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Local Notable: Chelsea Streifeneder 

Body Be Well Pilates

click to enlarge DAVID MORRIS CUNNINGHAM

Most people would grimace at the thought of working alongside their sibling, nevertheless trying to run a business with one. Chelsea Streifeneder opened the Red Hook location of Body Be Well Pilates in 2009. Last fall, Streifeneder opened a second location in Catskill with her younger sister Shannon, a certified Pilates teacher, and she couldn't be more pleased. "It's amazing and the best thing ever," she says. "She is so smart, and an amazing teacher. I am the luckiest person to have her at Body Be Well Pilates. She knows me so well and gets the business. I couldn't run both locations without her."

In 2006, Streifeneder graduated from Bard College with a Bachelor's degree in both writing and dance. Dancing eventually took its toll when Streifeneder was faced with back and hip problems. While in Prague, she was introduced to and fell in love with Pilates. Streifeneder attended the Pilates Sports Center in Los Angeles, California, where she completed the Pilates Teacher Training Program.

Why Pilates? For Streifeneder, it's not an exercise regiment but a way of life. "Pilates helps everyone," Streifeneder says. Clients have raved that it has helped them do everything from lose weight and hike again to pick up their children without feeling pain. For Streifeneder, her back is kept in tip-top shape and her dancing-related problems have practically disappeared. "[Pilates] also helps me stay fit so I am able to train my clients as much as I do," Streifeneder says. Plus, it's something that people can do for the rest of their lives. While movements may have to be adapted as people age, Pilates can be performed by just about everyone, young and not-so-young.

Instead of depending on staunch repetition like many East Coast Pilates studios, Body Be Well focuses on mind-body orientation and esoteric training. Every class is different, and props are used in conjunction with moves, keeping returning members from growing bored. Toning balls ranging from one to three pounds, stretch bands, foam rollers, stability balls, and springs are incorporated to present east coast classes with components of west coast style. Learn the basics of ballet at Burn at the Barre, prepare for your summer surf lesson with the Cardio Springboard class, or amp up your workout with the Group Reformer Circuit Class.

Setting themselves even further apart from other studios is Body Be Well's certification programs and workshops. Students can complete a teacher certification program or take continuing education workshops for credit. The studio's method of teaching blends the time-honored system developed by Joseph Pilates with the modern principles that Streifeneder values.

You can even create your own class at Body Be Well. If there's something you want to learn but that the studio doesn't offer on a regular basis, you can design a Pilates session yourself. Sports teams that want to improve their athleticism, bridal parties trying to slim down before the big day, or businesses that want an alternative to humdrum team building can contact Body Be Well for an entirely customized class.

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  • Chelsea Streifeneder of Body Be Well Pilates is this month's Local Notable.

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