With Gratitude



At about this time exactly 7 years ago my chiropractor, Dr. Chris Amato (while kneading some body part or other) told me a tenant in his building was leaving and did I want to consider opening my own space to teach ballet and pilates? It's not huge he said, but you could give it a try, get your feet wet and see how you feel about teaching. It was November and I had some ballet students interested in some professional private coaching  and supportive Moms who were encouraging me to take a look at their kids. Hmmmm, I wonder... 🤔?

I had always said when I was a dancer that I didn't think I ever wanted to teach - that when I was finished with my professional dancing career, I wanted to turn my focus to other horizons. As a dancer, or any artist in fact, one has to sacrifice so much of one's curiosity concerning the rest of the world and narrow their focus to the art form. This is especially essential for the dancer, because the performing  lifespan is so brief. And so we give up a lot. So when I did retire, I turned away from dance and the obsession with the body work that had been so much a part of my world for decades.  I launched my design business, taught myself business skills and marketing, ran an e-commerce site, and began a family.

But one day when I was walking my golden retriever Kayla, I realized I was creating combinations in my head. The beats of each footfall reminding me of favorite teachers, combinations, musical phrasing and timing, and how it felt to be executing such movements. I remembered my first landlord in New York, the famous New York City Ballet star , Jacques d'Amboise saying that I should teach, that I would be a great teacher. As a young girl hoping to get into NYCB, being told that you should teach was not exactly what I wanted to hear! So I pushed it out of my mind. And yet... I have been so fortunate in my life to have so many extraordinary teachers in the ballet and pilates world that when I did step into the studio again, I found I had A LOT to say!

So I told my chiropractor yes.  He had seen me through post childbirth, aging dancer aches,  motherhood, and had been treating my whole family for years. He gave me carte blanche to follow my dream to see where it lead. When I said, "We need to build a sprung floor" he said, "DO IT".  When I said, "We need to raise the ceiling" he said, "DO IT" and when my business grew from using one room, to two rooms and then three, he said "DO IT". 

The pandemic was a real time of growth for me and both my businesses as well. I deepened my connection to my work with dancers in my studio but virtually too. Men, women, and athletes found me who were looking for personal coaching to guide them with a road map for understanding their own bodies better and they grew stronger and more supple through pilates throughout the long Covid months.

During the pandemic, I also began to sell my line of athleisure wear in a boutique right in downtown Bethlehem. What began as a project getting cloth masks to hospital workers, ended up with almost two year collaboration with Young's Magasin De Quartier.




Owner Maryanne Young was supportive, generous, encouraging and nudged me saying, "Why don't YOU have your own store?" I watched her example and slowly began to think, Hmmmmm.... I wonder🤔? 

The hunt began for a larger space of my own to combine my love of ballet, pilates and fashion.  And wouldn’t you know it, I found it in the last days before I left for the summer for Europe. A five minute walk from my home, incredible. 

So thank you Chris, thank you Maryanne, thank you to all the students, clients, parents and customers supporting my growth and my dream. If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that we never know what lies just ahead. So I decided if not now, then when?


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  • Katherine

    Inspiring story! Love it.

  • Elizabeth Crocker

    So proud of you, Marisa! ❤️

  • Francesca

    What a wonderful story and inspiration Marisa. Congratulations and looking forward to attending your classes.
    Buona Fortuna.

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