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The Best Pilates in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For Lee Grant’s Instructor

Laurie Hurt;

Dancers and Broadway performers have long flocked to Laurie Hurt’s Upper West Side apartment for her private sessions. (Former ballerina and Oscar-winning actress Lee Grant even thanked Hurt in her memoir for “many years of Pilates and good gossip.”) “She worked with Alessandra Ferri and Julie Kent at the height of their careers,” says Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, who credits Hurt with reviving her body on three occasions after time away from ballet. “When I was in my mid-to-late 20s, I injured myself but kept performing,” she says. “She helped me regain my strength. After both of my pregnancies, she helped me get back to dance.” These days, Fairchild takes Hunt’s private lessons to keep in her best shape, which at times has meant sessions twice a week on the Reformer and Cadillac machines. “She makes sure my extension stays excellent,” she says.

For Modifications

The Space, 900 Broadway, Ste. 808;

Sex worker and author Liara Roux didn’t expect to find an instructor who understood her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects connective tissue and can lead to easily dislocated joints. She was surprised when signing up for a Pilates class at the Space in Flatiron to be presented with a detailed intake survey that prompted her to describe her physical history so she could be matched with someone experienced in dealing with her challenges. “I needed someone who was knowledgeable about hyper-mobility and how to correct my position so that I didn’t accidentally injure myself,” Roux says. Her assigned instructor was “super-conscientious” about adjusting her body carefully and serious about alleviating her pain and building strength in her core — vital for people with EDS. (From $35.)

For Lana Del Rey–Themed Pilates Flow

NuSweat, 1120 Manhattan Ave.;

During the pandemic, trainers Ky DiGregorio and Leigh Barton opened NuSweat, a fitness studio that operates both online and onstage at the Greenpoint metal bar Saint Vitus. Its classes (from $10), which range from Pilates flows to more demanding HIIT-centric workouts, are known for their soundtracks: Sessions are set to music by Lana Del Rey, Britney Spears, and the various acts associated with Drag Race. “It’s very millennial,” says regular Gianna Santelli. “The class will just be, like, a full album, so a 45-minute class set to an entire Fall Out Boy album or the soundtrack to Can’t Hardly Wait.” The instructors, Santelli adds, are unusually hands-on — even during Zoom sessions, they shout out individual modifications to students to ensure everyone gets the most out of each class.

For Working Out With 90-Year-Olds

Pilates Habitat, 192 Third Ave.;

For nearly two decades, Anthony Macagnone and Daniel Giel ran Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon, a low-key health club, where, at the end of class, students were sometimes given complimentary soup and ricotta cheesecake from Macagnone’s nearby restaurant. In 2019, after Macagnone died, Giel and Macagnone’s wife, Cynthia Graham, closed the original club and opened Pilates Habitat next door with many of the same instructors. Plenty former students who are in now in their 80s and 90s are regulars at Pilates Habitat, where classes take place under a broad skylight. Producer Jessica Pilot, who has been going for private sessions, groups, and AcroPilates (from $35) with Giel for the past few years, says she likes that they are intergenerational, relaxed, and no-frills. “It’s not loud,” says Pilot. “There’s no music, ever; there are very few mirrors; there aren’t signs with inspirational quotes. But the instructors are skillful and caring, and the group is always having a good time. It’s a fun hang.”

For a Drill-Sergeant Approach


Aspiring pop star Miss Madeline’s shows are physically demanding with “a lot of jumping and dancing and singing,” she says. To keep her stamina high, she relies on Pilates strength training — specifically, classes at BodyRok. She prefers this studio for pace (steady and intense; the studio claims it can “do in 40 minutes what most workouts do in 60”) and atmosphere (vibe-y purple-pink lighting, pounding EDM). “They’ve coined terms for different moves,” Madeline says, like “Inchworm” and “Mermaid,” which are yelled over the beat of the music. Sina Riemann’s Reformer sessions, she adds, are especially hard-core, even for a former ballerina like Miss Madeline. “It’s given me this crazy core strength,” she says. “And it keeps me in high-energy, live-performance dance shape.” (From $36.)

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