Balanced Body: 40 years in motion
Balanced Body: 40 years in motion

We are celebrating Balanced Body’s 40th anniversary by sharing a few pages from our scrapbook. We hope you enjoy looking back with us at a few of our adventures since 1976.

Our heartfelt thanks to the spirited, dedicated Pilates community for the wonderful ride it’s been. Here’s to the next 40!

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1970s
BEGINNINGS

1970s: BEGINNINGS


1975

Ken builds waterbeds in Hollywood as Liquid Sleep Interiors. A customer, Isa Bohn, asks him to build a piece of equipment for her called a Reformer. (Ken’s response: “A what?”) He agrees. And we’re off!

Young Ken standing in front of warehouse Waterbed photo

1970s: BEGINNINGS


1976

Ordered by Good Samaritan Hospital and paid for by a donation from Vidal Sassoon, Ken designed and built child-sized Pilates equipment for the treatment of children with neuromuscular disorders.

Pilates equipment for children with neuromuscular disorders

1970s: BEGINNINGS


1976

To support a more diversified business, Ken changes the company name to Current Concepts. His brother Dave designs the new logo.

Ken begins to work with Stephan Frease and develops adjustable footbars, standing platforms and the fifth yellow spring.

Current Concepts logo

1980s
IMPORTANT CONNECTIONS

1980s: CONNECTIONS


1980

Current Concepts moves from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

Ken took nephew, Andrew, for a spin on the forklift, and acquired his first “company car”—a bicycle found in the dumpster and dubbed the “Sea Princess”.

Ken and Adam on a forklift Ken riding a bicycle

1980s: CONNECTIONS


1984

The credibility of Pilates grows when St. Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in San Francisco opens its Dancemedicine division. This is the first use of Pilates equipment in a medical facility, and also introduces Ken to industry leaders Elizabeth Larkam, Patrice Whiteside and Dr. James Garrick.

Dancemedicine photo

1980s: CONNECTIONS


1984

Pilates elder Ron Fletcher contacts Ken: “Can you make customized equipment for my studio?” The collaboration began with these first measurements.

Ron Fletcher Reformer plans More Ron Fletcher Reformer plans

1990s
INNOVATION, ORGANIZATION,
THE LAWSUIT

1990s: INNOVATION


1990

Current Concepts moves to larger location, and prints its first catalog.

Current Concepts large warehouse Ken in new Current Concepts warehouse Page from first catalog

1990s: INNOVATION


90s

The relationship with St. Francis leads to equipment innovations that become industry staples: jump board, oversized standing platform, ropes instead of straps, and risers instead of casters.

Hollywood stars start taking Pilates classes with Ron Fletcher, Kim Lee, Stephan Frease and Isa Bohn, which generates media interest for the method.

Publicity in the late 1980s and early 1990s: the Los Angeles Times, Self Magazine, American Fitness, Life Magazine and Shape.

Pilates in the media Pilates in the media Pilates in the media Pilates in the media

1990s: ORGANIZATION


1991

Joan Breibart, Michelle Larsson and Ken found the Pilates Institute (now PhysicalMind Institute), which offers the first organized Pilates certification program.

Business cards for Institute for the Pilates Method

1990s: ORGANIZATION


1991

Current Concepts releases the very first Pilates video in the world: “Studio Reformer Techniques with Elizabeth Larkam.”

Pilates video cover

1990s: ORGANIZATION


1992

Brent Anderson, Elizabeth Larkam, and Ken launch Polestar, a worldwide provider of rehabilitation-based Pilates education.

800-PILATES is born and becomes an important pre-internet resource for people to find a nearby Pilates studio.

Polestar brochure

1990s: INNOVATION


1994

The first Pilates patents issued since the death of Joseph Pilates in 1967. In the same year, Current Concepts introduces the TSSR (Tubular Steel Studio Reformer).

Patent drawing of a Studio Reformer Tubular Steel Studio Reformer

1990s: THE LAWSUIT


1994

The non-profit Joseph H. Pilates Foundation is formed to give Current Concepts and our community a way to recognize Joseph Pilates’ accomplishments, at a time when one could be sued for using the term “Pilates.”

Left to right: Ken Endelman, Elizabeth Larkam, [unknown], Brent Anderson, Marika Molnar, Alan Herdman, Marie-José Blom.

Joseph H. Pilates Foundation brochure Group photo of employees holding brochures

1990s: INNOVATION


1998

Current Concepts becomes Balanced Body—a name better suited to describe our mission and ideals.

Banner with new name: Balanced Body

1990s: INNOVATION


1999

The Allegro® Reformer is launched at IDEA World. An instant success, it helps Balanced Body stay profitable during the lawsuit.

The Allegro also opens doors to the commercial fitness market for Pilates. Bally Total Fitness, then the world’s largest commercial fitness operator with over 400 locations, launches a nationwide Pilates program with the Allegro. Many others follow!

Allegro Reformer product shot

2000s
THE LAWSUIT ENDS AND
NEW DOORS OPEN

2000s:
LAWSUIT ENDS


2000

After more than four years of litigation, the Pilates Trademark lawsuit ends. The court decides that the term “Pilates” cannot be trademarked. All are now free to use it.

Pilates holiday card from Balanced Body The Pilates Trademark Cancellation Newsletter

2000s:
BIRTH OF THE PMA


2000

At this party celebrating the end of the trademark lawsuit, a discussion between Deborah Lessen, Kevin Bowen, Colleen Glenn and Ken Endelman considers the possibility of a unified certification agency for Pilates instructors. This discussion marks the genesis of the Pilates Method Alliance.

Seen left to right: Ken Endelman, Deborah Lessen, Robert Fogelnest, Gordon Troy

Group photo from party celebration

2000s:
NEW MARKETS


2000

Via a license agreement with Physio Pilates to manufacture Balanced Body equipment in Brazil, we begin a long-term (and ongoing) partnership and friendship — a significant step in our international growth.

Seen here: Ken with Claudio Soares, in 2007.

Ken with Claudio Soares Setting up shop

2000s:
DIGITAL EVOLUTION


2001

Balanced Body begins its online existence as www.pilates.com.

pilates.com home page

2000s:
GREEN & GROWING


2002

Balanced Body moves to a 77,000 sq. ft. location on Ferguson Ave., our home for 12 years.

We can now begin implementing greener business practices with the purchase of our first CNC machine and the use of more sustainable wood for our Reformers.

Close up photo of large drill bits

2000s:
NEW MARKETS


2002

Our first international container is shipped to Israel followed by another to Australia.

Balanced Body’s innovative Infinity Footbar is inspired by Christine Egan’s work with a juvenile adaptive ski client.

The first Body Mind Spirit Conference is held this year, co-chaired by Nora St. John. Balanced Body is the exclusive equipment sponsor.

Employees holding large banner Infinity Footbar product photo Body Mind Spirit conference poster

2000s:
CONTINUING EDUCATION


2004

Our first Pilates on Tour continuing education conference is held in San Francisco.

Unloading a truck at POT

2000s:
INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS


2004

The IQ® Reformer is launched. It is the first major Pilates product intended for the home market.

'Pilates at Home' advertisement IQ Reformer on display

2000s:
SCARY MOMENT


2005

Ken suffers a cervical spine injury while bodysurfing. He makes a full recovery with Pilates (of course) and a little help from his friends. In this photo, employees at Balanced Body helped him decorate for the holidays.

Ken in a cervical collar

2000s:
INSTRUCTOR TRAINING


2006

Balanced Body launches Pilates education with curriculum developed by Nora St. John. Shown here: our first faculty training.

Group photo of faculty trainers

2000s:
INTERNATIONAL GROWTH


2006

Balanced Body visits China for the first time and opens new doors.

Left to right: Dave Littman, Nora St. John, Al Harrison

Balanced Body staff in China

2000s:
INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS


2007

The popular EXO® Chair makes its debut.

EXO Chair product advertisement EXO Chair workout photo

2000s:
INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS


2008

Answering our customer’s requests for a portable, lightweight Step Barrel, Balanced Body introduces the Pilates Arc®.

Pilates Arc advertisement illustration Pilates Arc workout photo

2000s:
WORKING GREEN


2009

We receive the first of our prestigious WRAP awards, given by the state of California to recognize our achievements in waste reduction.

WRAP award announcement

2010s
EXPANDING BEYOND PILATES

2010s:
BEYOND PILATES


2010

CoreAlign® is introduced, marking the beginning of our transition to a mindful movement company.

CoreAlign advertisement CoreAlign workout photo

2010s:
BEYOND PILATES


2010

We re-brand and, along with a new look, our transition to a mindful movement company is official.

Our goal is to discover new ways to invite people into our healthy community.

Balanced Body booth in exhibit hall

2010s:
BEYOND PILATES


2010

Named IHRSA Associate Member of the Year, Balanced Body is recognized for contributions that have changed the shape of the fitness industry.

Ken at IHRSA event

2010s:
PILATES—OUR PASSION


2011

The Allegro® 2 Reformer is launched, marking the successful culmination of a multi-year collaboration with internationally-renowned design partner, IDEO.

Allegro 2 design session Allegro 2 advertisement Ken sitting outside warehouse with Allegro 2 shipping boxes

2010s:
BEYOND PILATES


2014

MOTR® and the Bodhi Suspension System® join our product and education offerings — exciting new additions to our mindful movement offerings.

MOTR workout photo Bodhi workout photo

2010s:
OUR NEW HOME


2014

We moved into a sleek, new 100,000 ft2 building. Our 1,000 solar panels generate most of the energy we consume, and our other environmentally-friendly practices keep growing, too. We hope you’ll stop in for a visit sometime!

Balanced Body office reception area Balanced Body office aerial view Balanced Body staff photo

2010s:
INTERNATIONAL GROWTH


2015

Our customers now live and work in over 100 countries. Together, we are changing the world through movement. (Yes, we still have a little work to do, especially in Greenland!)

Map of the world highlighting customer countries
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Balanced Body: 40 years in motion

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