There’s a waitlist to get inside North Carolina’s first Black-owned Pilates studio. Prevailing Pilates opened in October 2023, and there’s been at least a one-month waitlist to take a class since the grand opening. Located in Durham, the studio is already making noise as a safe and inclusive place.
Having a reputation as a welcoming studio is a dream come true for Seymore, especially since it wasn’t an easy find when she started. She’s always been active, most recently a heavy weightlifter. An injury, however, meant she had to try something new.
“I was discouraged when I started because when researching for Pilates studios in the Raleigh Durham area, I didn’t see any Black instructors,” she tells Travel Noire. “I felt it wouldn’t be necessarily welcoming for Black bodies.”
At the height of the COVID crisis, Seymore began taking Pilates classes online and on YouTube. She fell in love with how it made her body feel and found a studio as COVID-19 restrictions lifted in her area. The studio didn’t fit her needs, so she decided to create one.
Changing The Narrative
Seymore wants people to know their body is perfect for Pilates, and so is their fitness level when they walk through the doors of Prevailing Pilates. She says too often, the discipline is portrayed by thin white women, creating a false narrative that Black bodies aren’t welcome.
“I consider myself as someone who is in shape. Not necessarily lean, but I have a muscular body type,” she says. “When you go into many of these studios, you see a lot more lean, taller, and thinner women. In my studio, there are all body types.”
Beyond a welcoming atmosphere, Prevailing Pilates is also supportive by design. Seymore’s mission is to create a sense of community.
“People work out for the physical aspect, but they stay for the community,” she says. “People are more motivated to work out with their community. Staying committed always boils down to community.”
Before classes begin, Seymore sets the mood in the luxurious studio with music. After class, Seymore provides a sauna room for people to decompress after workouts. The two-person sauna is available for anyone taking a Pilates class.
“You may hear R&B, sometimes rap music, and sometimes I ask my clients what they are in the mood for. You won’t experience that in many other studios because I take a more collaborative approach,” she says.
A Plan To Expand
Seymore says the benefits she’s seen in her Pilates journey are working on muscle groups and joints that people don’t usually pay attention to when solely participating in cardio and heavy weight lifting.
She’s also found that Pilates provides core strength and mental healing. She wants more people to experience the benefits of Pilates.
“I definitely want to expand throughout the state, and I have my sights on Charlotte,” she says. “I would also like to get more Black instructors fully trained. There’s not a lot of us that are certified in Pilates. I would love to bring more training opportunities to my studio.”