A “Pilates Connexion” in the Ville

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Last year, personal trainer Jeanna Vanni decided to take what used to be Swarthmore’s bike shop (and before that, a candy shop) and transform it into The Pilates Connexion, a cutting edge Pilates studio.

Located on South Chester Road, the Pilates Connexion officially opened for business on January 7th this year. The studio came as a result of Vanni’s desire to expand from the Pilates lessons she was previously offering in her home. A personal trainer, Vanni was certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

“I had some equipment in my house and I expanded really just to open it up and offer more classes and instruct more than one person at a time,” said Vanni.

A Swarthmore resident originally from Delaware, Vanni thought Swarthmore would be a great location for the studio. According to Vanni, while most health clubs may have a Pilates mat, there are no Pilates studios from Delaware to the Main Line, and certainly none others in Delaware County are stocked with the essentials.

The Pilates Connexion is surely well equipped. With two additional instructors besides Vanni and five Pilates reformers, there is plenty to learn. A reformer, a piece of resistance exercise equipment that contains springs to allow extra resistance, provides new challenges for those who might already know Pilates. Contrary to popular belief, these workouts are definitely not just for women.

“It’s good for athletic conditioning, not just a female workout. It’s great preparation for outdoor sports and a great way to get in shape, “ Vanni said. “It looks intimidating, but anyone can do it. It’s good for everyone.”

Photo by Ellen Sanchez.

The studio offers a variety of classes multiple times a day, on the mat, reformer and pole, in addition to individual lessons or mini-group sessions with one or two friends. Swarthmore students can also come down for a discounted rate, either individually or in a group, as group sessions have space for 4-5 people on the reformers and up to 8 on the mats.

“We have lots of options to keep it affordable,” said Vanni. “Anyone is welcome to try it. I’ll always give a free session. We are also able to set up a class depending on what the students’ schedules are like.”

Although Vanni has not yet seen any students in the studio yet, there are quite a few faculty clients, and she is hopeful the accommodating nature of the studio will encourage students to schedule sessions whenever is most convenient for them, whether it may be between a morning class and an afternoon seminar, or sometime over spring break.

Although revamping the space from the former bike shop was a lot of work, it seems it has started to pay dividends for Vanni.

“I have my existing clients who followed me but we’re doing pretty well. I think once the weather warms up then we’ll get more people in here, but it’s been pretty good for only a month.”

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