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Pilates Transparency Project

written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director

My studio is Pure Pilates and my team and I are movement teachers certified in Pilates. And while we sometimes teach “Pilates-ish” exercises, I do not take for granted that I can freely use the word Pilates to market our services and promote that I own a Pilates studio.

But that wasn’t the case in the late 1990s.  A man by the name of Sean Gallagher claimed to own the name and the exercises created by Joseph Pilates. It was a 4-year legal battle before Mr. Gallagher lost in court with the judge ruling that Pilates was a generic term, just like the word yoga.

Hurray for the Pilates industry! Click here if you’re interested in reading the full details about the Pilates trademark lawsuit.

And here we are today, with Sean Gallagher, deep in another lawsuit with Mary Kelly of True Pilates Boston.  This time he is attacking teachers and studios that share vintage Pilates photographs and materials all related to Joseph Pilates on social media.  He is once again trying to be the grand Poo-bah of Pilates.

The NY Times recently published an article, The Fight for the Soul of Pilates and it covers most of the details.

I have decided to make this the topic of the month because I started to wonder how I would feel if I were Mary Kelly and my single studio was under attack, kicked off social media and now fighting an expensive lawsuit not just for herself but for the entire Pilates community.

I also have a big problem with bullies and Sean Gallagher is a bully. I’ve seen him in action, years ago leading a workshop, dividing the Pilates community with statements about “classically” trained instructors being legit and that “contemporary” instructors were not teaching the Pilates method like Joe intended. 

So, I am doing my little part in this big Pilates community to inform you about the Pilates Transparency Project and share their words with you.

There is still much to discover about Joe’s method and principles. As Pilates practitioners, we must preserve our rights to use images of the founder of Pilates. This lawsuit will benefit our community and help us honor Joe. For this reason, we must help Mary win.

In May, Pure Pilates will be donating a portion of the Pop-up Mat classes to the Pilates Transparency Project to contribute to the lawsuit fund. The classes are scheduled on Saturday, May 6th, 13th, and 20th.  Katie and I will be teaching these workouts! If you or someone you know may want to give Pilates a try, contact us to schedule an Initial Private consultation.  A portion of the service this month will also be donated to the fund.

So, thank you for listening. I hope this may spark your interest to dive deeper into the history of Pilates and all things Joe.

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