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Longboat residents beat the heat in Pilates studio

Emily Condensa instructs a Pilates Aligned session using the CoreAlign machine.
Emily Condensa instructs a Pilates Aligned session using the CoreAlign machine.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
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Pickleball may be all the rage for outdoor recreation, but there are other ways Longboat Key residents stay active while avoiding the 90-degree weather. One of the most popular: Pilates. 

In Whitney Beach Plaza, one of the recent additions is Performance Pilates, opened by Emily and Mike Condensa. Originally starting their business in Georgia, the couple wanted to expand to a studio on Longboat about two years ago. Since then, business has been nonstop, they said. 

For the first few months, the couple commuted to Longboat. On Wednesday evenings, they would pack the car in Georgia and be ready to instruct classes in Longboat on a Thursday morning. Then on Sunday afternoon, they would pack up the car in Longboat and return to Georgia just to repeat the cycle a few days later. 

During the season, the Condensas said business is “super crazy,” and still busy during the summer. 

“I think it’s great because it’s so hot out there,” Emily Condensa said. 

Mike Condensa knows the name of every person that walks through the doors. He manages the calendar on the whiteboard behind his desk, and proudly wears a shirt dubbing him the “Front Desk Guy.” He’s also an instructor for the Fuse Pilates Class. 

Emily Condensa is a master instructor, meaning she is able to certify others who are interested in becoming instructors. The pair have had many clients who started taking lessons and then wanted to become instructors themselves. On Performance Pilates' packed schedule, the classes highlighted in blue are taught by instructors-in-training. 

Pilates can help with flexibility, strength and balance according to Emily Condensa. Classes at Performance Pilates utilize many different techniques across several different machines. The studio is unique because of its high number of Cadillac machines, a type of Pilates apparatus. According to Mike, at least 90% of Pilates studios won’t have a class that focuses just on the Cadillac machine. 

There are clients that come in everyday that Performance Pilates is open, the Condensas said. One of the frequent clients is Janice Fior. She used to be a skeptic, she said, but now attends classes about four times a week. 

“I can’t stop,” Fior said. “I feel better.” 

The Condensas have plenty of clients who talk about health benefits since starting Pilates. Irene Vassilaros has been going to Performance Pilates since they opened, and now Pilates is her main source of fitness. Pilates has greatly improved her balance, she said. 

A single drop-in class at Performance Pilates costs $30, but Mike Condensa said it’s more common for people to buy the sessions in packs. But for the Condensas, it isn’t about the money. 

“We’re not here to be rich,” Mike Condensa said. “We’re doing this to help the people.” 

Over a decade since the start of the business, Emily Condensa enjoys being able to help people and see the benefit Pilates can have.

“I’ve seen amazing results with it,” Emily Condensa said. “People don’t realize they need it until they try it.” 



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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