denver’s first and oldest pilates studio

 BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO

After one class at Artistic Body Development, I realized I was not only hooked, but I had an overwhelming sense that I was surrounded by greatness. I credit this to the fact that co-owners Michael Dailey and Andrea Bains are in fact celebrities in their own right. Michael and Andrea have gained notoriety in both the ballet and exercise communities which has led to invitations to work with trained athletes in numerous cities around the world. They have worked with the United States Figure Skating Association, various soccer clubs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as with ballet companies in Paris, Stuttgart, Atlanta, Las Vegas,  Milwaukee, and San Diego, among other guest appointments. Teachers from ballet schools and companies worldwi9de came to Vail, Colorado for the International Festival of Dance and Teacher’s Conference where Michael and Andrea taught for four summers. They are warm and so thoughtful with each of their students. I was thrilled to have an opportunity to hear them tell the story of how Artistic Body Development came to fruition. 

Let’s start at the beginning and bring it back to 1986. How did you and Michael meet and begin working together?

We first met at Ballet Arts Center in 1983. Our ballet master, Larry Boyette was a former soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the ABT. Additionally, Boyette was a student of Joe Pilates during his time in New York. As students at BAC, we had the opportunity to dance together as partners and our friendship developed from there. 

Boyette used many of Joseph Pilates’ floor exercises into the training of his dancers. Because of this, there were very few dance related injuries at the studio. 

How did your ballet careers evolve into pilates?

Over the years, Boyette tried to convince Mike to leave his position as a geologist with the oil industry and pursue the establishment of the Pilates work in Denver. In 1986, this came to pass and Artistic Body Development began its 33 year journey. Because these problems that were seen in dancers, were also found in other athletes and non-athletes alike, our clientele became more diverse, and we went from working exclusively with dancers to working with people of all backgrounds. 


Can you tell us about Myopatterning?

Myopatterning can best be described as a combination of traditional Pilates, kinesiology, special stretching movements, and floor barre. Shortly after starting the studio, Mike taught a Kinesiology class at the dance department of Colorado College in Colorado Springs. These classes focused on injury and technical problems experienced by dancers, what caused these problems experienced by dancers, what caused these problems (muscular weakness, tightness and misuse) and how to develop exercises to correct these issues. Many of these issues weren’t addressed in the traditional Pilates work. Therefore the traditional Pilates work served well as a jumping off point in the development of the Pilates based Myopatterning technique which is still evolving today. 

Because of the complexity of the traditional Pilates work, the work should not, ideally, be taught in a larger class environment. The work done at ABD, with its focus on isolating particular weak, underused muscles with very simple exercises, lends itself to being able to be done in a larger class environment. This allows the cost of the classes to be brought down dramatically.

In our classes, we have men, women, old and young, athletes and people who have never worked out a day in their lives. The 1 1/2  hour class is designed to work and to achieve a full body workout in a single session. All exercises may be adapted according to ability and necessity. Therefore, a class may consist of a world class athlete working along side an 80 year old novice, both getting a challenging, yet safe workout.

We are committed to continuing to offer myopatterning classes at the most reasonable rates. We encourage individuals from 12 to 92 to pursue a lifetime of well-being without breaking the bank. 
How do you work with a class who’s skill levels range from novice to expert?

So many exercise options are geared toward our youth. Fifty, sixty, seventy year old people want to safely continue pursuing the activities they’ve always enjoyed. That doesn’t change. 

A full body workout on the reformer, performed alongside people of similar age, is exactly what ABD offers our maturing students. Our goal is the spread the word that myopatterning is uniquely beneficial to this under-served group of people, in addition to anyone who is looking for an exercise program with an attention to detail and safety.

Your students have several success stories of recovery. Tell us about your approach when working with students who have had a stroke, or injury. 

Our students tell us after they’ve taken their first hour and a half class, that they feel taller, they used muscles they had never felt before, and that they thought they were in shape until now. One student in particular, came to us after a severe injury. “Artistic Body has helped me to regain strength and coordination in my legs and arms. Their focus on the smaller, intrinsic muscles is a unique approach that I have found very beneficial in my recovery. They teach the importance of these smaller muscles to establish the foundation needed for proper alignment and balance. With an expansive knowledge of muscular and skeletal functions, their team has helped to accelerate my recovery process.” – Cheri McGrath
Most individuals who take one class, return for multiple classes. The friendly, healthy and non competitive environment, along with the individual physical benefits realized from doing the Myopatterning work are reasons so many of the students have been a part of Artistic Body Development since the very beginning in 1986. 

Anyone at any time may suffer an injury, receive physical therapy and then find that insurance doesn’t cover any more therapy sessions. Myopatterning work in a class or private one on one session allows post-rehabilitation recovery to continue. Rehabilitative work is a growing addition to the other disciplines we offer at ABD.

So if you are ready to strengthen and tone and achieve an overall higher level of good health, schedule a class at Artistic Body Design. Andrea, Mike and their loyal mascot, black lab, Gipper, want to give you your first class for FREE or you can choose to receive a 50% discount on your first month’s tuition. Visit www.artisticbodydevelopment.com or call 303-825-5980 to learn more.

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