Instructors

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Alexandra Trifonova
Owner

Alexandra was born in Bulgaria, where she was a gymnast for many years and that lead her body to multiple injuries and misalignments especially after the birth of her child. She experienced Pilates after a chiropractor suggested it is as a way for her body to get stronger and better aligned. After a few sessions she saw the incredible benefits of the exercises and quickly decided to enter a Comprehensive Pilates Instructor training program in Chicago. Soon after completing it, she was certified by National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP). Alexandra has completed several continuing education workshops with Pilates teachers Madeline Black, Cara Reeser and Carolyne Anthony. She is Pre and Post Natal and Diastasis Recti certified through Carolyne Anthony’s Center for Women’s Fitness.  Alexandra also completed Cara Reeser's Heritage Training, a post-graduate program for Pilates professionals. The program offers training in Kathy Grant’s work in The Pilates Method taught by her long-time student Cara Reeser

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Gisela Perez
Owner

My name is Gisela Pérez. I have been teaching Pilates since 2015.  I am a National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) certified teacher and completed a 620 teacher training program.  I have also completed several continuing education courses such as Pilates for Neurological Conditions, Cadaver Lab, Anatomy Trains as well as Pelvic Floor and Pre/Post Natal Pilates through the Center for Women's Fitness.  I have experience working with clients that have scoliosis, shoulder and knee injuries, pre and post surgery, pre and post natal as well marathoners and athletes.  I am passionate about the work that I do and love to see my clients succeed in their goals.  

My own journey began just over 15 years ago after the birth of my second child.  It took me a few years to fully appreciate what Pilates has to offer and now I am fortunate to be able to share this passion with others.  I live in the West Ridge neighborhood with my husband and 4 children.

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Matthew Zumann
Master Pilates
Instructor

Matthew has been teaching Pilates in Chicago since 1998. For over 20 years he has taught to a very wide population, including people who have limited mobility to working with  athletes.  Having this experience has made him an extremely astute teacher.  Matthew has taken numerous continuing education courses and completed Cara Reesers' Heritage Training Course for Master Teachers.  Matthew has extensive  experience working with Pre/Post Natal clientele, as well as individuals with Scoliosis, hip, knee and shoulder injuries, and pre/post surgery Matthew also ran Teacher Training Programs for several years for Pilates Teachers in training as well as hosted Pilates retreats.  He has also had the honor to have had numerous feature articles in fitness magazines.  Matthew is very passionate about Pilates and his enthusiasm shows in the work he does. “I am extremely excited and honored to be here at High Bridge Pilates”

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Valerie Cortier
Pilates Instructor

Valerie began dancing at age 3 and hasn’t stopped moving since. After graduation from Webster University with a BFA in Dance Performance, she moved to New York City to pursue her dance career. She went on to dance professionally with various companies, projects, and festivals . While performing, she also had a career as a teacher at a world renowned ballet school, Ballet Academy East. During this time, she started to study Pilates from masters in their field including Pilates Elder, Phoebe Higgins and Teacher Trainer, Erin King. Studying multiple times a week, Valerie never felt stronger. She noticed a change in her body inside and out. Injuries vanished. She was hooked for life. She knew she wanted to share this knowledge. She earned a mat certification in 2014, and then was awarded a full scholarship as an apprentice at the flagship Power Pilates in New York City, an internationally recognized certification program and leading educator of classical pilates. She graduated in 2017. She is fully certified to work with the very beginner to athlete and has studied special cases including injuries, pregnancy, seniors - clients of all fitness levels. Valerie's positive and supportive approach to movement gives clients the self confidence they need to get the physical results they're looking for.  Empowering her clients to feel their best inside and out is what it's all about. 

When not doing Pilates or taking a dance class, you’ll find Valerie with her adorable son and daughter, husband, and kitty.

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April Popp
 Pilates Instructor

A native of Chicagoland, April was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child and had spinal fusion surgery as a form of correction. However, it wasn’t until she discovered Pilates that she was finally able to achieve a sense of alignment. This inspired April to pursue a certification in Pilates through Pilates Chicago as a means of helping others find the same body awareness and balance. April is always eager for opportunities to learn and grow both through continued education and teaching a diverse range of students. 

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Ilana Faust
Pilates Instructor

Ilana is an former dancer/actress from Argentina. She started her pilates practice back home while she was dancing professionally. Ilana holds a Classical Pilates certification from Core Pilates NYC (2010) and a BA in Performance from the University of Illinois (2009). She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Counseling from Northeastern University which makes her scheduling availability fairly limited. Ilana has a fun, challenging and dynamic approach to teaching Classical Pilates, nurtured by her experience working both in the Fitness world and boutique Pilates studios. Starting in the pandemic and still ongoing, Ilana has been learning from Biomechanist/ergonomist Shari Berkowicz with the Vertical Workshop. Her teaching has revolutionized Ilana’s understanding of the Pilates Method and it has made her fall in love with it all over again.

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Julie Wang
Pilates Instructor

Julie is of Korean descent and currently lives in Chicago, and was introduced to Pilates when she lived in China. Julie learned that Pilates could improve not only the health but also the quality of life for the less privileged who resided in terrible conditions. Julie’s interest has always been about people she can help through the Pilates Method. She realized that Pilates can be a great tool to help people feel better about their bodies and their lives all over the world.

When Julie relocated to Chicago, she entered the Comprehensive Pilates training program at Pilates Chicago and poured her energy into learning all aspects of the Pilates Method. Shortly after finishing her 600 hour training program, she completed her National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) Certification.

Julie is also certified in Pre and Post Natal Pilates through Carolyne Anthonys Center for Womens Fitness.

Julie loves to share the benefits of Pilates and then watch a client’s body learn and move better! 

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We at High Bridge Pilates are making all efforts to keep you safe, strong and well!