Method she began her Pilates certification under the tutelage of certified teacher trainer Roxane Richards-Huang before obtaining full certification directly from grand master instructor Romana Kryzanowska in New York in 2000. In addition to yearly continuing education seminars, she makes it a priority to study privately with master teachers. She has worked privately with all four Pilates grand master instructors in the world (Romana Kryzanowska and Sari Mejia-Santo of New York, Juanita Lopez of Illinois and Cynthia Lochard of Australia). In addition to the grand master teachers, she has studied privately with master teachers Anthony Rabara, Cynthia Shipley, Jerome Weinberg, Lori Coleman Brown, Roxane Richards-Huang, and Janice Dulak.

Christina has resided in Sarasota since 1996 and has been specializing in private instruction of the original Pilates Method since 2000. She enjoys the balancing act of running her Pilates practice with the highest standards, while staying actively involved in the lives of her family, including her two children.


Christina Maria Gadar | Gadar Pilates

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