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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.


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Reader Comments (5)

Thank you Blossom for your wonderful words. How lucky you are to have been able to work so closely with Kathy and for you and a special thank you for so selflessly sharing your experience and education with us all. I am sorry for your loss as I know Kathy was part of your extended family.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Hall

Beautiful, Blossom! My heart goes out to you,

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Taylor Alpers

Thank you Blossom for your wonderful words. You perfectly described the nurturing, generous, and caring experience I felt. With a firm yet gentle hand (literally) Kathy always knew what one needed.
Even as one heard a million "no, no, no, you are doing it all wrong" (with her back turned to you... she still knew) you knew your body will thank you forever if you pushed to get it right.
Her words and guidance will always be with us!

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHila Paldi

Thank you Blossom. Your tribute brings alive for those of us who didn't know her so well, her unique character and and many qualities that made her beloved by so many. You wrote beautifully about a beautiful lady.

June 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Anderson

Dear Blossom,
thank you for your wonderful honest tribute to Kathy. She was tough as nails, but you are right that she only demanded that people work as hard as she did. I can't believe that such a strong life force has ended. But of course, she lives on in all of us who knew and worked with her and her voice continues in our heads - "stand on two feet!" "rib cage abdominals!"

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Simkin

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