Up Close and Personal: Laura Harrell

written by Laura Harrell, Pure Pilates Instructor

Laura has been a student of Pilates since 1989 and teaching the method for over 25 years. She was a professional dancer and now a wife, a mom and a talented and thoughtful Pure Pilates teacher. She’s taken time out to answer some questions for our Up Close and Personal series. Enjoy!

What makes you smile when you get up in the morning? The Thought of a fresh pot of coffee makes me happy in the morning. I like my coffee with whole milk. Right now, I am drinking Trader Joe’s dark French roast. I like the price and the taste!

What absolutely excites you right now? The thing that makes  me the most happy right now is watching my kids develop and excel in their athletic pursuits. My daughter Katie plays softball for the high school team As well as for a competitive club team.She has been playing since she has been eight years old. She has aspirations of playing in college. She does a lot of conditioning on her own and includes some Pilates in her training. John is 13 and plays baseball. He especially loves Pitching. I try to help him keep a schedule of practicing as well as conditioning. While he’s not always excited to do it, he is agreeable for the most part!

I can still play catch with John , but Katie throws too hard! It’s dangerous!

Favorite quote or book? My favorite quote is one from Joseph Pilates “physical fitness is the first requisite to happiness”. It is so true – when your body doesn’t feel good you are not happy!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was growing up, I wanted to be a dancer. Luckily I was able to live out that dream to some extent 🙂

When I was performing, I did modern dance. I moved into New York City two years after college when I got into a modern dance repertory company. We did some touring including to the Caribbean. I danced for some small modern dance and theater dance companies. I danced into my early 30s – some of the best years of my life! While I was in New York City, I was introduced to Pilates. My friend who danced for Martha Graham introduced me to my mentor Deborah Lessen who also danced for Martha Graham. 

What are you binge watching right now? I am binge watching Mad Men right now. I love the series and am watching it for a second time because I find it so compelling. The writing and the character development is very interesting and complex. I particularly like seeing the role women had in society and how things for them were starting to change. It’s also an insight into the generation of when my mom was an adult. Times have changed! I also get a kick out of seeing the fashion back then and of course looking at the handsome Jon Hamm!

Rapid Fire:

Morning or night person? MORNING

Left Handed or Right Handed? RIGHT

Tidy or Messy? MESSY

Coffee or Tea? COFFEE

Mac or PC? PC

Bath or Shower? BATH

Sweet or Savory? SWEET

Beach or Mountains? BEACH

Coke or Pepsi? DIET COKE

Summer or Winter? SUMMER

Favorite Pilates apparatus or Pilates exercise? My favorite Pilates apparatus are the leg springs. I love how they give a gentle elongation of the legs and the spine and how they enable a range of motion in the hips that you can’t get on the Mat without props. When you loosen up the hips, you loosen up the lower back so they are a great way to mobilize your body.

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