Joe's Disciple: Ana Caban
I'm so excited to introduce you to Ana Caban, GAIAM's very own Pilates Video Star. She's the perfect example of how you can blend your passions and talents to create the career of your dreams. Her journey from being a Romana-trained Pilates Instructor to Pilates studio owner, international Pilates presenter and producer of Pilates DVDs is also a demonstration of the limitless directions you can pursue within our industry. Please enjoy her candid interview... Oh, and be sure to check out her most recent release "Pilates Total Toning Kit" !
How long have you been practicing Pilates?
I have been practicing Pilates for 15 years.
What made you choose Pilates as career?
I would have to say that I stumbled upon Pilates, as a career. A dance injury, initially, led me to Pilates. Years later I was looking for a career change, which eventually led me back to Pilates. I had been trained as a dancer from the age of 3 and I was a licensed school teacher. So why not gel my teaching and movement expertise into one career? - Pilates.
When did you get certified?
I was certified in February of 1998.
Through whom did you get certified and why did you choose that certification program?
I was certified by the Pilates Studio of New York (under the supervision of Romana Kryzanowska and Bob Liekens). I chose this programs because it was important to me to study with a Pilates Elder and I had lived in NYC before, so it was kind of like going home, at the same time. I was able to study Pilates with Romana and live with my brother, who lived in the East Village during that time (something we had never done as adults.)
When and how did you get discovered by GAIAM to star in their Pilates video series?
I was discovered by GAIAM in 2000. Back then, Living Arts was the company that produced fitness videos and was based out of Los Angeles, CA. I was living in Miami at the time. It began when I received a phone call from someone at Living Arts who had read an article about me in Channels Magazine (a Miami fashion magazine). After many years of successfully producing Yoga videos (most notable videos starring Rodney Yee) Living Arts was interested in branching out into the world of Pilates. As luck would have it, life happened to move me out to Southern California just a few months later. And what started as a simple phone conversation quickly bloomed into a long-running, highly fruitful relationship.
Did you have any initial fears about starring in Pilates DVDs? If so, what helped you to overcome them?
I was more excited than nervous about starring in Pilates DVDs. My father was a photographer, so my brother and I grew up in front of the camera. In fact, I think that we learned to ignore the camera, since there always seemed to be one on us. I got a little nervous the night before my first shoot, however. My Director and Executive Producer came to my hotel to touch base about the next day. They basically assured me that there was nothing to worry about because if I made a mistake we would just do another “take”. It wasn’t a live production, so there was room for error, both on my part and theirs. (Lord knows that I have had to repeat exercises numerous times because the lighting had changed, a plane was flying overhead or tapes had to be swapped out). The actual filming was very low stress, as far as I was concerned.
How many DVDs have you starred in to date?
I have lost count. I know that I have shot over 20, some have yet to be released and many have been repackaged, or reconfigured, so it is really hard to keep track.
Where can we buy your DVDs?
You can buy my Pilates DVDs at many major retailers such as Target, Barnes and Noble and Borders as well as many places on line, including Amazon.com and Gaiam.com.
What role do you play in the planning and production of the videos you appear in?
As far as planning of the videos, my involvement includes casting (if there are additional performers), choosing wardrobe, choreographing, scripting, translating (when we do tracks in Spanish) and starring in them. I do not chose the locations or organize the shoots, outside of what I have mentioned above. But I really can’t complain about the locations, as they are always spectacular!
What are the greatest challenges in developing Pilates DVDs?
My greatest challenge in developing Pilates DVDs is creating a workout that is both classical in essence, yet contemporary in design. Often times I am given a title or concept for a DVD and then I have to come up with the content. So it’s a matter or pleasing both my GAIAM higher ups as well as my fans.
When creating DVD programming, who is your target market?
Surprisingly my target market is quite broad. When I first began producing Pilates programs with Living Arts I seemed to attract a new 20-something demographic for them. Nowadays I get emails from fans in their teens through their 70’s, male and female.
What makes your DVDs unique from the others on the market?
I pride myself on being a pioneer in the Pilates DVD market, because when I started making Pilates programs there weren’t really any on retail shelves. Apart from that, I enjoy offering my spin on the classical method that Romana passed on to me, always remembering the roots of Pilates. Plus, if you know me at all I like to kick your butt, while having fun.
What’s your latest release and why should we run out and get it?
My latest release is the Pilates Total Toning Kit (available at Amazon.com). It is a great workout, employing 2-pound hand weights that intensify the mat and equipment moves that we do. It’s shot in a beautiful open field, with red rock formations behind me, in Colorado. So not only will you get a great workout, you'll also be transported.
Do you have any words of wisdom for future Pilates video stars?
Follow your dreams. And make sure that you have a great support system and a good distribution base. How will people find your DVDs and what sill set them apart?
Where do you teach in your home-base of Los Angeles?
I teach at a great studio in Silver Lake called In & Up Pilates.
For those not living in LA but would love to train with you in person, where can they find you?
Please visit my website www.anacaban.com. I periodically teach in other cities either at Fitness Industry events or at private studios.
What is your greatest career highlight?
Having the good fortune and joy of creating Pilates DVDs.
What’s next on your career path?
I am expanding on my on-camera experiences and branching out into the world of Hosting. My next goal is to host my own lifestyle television show.
What is your greatest accomplishment beyond the world of Pilates?
Marrying the man who is not only my best friend but also my biggest fan and a great business mind to boot. With him, the sky is the limit! Next up, Motherhood.
Which is your favorite t-shirt from Joe’s Pila-T-Shop?
I love my Contrology Freak camouflage thermal.