Remembering Kathy Stanford Grant and the Wunda Cha...

Remembering Kathy Stanford Grant and the Wunda Chair

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Contrology® Wunda Chair is a precise recreation of the original Wunda Chair,  first designed by Joseph Pilates and brought to light by Kathy Stanford Grant. In this article, Cara Reeser shares her experience with Kathy Stanford Grant and the Wunda Chair. Read on!

I met Kathy in 1989 on my first day of Graduate School in Dance at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

In that first meeting, she plucked me out of the group to work with her privately. I had suffered from multiple fractures in my spine, which I had not disclosed, and she knew something was off by the way I was moving.

She took me as a daily private client in her studio, and she both helped me recover from my injuries and gave me all that I needed to thrive in a very rigorous and competitive graduate program.

In my early days with Kathy, I never used the low chair; she used that for knee, foot, and ankle rehab with the dancers, which was not my issue.

I continued to learn and study with Kathy for the next 20 years; she was my teacher, mentor, and friend.

I spent hours in the studio watching her teach once I became a Pilates Instructor. It was then that I learned the magic of the low chair and the variety of ways you could use it to improve the strength and organization of the lower quarter and the entire body. We used the small photos of Mr. Pilates on the chair as our guide in the studio (I have these as well) to know his exercises, but Kathy used the chair creatively to invent exercises to help us with alignment strength and all the rest.

When I opened my first full studio in Denver, Colorado, in 2000 Kathy gifted me one of her two chairs. It was like a housewarming gift. She fully intended me to use it, which I did and still do today. It was a fantastic gift, and I am very happy that BB is making this chair available so that more of our community can access the original chair.

Kathy was very proud that she helped introduce the chair to the wider Pilates community, who were less familiar. This took place in the 1980s or early 90s at a series of workshops at the then Physical Mind Institute. She often shared with me that those workshops helped the Pilates community embrace the chair. She felt very strongly that Pilates teachers should have a deep understanding of the chair in the same way they did the other equipment.

Cara teaches weekly Zoom classes on the original Wunda Chair. Learn more at


Check out our Contrology (classical) apparatus!

Cara Reeser has been teaching Pilates for close to 30 years. As a former dancer and dance movement educator you could say that she has been inspired by the moving body her entire life, and still is. Cara earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Dance, from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. It was at NYU that Cara began her initial studies in the Pilates Method with first generation Master Teacher, Kathleen Stanford Grant. In 1993, Cara moved to Boulder, Colorado where she continued her Pilates training at The Pilates Center. After completing her training, Cara taught there for six years. In 1999 Cara opened her own studio, Pilates Aligned in Denver, Colorado, which she directed for 20 years. Cara is a Continuing Education provider for Pilates instructors offering a variety of workshops and mentoring programs for professionals worldwide and online with Pilates Anytime. As a second-generation Pilates instructor and a lineage carrier of the Kathy Grant work. Cara is the lead teacher and director of a post-graduate training program called The Heritage Training. Cara is also the Co-owner and teacher of a post graduate education training called Movement Science Made Simple with DPT, Jeremy Laverdure. Cara was a member of the Department of Dance faculty at Naropa University for 15 years. She also danced and choreographed professionally for over 20 years. For the past 15 years she has been a dedicated student of the Yoga tradition, which has further inspired her interest in the science of movement and the body-mind connection. Cara currently lives in Brooklyn, NY where she teaches classes, sessions and workshops live and online.



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