I founded the Illium Center in 1980 and have directed it ever since.
In the late 70s I was working on a ship. I taught Pilates to the passengers. One morning I arrived by ship in Santorini at dawn. I fell in love with the unique light of Greece and the power of the rocks.
When I first viewed the house, which is Illium's home, I was taken up on to the roof. There is a wonderful view of Lycabettus Hill. I thought, "This is it. This is where it should be." Right from it's inception the center offered Pilates classes, which we referred to as "Body Control" or "Body Conditioning". No one had heard of a man called Pilates.
I taught Hatha Yoga from the start. After some years, when I started practicing Reiki and Cranial Sacral therapy, I am convinced of the total connection and interrelationship of the body, mind, emotions and spirit.
Adriana was born and bought up in London, England. She attended ballet classes from a young age. She graduated from Oxford University where she studied French and Italian literature. At the same time she studied contemporary dance and Iyengar and Hatha yoga with Penny Nield Smith. She participated in student performances as a dancer and choreographer. She continued her dance studies in Paris for a year and was then awarded a Whitbread scholarship to study at the London School of Contemporary Dance for 3 years. It was at the school that she was introduced to Pilates through Alan Herdman with whom she worked closely. In 1978 she taught contemporary dance and Pilates at the Bella Hutter School in Torino, Italy.
She moved to Athens in 1979 from which time she was employed by Jenny Colebourne as a Pilates teacher. She teaches in Greek, English, French and Italian. In the beginning she taught barre et sol to children and participated in contemporary dance performances but in the end she preferred Pilates as it allowed her to improve her dance technique, to avoid injuries and to give birth effortlessly to her two daughters.
Her way of teaching Pilates has been enriched by her participation in Tai Chi classes (Petros Kouropoulos), Feldenkrais, Alexander technique and Spineworks (Teresa Blunt).
The teachers who have most influenced her are Don Farnworth (classical ballet), Jerome Andrews and more recently Solange Mignoton (Pilates) and Lena Trifonopoulou (Fascia Therapy).
Adriana has been practicing Astanga Yoga for the last 10 years with Eleftheria Lagoudaki.
IOANNA TZARTZANI holds an honors degree in Sociology from Panteion University of Athens and a degree in Dance Teaching (Ballet and Contemporary dance) from the Greek Ministry of Culture. She was awarded an MA in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey UK, where she also completed her PhD thesis, titled: "Interplays of Ethnicity, Nationalism and Globalisation within the Greek Contemporary Dance scene: Choreographic Choices and Constructions of National Identity".
She has taught Dance Research Methodologies, Somatics, Dance History and Critical Theory in the Theatre Department in the University of Peloponnese, at AKMI college and at Despoina Gregoriadou’s Professional Dance School. She has been a member of the editorial board for Χορός plus magazine and has written articles and dance critiques for Athens News journal and Choros International Dance Journal. Ioanna is a qualified Body Control Pilates instructor and has been teaching in Athens since 2004.