Carola Strauss Trier

Teaching Lineage: Joseph H. Pilates

Carola Trier (May 26th, 1913 – October 28th, 2000) was a German refugee who spent 22 years in show business. Her family immigrated to the USA in the late 30s, but Carola stayed behind in Europe to continue her performing career. She heroically escaped the Gurs Internment camp in France, prior to her camp mates being transferred to Auschwitz. In 1942 Carola was able to immigrate to New York.

Carola married Edgar Trier and supported herself in the United States as a dancer, acrobat, and most notably a roller-skating contortionist, before a devastating injury brought her to Joseph and Clara Pilates. In the late 1950s, having trained in the method by Joseph Pilates himself for the last 10 years, she opened her own Pilates (Contrology) studio on 58th and 8th Avenue, New York, with Joe and Clara’s blessing and support. Carola went on to further her anatomical knowledge at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, where she aided with patient rehabilitation and research.

Carola Trier2

Carola Trier combined her medical and Pilates experiences to develop various exercises and stretching techniques for dancers, many of which are still in use. Primary protégé of Carola Trier and international Pilates luminary, Deborah Lessen, teaches Carola’s work and will be presenting a full program in Australia in September-October this year. Deborah gives a layered background into Carola and how her studio worked, as well as teaching the exercises a la Carola. It is a rewarding experience to learn extensively about this fascinating woman who was highly intelligent and a force of nature. To find out more about Deborah Lessen and workshops being held in Australia, please visit our PilatesITC Continuing Education.

In 1982, Carola Trier authored a book for children entitled Exercise, What it is?, What it Does, which introduced and emphasized the benefit and enjoyment of exercising both alone and with friends. Carola Trier was an active teacher, lecturer, and practitioner until the late 1980s. She died in New York City on October 28, 2000 at the age of 89.

Carola was a driving force in the development of the Pilates Method, both as a methodology and as a business. We are honoured to pay tribute to her on her birthday today. Thank you and happy birthday Carola!