Celebrating 30 Years of Excellence in Pilates Education, Equipment, and Innovation

For the last 30 years, BASI has been at the forefront of providing the highest caliber of Pilates education worldwide.

BASI was founded in 1989 by Rael Isacowitz while he worked as a dance educator at a college in Australia. As a Pilates teacher and practitioner of 10 years, Rael taught Pilates to his dance students and had a small studio set up in a college classroom. In 1991 Rael was invited to work alongside an American orthopedic surgeon who mainly worked with dancers in Southern California. With nothing but a backpack and the small amount of money he had to his name, Rael left his entire life behind to move to the United States and embark on this new chapter in his career. He took up teaching in the Dance department at CSU Long Beach and guest taught at many other universities in the U.S. At the time, Pilates was a fledgling industry, so Rael gave many lectures and presentations about the benefits of Pilates to the dance and physiotherapy communities.

Despite his many years as a teacher, Rael always regarded himself as a student. He worked with several of Joseph Pilates’s own students, including Kathy Grant, Eve Gentry, Lolita San Miguel, and Ron Fletcher. Everything he learned from them and through modern scientific research shaped his approach to Pilates, bridging the gap between classical and contemporary methods.

Over the years Rael was invited to lecture and present at dance schools, colleges, clinics, and studios in the U.S. and abroad. He traveled extensively to be able to share his knowledge and passion for Pilates, often staying with colleagues and sleeping on floors if he only had a shoestring budget to work with. As time went on, Rael created the first edition of his Movement Analysis Workbooks and developed teacher training programs that he taught to the next generation of Pilates instructors. These were some of the earliest teacher training programs available to students who wished to receive high quality Pilates education. As the industry grew, BASI grew, touching 6 continents, dozens of countries, and thousands of people.

Rael understood early on that Pilates was not a static practice encapsulated in time--it had to evolve with the bodies performing it and reflect the progress of modern movement science and research. Therefore innovation always played an important role in how Rael approached the work. His Movement Analysis Workbooks went through several updates as the Pilates repertoire was analyzed and re-analyzed over the course of many years. He created one of the first Pilates e-learning platforms, Pilates Interactive. He sought creative ways to bring Pilates education to different parts of the world and established the annual Learn From The Leaders conference.

In addition to all this, Rael was very interested in ways to evolve the traditional Pilates apparatus. He worked with Pilates equipment manufacturers and consulted on prototypes for new types of equipment. Most notably, Rael developed the F2 System (also known as the Avalon) and spearheaded the BASI Systems Pilates equipment line, which is now sold worldwide.

To cap off the BASI education experience, Rael created the Legacy Program--a collection of advanced and original repertoire, topped with Rael’s sage perspective and guidance on what it means to be a Pilates teacher and truly embody the work. It is the culmination of 40 years of teaching experience and practice. Even after all this time, Rael’s unwavering passion for Pilates and teaching is evident in every class or session he conducts, every lecture he gives, and to each student he mentors.

BASI’s 30th Anniversary is a monumental year, as it is the year that BASI has settled into its permanent headquarters in Newport Beach, California, as well as the year BASI will celebrate the very first Legacy Program graduates at the BASI Learn From The Leaders 2019 conference. Today BASI is represented in over 40 countries and has tens of thousands of proud graduates, with a family-like community that spans the globe. BASI continues to lead the way in promoting the highest standards in the Pilates industry. What started out as a move, became a worldwide movement. 30 years is just the beginning.