Vintage Pilates Review - This Gem of a Studio is Perhaps LA's Best Kept Pilates Secret

Vintage Pilates  - a traditional Pilates Studio – works for your advantage … to the core.  This valuable gem of a studio, the brainchild of Sandy Shimoda & Karen Frischmann is probably LA’s best kept Pilates secret.

Vintage Owners Sandy Shimoda & Karen Frischmann

“Vintage” in this particular case meaning traditional. Traditional meaning inherited or handed down. So …  here you will learn the pure, unpolluted, undiluted exercises as intended and directly handed down by the inventor of PilatesJoseph Pilates.

Joseph Pilates’ genius was discovering that poor alignment and muscle tension are the root cause of many health problems. Joe trained boxers, businesspeople, firemen and opera singers to have better fitness, posture, coordination, freedom of movement and overall wellbeing. At Vintage Pilates, their mission is Joe’s mission.

True to creator Joseph Pilates

Uber instructor, Jay Grimes studied with Joseph Pilates himself in the mid sixties and continued with his wife Clara until her death. He is the only surviving student of the maestro teaching in Los Angeles … and he can be found as Director of Vintage Pilates.

Karen Frischmann has been teaching Pilates since 1996 and was the founder of the famed West Hollywood studio Absolution. 

Sandy Shimoda has taught movement for 30 years, including for such Broadway hits as The Lion King and Miss Saigon, and began teaching Pilates in 2002.

Together they formed Vintage Pilates in November 2010.

Just so you know, this is the place Pilates teachers from all over the world flock to, to perfect their craft.

International Teachers flock to study at Vintage Pilates.

With Pilates studios’ now on virtually every street corner, you might ask “What makes Vintage Pilates so valuable or special?”

Well … first of all, Vintage Pilates is the only place that first generation master teacher Jay Grimes parks his Cadillac (not the car – but a piece of Pilates equipment) and under his eagle eye, he ensures that his teachers teach you Pilates the way it was intended.  Most other studios want to modify the genius inventor’s method – that’s like wanting to modify Shakespeare’s writing to modernize it! Ridiculous!

But more impressive than that is the fact that at this little unassuming studio on Sawtelle Boulevard, you will find no fancy shingle, celebrity endorsements, annoying paparazzi or any trendsetters … just followers of the classical Pilates method invented some 80 years ago.  Vintage Pilates is where you come to exercise, learn and the focus solely on you and your bodyVintage Pilates does everything to ensure what’s best for you and your body.  Isn’t that why you exercise in the first place?

Preserving their pure Vintage Philosophy

And most valuable of all is the Vintage philosophy …

Although some clients benefit from ongoing private sessions, Sandy and Karen aim to teach you your regime in 10 -15 sessions. They are not looking to milk you for endless sessions but feel it is vital that you understand what you are doing and make sure you know how to do it right – all by yourself. The ultimate goal is to be ready for the “Real Deal” where students work out independently without a teacher.  Vintage Pilates offers private sessions and the “VP Class” to get you ready for the “Real Deal” - modeled after Joe Pilates’ original studio in New York where students worked independently, and teachers roamed the floor to assist only when necessary.  This gives students the chance to train their bodies through practice and find a natural rhythm and coordination in their workout, at an affordable price.

All the instructors here: Jay, Karen, Sandy, Rudy, Dena, Lucy & Nicole are top notch, first class Pilates experts, … not interested in fads or gimmicks or keeping you hooked on them.  They are only interested in your body’s best interest – and that is a rare quality in this town …

Don’t you think?

Having worked with all of them this is how I would describe them:

Jay Grimes: THE TASKMASTER – Although he doesn’t take any new clients, he is in the studio making sure that clients and teachers are up to standard.

Karen Frischmann:  MOTHER SUPERIOR - don’t be fooled by her gentle nature – 3 reps of doing it right and you’ll feel it in the morning!

Sandy Shimoda:  THE HEADMISTRESS - is driven to make sure you graduate - she will make sure you learn your routine and will not stand for mediocre form.

Rudy Gizzi: FAIRY GODFATHER - He gently pushes & pulls you in the right direction for your body’s highest good.

Dena Drotar: FAIRY GODMOTHER - She will grant your wishes for good health by guiding you into honest hard work. 

Lucy Martin: THE MOTIVATOR - Her body is an inspiration and just looking at it should motivate you to want the best for yourself.

Nicole Marcione: THE VALEDICTORIAN – She has studied hard and she knows her stuff.  Best not to challenge her lead.

So far, in less than 15 sessions, I can vouch that I not only feel a difference but also am beginning to see a huge difference! My posture and body tone have vastly improved … Not to mention my ass … looks like Vintage Pilates is taking the L out of my flat ass:)

Look out J. Lo!


In closing, if you are interested in learning Pilates why not learn it right?

For more information please visit 


Your trusted friend,

Charlotte Pehnmore


Vintage Pilates, Inc.

1950 Sawtelle Blvd. Suite 185

Los Angeles, California 90025
Studio Phone: (310) 478-7200


Photographs by Kaylan Libby @ edit.Photography


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