Lolita, one of only two teachers actually certified to teach by Joseph Pilates, was characteristically accurate in her description. Rael’s dedication to, and passion for, Pilates are legendary, and he manages to generate a similar passion in whomever he is teaching. The atmosphere in Rael’s classes is electric; more like that of a rock concert than a fitness session.
Just as renowned as Rael’s enthusiasm, is his technique. Described by Lolita as “undoubtedly the best mover amongst the males,” Rael has put his personal stamp on the practice of Pilates over the past three decades. His control is flawless, his athleticism unparalleled and his physical range phenomenal for a person now in the sixth decade of his life.
Passion and technique are only two of the characteristics that have made Rael one of the modern-day Pilates icons. Others are his natural aptitude for teaching and his restless intelligence. Pilates, for Rael, is as much a cerebral as a physical activity. Doing it is not enough; he needs to know the how and the why – and figure out ways to do it better.
It was not by chance that Kathy Grant, the other teacher certified by Joseph Pilates, described Rael as “the male that Mr. Pilates wished for to continue his work.” Like Joe, Rael is an innovator; a born thinker and creator. That pioneering quality has left an indelible mark on the universal practice of Pilates, ranging from the BASI® Block System, a unique method of categorizing Pilates exercises devised by Rael, to the game-changing AVALON® line of equipment.
Perhaps the most profound advance in apparatus design since the days of Joseph Pilates, the AVALON System, which Rael designed, adds resistance to apparatus that didn’t have it previously and expands the resistance and choreographic capabilities of those that did. It also standardizes resistance settings and nomenclature for the first time. As a result, the range of the equipment has been enhanced considerably and many dozens of new exercises have been added to the Pilates repertoire.
Born in South Africa and educated in Israel and England, Rael has a Bachelor of Education degree and teaching credentials from Israel's prestigious Wingate Institute, and a Master of Arts degree in Dance from the University of Surrey, England.
His early Pilates teachers included Alan Herdman, and several of the first-generation Pilates teachers who are commonly known as the Elders. To Kathy Grant, Ron Fletcher, Romana Kryzanowska, Eve Gentry and Lolita San Miguel, Rael owes a debt of gratitude for the inspiration and friendship that have guided his career.
In 1989, while directing the dance department at a performing arts college in Australia, Rael founded Body Arts and Science International®, a teacher training academy dedicated to introducing curriculum-based studies and academic rigor into the largely informal and unfettered field of Pilates instruction. In the years since, he has been instrumental in establishing the academic validity of Pilates studies.
Through Rael’s unstinting efforts, BASI Pilates, as it is commonly known, has developed into one of the foremost Pilates education organizations in the world. It is currently represented in 20 countries and over 100 locations and has a select faculty of over 30 highly-qualified teachers.
Rael is the author of Pilates, the definitive book on the method, and the authoratitive Pilates Anatomy (with Karen Clippinger.) He has published a series of Movement Analysis Workbooks on all the major Pilates apparatus, produced DVDs and created Pilates Interactive™, a groundbreaking online Pilates resource. He is a regular contributor to industry publications and a highly sought-after teacher and lecturer at Pilates forums around the world.