Kim Gardner is a former ballerina and longtime ballet and Pilates instructor with over 35 years as a movement educator. She is currently on staff at San Jose Dance Theatre where she teaches ballet, dance conditioning and injury prevention, and supports the professional company dancers of both SJDT and New Ballet as part of the Wellness Team. Kim particularly enjoys helping young dancers prepare for the unique demands of pointe work and is known for her clarity and ability to impart an experiential knowledge of the anatomy and aesthetics of ballet technique to her students.
Kim began her training at San Jose Dance Theatre under the tutelage of founding directors Paul E. Curtis and Shawn Stuart and trained on scholarship at San Francisco and Pennsylvania Ballet. At age 18 she began her professional career, first with Milwaukee Ballet where she performed many of the classics, then contemporary ballet with Margaret Wingrove Dancers and Alonzo King’s LINES, and toured the United States in Oakland Ballet’s eclectic and Diaghilev era repertory. Kim returned to SJDT to teach and coach young dancers and appeared as principle guest artist for several seasons as Sugar Plum Fairy in their Nutcracker and Beauty in Beauty and the Beast for which she received critical acclaim. All together Kim’s performing career spanned 17 years to which she credits her Pilates training.
She was first introduced to therapeutic Pilates in 1988 while rehabilitating a hip injury at Dance Medicine St. Francis Memorial Hospital in SF and went on to pursue her certification in Pilates in 1996. Kim has since combined her skills and experience as a dancer, teacher and Pilates instructor to educate and assist dancers of all ages in injury prevention, conditioning and rehabilitation. For 10 years Kim ran the Dance Medicine program at O’Connor Hospital’s Center for Sports Medicine where she developed individualized exercise programs to serve the needs of a varied patient population. She has given numerous presentations on the application of Pilates-based exercise for dance-specific rehabilitation and performance enhancement to physical therapists, athletic trainers and dance instructors. In 2011 Kim opened her own studio Align Pilates and Dance Conditioning in San Jose where she continues to serve a loyal clientele of dancers and non-dancers alike.