Cancellations are the only way in. If a V.I.P. cancels within 24 hours, the class opens to the “public.” (The “public” Ms. Levi refers to is the small community that has been vetted to use the app.)
“I wanted to be a boutique style, private studio — referral-based for only elite,” she said. Ms. Levi is tan, taut and tiny, like an early-aughts heiress, with abdominal muscles so individually defined that they look not quite human. “I wanted to cater to a specific demographic, I didn’t want to compete with all the studios in the area.”
Ms. Levi has her own take on Pilates, which has been around since Joseph Pilates created the method and opened his first New York gym almost 100 years ago. But a resurgence, linked in part to an evolution of his original practice, has led to the rise of studios like Forma Pilates.
Ms. Levi describes her technique as “athletic Pilates,” meaning she incorporates traditional equipment — reformers, boxes, rings and more — but adds more oomph. A bridge may be accompanied by a pink, elastic looped band placed above the knees; a slightly deflated ball on the lower back, and a pair of weighted sand balls (all pink) may accompany a lengthy oblique series. There is emphasis on less weight, or lighter springs, and more repetition of each exercise.
Classes are challenging, but not unmanageably so. In terms of difficulty, Forma falls somewhere between contemporary Pilates and Megaformer classes, the souped-up reformers used by the Lagree Method, SLT and Solidcore, often referred to as “Pilates on steroids.”
Before getting her Pilates certification in 2019, Ms. Levi spent a decade doing fashion-related gigs. She dabbled in personal shopping, closet cleaning and worked for Cristina Ehrlich, a celebrity stylist, and Jacquie Aiche, the jewelry designer who makes Rihanna’s maternity body chains.