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A Strong Presence: Memories of Kathy Grant

by Kathy Corey on Jun 01, 2010

(August 1, 1921 – May 27, 2010)

Pilates Master Kathy Grant died on Thursday, May 27, 2010, at 89 years old. A student and protégé of Joseph Pilates, Grant taught the Pilates Method for more than 50 years. Grant was trained and certified by Joseph Pilates in a program sponsored by the State of New York, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

On faculty in the department of Dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Grant’s program of work reflected her unique style, intuitive genius and intense precision. She was more dedicated to the work than any Pilates teacher I have ever met.

I met Kathy in 1983, and the bond that we formed was both professional and personal. She was my friend, my mentor, my teacher and at times my student. On occasion she would appear at a workshop I was leading and say, “Teach me something. I just want to be a student.”

With that openness to learning, she was always seeking knowledge. She often asked me, “Do you know your Pilates?” The answer was always, “No, I do not know my Pilates.” “Good,” she would say. “Because when you think you know Pilates, you should stop teaching. It means you are not present with the person in front of you. It means you are presupposing what that body needs. And how can you be a good teacher if you are not present and in the moment? How can you be a good teacher if you are not continuing to learn something every time you teach?”

Grant taught with a keen sense of the body. She could make corrections from across the room without even looking at her students. She said that she could hear the rhythm of a movement and know if it was coming from your center.

Both in the studio and out, Grant lived a life filled with passion. She had strong opinions, a unique sense of humor and a drive for excellence in everything she did. She touched so many lives--when you were in her presence, it was impossible not to get caught up in her energetic spirit.

The morning after I heard of her death, I had to teach a workshop. My day was bittersweet because most of the day’s lessons I had learned from Kathy Grant. But as I taught, I felt her presence strongly. At the end of the day, I told my class about her passing. With tears in my eyes but strength in my heart, I will always keep her work alive by being present in my teaching.

IDEA Pilates Today, Volume 1, Issue 2

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About the Author

Kathy Corey

Kathy Corey IDEA Author/Presenter

Kathy Corey is a Master Teacher who began her career with the Pilates Technique in 1979. She has been the leading expert in the Pilates community for over 30 years. She is the Director of Kathy Corey Pilates. The Kathy Corey Pilates Certification Program is taught at locations across the United States and her continuing education programs are taught in twelve countries. In 2004, she designed the innovative CORE Band™, which is used in studios around the world. The Core Band™ Mat Class is recognized as an enhancement to the traditional mat exercises. Since 2007, Corey has been the Chairperson of the IDEA Pilates Task Force. She is on the Contributing Editor Board for IDEA Pilates Today and invited to be profiled as an IDEA Expert. She is an Advisory Board Member for Pilates Style Magazine and a member of the Board of Advisors for the American Fitness Professional Association (AFPA). Corey was appointed to the faculty of the University of Alcalá, Spain, the first University to incorporate Pilates into a Master of Science degree program. As a contributing columnist to the online publication YesPilates.com. , she specializes in the history and lineage of the Pilates Method. PilatesAnytime.com has invited Kathy Corey to be a “Distinguished Instructor”. PilatesAnytime is a global Pilates Studio, created for people all over the world to explore Pilates with highly skilled, well-trained instructors. Corey is PMA Pilates Gold Certified and she has been selected by IDEA as one of ten people in the world “Who Inspire the World to Fitness,” the fitness industry’s highest form of recognition.