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I wanna tell you how I met Ron Fletcher. 1973, I was a dancer, a professional dancer in Los Angeles. Moved from New York. And one of the students in my class, when I was trying to expand my dance classes said that there was a dance studio above her beauty parlor, which was, I eat a gray. So I got myself in business attire, my resume, and my little attest shake case and walked up those famous steps on Rodeo Drive in Wilshire.
And I looked around and it was it’s a Pilates studio? Never took Pilates before. Ron was there we started to talk, showed him my resume and it was like, he had three quarters of my dance teachers were his dance teachers. Of course he was a New York city dancer. I had heard about him because he did the ice, the Follies, the Ice Capades.
And he was also in Vegas with his dancers. So I knew about his dance background, but I didn’t know this was his Pilates studio, Ron Fletcher Studio for Body Contr ology, what a name. So we hung out and started to talk about all our dancers, had a great time. Well over an hour, I get in my car and drive back to my house in the valley, San Fernando Valley. And Ron calls me and he said, Diane, I don’t know what I was thinking about when we met today, how lovely to see you.
You know, how articulate Ron can be. He said, would you like to learn the work? And I was like, yeah. Next day I showed up and I started to learn the work on Ron Fletcher. Now I was always a dance teacher.
I started teaching when I was 14 on scholarship. So I was able to absorb the work and I started teaching four days later. You can’t do that anymore. Do not try this at home or in your studios. You must study with the Ron Fletcher company now.
But back in the day, that’s how I met Ron. That started me on my career, and that put me on the path to work with him, on his book Everybody is Beautiful. Thanks Ron. So the first time I met Ron was at a workshop that he was teaching. I had been just started working with Kyria earlier that year.
And we had just opened the first commercial space for Pilates in Tucson and Kyria had invited Ron to teach a workshop. So he came and it was a wonderful experience, being fairly young at the time and quite the introvert that I am I definitely hung back towards the back of the room. And I liked to stay at the back of the room as much as possible. Slowly over time, Ron coaxed me forward. And that’s one of the things I loved about Ron, he had such a gentleness to really speaking to who you were, and knowing how he could connect with the person in the room, and each person in the room differently.
Some people he really pushed, others like me he took his time with, and slowly kind of brought us into our own. And I loved that about him. It was really heartwarming to know that he could see each of our different personalities in the room and challenge us in each of the ways that we needed it. I first met Ron back when I was a student at the University of Arizona. Actually in curious class, Ron was in town teaching a workshop at Body works Pilates And he came down to the university.
And up to that point, I remember having learned the basic mat work, and basic single leg circles in the mat work. And it being very set that the pelvis is stable, the body is stabilized while the leg moves. And I remember Ron, just starting to watch from the side of the room, not saying anything, and eventually he couldn’t help himself anymore and proceeded to come out and will really move the leg and move it to the floor, reach it down, find that full range of motion in the more advanced legs leg, circle variation, and him bringing that from the purpose of you should work for that as a potential that you’re going from that movement. And that was something that just always stayed with me with Ron. It was you’re building for that move of potential.
First, you find your basis and then you have somewhere to grow from there. I went to Ron clutter’s studio in Los Angeles for two years before I actually met him. I studied with the lovely Diane Severino and it became my home away from home. I went to the studio every day and Saturday morning class with Diane. And I thought, if I’m going to this gentlemen studio, I should actually know who he is and meet him.
And so he was teaching a workshop in Denver and I decided to go to the workshop in Denver with a lot of trepidation because he had a huge reputation. And so I showed up at this workshop in Denver and it was a three-day workshop. The second day of the workshop, he called me into the studio office and he said, would you come speak with me? And I thought, oh. (laughing) He’s gonna send me home.
He’s gonna kick me out of the workshop. I don’t know what I don’t know. And he said, have you ever considered teaching as work? And it was a seminal moment in my life because I was planning to go to law school. I had no intention to teach Pilates much less Fletcher Pilates.
And I remember that moment as one of the key moments of my life. And he really took me under his wing at that point, he was established, said he was very loving. He really took his time to understand each student and why they were there. And he became father figure to me and a grandfather figure to me. And he really became my mentor and my friend.
And that’s how I met Ron Fletcher. He was an inspiring teacher, a loving friend, a demanding personality in my life and a key person to this day. In the 1970s, I was Ron studio manager. Studio was doing very well. We had a lot of publicity, not only in Los Angeles, but nationally, as you know, we had many movie stars come to us.
And so there was publicity in glamor magazine and Vogue cosmopolitan, spreads in the Los Angeles times. There was also a novel written by Judith Krantz called Scruples Multi Million Blockbuster Seller. From that the publishing companies got interested in Ron and he was able to get a book deal “Press.” Now I want to insert here going a little off topic because of all the publicity that Ron got and everybody being bi-coastal Ron’s publicity and the book actually helped our Pilates colleagues on the east coast Corolla, Kathy Grant, Ramona. They was suffering in the 1770s. Aerobics was wiping out the Pilates community.
And if it wasn’t for the interest’s being brought back again to the Fletcher Pilates work and therefore to the east coast Pilates, we would have died out in the 70S. It’s a fact. So I want to know that we did collaborate a lot together. Ramona sent them to us. We sent because there was the traveling community.
And that was a very important piece of history I think you should know is that we were not that separate back then now as to how the book was put together, they say it’s pretty quick in publishing that Ron was able to accomplish this book in two years, we started the work in 1976. We got the first copy in 78. Now I worked with the book with him for two years, as I might’ve said that earlier, what he was insistent on was definitely a breathing chapter, definitely an alignment chapter. And then body awareness. You must read the book to find out really what body awareness is.
No one was talking about it in the seventies. You were just taking class doing at it. There were a lot of wonderful teachers, but Ron made a specific effort to break it down. He was a very articulate man and is proven by his writing, but how layman can understand the technicalities of how to breathe correctly, how to understand, the basics of alignment, how to get a body alignment. I’m touching myself now because he did make you aware.
Where is your waist? Where is your hip bones? I just broke my waistline. (laughing) So that was one of the start. Then we had the arduous task of trying Ron and I to break down what exercise is not the good word, what movements we were gonna include in the book beginning, intermediate and advance.
That took a lot because his volume of work was immense. So we had to condense that down. I photographed directed the photography. Ron agreed it. I had a storyboard it out, little echo pen, do the paste up.
All of that, approve it, go back. Anything else Ron said, I think we needed aged chapter, the aging body. I think I need a handicap section. (inaudible) We had that, he didn’t miss a thing. So if you were, talk about everybody’s beautiful.
If you were handicapped, if you were an older person, if you were pregnant, there’s a pregnancy section. Everybody is included in this book and I think I’ve spoken enough. Ron was brilliant. So is the book. So the great thing about Ron’s book is good movement is good movement.
Going back to some of those basic movement patterns brings you back to simple and effective movement. And there’s a reason that that works. This holds true. And some of the other classical modern styles as well. If you think like Graham technique, you’re going back to those basic tenants of how to organize the body.
Ron’s work works in a similar way of bringing the body back into a very organized place from its sense of center, from its sense of truth. And through that, it helps inform the body. It helps inform the body in a very specific way. And that’s what makes it timeless. That simplicity of alignment, body, organization, awareness, and connecting into yourself.
Everybody is Beautiful is relevant today because of that title. It’s an amazing title and it’s amazing thought every body is beautiful. We all need to hear that. And it is so relevant today needing that concept of self-love, self-care and seeing all of the different aspects of our different body types and different people that we are. And that they’re all beautiful.
Once we get inside of our bodies and own who we are, which is what Ron spoke to So often everybody is beautiful. The plates for the original book, Everybody is Beautiful. We’re burned in a fire. And so we lost the plates. We’ve recreated the book on Kindle and it’s accessible through Amazon.
And also through our website. It’s a wonderful book. And anyone who is a Pilates teacher, a Pilates enthusiast would be well-served to read the book Ron’s (indistinct), were singular. They were, they really brought the work down to the essence of movement. He not only talked about body control and shape, but about where the body control.
And she went beyond the life of, Ron Fletcher. My intention has been to published the book for several years, and we’re now in the midst of doing so the book will contain much of Ron’s original writing and the exercises or movements included in the original book, as well as where the work has gone since then. So the original book includes the Fletcher floor work, which is really a departure from the mat work. And from chose to original work Ron also developed other techniques that are now known around the world. One of them that’s quite well known as the Fletcher Towel work and several includes the inception of the Fletcher Towelwork also the Fletcher bar technique that David is teaching in this workshop and talk about how those different techniques came about why they came about and how they dovetailed with the Pilates practice.
So we’ll be talking about the, really the concepts behind the Fletcher approach to the Pilates method, where the work has, has gone since then. And it’s a book that really has a timelessness to it. And I know that you’ll enjoy the rewrite and the republishing of the book.