“Contrology is totally unlike what Americans have learned to expect in gymnasia and health salons. No medicine or other balls are used, or any “free play”; nor are movements made quickly or jerkily. Nor are rhythms permitted, not even “One, two, three, four…” And no running or violence. Or noise above muted background music under the commanding voice of the instructor, precise and insistent.”
Return to Life Through Contrology, American Foundation For Physical Fitness
This is a piece of Pilates history! Written in 1957 by Joseph Pilates and Frederick Rand Rogers, Return to Life Through Contrology outlines what the method is, and what it isn’t. The original booklet outlines who will benefit from Pilates and includes endorsements from some of his many clients: violinist, Yehudi Menuhin; dancer, Evelyn De La Tour; actor Jose Ferrer; and, dancer-teacher, Carola Strauss Trier. On the last page of the 1957 edition there is a photograph of the bronze bust of Joseph Pilates by sculptor John Terken.
“…deviated spine and nervous condition…Contrology exercises changed my mental and physical condition (so I was) accepted in the U.S.A.F…flying regularly at high altitudes…owe it all to Joseph Pilates….” John Terken, Air Force Veteran and Sculptor, Return to Life Through Contrology
Included with the booklet was a list of famous clients of Pilates. Notable artists, businessmen, performers, educators, doctors, writers, and members of high society are all named.
Cathy first discovered the pamphlet while doing research at the New York Public Library. Years later she interviewed Marion Rogers, widow of Frederick Rand Rogers, for research on her book about Romana. During the interview she learned the full story of the booklet and Marion gave her permission to republish the booklet.
The new Pilates Pamphlet contains a copy of the original booklet along with updated information about Frederick Rand Rogers and John Terken. The names on the list were researched in hopes of finding someone that was still able to give a first hand account about working with Pilates. The updated pamphlet contains one such interview with Dr. Alex Caemmerer.
“If you went there one or the other (Joseph or Clara) dealt with you personally. Perhaps not the whole session but at least they saw to it that you were doing what you should be doing. Either he or she would work with you individually. You would get on this machine. And I remember Clara; she would push you and push you back and forth. You know, physically. They would work on you themselves.”
Dr. Alex Caemmerer
A rare photograph of Joseph Pilates is included on the back cover of the new Pilates Pamphlet. He is seen working on his property at Jacob’s Pillow, in his famous trunks, with a cigar in his mouth. The photograph is courtesy of the Rogers family.
The Pilates Pamphlet: Return to Life Through Contrology
A reprinted and updated version of the original pamphlet issued in 1957 by Frederick Rand Rogers and Joseph H. Pilates, as the American Foundation For Physical Fitness. Cost includes postage. Contact Cathy Strack for a discount if you are interested in ordering more than 10 copies.
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