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My Story

 I was introduced to Pilates while I was studying dance at SUNY Purchase. I first thought, this is too easy, does this really work? I don't have time for this. Then, when I was introduce to the reformer as a practice body I fell in love with Pilates. Three months later, after I graduated from SUNY Purchase, off to New York City I went. I began my certification training in January of 1995, under Romana Kryzanowska, Bob Liekens, and Carol Dodge Baker. I danced most of my career with Dance Theatre of Harlem, while completing my comprehensive Pilates training at Drago’s with Romana and The Pilates Studio with Bob. 

After a good four years of injury free dancing, one night, I was dancing Serenade with DTH and suffered a back sprain and crippling back spasms.  Luckily, it was the last show of that venue and I traveled lying down on the bus floor on bags of ice to the next theatre. I could barley stand up, I was in terrible pain. I arrived in LA and went straight to PT for treatment.  While I was lying on the table getting stem work done on me, I saw a reformer out of the corner of my eye.  I asked the PT if I could get on it, I told him I was certified. I could barely move.  I carefully laid down on the reformer carriage and began footwork.  Slow and steady 2 maybe 3 springs.  I was surprised that I could get through a full beginner routine with minimal flexion with minimal pain.  I stopped before I felt pain.  Next day, I jumped back on the reformer and I had even more range of motion and less pain.  By day three, I took myself through a full Ideal Pilates routine and was back on stage!  Pilates gave me back my body mechanics, movement, confidence and freedom to move without fear. I haven't stopped since!  Unfortunately, it took me many years of learning what my body needed and required to stay out of spasms. How to talk myself off the ledge of, "it could be days or weeks of dealing with back spasms." The fear of it happening again was strong for so long.  I now know, I am strong and I will be okay if I feel that twinge because I know how to deal with it mentally and physically with Pilates. 

  After four years of working in the Pilates Community, I opened Grasshopper Pilates Nyc in 2000. Since the beginning, I have embraced each client individually and unconditionally, balancing a serious approach with a fun, friendly attitude. I stay true to Classical Pilates and teach the process logically to my students and clients, so that they understand what they are doing and can apply it to anything in their daily life. I challenge each client, identifying and working on their weaknesses and imbalances while acknowledging their strengths and accomplishments. I am blessed that I get to share my passion of movement with others to help them help themselves.

Gina Papalia - Is the Studio Owner, a Second Generation Pilates Instructor (Certified in 1996 with Romana Kryzanowska and Bob Liekens). She was hand picked by Bob to be the Regional Director of The Pilates Standard and a lead Teacher Trainer for the USA Program.  She is an Internationally recognized Master Pilates Teacher Trainer, teaches for, and is PMA Certified. Recently, Gina has furthered her knowledge of the body by training with Dr. Antonio Stecco, Dr. Stephan Oswald, and Dr Warren Hammer, in the Stecco Fascial Manipulation Method (FM) for the past 4 years and is Level 3 certified. 


Gina was a professional dancer for many years and has extensive knowledge of anatomy, movement, and in the intricate fascial system and its complex role in the human body.  Gina works with each client with a global approach, which includes a Pilates movement plan and FM treatment as well. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with her clients to help them learn more about their bodies. This way, clients can work more efficiently and effectively. Gina makes Pilates a pleasurable learning experience that is simple, thorough, and effective.  This is where change happens. 

Gina’s very passionate about being a part of The Pilates Standard (TPS) Teacher Trainer team, to share her love and knowledge of the Classical Pilates that was mentored and nurtured by Romana Kryzanowska and Bob Liekens.​

Gina continues her training and education by taking sessions with Cary Regan and Phoebe Higgins in NYC, working with peers in the Pilates community, and attending workshops with others to broaden her knowledge of the Pilates Method and of the body. Gina believes we should never stop learning.

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