First-generation Pilates teacher Lolita San Miguel is one of only a handful of practitioners to receive an official teaching certificate from Joseph Pilates himself. Lately, she has been hard at work running her Master Mentor Program, and is soon to return to Dusseldorf, Germany, 10 miles away from Joe Pilates’ birthplace, to teach the European leg of her program. Last year, in May 2009, she was able to celebrate Pilates Day in a festival hall in Mönchengladbach, the town where Joe was born, teaching a free mat class to more than 150 people. Pilates Day was created as a way to raise the profile of the Pilates method. As it draws near this year on May 1, we’re excited to share Lolita’s plans for celebrating again in Joseph Pilates’ hometown and helping Mönchengladbach commemorate him.
By Lolita San Miguel
Mönchengladbach was a memorable experience and it was an honor to spend Pilates Day there, but unfortunately Joe Pilates is not really known in his hometown. It truly hurt me to find this out. Joe’s dream was to reform the world with his Pilates Method, and I will never forget his “bad days,” before he died, when he felt he had not succeeded. I resolved to do something for Joe in Mönchengladbach and set the goal for myself to see that a statue of Joe be erected in his birthplace. I searched and found the ideal location, Number 20 Waldhausener Strasse, the place where he was born. The house is no longer there, but luckily, there is a wonderful empty space with a beautiful linden tree set back from the charming street.
The Mönchengladbach City Council has promised support and appears interested in making Joe Pilates, their famous native son, better known to his countrymen. Under consideration is naming a street after him. In addition to the statue we would love to have a Pilates Museum, and there is a lovely pink house one block from the site of the statue where I am told his parents lived and where Joe was conceived that has been renovated and would be an ideal location .
I have started a nonprofit corporation, The Pilates Trust, and have filed for 501C3 status in order to raise funds for these projects and if you share my enthusiasm I would love to hear from you. Even better, maybe you’ll join us on May 2, 2010, in Mönchengladbach, when we celebrate Pilates Day there again. The enthusiasm this event has generated has helped to bring the Pilates community in Germany closer together. This time we will hold our event at Peter Boelling Platz and starting at 10 a.m. we will be offering six classes free of charge (two classes at 10 a.m., two at 11:30 a.m., and two at 1 p.m.). The classes will be taught by members of my Mentor Program and other teachers from the Pilates community in Germany. At 2 p.m., the Honorable Herbert Bude, Mayor of Mönchengladbach, will speak and then I will give a brief history of Joe Pilates and the Pilates Method in America. I will then teach a class for as many as can fit the room.
The participants of my four Mentor Programs have taken to calling themselves my “disciples.” The progam is a two-year course, and the first class of “disciples” has decided to hold its graduation on Pilates Day, May 7, 2011, in Mönchengladbach. We hope to be unveiling the statue of Joe Pilates on that day. Renata Sabongui, one of my students, who resides in Prague, has approached the Czech Art Institute and soon there will be underway a student competition for the creation of the statue.
For further information, e-mail Lolita San Miguel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Pilates Day!
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