I have been a Pilates follower for years. I love being on the Reformer (the machine you use) and letting your body weight and the machine stretch you and work your muscles at the same time. However, finding the right class and the right studio can be hard because there are so many variations, with so many extra toys, and different levels of training. Most recently I took a break because nothing seemed to fit.
Then, Power House Pilates reached out and asked me to meet with them and take a class. I was so excited because I love experiencing new Pilates Studios (and I am also really critical). They are a classical Pilates studio following the “classical” doctrine of Joseph Pilates. I interviewed Risa the co-owner of the studio and then took a private class with her.
The class was great and I definitely worked up a sweat slowly but surely and also felt elongated and stretched. By the end of what I thought was a calm class, I realized I had used a lot of muscles. We used the Reformer (the table like apparatus), the Cadillac (the raised table with a metal “tent” around it), the ladder barrel, and the tower (it is connect to the mat with a huge tower that acts like a reformer/cadillac mix on the ground). Form is extremely important in all Pilates, but in Classical the instructors take extra time to sure you understand the positioning and help you get there. What was special about the private is Risa helped me get to those positions and stretched me in between every round of exercises. So after we worked those muscles we stretched them and as the session went on I became more flexible.
To go back to the beginning, both Morwen Banq and Risa Harris have a background in dance and found Pilates through dance:
Morwen came to NYC in 1998 to continue her dance training on a two year scholarship at Merce Cunningham, where she first heard from friends that Pilates would improve her dancing and help with her lower back issues. She was then certified in 2003 under master teacher trainer Romana Kryzanowska.
Risa has been dancing since a young age, found musical theater, and then went to a theater arts school where she did both. To supplement the ballet classes, she had to take Pilates and since then has always taken classes.
Morwen was teaching at Power Pilates and Center for Movement where Risa was working as the receptionist. She was doing this as her “day job” while she was training to be an opera singer. She decided to get her training and was certified by Morwen. Risa then became the studio manager and enjoyed managing the studio. She started to think, “This would be fun to do on my own.” According to Risa, “Morwen always had hers sights set on her own studio. We started talking about it one day and instead of it being something we talked about. It actually happened.”
The wheels started turning and they began to look to branch out on their own. Morwen had been living in Jersey City for about 7 years so she saw things starting to grow, people were moving here, and she enjoyed living here. When she showed Risa Jersey City, “I love it and saw it as a good opportunity and great place to open a business.” They found the Brunswick Center space quickly after deciding to open the business when they met with an accountant to talk about the business idea. “He had heard of the center and they didn’t have a lot business at the time. They were looking for a Pilates a studio and it was really good timing. It all happened really quickly.”
What makes Power House Pilates special is that it is a small personalized studio - 4 mats, 2 towers, 2 reformers, 1 cadillac, and right now it is just the 2 of them. “We are very into customer service, ensuring that our customer’s feels important and cared for. We don’t want anyone to feel lost in a crowd. Also, we teach Pilates as Joseph Pilates intended, in the original order, on the original equipment he designed. The goal is strength and flexibility with a focus on core strength and stretching. It is really good for helping people with injuries, especially back pain and it can be extremely therapeutic.”
The have found success in being in the Brunswick Center. “The area we are in is very residential and there is an interest in Pilates. And the more people know about us the more people take classes. It has taken a little time for people to find us in the Brunswick Center. People tend to come and stay because they feel great!”
They have classes throughout the day for any schedule and have private sessions available in between. Mat classes are the most cost effective option at $20, however mat is also the hardest class to take using your own body as resistance.
Deal with Power House Pilates - Intro package 3 privates classes for $99