Founder of Shapes

It was a terrible injury that motivated Italian born dancer, Paola Langella, to discover the healing powers of Pilates. She went on to become one of London's most sought-after Pilates instructors at Core Collective and Bodyism, with her unique range of rhythmical classes that heal, inspire, and transform bodies of all shapes.

Paola has a vision to bring the power of Pilates affordably into the lives of so many more bodies around the world, with her online community: SHAPES.

Wherever they want and whenever they want, members can share their journeys, seek personal guidance and learn from a discipline that is as modern as it is steeped in a tradition of being truly centred.

Learning to dance again.

Born in Naples, Paola Langella grew up within the warmth of a big, loving community and soon found a passion for movement and dance. When she moved to London to study a master’s in media and communications, dance remained Paola’s primary passion. Then one fateful day, while performing a tango, Paola slipped and fell. The pain was immense. Paola was unable to move her neck, let alone dance. She retreated to Italy where a doctor diagnosed Paola as having a slipped disk that couldn’t be operated on due to the sensitivity of the area. He suggested Pilates, and Paola was desperate enough to try it. After her second class, she was completely taken with the practice. And after just ten classes, she was dancing again.

Following in the footsteps of the greats

At the time she had no idea how closely her miraculous recovery mirrored that of Moira Stott, famed for creating the Stott method of Pilates. Moira had been a principal ballerina with the City Ballet of Toronto, until a neck injury prompted her to study Pilates with Romana Kryzanowska, one of the original disciples of Joseph Pilates. Moira Stott went on to develop a modernised version of Pilates and a school: the very school Paola spent two years obtaining her teaching license.

Also, like Moira Stott, Shapes founder Paola spent some time teaching amongst physical therapists and sports medicine experts; paying homage to the incredibly scientific background of the practice, and its vast powers of rehabilitation. It was invaluable learning, but because of her Italian background and the sensuality of her dance experience, Paola felt the context was too clinical to really make connections with her clients and make use of the emotionally transformative nature of the Practice. She wanted to allow people to experience the magic as well as the tradition around the powerful practice.

She is now teaching in prestigious studios in Kensington: Core Collective and Bodyism. These candle-lit sanctuaries promote wellbeing above all else and they suit Paola’s philosophy of stress-free training. Paola also works with private clients in homes across London.

The gratitude of her clients and seeing the transformation that was taking place in their lives, as well as their bodies, spurred her on. “I see our bodies as being made up of so many different shapes that they form a sort of work of art and I think that is why I am so drawn to the works of Henri Matisse.”

"Suppose I want to paint a woman's body: first of all, I imbue it with grace and charm, but I know that I must give something more."

- Henri Matisse


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