In 1926, Joseph and Clara Pilates, who were German immigrants, arrived in New York City. Unlike most of the immigrants who were skilled laborers, Joseph Pilates was a gymnast and fighter. He also had creative, and indeed brilliant, ideas about physical fitness and rehabilitation as a result of his own physical injury.
Shortly after their arrival, the Pilates' set up an exercise studio in Manhattan. Although, hardly anything is known about the formative years of the technique, by the 1940s Pilates had achieved notoriety in the dance community.
In 1964 The New York Herald Tribune wrote, "in dance classes around the United States, hundreds of young students limber up daily with an exercise they know as a pilates, without knowing that the word has a capital P, and a living, right-breathing namesake."
Joseph Pilates died in 1967
and left no will. This meant that he had no designated successor, however,
all those that have been touched and healed by the Pilates technique carry
on his work.