Mika Street, 31, a petite blond with perfect posture and a tiny waist, is the founder, owner, and head teacher of Uptown Pilates, a growing franchise that operates three bustling studios on the Upper East and West Side, as well as Sag Harbor.
Her studios employ about 30 instructors and are known for private sessions and small group classes of up five people.
Street pursued Pilates as an escape from her day job as an Accenture consultant. “I didn’t think I’d turn it into a career,” she admits. But her savvy business background allowed her to recognize an opening in the market—The New York Pilates Studio, where she was training, was moving, leaving the Upper West Side without a Pilates hub. The rest is history.
So where does this fresh-faced entrepreneur fit in among New York City’s established Pilates-centi like Brooke Siler and Alycea Ungaro, who are a decade older? “They’re both classical, phenomenal instructors who trained directly with Romana Kryzanowska, Joseph Pilates’ protégé,” explains Street. “The next generation of instructors are the ones you see at Uptown Pilates.”
That doesn’t mean she’s making Pilates trendy. Having trained with Sean Gallagher and Brett Howard in the Authentic Method, Street’s a Joseph Pilates’ preservationist. “We only take certified instructors with 600-hour apprenticeships in Joseph Pilates’ original method, says Street. “Not someone else’s interpretation.”
Although she’s in the business of improving her clients’ flexibility, Mika Street holds firm to Pilates’ origins. It’s a position she’s happy to popularize as the practice gets further away from its founder. —Lisa Elaine Held
Uptown Pilates, 136 W. 72nd Street (btwn. Columbus & Amsterdam), 212-501-0019; 903 Madison Ave. (btwn. 72nd & 73rd), 212-717-3903; 126 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-5994; www.uptownpilates.com; $25 per mat class; $35 per tower class; $92 for a private. Packages are discounted.