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Kathy Stanford Grant

A Tribute to Kathleen Stanford Grant
August 1st, 1921- May 27th, 2010


Kathy was my personal mentor.  My introduction to  the Pilates technique was through her as an injured dancer.  Her brilliant approach to the work fostered my interest in the rehabilitative aspects of the technique.  I owe so much of the way I work to her.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Ms. Grant’s work in the Pilates field spanned five decades, during which time she developed an entire body of “pre-Pilates” exercises, as well as creative rehabilitation exercises for her injured dancers and clients.  Prior to her Pilates career, Ms. Grant was a vibrant dancer.

As a black woman growing up in the arts she overcame many obstacles (she was required to take her own personal/segregated ballet classes as a child at the Boston Conservatory of Music). She was a part of a great entertainment era in Harlem in the 40's, as a dancer she preformed with Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey. She worked as a chorus girl at New York’s famous Zanzibar Club.  Her dance career was tremendously varied, including Broadway, off Broadway, television, industrials, touring companies and the concert stage in the US and abroad. She performed with Carmen De Lavallade, Paul Taylor, Geoffrey Holder, Bill Robinson. She was an assistant choreographer to Donald McKayle, Arthur Mitchell at Dance Theater of Harlem and helped choreograph the movie The Cotton Club. Kathy however is far better known throughout the world for her ingeniousness that she brought to the Pilates community.

Ms. Grant began teaching Pilates in 1957; first working for Carola Trier and later taking over the Pilates studio at Henri Bendel’s Department Store in New York City. Since 1988 Kathy had been an Adjunct Faculty member at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she taught the dance students her ingenious mixture of pure Pilates and her own movement-based work.

She was one of two individuals to have ever been certified by Mr. Pilates through the NY State Education Department. She took his work and brought it to another level, finding interest in the rehabilitation potential of the work far before the medical world caught on to the technique.

She was internationally sought out as a speaker for Pilates conventions. She was an incredibly humble and modest woman. She was enormously generous with her time and knowledge and your 'hour' appointment was often 2-2.5 hours.  She will be missed.
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