About Tess Degen


I came to NYC from Berlin, Germany, as a professional dancer looking for inspiring classes, choreographers and fellow dancers. Unfortunately, I arrived with a back injury and was rather limited in my ability to take class and learn form the wonderful teachers I encountered. In Berlin, I was told to choose another career and forget dance altogether, since the injury would most likely return throughout my life. Unwilling to let go of my love of performing, I stubbornly decided to learn new ways of moving that would help me keep this back injury at bay. This is how I came to study Simonson jazz, Pilates and The Alexander Technique. My injury was gone within a few months, I was hired to dance for NY choreographers and decided to become a teacher in all the modalities that had saved my career.

After several years of study with such famous instructors as Lynn Simonson, Kathy Grant, Cary Regan, Joel Kendall and so many others, I opened my own Pilates and Alexander Technique studio on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. I now teach online in groups and private sessions, offer house calls and Pilates and The Alexander Technique sessions at my studio in Littleton, MA.

My Approach

My approach to Pilates is rooted in my dance career and focuses on making movement flow organically and freely while staying true to Josef Pilates’ brilliant exercise method. Joseph himself would work creatively around his exercises if a student was challenged by the movement. I feel very strongly that we can arrive at tremendous strength and flexibility following his exercises and adding props we have at home to assist. The mat work offers so many modifications and still remains simple and clear. My group classes are organized by level: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced and I am always available for questions.

If you need specific training after an injury or preparing for an event, we can work one-on-one remotely or at my very private studio. At the studio, I use the Reformer, Cadillac, Ladder Barrel and my Alexander Technique table work to help you get stronger and better coordinated. In both my personal life and career, I have found the work to be a powerful game changer — truly life enhancing bodywork.