Becca Jane Rubinfeld, whose family has multi-generational ties to New York, is excited to continue her family’s legacy of small business ownership in this area of Brooklyn with Georgia Gavran, Wick Pilates’ other founder.
“My grandparents lived in Ridgewood, where they owned a little egg and dairy corner store,” Rubinfeld explained. “I wish I could go back and talk to my grandfather about opening my own business here so many years later. It’s such a privilege to work and live in this neighborhood.”
Rubinfeld and Gavran are Pilates instructors who have been teaching classes outdoors as Wick Pilates + Movement at Maria Hernandez Park since 2020. Their outdoor and online classes gained immense traction during the pandemic, allowing them to connect with the residents of Bushwick in a primary communal hub of the neighborhood.
Now, they are on their way to opening their first physical location at 45 Irving Ave. in mid-October 2021. For those who may not be familiar, Pilates is a form of exercise that uses a combination of deep breathing and stretching that is said to promote strength and mobility. It offers many of the mental benefits of exercise as well. “We see Pilates as part of a constellation for supporting whatever it is you do in your daily life,” said Rubinfeld. “We all have different reasons for participating. All reasons are valid. We are here to support people, whatever their endeavors may be.”
The two met during their Pilates training in 2016 and subsequently followed parallel career paths. In addition to teaching Pilates, both have mentorship and teaching positions working with adults with autism spectrum disorder. Both Rubinfeld and Gavran share artistic backgrounds as well, having studied fine arts and dance, respectively. It was these parallels that Rubinfeld feels “really informed some of [their] shared values”.
Rubinfeld and Gavran had been working across Manhattan and Brooklyn, managing and teaching at various Pilates studios, when they decided it was time to open their own space together. They began looking for a studio space prior to the pandemic at the end of 2019 but put a pause on their search as the pandemic progressed. “We were admittedly relieved we didn’t end up opening a studio at that time,” said Rubinfeld. “We weren’t sure if COVID would end up causing a two week, two month or two year delay.”
Now, after almost two years of waiting to open a space, Rubinfeld and Gavran have chosen their long-term home. And they were intentional about picking just the right studio for the experience they wanted to be able to offer their community.
“We wanted to bring the outdoors inside, especially since we’d been teaching in the park,” says Gavran. Rubinfeld agrees. “Our new studio has 20-foot ceilings and a skylight, in addition to lots of plants. We really wanted a place for people to recharge, particularly during another potential COVID winter.”
In addition to Pilates, Rubinfeld elaborates on how Wick also claims “movement” as a studio offering. “It’s a broader term that provides us with the opportunity to not only offer Pilates, but to host different workshops, pop-up classes and hybrid workouts.”
Until their studio officially opens in the fall, Rubinfeld and Gavran will still be teaching in Maria Hernandez Park. Despite sections of the park being made inaccessible due to the ongoing turf construction project, they have found the recently condensed nature of their teaching quarters to be a great way to build a sense of camaraderie amongst other groups that turn to it as an outlet for movement and expression.
“We’ve been meeting other communities in Maria Hernandez, since everyone teaching fitness classes has been using the volleyball courts,” Rubinfeld said. “We’ve gotten to know the local soccer leagues, DJs and other instructors, too. We have the best jobs in the world. Bushwick has definitely been one of the most fun places to teach.”
What makes their approach to teaching Pilates stand out? “We want to offer a sustainable ‘why’ for people to continue to do Pilates. Instead of people partaking for self-punishing reasons, we want people to join for the sake of finding what feels good for them,” Rubinfeld explains. “No matter what level of experience you are, we create a class environment where everyone can get something different out of it,” says Gavran.
All photos courtesy of Wick Pilates + Movement.
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