A Young Gem Returns Home!

By Kate Brighton

Ever noticed the best memories or things in life are often found tucked away? Like that little restaurant you found on that favorite trip, tucked behind the shoemakers. Even gold and diamonds are beneath ground tucked into rocks. Irmo is just like one of those gems!

In 1977 my parents retired to Irmo and I began my yearly visits from wherever I lived in the U.S. until I settled here myself in 2002. Irmo, this quirky little town bisected by the railroad tracks, indeed has many gems tucked away. Parks, coffee shops, City Hall, dance schools, bakeries, rec centers and now tucked away on the quiet Irmo end of St. Andrews Blvd is the Radiant Classical Pilates Studio.

Kat Norcutt is the owner and certified Classical Pilates instructor of this new Irmo business. Kat explained to me, “I want this studio to be a place where people come to connect with themselves. For me, it’s more than a workout. It really is about integrating the mind with the body. Those two parts of ourselves are so much stronger when they work together.”

Kat at 13 was quite the young actress when I first cast her as the lead in the musical “Fish Eating Creek” at Absolute Theatre Company. Kat attended Dutch Fork High and graduated from the SC Governor’s School for the Arts in Greenville and Sarah Lawrence College with degrees in theatre.

Radiant Classical Pilates Studio is modeled on a movement system invented by Joe Pilates, beginning in the 1920’s. Classical Pilates has continued to evolve in the decades since his passing thanks to the diligent work of generations of instructors.

After emigrating from Germany, Mr. Pilates lived and worked in New York City where he quickly became a favorite of the performing arts world. George Balanchine and Martha Graham were early adopters who had their dancers workout at Mr. Pilates’ studio.

The performing arts world is also where Kat Norcutt discovered Pilates. After graduating, Kat spent time in New York City and then Los Angeles pursuing her career as an actor. During this time, she took workshops in creative movement systems and eventually found Classical Pilates classes.

“Kate, it was more healing than anything I’d ever done before,” she told me. “Pilates is about unlocking the strength I knew I had but was having trouble connecting to. Doing Pilates helped me find my hidden reserves of strength. It created positivity that radiated into other areas of my life.”

But the world turned on a dime. The choking fires darkened the skies over Los Angeles, shutting down production. Then seemingly out of nowhere hospitals were choked with people dying of Covid. The pandemic hit, grinding acting work to a near halt. After living away from home since the 11th grade, almost 16 years, Kat felt the imperative need to return home to Irmo and family roots and a new adventure.

Opening her new venture in a welcoming, sunny, cozy studio where clients feel safe and unjudged was paramount. You’ll find various pieces of equipment including the reformer, ladder barrel and wall towers lining the walls, unlike any equipment seen in gyms. A 55-minute workout introduces you to movement that guides your body to find the right balance, strength and control. Pilates engages the mind as well as the body leaving you encouraged and energized.

The Radiant Classical Pilates Studio offers one-on-one and group classes. For more information, visit www.radiantclassicalpilates.com.

Kate Brighton is the Artistic Director for Absolute Theatre and a contributor to The Irmo News. Photos by Rob Wilson Photography.