Milan: Pilates in Vogue

This piece was written for Pilates Style following my visit to the studio in 2005. However, due to a change in editorial staff, the article was never published. Facts contained within are current as of 2005.

In Italy the Pilates realm belongs to just one woman: Anna Maria Cova. Since leaving her career as a professional ballet dancer, Cova has built an empire of over seventy Pilates studios, an intensive teacher training program, and a complete line of equipment.

Cova opened her first studio in Milan in 1989 after three years of training with Romana Kryzanowska in New York. Worried that the method might eventually lose its integrity, she established exclusive rights to the Pilates trademark throughout Italy. When the U.S. courts abolished the Pilates trademark in the year 2000, however, Cova decided to follow that spirit of generosity and allow other Italian studios to operate using the name Pilates. In order to distinguish her own style of training, she then launched the brand “CovaTech,” which encompasses her teaching method as well as her personally-designed reformers, cadillacs, and other apparatus.

In addition to her extensive network of studios in Italy, Cova is branching out into Europe with studios in Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and Croatia. Her instructors go through a 400-hour certification that emphasizes injury protocol and rehabilitation. Though her teaching adheres to the classical style taught by the Pilates “elders,” Cova has added a few of her own innovations, such as “Meridian Stretching” (a technique based on the meridians of Shiatsu) and a mat program called “Mat4Me.”

Despite the demands of running an international business, Cova continues to teach daily at her rainbow-colored studio in downtown Milan. There is nothing, she says, that gives her greater satisfaction than being able to help her clients achieve their goals – the way she has achieved her own. For more information, visit www.covatechpilates.com.

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