Leaders In Fitness

Entries in Blossom Crawford (2)

Pilates & Dance Communities Celebrate Kathleen Stanford Grant

By Amy Leibrock

It was a full house at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York Monday night as members of the Pilates and dance communities gathered to pay tribute to Kathleen Stanford Grant (1921-2010), a first-generation Pilates teacher who studied directly with Joseph Pilates and taught the Pilates method for more than 50 years. The celebratory evening was filled with laughter, dance, music and stories about the life and spirit of this multi-faceted woman who “dedicated her life to making all others dreams come true,” as Sarita Allen, one of her students, said. The celebration began with an African drumming processional and was followed by a mixture of dance performances, video footage and almost a dozen speeches from family members, students, colleagues and friends. For those who weren’t able to make it, I’d like to share some highlights from this special evening.

Kathy Grant: 'A Magnetic Life Force'

Pilates-Pro.com is happy to share another tribute to Kathy Grant from one of her closest proteges, Blossom Leilani Crawford.

By Blossom Leilani Crawford

I remember my teacher, mentor and friend as being a unique, magnetic life force. She was always a symphony of ideas and oppositions, expressing herself and her opinions at the expense of no one and nothing. She was tough as nails.

We met in 1993 when I was a freshman dance student at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Before I even met Kathy I heard that she would push the students, but that she would help me “find my center.” What I found was a woman whose incredible career as a dancer and arts administrator made her a Pilates teacher, and a person, like no other.

Kathy treated everyone with the same nurturing, iron hand and with an eagle’s eye on the details. She insisted on excellence, both from herself and from her students. She had a work ethic that never wavered - always arriving early and always wanting to do better the next time. Not better than anyone else, just better than she did before. 

I can remember just a couple of years ago - the subway outside her house was out of service, it was about 85 degrees outside and she was about 85 years old. No matter - she walked the mile to the next train station and got to her NYU class ON TIME! She always said, “I have no patience, but I won’t give up.” 

She is well loved and remembered by countless people from all walks of life. We students remember her now with a shake of our heads and a laugh - and many irreplaceable memories. She helped so many of us in a way that was completely her own. I think I speak for many of us when I say that she did help me find my center and so much more. There isn’t, and never will be, anyone else like her, and I miss her already.

 

Blossom Leilani Crawford had the great fortune to meet the late Kathy Grant, a Pilates Elder, in 1993 at the Dance Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where Blossom was a new dance student. In the ensuing years, Blossom had the honor of being a student, a teaching assistant and ultimately a protege to Ms. Grant. At the suggestion of Ms. Grant, Blossom was certified by Romanna Kryzanowska in 1999 and has since been teaching Pilates throughout New York City and around the country. Blossom owns Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn, NY, and teaches mat classes at the Mark Morris Dance Center.