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Joseph Pilates  
Joseph Pilates was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, in 1883. He was a sickly child and had only one wish – to be healthy and strong. Soon he busied himself with ancient Greek and Roman training methods as well as Far Eastern relaxation techniques. He became very inquisitive and interested in the anatomy of the human body, analyzed the movements of animals and also practiced in various sports such as diving, skiing, wrestling and boxing.

In 1912, he decided to emigrate to England to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional boxer. At the outbreak of World War I, he spent time in captivity together with other Germans together. In a camp on the Isle of Man, he worked as a male nurse, where he could apply his knowledge of the human body treating injured and diseased prisoners. In order to work with them more effectively, he utilized metal springs, which he fixed on hospital beds. This was the cornerstone of the development of his body-fitness program which he later called "Contrology". After the war, Joseph Pilates returned to Germany. He coached the Hamburg police as well as many well-known private persons, including Max Schmeling (German heavyweight boxing champion of 1930), Mary Wigman (dancer and choreographer) and Rudolf von Laban (dance theorist), who later integrated the Pilates method into his work.

Joseph refused the offer to train the German army, instead he emigrated to the United States in 1925. On the ship he met his future wife Clara, a trained nurse. Together they opened the first Pilates studio in New York. In the same building, the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine was situated. Due to his success in training with dancers, Pilates was already well known in the dance scene. George Balanchine trumpeted Joseph as a "genuis of the body". Over the years, Joseph improved his method constantly and constructed a variety of different training devices for it.

After Joseph Pilates had died of emphysema in 1967, Clara Pilates continued the studio on her own. She soon picked up support from Romana Krysanowska, a former dancer and student of Josephʻs. After Claraʻs death, Romana took over the management of the studio. Until this day, Romana Krysanowska has made it her mission in life to preserve and pass on the authentic, classic Pilates method.

The name ,Pilatesʻ is not legally protected. Therefore, there is now a wide range of Pilates styles. Bluebird Pilates Munich offers the authentic, classic training method.

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