Lukie Bernstein (63) of Bridghampton Pilates in New York, US. Lukie has a background in dance and is doing Pilates now for 14 years. Lukie has studied with Alwin Nikolais, Merce Cunningham, Nadine Revene, Aras Ames and Vladmir and Patricia Doukedovsky among others. She performed in works by Margaret Jenkins, Sheila Kaminsky, Diane Jacobowitz, Viola Farber and Joan Lombardi. Choreographer and director of Lukie Bernstein and Dancers, performing on the East Emd of Long Island. Lukie is a Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Reflexologist, dancer, choreographer, and samba percussionist. Graduated from The New School Parsons School of Design, summa cum laude and I worked as a graphic designer and art director.
When and why did you start practicing Pilates?
I became interested in Pilates as a dancer in 1995. Someone told me about it and I began studying, fell in love with it and became certified. Dance and Pilates are complimentary; they are wedded together!
Where did you receive your Pilates education(s) and who was/were your teacher(s)?
I began my Pilates education with Ellie Herman and was certified by her. I have since studied with Lolita San Miguel for a year of master training, (there is more to go). I participated in numerous workshops through the PMA over the years. I travel to the city once a month for either a workshop or private training.
What made you decide to make Pilates your profession?
After falling in love with Pilates the natural course was to make it a full time job. I had been juggling a few jobs, art director of a design company, dance and Pilates instructor, reflexologist and decided to concentrate on physical movement in space as opposed to 2d objects in space as in graphics.
Do you own a studio?
I own a studio in the heart of Bridgehampton New York. It is very private, one client at a time with a Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Ladder Barrel. I also use the Magic Circle, Foot Corrector and Spine Corrector, balls and weights.
What did you have to invest to get your studio running?
I bought equipment, secured a rental space and sent out brochures and postcards to potential clients in the area. My design background came in handy as far as graphics, signage, space organization concerned.
What is your favorite brand of apparatus?
I was trained on Peak Pilates and Balanced Body and decided to go with Peak equipment which has held up after 15 years.
What Pilates apparatus is your favorite and why?
I would say the Reformer is my favorite, as so many options and exercises can be accomplished, and it feels good! From Footwork to first aligning the body, to the Star. It is the most versatile and what I choose to start on when I give myself a session.
What Pilates exercise is your favorite and why?
It s a tossup between Short Spine Massage and Elephant. Short Spine Massage, because when it comes into the sequence, I am so ready for that stretch and Elephant because of the wonderful feeling throughout the whole body.
Do you experience difficulties keeping your clients because of the current economic crisis?
I am in a resort area so for my clients, so economics are not a problem,. However, there is a definite lull in winter.
Did you solve your own body issues or do you keep them under control with Pilates?
I am always working on balancing my body, (I have scoliosis) and attribute being able to still dance including pointe class at my age to my Pilates training.
How many lessons do you teach each week?
In high season, I teach 35 hours a week and have help in the afternoons and evenings to fill out the schedule. I teach one-on-one only on equipment and love this manner of teaching.
Who is your favorite person that you would love to teach a Pilatesclass?
I think Mick Jagger could use my help.
What is your opinion about the future of Pilates?
The future of Pilates is that it is here to stay. People have many choices these days as to how they exercise but I am always introducing Pilates to new clients, and whether they spin, yoga or golf, Pilates is a must for them and they know it. I think in the industry a lot of studios are trying to be competitive with the other modalities and teach a session that is not quite Pilates ; more a combo class. That being said, we need to make sure that Pilates doesn’t become a filtered down version of itself. Pilates has value by itself.
What is your own vision of Pilates?
It is accessible to so many people. One doesn’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of Pilates. I am constantly astounded by the many body types that enter my studio and having never before exercised fall in love with the method. Breath is the beginning of movement.
Did you change things about your teaching or would you like to?
Whenever I come back from a workshop, I am renewed and have new insights as how to approach cueing, how maybe a different word will resonate with a client. Over the years, I have been able to integrate more and more, my design skills, in as far as creativity, body organization, focus, as well as my dance and reflexology knowledge .
What is your opinion about the classical, authentic Pilates and the contemporary approach?
There is something to learn from all techniques.
Who is your biggest example and who would you love to meet (again) in the Pilates field?
I am looking forward to seeing Lolita again. I studied with Lolita San Miguel for a year of master training (one more to go) which was quite exciting; to have it right from the besides killer training in mat and apparatus, she had wonderful stories, archival films and encouraged us to be creative with new choreography on the equipment and mat.
What is the funniest thing you have ever experienced with Pilates?
People were walking out before the session began, because they thought the equipment looked like torture devices!
Do you expect to keep on practicing Pilates and keep on giving classes?
I love the work and how it makes my body feel, so we’re looking at forever!
What is your Pilatesdream?
My dream is that people are introduced earlier in life to Pilates. It is up to the education system to bring it into the physical education curriculum. If children would breathe, stretch, and develop a core early, they would excel in everything.2273 Montauk Highway
Bridgehampton, NY Mailing: P.O. Box 195 Sagaponack, NY 11962
Lukie@bdaofnyc.com Tel: 631 537 5144
Meryl Eralnger says
LOVE<LOVE! This is fantastic. I'm printing all the pages, can't wait to show everyone I know in NYC. Miss you!
You look sensational!