Prioritizing My Body & Voice to Let Go of Limi...

Prioritizing My Body & Voice to Let Go of Limitations!

Tearing my meniscus in high school was the first catalyst in my future as a Pilates practitioner. It was devastating at the time, and I spent hours in physical therapy with no long-lasting results. I was taking mat classes but didn’t touch a Reformer until college. A master teacher did more for me in one private session than a slew of therapists before and I was hooked.

I fell in love with the classical style of Pilates but the more I learned the more questions I had. Certain cues never felt quite right on my body, and I wasn’t given a real reason why it had to be done a certain way. I was used to the ‘that is the way it is’ mentality because that is the dance world. You do as your director demands. Yet it was that exact mentality that caused me to force my body beyond its capacity and lead to my knee injury. The more I learned about the body and movement theory in my academic classes the more I began to look outside the classical box.

I decided on doing my teacher training at The Pilates Center, Boulder against the grain of trainees migrating to New York from my college program. There I found the next shift in my path. A program rooted in the method of Joseph Pilates but welcoming to discovery. Questions were always answered and no ‘body’ was treated like another. The only thing is that all the bodies were the same. It was a bubble of dedicated trainees and minds dedicated to movement. At no fault to anyone there was a lack of body diversity that made for a familiar reality that new teachers face. Who you train with is not who you will teach on a daily basis.

I moved back to the east after training and immediately started teaching at a prestigious classical studio. I got to teach and move with bodies that were all different, but I was back in the box. I was often asked to stay within the repertoire, and I will never forget being told ‘that’s not the way we do it’.  I had the most diverse surroundings but couldn’t be me. That is when I decided I had to be own boss, but I wasn’t quite ready.

It would be a few more years and a relocation to Richmond, VA before the next milestone. I started teaching in various studios to become part of the movement community. Each studio had a different atmosphere and clientele. The real eye opener was working alongside teachers trained modularly versus comprehensively and all from different programs.  We began workshopping with each other to share information and build each other up.  It was when I was teaching a studio owner the specifics of Elephant on the Reformer that the ground shifted underneath me. If my boss needed me to train them then I should be the boss. If my voice was being respected as an authority, then my voice was and is powerful.

I went home that day and leveraged the title to my husband’s car to buy a Reformer/Tower Unit and I started my home studio. Pilates 804 started in my attic and as a traveling business. It would be eight years before transitioning to a storefront and starting a training program of my own. I had learned so much from every studio, program, and fellow teacher over the years that I knew exactly how I wanted to ground my business.  A studio inclusive to all movers and teachers with a passion for the work. Teachers who speak the language of Pilates yet are free to explore movement.


Check out our Contrology (classical) apparatus!

Danica Kalemdaroglu has been a Pilates practitioner and movement educator for over 20 years. Guided by the methodology of Joseph Pilates, she teaches to educate each body of their individual movement potential. Her studio, Pilates 804, is Richmond VA’s premier training center specializing in restorative Pilates for all bodies. Danica is an NPCT and an advanced graduate of the Pilates Center, Boulder where she studied intensively under the Alpers sisters and numerous other master teachers. She holds an MFA from the University of Colorado and a BA from Goucher College; both in performance/choreography and somatics. Her injury plagued dance career brought her to Pilates. Where conventional physical therapy failed, Pilates restored her and prolonged her dancing. She offers apprentice-based teacher training focused on using the method of traditional Pilates to heal, strengthen and educate the entire mover. Her passion for teaching lead her to create Somaphyx™ by Pilates 804. Distance learning and mentoring for teachers looking for bridge training, continuing education or movement exploration. Find her on IG: @pilates804 .



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