This image of Ron FLetcher is one of my faves. On a reformer with a dress shirt and aviators....How could you NOT want to know what this guy is all about???
At the age of 19, Ron Fletcher left his hometown of Dogtown on the Arkansas-Missouri border for NYC. He says he doesn't know if it was 'determination or stupidity' at the time, but he went directly to Martha Graham's Dance Company and asked to study under her. She worked with him for an hour and said 'I can make a dancer out of you'. He worked with her company for 12 years as well as the Ice Capades. At some point he got a part in a worthy show with Mary Martin. He asked to be listed in the program as being a part of the Martha Graham Company and that pissed her off...She told him that 'you're just going off whoring.' At some point he injured his knee and upon suggestion by another dancer, he went to J. Pilates studio. He said that he thought he might be in the wrong place when he arrived...the reformer with its big clubfeet looked like a torture device and the tower looked like a guillotine. At some point during his studies there, he was fired from the Ice Capades for being drunk and missing opening night. With Clara (Joseph's wife) help he became sober and worked in their studio. As a student who worked directly under Joseph Pilates, Ron Fletcher eventually developed his own off shoot of Pilates, called towel work. It became popular among the Hollywood elite in the 1970's. CLients included Marlene Dietrich and Barbara Streisand. Some of his teaching includes '12 step' exercise regimens akin to the idea of the 12 steps in AA. Ron is now in his 90's and is still teaching workshops. He is an OG.
I have done some towel work and it is challenging in a different way than classical pilates. It definitely develops a strong back and if you can remember all the cues, a strong everything else! If you are interested, there aren't a ton of certified instructors...As I said, my instructor is the only one that is certified in CT. I'm sure you could find classes in NYC if you were to look.
Melanie Johnson teaches out of Power Flow Pilates in New Haven:
Interview with Fletcher from 2008: