Marjorie Oron (47) has been running ‘De Pilates Studio’ on the Keizerstraat in The Hague since 1994. Marjorie is a graduate of the Rotterdam dance academy, and has danced with Djazzex in The Hague and the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. She started doing Pilates in 1989.
How did you start doing Pilates?
When I was dancing at The Dance Theatre of Harlem I sustained an injury – a problem with my Achilles heel- and got Pilates “subscribed” to me from Dr. Weiss. I was able to fix this injury with Pilates, because it was actually caused by the position my feet were in, overstretched legs and the burden I put on them. In the Pilates studio they “aligned” me, but I also noticed I had more control over my body. When I started dancing again after a long resting period, I could clearly feel a difference. I was suddenly able to do 4 pirouettes in a row after working with Romana Kryzanowska for 4 months! I became infatuated with Pilates and decided not to return to dance for a year. I wanted to study Pilates and started training with Romana. When I returned to the Netherlands I became balletmaster – repetitor with Djazzex. I successfully taught the Djazzex dancers the Pilates matclasses, and the results I got from that inspired me to go further with this method.
How did you start your studio on the Keizerstraat in Scheveningen?
I first started on the Keizerstraat number 167 with a studio in my house, above an apothecary. I had 2 small rooms where I worked with Jane Poerwoatmodjo and Saskia Schinkel. When I opened my studio Romana asked me if I wanted to become a Teacher Trainer and organize the trainings in Europe. In 1999 I started this in the big studio on Keizerstraat number 32. Around 1999-2000 we started the first certificationprocess, which Romana attended (see picture). In the studio I work together with Jane Poerwoatmodjo, Renate de Jong, Jasmin Strohmaier and Veronika Reithmeier.
In what way is Romana’s Pilates different from any other Pilates trainings?
We teach the pure method. First off, we use ALL Pilates equipment in our training. We don’t use them separately, but as a whole. With other programs they teach modules; they separate the equipment from the whole training. They also separate the “Levels”. We really work in the system; our “levels” are more substantial levels. In our classes we work on the mat and the Reformer, and then there’s a C- and a D- part that’s different for everyone. In our training we will teach you a methodic composition, so you’ll know when and how to use the different apparatus in the C- and D- part. Not everyone can or must do the same in order to obtain The Perfect Pilates Body. With us the trainers are very well taught to look at
the body in order to know which exercise on what machine the client needs. With other programs they often learn the exercises and not the composition; so they don’t see what it leads to. Also, the level to get into our seminars is a lot higher. With a lot of programs the students can come in without any training in advance (we call them prerequisites). We feel you have to be at least 1 or 2 levels higher when it comes to skills and body awareness to be able to be in a basic seminar. You have to “train up” to get to that level. An assessment will follow and based on that I will review any strengths or weaknesses.
It’s a high threshold, one that most programs don’t have. We also expect our students to be at the studio at least 20 hours a week. Included in our training are the 3 seminars that each last at least 2 days (basic, intermediate and advanced) that you work towards in your own training.
Who do you think Pilates is less suited for?
People that are unwilling to be confronted with their body and don’t want to change it from the inside out. You need some sort of body- mind connection and it’s not always easy. Pilates is not television, it is radio. You have to form your own image with the images your trainer gives you. Turn listening into moving. Then your body will transform. People aren’t used to listening anymore!
What question do you often hear when people come into your studio?
“Pilates doesn’t make you lose weight, does it?” Well, you really have to develop a Pilatesbody; it doesn’t happen from one day to the next. For a beginner Pilates may not look like cardio yet, but after you practice it for some time Pilates will tonify your body. You will build muscles and your muscles will be like Pacman, the more muscle you build, the more fat they will eat away. But you have to work for that; after some time you have to start training at a high level with quick movements. In order to get there you first have to have the control, and the awareness of your body; being able to “guide” your body, in a way. Only after that are you able to train fast and believe me, you’ll burn fat when you do that!
What other “Elders” have you met?
I briefly met Lolita San Miguel in San Francisco during the PMA-convention. I participated in one of her classes and I loved her. That woman is all strength. She has a very different way of doing Pilates with influences coming from dance, but I loved being a part of it. In 2005 I took a workshop by Jay Grimes in Paris. He is a beautiful, warm man and very technically correct.
What is your target audience?
Right now I teach a lot of private, duo and trio classes (about 20 hours a week) but I also really like training beginners or people with physical injuries. I love getting people back on track with the help of this method, and give them back the full quality of life. It is more challenging for me as a trainer to help someone who has had hip replacement.
What does Pilates do for you? What are your favorite exercises and which ones are you less fond of?
Pilates keeps me in shape and injury free. To me, Pilates is the ultimate method to help with your health, it does so much more than I couldn’t even begin to describe. All ballet stretches are a treat to me, and the abs-section cannot be over quick enough.
What’s the most important insight Pilates gave you?
Our bodies are undestroyable and able to go through big changes, and so are humans. It truly changes your mind, body and spirit! I continue to see Pilates grow. People are looking for training methods that will enhance their awareness, but that will also improve their posture and flexibility.
Did Romana’s death come as a surprise?
Yes and no. We all knew she wasn’t well and she wasn’t really “among us” anymore, but she was there with a touchable energy. When a colleague called me to tell me the sad news it was as though the earth had stopped moving. If someone has trained you so intensively and trusted you to continue with their work, because to be fair; Romana is the foundation on which this studio was built, her death can be a big shock. She touched many, many people! I also feel a huge responsibility to continue to work the right way. Now more than ever before. I get kind of melancholic when I think of Romana. She often visited the studio and I feel like my umbilical cord has been cut. But I think it’s also beautiful that she died in her sleep at such a high age. She was trapped inside her body, because she hadn’t been the powerful Romana for a while now. Both physically and mentally she wasn’t strong anymore. She was not really here anymore. It’s good to know that she went so peacefully and she made the transition.
Could you tell us something about the bond you had with Romana Kryzanoswka?
To me, Romana was like a professional mom. She was my second mom. We shared “female things” together. She always showed a lot of interest in me, she met my parents and we loved to go to the Kurhaus in Scheveningen to drink tea. Romana was like family to me. She was a warm, happy and naughty woman with a great sense of humor, and some irony. But she could also be strict; during the classes she once came up to me and said: “Hé, Marjorie, you didn’t do your exercises, because I see your back! I told you, you have to exercise everyday!” Every Friday afternoon we would open up a bottle of Champaign. She turned life into a party. She loved to dance, you could see her glowing when she was dancing. Romana was a real lady. Her house was open for everyone. During the course of my training I stayed with her and shared everything with her. I got up with her at 5 in the morning and heard her hustle around the house. We would walk through Central Park together at 6.30 AM, and at 7AM her studio would open. She always worked really hard and she demanded that from others too. She couldn’t really stand weakness. Romana gave a lot. She could associate with everyone, people of all ranks and classes, and she never judged. I really miss her a lot!
De Pilates Studio
2584 BJ Den Haag
©Marjolein van Sonsbeek