Featured Teacher: Lee Kelly

Why do you practice?
I practice to remind myself that the box I tend put myself into is only a perception.  True freedom comes from contacting the
f e e l i n g
of unlimited inner space that fully embodied movement gives me.  I practice to remind myself that that imaginary box is made of my illusions that I need to be perfect.

Why do you teach?
I teach for the singular delight the wells up within me when I witness a student make contact with that inner space and the possibilities within it.  LIke when a student feels the psoas lifting the leg and the freedom that provides.

Seeing the progression in my students.  It’s like a light goes on in a part of the body that radiates into the face and through the eyes that sometimes looks like an infant tasting ice cream for the first time.  I live for these moments.

Who have you trained with?
I have studied Pilates with Margaret Lane of Pilates Nature -- she is my hero because I never wanted to become a Pilates instructor and she saw and nurtured my potential.  I have also studied with Pilates Elder Mary Bowen, and Connie Borho.  I have studied the Trager(R) approach and Mentastics (R) with Roger Tolle, Amrita Daigle, Bill Scholls and Gail Stewart.  I studied choreography with David Gordon, Mark Morris, Remy Charlip, Bill T. Jones and Carole Armitage.

What style do you teach?
I teach Classical Pilates, a form that seeks to stay as true to what Joseph Pilates  intended.

What’s your favorite food?
Cookies, cheese and red wine!!  Never in moderation

What’s your nickname?
My nickname is actually Lee, but my whole name is, are you ready, Virgil Leonidas Kelly, IV.  Some of my friends (yes you Lori Guth Moffet) call me Virge.  When I was in Junior High School, when a teacher would take role, the other kids would holler, “Virgil virgin”  My husband calls me “Poopie” and finally my Drag name is Mitze Peterbilt -- you asked!!

Do you own any animals?
I do, I have two white and gray tabby cats who look like they are brothers, though we adopted them at different times.  Miles has a tilted head because of an inner ear infection early in his life that messed up his vestibular system  I love the way he looks at me when I talk to him. It always looks like he is paying close attention to what I am saying.  Gilles by contrast simply looks proper -- often in the other direction.

What’s on your playlist right now?
the LipSynch for your Life station on Pandora

What’s your favorite Pilates accessory?
The foam roller, because it helps to balance the spine as well as giving a killer deep tissue massage.

What style influences your teaching? 
My dance background also informs my cuing and delivery.  I like to give my students an opportunity to feel as though they might be able to become dancers in the next life.

Favorite Pilates pose? 
Open Leg Rocker -- because it is merely a trick of physics that when mastered allows for a thrilling ride.

Favorite quote?
“If you seek world peace, practice inner disarmament” -- H.H. Dalai Lama

What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Of ALL time?  So you think you can dance

What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
I always though my name should be Frank because i tend to be rather blunt.

Your favorite item of clothing? 
The linen cuban shirt that I knitted for myself.  I toiled over it, completed the shirt and then tore it apart because it did not fit.  I made it again (thank you Angie Hay for rewriting the pattern!) Leave it to me to learn to knit with a complicated pattern involving lace work!

What did you want to be when you were little?
A Ballerina!!

In the animal kingdom, which animal would you be? Why?
A lion, cause I like to hide and watch then walk in as though I did all the work.

Best trip you’ve taken, or dream trip you’d like to take?
A cruise to St. John/St Thomas with my husband Dickie.  It was so romantic and life affirming for us.

What word describes you best? 

What drives you every day? 
The shear delight of what might happen next.

Whom do you admire?
Anyone with the courage to make their passion their life’s purpose.

What is your mission? 
To foster curiosity and abandonment in those around me.

What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you? 
Trusting me with their well-being.  Every hour I spend with clients and students is a precious gift.

Fun fact about you?
I am currently in training to become a Drag Superstar.

What books are you reading right now? 
I’m not reading because I am too busy writing scripts and stand-up comedy routines and going to rehearsals.

2 Responses to Featured Teacher: Lee Kelly
  1. Susannah

    Oh, my goodness! I just love you! 🙂

  2. linda oshins

    This is the best answer to “do you have a nickname”–EVER!