From the studio to walking Forest Hills
by Michael Perlman
May 29, 2019 | 2279 views | 0 0 comments | 183 183 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Spencer Baker demonstrating the Pilates Star.
Spencer Baker demonstrating the Pilates Star.
On June 23 from 3 to 4 p.m., Spencer Pilates Arts at 108-12 72nd Avenue will offer a workshop about feet and gait led by founder Spencer Baker.

It will be followed by a two-hour walking tour of Forest Hills led by Bruce Bernstein, a 50-year Forest Hills resident, author, licensed tour guide, and student at Spencer Pilates student.

“We will focus on exercises that specifically improve feet and leg strength, and will touch upon what happens when we walk,” said Baker.

The foot alone consists of 26 bones and 33 joints, which is one of many worthwhile facts that attendees will discover.

“This is important and practical information, and it can affect your daily routine and quality of movement,” said Baker. “We will make walking more pleasurable.”

About one year ago, Baker suffered a foot injury and began attending conferences about movement that focused on feet and gait. Eventually, his pain began to fade.

“How many of your friends do not walk because something aches?” he asked.

Spencer Pilates Arts has continued to grow over the past 13 years. Baker is a Cornell graduate with Master of Fine Arts at Hunter College. He fell in love with dance, which him led to Pilates.

“My vision was to have a movement studio that could help people in this community,” said the 43-year-old Chicago native.

Baker started teaching Pilates in the corner of a physical therapy clinic, where he assisted Ron Kassab, owner of Ergo PT.

“I helped people recover from physical issues including disabilities, which I wouldn’t have ever predicted,” he recalled. “Many people have problems with their mobility, so I began to wonder why helping those in need wasn’t considered an art within itself.”

His current studio also offers dance, yoga, and fitness classes, as well as live model drawing classes and dance performances. Art exhibits feature local artists such as Natalia Koren Kropf, whose drawings are currently on display.

“Those who know Pilates often think of it as a workout for elites, as it is done by celebrities and famous athletes, but they wouldn’t view it as a way to restore functional movement, which is the way I see Pilates,” said Baker. “Some students are coming to work on specific rehab or fitness issues, while others simply find it a pleasurable way to stay in shape.”

Baker hinted at some of the things he will share on the walking tour.

“Your gait pattern has a certain rhythm and sway, and it’s good to notice your particular rhythm and the tripod points on your feet,” he

Bernstein founded New York City Hiking Tours three years ago and recently published “You Gotta Have Heart,” a coming-of-age novel about a young orphan growing up in New York City.

“I plan on speaking briefly about the history and design of the Gardens, and then we'll navigate the area in a route that will hopefully accentuate its beauty,” Bernstein said of next month’s tour. “I plan on showing attendeess where a few famous people lived, the site of an old concrete factory, and the key role Frederick Law Olmsted and Grosvenor Atterbury played in the role of the Gardens’ design.”

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