Lotto Berk came to Britain in 1938, fleeing from Nazi Germany and, from a basement in the West End, founded an exercise method for women derived from ballet training.
Her exercises became a cult for stars and celebrities. Zoe Wannamaker, Britt Eckland, Shirley Conran, Maureen Lipman, Pru Leith are just a few of the very famous who got into shape under Lotte's eagle eye.
It is true that everything worthwhile in life is worth working hard for, and surely it is worth a little hard work to achieve a super shapely body that works well, a body full of vitality that makes you feel happy to be alive.
Her natural and naughty wit, her straight talk and her no-nonsense attitude won her many admirers. She believed that if someone thought that the method was good, she should be prepared to come down to the basement, do the exercises and drop the airs and graces: and so during the Sixties, while Vidal Sassoon did the hair and Mary Quant made the clothes, Lotte Berk took care of the body.
She was responsible for introducing the pelvic-tilt exercise that has now become so popular in workouts, and insisted on referring to it as “the lovemaking position”. If a student had problems with the manoeuvre, Lotte would ask with wide-eyed wonder: “How is your sex life?” The celebrities flocked to her: Yasmin le Bon, Shirley Conran, Edna O’Brien, Joan Collins — and Barbra Streisand, who stayed only one session and would not remove her hat.
Not only the rich and famous benefited, Lotte attracted women from all over the country as more studios opened.