Instructors

Laura Bovenkerk

Laura-BovenkerkLaura previously lived and worked as a professional dancer in New York City, most successfully as a Radio City Rockette. She began her Pilates certification in 2004 and is a Level 2 Certified STOTT PILATES instructor, a TRX instructor, and part of the elite team of Senior Instructors at the studio.  Laura promises a fluid and dynamic workout that will improve strength, flexibility and balance.  After a session, you will feel stronger, taller and centered.  She has also been known to sing to her clients!  Originally from Portage, MI, Laura has a degree in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University.  She’s an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State University and the proud mother of Ella, Oliver , and Harper Mae.

Favorite snack: Yogurt parfaits
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a professor of dance or a dentist

Kim Dunleavy Ph.D, PT, MOMT, OCS – Rehab IT 

Kim-DunleavyKim is a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor Trainer for Injuries & Special Populations and Rehabilitation, with extensive experience in applying STOTT PILATES principles to clients with injuries and impairments. At Equilibrium, Kim strives to establish safe exercise programs tailored to unique requirements related to spinal or joint dysfunction, medical conditions or post-surgical requirements.

An American Physical Therapy Association orthopedic certified specialist physical therapist, Kim has masters degrees in manual and orthopedic physical therapy and sports physical therapy, as well as a Ph.D in Instructional Technology. An assistant professor at Wayne State University’s Department of Physical Therapy, Kim lectures worldwide on the orthopedic treatment and management of dance injuries. Her research areas include instructional design for global audiences and exercise management for spinal and hip dysfunction.

Kim is a competitive ballroom dancer and golfer and started with STOTT PILATES exercise to improve flexibility and muscle synchronization. She is also involved with Health Volunteers Overseas, a non-profit volunteer organization that contributes to improving rehabilitation internationally through volunteer activities in South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia and Suriname.

In 2014 Kim accepted a position at the University of Florida Department of Physical Therapy in Gainsville, FL. Kim is our resident rehab Instructor Trainer.

Favorite snack: Chocolate mint zone bar

If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be an instructional designer or a surgeon

Gayle Eubanks

Gayle-EubanksGayle is a fully certified STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer, a Breast Cancer Post-Rehab Exercise Specialist, certified through the Pink Ribbon Program and trained in the Gyrotonic Expansion System and TRX Suspension System. Gayle has been on staff at Equilibrium since 1999. She enjoys working with clients and STOTT PILATES trainees of all levels and skills, helping them work toward their own unique goals. Gayle is considered to be a mentor to many of the STOTT PILATES instructor trainees. She holds a B.A. in dance from Michigan State University and performed professionally as a leading dancer with Harbinger Dance Company for 12 years before joining the first Pilates training class offered at Equilibrium. Gayle feels Equilibrium has wonderful clients, trainees and staff and loves learning something new from each of them every day.

Favorite snack: Hummus & Trader Joe pita chips
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: It’s hard to choose! I love gardening, but I really enjoy teaching Pilates, as well.

Jessie Abrams Hodari
Client Service Specialist and Xtend Barre Instructor; Pilates Instructor in Training
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Jessie comes to Equilibrium after spending time working in Interior Design and Marketing. Upon graduation from the University of Michigan, Jessie moved to Los Angeles where she worked in Brand Marketing at PMKBNC, focusing on events and media relations. Jessie made the move back home to Michigan in the beginning of 2012 to be close to her family and her high school sweetheart! Jessie’s passion for health and helping people led her to Equilibrium where her experience as a client drove her excitement and interest in joining our team. Growing up in the Bloomfield area, Jessie was a dancer at Star Trax for 7 years which also spurred her interest in fitness and the body. Jessie continues to focus on client services and teaching her popular Xtend Barre classes while she completes her STOTT Pilates training and certification at the studio. Jessie is an avid fan of art, dance, romantic comedies, the color black and people.

Favorite snack: All. I love snacking
If I didn’t work at Equilibrium:( I would be a back up dancer for Beyonce or work in the Arts!

 

Kelly Jeannotte

Kelly JeannotteKelly studied STOTT PILATES in order to transform her mind and body. She is a full-time mother of two from Plymouth. With her children now in school, she is devoting her free time to teaching Pilates at Equilibrium. Kelly enjoys the challenge of teaching and the opportunity it provides her to develop motivating workout sessions that suit the individual needs of her clients. Kelly is a friendly, compassionate and diligent trainer always seeking to help everyone she comes in contact with to reach his or her full potential. She completed her Level 2 certification in February 2009.

Favorite snack: Hummus
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: Well, there’s nothing else I’d rather be

 

Lauren Kaczander

Lauren KaczanderAfter receiving her BA in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences from the University of Colorado, Lauren moved back home to West Bloomfield to pursue different careers within her field. She has worked for JARC in their School Inclusion Program, doing ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy with children with autism at Kaufman Children Center, and as a kindergarten assistant at Hillel Day School. Being a fitness fanatic, Lauren was introduced to Equilibrium for the HIIT55 class and Xtend Classes, which she still loves to take! She became more and more interested in Pilates and decided to join the STOTT Pilates CMR Training Program. She is a fully certified Level 1 STOTT Pilates instructor and is working on becoming a Level 2 instructor and is certified in TRX. She wants to teach her clients how to have a great mind-body connection when it comes to working out and develop great body awareness as well. When not teaching Lauren loves yoga, hiking (especially in Colorado!), traveling, dogs, and being with her family. Lauren is so happy to be part of the amazing Equilibrium team!

Favorite Snack: Gummy Bears
If I didn’t work at Equilibrium: I would move to Australia (where I studied abroad) and teach fitness classes.

 Amy Kubo-Slowik PT

Amy Kubo-SlowikAmy combines backgrounds in dance, sports medicine and Gyrotonic to design safe, yet challenging Pilates workouts for each individual regardless of their fitness level. She is a STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer for Group SPX and Private Training, as well as a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Speed, Agility & Quickness instructor and a Level 1 Gyrotonic Instructor. As a licensed physical therapist, Amy specialized in treating orthopedic, dance and sports injuries and enjoyed working with all levels of athletes, but now devotes her career to teaching Pilates.

Favorite snack: Cold ripe watermelon
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I would be a children’s party planner.

Stephanie Main 

Stephanie Main

Stephanie has been a competitive athlete for years, swimming at Eastern Michigan University; coaching swimmers for over 10 years and participating in 4 marathons. Stephanie began studying STOTT Pilates to help lengthen and stretch her body after a few injuries and fell in love with the transformation process. Now determined to share her Pilates love, Stephanie wants to show clients the incredible way to improve body alignment, posture and overall sense of body. As a confident and personable trainer, she hopes to help each client reach their Pilates fitness goals and transform their bodies all while having fun doing it.  She is currently training to become a Level 2 STOTT instructor and is a certified Spinning instructor.

Favorite snack: Gala Apples
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a Movie Critic or Fashion stylist.

Jennifer Montie

Jennifer Montie

Jenn is a senior instructor and became a STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer in 2014. She discovered Pilates through her dance training and loved the conditioning, strength, and balance it provided. She is fully certified in STOTT Pilates, is an ACE certified personal trainer, Xtend Barre certified, and a TRX instructor. In 2014, she became an American Ballet Theater certified instructor in Pre-Primary through Level 3.

Jenn has been working at Equilibrium since 2007, enjoys giving a very detail-oriented workout and loves working with all ages and fitness levels.  Her favorite part of her job at Equilibrium is seeing her clients accomplish their goals and getting to know such wonderful people.

Favorite snack: Cottage cheese and fresh pineapple
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I would own a dance studio in New York City!

Christine Pancotto

Christine-PancottoChristine came to us as one of our favorite Equilibrium clients, with a BS in finance and business management, before her passion for Pilates led her to enroll in our STOTT PILATES training and certification program. She now holds a full STOTT PILATES certification. Her love for Pilates has led her to further her education with certifications in Pre- and Post-Natal Pilates, Zumba, TRX and Cardiolates. Most of her standing clients are strong, share her passion and enjoy Christine’s undeniable energy. She enjoys every type of workout and loves the satisfaction of knowing her clients feel great after they leave!

Favorite snack: Fruit, especially cantaloupe
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a physical therapist

Melissa Penn

Melissa PennMelissa is a ballet dancer and teacher, as well as a Pilates instructor. She has danced professional for Ballet Memphis, Nashville Ballet and Charleston Ballet Theatre. She has also completed STOTT PILATES training to full certification. As a Pilates instructor, she likes to focus on correct posture to gain strength and flexibility. She strives to help her clients gain knowledge about the exercise and their bodies to increase their awareness and challenge their workout.

Favorite snack: Purple grapes
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a full time dance instructor

 

Eva Powers M.A.

Eva PowersThe chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance in the College of Fine Arts at Wayne State University Eva’s primary research is in education, pedagogy, teaching methodology and dance science. Her courses in Dance Kinesiology and Movement Analysis reflect her interest in the integration of body and mind conditioning for dancers while integrating Pilates and Gyrokinesis. A fully certified STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer, Eva was recently named a Lead Instructor Trainer for Stott Pilates. She has also achieved Level 1 Certification in Gyrotonic® and apprentice level in Gyrokinesis. Eva is a dancer, choreographer, gifted professor and mentor to new STOTT PILATES instructors at Equilibrium.

View Eva Powers videos

Favorite snack: Carrots
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d love to be a master gardener

Amy Pronovost

Amy PronovostAmy is certified as a STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer, an Xtend Barre Instructor Trainer, a Level 1 Gyrotonic instructor , ACE certified and a 200- hour registered yoga teacher. She has been teaching at Equilibrium since 2000. She received her BA in dance and English from Western Michigan University. Amy is also the ballet director of Dance Dynamics Performing Arts Center in Walled Lake, where her students have received many prestigious ballet scholarships.  Amy loves teaching clients of all ages and backgrounds and especially her Xtend classes and advanced mat class.

Favorite snack: Ice cream
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a writer/editor

Marianna Pruss

Marianna PrussMarianna’s love for children led family and friends to believe she would get her teaching degree. Instead, she worked her way through college as a nanny while pursuing a degree in marketing. After getting her first “real job” in marketing, Marianna realized she was not interested in the corporate world. She craved the chance to use her creativity in a fun, fast-paced environment. Building long-term, meaningful client relationships makes her job rewarding. She is a life-long fitness enthusiast, having practiced yoga, spinning, kickboxing and Pilates. Marianna is a motivated instructor who thrives on pushing her clients to reach their goals. She is excited to meet all of you while getting into shape doing Pilates!

Favorite snack: Sunflower seeds
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor:I’d be an actress on Saturday Night Live

Jason Roberts PT

This 40-year-old Yooper was raised in Iron Mountain, MI. A graduate of Wayne State University, Jason has been a licensed PT for the last 14 years in a hospital setting. His focus is in outpatient sports and orthopedic rehabilitation. Pilates has been a tremendous adjunct to Jason’s treatment plans in helping his clients reach a higher level of function. He holds a certification in STOTT PILATES Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Barrel and Chair. Jason is also certified in teaching TRX. He loves to learn and share his knowledge with every workout.

Favorite snack: Twix bars
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d do something with ESPN, like a baseball analyst

Kristen Roberston

Kristen hails from Hanover, PA. She graduated from Oklahoma City University with a B.S. in Dance Management and has been performing all over the world. She has found a wonderful new home here in Michigan and at Equilibrium. After retiring from her professional dance career, Kristen found Pilates. Now a Level 2 certified Senior STOTT Pilates instructor, Xtend Barre instructor, Xtend Stick instructor, and TRX certified, Kristen loves working with clients to achieve their goals. She is also proudly certified through Level 3 in the ABT National Training Curriculum. An adjunct professor teaching jazz and tap at Wayne State University, Kristen is also studying for her Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy. Her and her husband Eugene live in Ferndale.

Favorite snack: Peanut butter cups
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: A kicker for the NFL!

Liz Smythe

Liz-SmytheLiz loves motivating others to exercise and has done so for the past 20 years teaching body conditioning, boot camp, spinning, barre, TRX and Pilates. A finance graduate from Michigan State University, Liz worked as a computer consultant before staying home to raise four kids. This break from the business world helped her to realize that fitness, health and helping others were more her true calling. Now fully certified as a Level 2 instructor, she loves helping clients of all backgrounds develop their full fitness potential.

Favorite snack: Brownies
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I’d be a book reviewer

Nicki Warner – Substitute Trainer

Nicki Warner

After graduating from Michigan State University and working in advertising for 11 years, Nicki decided to pursue her passion for Pilates after having her sons, Freddy and James. Knowing the challenges of staying fit throughout and after pregnancy, she is currently working towards full Level 2 STOTT Certification with a specialization in pre-and post natal clientele. Also an Xtend Barre and TRX Instructor, Nicki looks forward to helping others reach their full fitness potential while making friends and having fun.

Favorite snack: Sushi and wine (those can be snacks, right?!)
If I didn’t work at Equilibrium: I would be traveling—to Italy, in particular

Alejandro Zavala PT

Alejandro ZavalaAlex Zavala, physical therapist and exercise expert from St. John North Shores, and a certified Pilates instructor at Equilibrium. Alejandro has a PhD in Physical Therapy and works full time specializing in sports medicine and orthopedic rehabilitation. Alex developed an interest in Pilates after seeing its benefits when applied in the rehab setting. He has demonstrated both professionalism and commitment to quality education by completing his training in STOTT PILATES Spinal, Pelvic and Scapular Stabilization, Matwork and Reformer. Alex is also fluent in Spanish.

View Alex Zavala videos

Favorite snack: Apples and peanut butter
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I would be a chef in my own restaurant

Heather Babbie

heather-babbieHeather Babbie is a fully certified level 2 STOTT PILATES instructor and certified TRX suspension trainer.  She discovered pilates during her years as a dance instructor and credits pilates for getting her back into shape after having her two boys.  Heather enjoys teaching all ages and fitness levels.  With her detailed instruction, you will achieve strength, flexibility, and knowledge about your postural alignment that will carry into your everyday life.  Heather is also a certified Xtend Barre instructor. Drawing from her strong background in dance and gymnastics, her classes are always energetic and challenging, leaving clients sweating and wanting more.

Favorite snack: Gala apples
If I wasn’t a Pilates instructor: I would be a chef on the Food network or own a diner.

Elissha Bate

Elissha BateFor Elissha, the joy of teaching comes in helping clients discover body awareness, eliminate pain, and fully realize their personal movement potential. Elissha found Pilates while attending Eastern Michigan University as a Dietetics student. After registering for a semester long class, it was then she became fascinated with the method and wanted to know more. Having a strong interest in health & wellness, she decided to pursue her teacher training certification at Equilibrium. Elissha is a certified Level 1 STOTT Pilates instructor, working on her Level 2 and has recently completed Xtend Barre training to become the newest addition to Equilibrium’s Xtend Barre team.

Favorite snack: Pineapple
If I didn’t work at Equilibrium: I’d own a coffee shop/antique shop

Sarah Willoughby

Sarah WilloughbySarah has always been passionate about making a difference in people’s lives whether as a Fitness Instructor, Holistic Health Coach or Special Educator. She grew up in Birmingham, MI and attended Miami University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Psychology. After a couple years in the school system, she decided to make a career of her interests in fitness and nutrition. As a competitive equestrian from age 8 through college, staying fit and healthy were always priorities to Sarah. During her years in Chicago, she fell in love with Barre and Pilates based workouts and worked for The Bar Method. She was inspired to receive a certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is an accredited Holistic Health Coach through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She has also received her Personal Training Certification through NASM, is a TRX certified instructor, an Xtend Barre instructor and will soon be certified in STOTT Pilates. Sarah believes that fitness and nutrition play a key role in leading a life of balance and she is dedicated to doing whatever is takes to help her family, friends and clients achieve their goals of health and happiness. She brings positive energy, a motivational attitude and extensive knowledge into each session or workout. Sharing her passion for healthy living with her community is Sarah’s priority and she is thrilled to be able to do that in her career and her role as Lululemon Old Woodward’s Ambassador.

Favorite snack: Dark Chocolate/Honey crisp apples
If I didn’t work at Equilibrium: I would be an animal trainer