Playa Pilates

Instructors

Playa Pilates

Photo of Giovanna Andolina
Giovanna Andolina

Giovanna first started dancing and moving at the age of 3! She was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She went on to get her B.F.A. in dance at Ohio State, where she was first introduced to Pilates as a way to build true core strength that hours of physical movement had never provided her through out her dance career.

After realizing the incredible benefits of Pilates and this method of focused movement, she pursued a full comprehensive certification from Stott Pilates. This ignited a passion for teaching and learning the Pilates method.

Giovanna went on to perform in the prestigious Las Vegas Michael Jackson tribute show. She also choreographed for the Nevada Ballet and Cirque de Soleil. Her ability to understand the body, combined with her extensive knowledge of Pilates and fitness makes her the incredible teacher that she is.

Photo of Michelle Baham PMA®CPT
Michelle Baham PMA®CPT

Michelle Baham has been a fitness instructor for 21 years and has been with Playa Pilates for 9 years. In 2015 Michelle completed a national accreditation through the Pilates Method Alliance. She is also certified in Aquatic Instruction, Personal Training, Aerobics, and Golf Conditioning. Before moving to Los Angeles Michelle was a fitness instructor and manager of a dance company in Bermuda for seven years. In 1998, she was voted “The Best Personal Trainer in Bermuda.”

After being introduced to Pilates 16 years ago she was blown away. She rehabbed her broken foot and shoulder injury through Pilates. Her training style is personalized and based on each individual’s goals through the appropriate amount of resistance training, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise.

Michelle works with all body types and has an extensive background working with injuries and special populations. She helps clients increase their body awareness by teaching them core control and functional movement patterns to improve overall strength, reduce injuries, and ready the body for whatever life demands. Pilates has been an invaluable tool to assist during rehabilitation. i.e. post natal, injury etc. She has worked with many pregnant women until delivery. Her experience has led her to work with special populations and injuries with great success.

She strives to educate her clients in all aspects of fitness – from the proper execution and purpose of each exercise to the importance of rest and rehabilitation. She stresses the importance of exercise for the overall well-being of the mind, body and spirit.

Photo of Keary Ann Bixby PMA®CPT
Keary Ann Bixby PMA®CPT
Owner

Keary Ann Bixby PMA®CPT, founder of two Los Angeles based health and wellness businesses, has been involved in health and fitness since an early age. Playing basketball and running track throughout her youth, Keary’s love for conditioning the body followed her to Los Angeles where in 2003 she began her path as a Pilates instructor. She completed Retrofit Pilates Rx™ teacher training course in 2004 and became a certified Pilates instructor through Pilates Method Alliance 2008. She has attended countless workshops and trainings taught by her many role models including Marie Jose’ Blom, Rael Isacowitz, Brent Anderson, Karen Clippinger, Lolita San Miguel, and Jillian Hessel. In 2012 she completed over 200 hours of Theraputics, Chakra, and Graduate Modules through Mukti Yoga School to enhance her knowledge of ancient texts, philosophy, yoga therapies, and strategies for living a yogic lifestyle.

Her entrepreneurial spirit found her opening Playa Pilates in 2004 and eventually a Yoga studio in 2010. Both companies allowed Keary to combine her passion for business, teaching and wellness by sharing her knowledge with her clients on a daily basis. My love for both fitness and my surrounding community makes helping each student reach their ultimate fitness goals extremely rewarding. There is nothing better than seeing the feeling of accomplishment through a huge smile across my clients face.”

She currently enjoys running Playa Pilates including the daily interaction with clientele and staff alongside of teaching workshops and trainings throughout the year.

Photo of Kat Fillare
Kat Fillare

Kat has been teaching Pilates since 2010. Prior to that, she was a second degree brown belt in Shaolin Kenpo Karate, a competitive rower, an avid hiker, and runner. Kat was trained in both East and West Coast Pilates Styles. Kat’s classes are geared toward those who want to work while also have fun!

 

Photo of Felicia Kelley
Felicia Kelley

Felicia Kelley is a professional dancer and lifelong athlete born and raised in Southern California. She began practicing Pilates while an undergraduate student at Loyola Marymount University, as a method of rehabilitating overworked back muscles. After a few sessions she began experiencing the benefits of Pilates such as improved posture, strong abdominal muscles, increased flexibility, better coordination, and most importantly no back pain! Soon thereafter, Felicia decided that upon graduation she wanted to share this method with the world. Since completing her comprehensive training in 2012, Felicia has enjoyed challenging clients to become more aware of their bodies in the studio and outside of the studio, while building strength and confidence to carry throughout their daily lives. As a professional dancer, Felicia has been on hundreds of stages from Los Angeles, to Washington D.C. to Costa Rica. She loves bringing her enthusiasm for the human body and movement from the stage to the Pilates studio, giving each person a whole body workout tailored specifically to meet their fitness and wellness goals.

Photo of Sarah Miszkowicz PMA®CPT
Sarah Miszkowicz PMA®CPT

Sarah was born and raised as a native Southern Californian. When not in the studio teaching Pilates, Sarah can be found training and performing in Aerial Arts and dance. Sarah’s first Pilates experience was in high school after her ballet instructor (who was also a Pilates instructor) recommended Pilates to improve strength and flexibility. She fell in love right away and has been on the reformer ever since.

Sarah has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a degree in Dance from Loyola Marymount University. In her senior year at LMU Sarah enrolled in the Body Arts Science International Comprehensive Teacher Training Course, one of the most rigorous, comprehensive and challenging trainings in the industry. After attaining her teacher training certificate she went on to teach full time at Playa Pilates. Sarah also completed a national accreditation through the Pilates Method Alliance in 2015. Sarah has a wealth of teaching experience and she loves sharing her passion for Pilates with others, and enjoys assisting her clients to reach their fitness goals and helping them recover from physical injuries.

Photo of Ellye O’Brien
Ellye O’Brien

So Cal native Ellye O’Brien brings a lighthearted enthusiasm and an athletic dance background to Playa Pilates. Her passion for informed movement, health, and dance led her to Loyola Marymount University. It was there that she was introduced to the balancing, healing, and energizing effects of Pilates and knew she had to share these benefits through teaching. She has studied and completed her teacher training in Stott Pilates. In addition to Pilates she has completed trainings with Bikram Yoga and Annie Carpenter’s SmartFlow Yoga. Ellye finds yoga and Pilates to serve as a path of self-awareness and balance that invite optimum health, passion, and connection. Whether on the reformer or the mat, you can expect a workout that engages the breath of the entire body, mind and spirit. Ellye has recently returned from traveling and teaching abroad. She is thrilled to return to Los Angeles and join the Playa Pilates team!

Photo of Danielle Pearre
Danielle Pearre

Danielle discovered her passion for health and wellness when she was introduced to ballroom dancing as a teenager. To compliment her dance training and overall fitness she began weight lifting and cardiovascular endurance exercise. As her passion for movement increased, Danielle researched and developed her own physical training routines focusing on strength, flexibility, and endurance. In her desire to find more ways to move her body she purchased her first Mat Pilates book and began adding Mat elements to her regular routine. When a close friend opened up a Pilates studio Danielle completed a comprehensive Pilates teacher training program and began teaching Pilates full time instructor. Danielle believes practicing Pilates instills a deep mind-body connection and strength that translates to extraordinary self-confidence. She works to develop and nurture inner awareness in each of her clients, building strength and confidence from within, to take with them through their daily lives.

Photo of Laura Schaffer
Laura Schaffer

Laura Schaffer started ballet at the age of five and grew up in a dance studio. Having earned a B.S. in Kinesiology with a Minor in Pilates through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she has recently moved back to home to Culver City to pursue a career in Pilates.  When she discovered Pilates, her interests in dance, injury prevention and teaching came together and formed a deep passion she couldn’t ignore. At UNLV she was picked to travel to Japan and Korea as an intern to observe and assist with teacher training workshops with her Pilates professor Dolly Kelepecz. Proper alignment and symmetry influence her teaching style because of her technical background as a ballet dancer. Eventually, she plans on becoming a Physical Therapist with a specialization in dance injuries. She is excited to be a part of the Playa Pilates family.

Photo of Sarah Thomason PMA®CPT
Sarah Thomason PMA®CPT

Sarah Thomason graduated Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University in December 2009 with a BA in dance. She completed her comprehensive teacher training in July 2009 with BASI Pilates. In 2015 Sarah completed a national accreditation through the Pilates Method Alliance. She has taught various places across the country including the Vail Athletic Club, Areia Spa in Vail, and currently works at Playa Pilates. She continues her dance career and can be seen on the Style Network dancing for Kimora Lee Simmons, and recently danced for “ENEWS Ciroc the New Year.” She choreographs for National Winning Battle Mountain High School Dance Team and continues to spread her love and passion for dance. It is through the cross training for dance that she found her love of Pilates and enjoys teaching the technique to others while watching their bodies transform.

Pilates brought a new dimension and understanding of bodily mechanics that has not only helped Sarah with her dance career, but her every day physical and mental health. She loves how Pilates prevents common injuries for athletes and the strenuous wear and tear we implement on our bodies daily. She loves being able to share the gift of Pilates with others and continue to grow as an instructor and share in her love and knowledge of Pilates with her fellow employees. She feels blessed to work with such a high end and talented group of women whom keep the Pilates world invigorating while providing the best training around!

Photo of Jen Vella
Jen Vella

Jen was first introduced to yoga through her dance professor and mentor while working towards her degree in Visual and Performing Arts at Stonehill College. Jen has been teaching since 2004 and absolute loves it! She received her 200-hour training from Sonic Yoga (NYC) and is registered with the Yoga Alliance as a RYT. She is currently enrolled in Sonic Yoga’s 300 hour Advanced Prana Flow Teacher Training working toward her 500-hour certification. Jen was named Lululemon ambassador in January 2013, representing the Manhasset (Long Island, NY) location. Although Jen started teaching Mat Pilates in 2011, it wasn’t until moving to Colorado and finding Studio J Pilates that she found her true passion for Pilates. Jen completed her full Pilates Comprehensive through Personal Best Pilates Instructor Academy under the guidance of Studio J Owner, Jennifer Whitley. Jen enjoys blending yoga, pilates and dance together in all of her classes. She likes to work hard, and have fun while doing it!