Former Martha Graham Dancer became Pilates Master Teacher

JULIAN LITTLEFORD – 1960 – 2013Julian Littleford

Julian Littleford, a former dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, who was a master teacher of Pilates and owner of J.L. Body Conditioning Inc., died Aug. 31, 2013, at his home in Del Mar. He was 53.

He had cancer, Adenocarcinoma, the Pilates facility he developed with his wife, Carol Mead, announced in a statement on its Facebook page. Littlefield had openly shared his struggles with chemo therapy and radiation for several years. With graceful candor, he reported his recent decline to devoted students and colleagues.

A native of the United Kingdom, Littleford taught Pilates master classes and workshops in America and internationally. He was one of the most popular presenters at annual education conferences of the Pilates Method Alliance®, so much so that the PMA has had to establish special procedures to prevent delegates from crashing his workshops.

Littleford moved to San Diego in 1990 after spending eight years in New York City as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company where he worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the late Rudolf Nureyev.  His wife, Carol Mead, co-owner of J.L. Body Conditioning Inc., was also his dance partner in the Martha Graham Dance Company. Additionally, Ms. Mead danced with Murray Louis Dance and Nikolais Dance Theatre, all of New York. While dancing professionally, she practiced Pilates as a way to help balance her body and maintain an injury-free career. She has taught dance throughout the country and directed the dance program at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla for eleven years. She now works at the studio in Del Mar as both front desk manager and an instructor.

Littleford is featured in “Who’s Who in America” and performed with Martha Clarke’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” and the Toronto Dance Theater in Canada.

He originally studied the Pilates method with Alan Herdman in London, England and was one of Mr. Herdman’s original teachers in the late 1970’s. In New York City, he studied with and worked for Deborah Lessen at Greene Street Studio. He was a founding member of the Physical Mind Institute, a PMA Gold Certified Pilates Teacher™ and a Corporate Sponsor of the Pilates Method Alliance®.

He directed the Pilates teacher training at Pilates de Mexico in Mexico City. Up until his cancer diagnosis in June of 2011, he was a regular presenter for Balanced Body’s “Pilates on Tour,” the Pilates Method Alliance, and dance teacher conferences.

He was the athletic trainer for Cirque du Soleil’s “Dralion” touring production in Southern California, and the director of Pilates for the San Diego Padres baseball team. In 2006, he released his first DVD, “Pilates for Dancers,” and was a guest teacher and trainer throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Australia.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Mead, and two children, Samantha and Tom.



  1. Kristi Cooper on September 14, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Kris ~
    I love this write up of Julian.
    It is very hard to convey the brilliance of a man while at the same time sharing the news that he is no longer with us (depending on your perspective). Kudos to you for offering the truth in a manner that allows us to celebrate him together… however it happens.. I’m open!

    Julian has been very kind to me in the 3.5 years I got to be with him. I want everyone to know him .

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