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 the Comprehensive Instructor training program at Pilates Chicago. Soon after completing it, she was certified by National Pilates Certification Program(NPCP). Alexandra has completed 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.

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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.  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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Melissa Manning
Instructor

As a busy mom of three and an avid runner and first time marathoner, Melissa Manning first started taking Pilates at High Bridge to alleviate her plantar fasciitis pain.  After seeing the additional core strength and flexibility benefits she was getting from her Pilates practice she was hooked!  Melissa completed her Pilates instructor training at FFC and has worked with various populations. Melissa is looking forward to coming back to High Bridge, this time as a trainer.  Melissa also a published author and lives in Chicago with her family. 

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Julie Wang
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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Emma Kapteyn
Barre & Pilates Mat Instructor

Emma is a ballet dancer currently training in Chicago.  She was introduced to Pilates by one of her professors at the University of Utah, which is where she started her BFA in Ballet.  After taking classes there for a few years and seeing how much Pilates practices benefited her dancing and helped prevent injuries, she began the work to become certified in Pilates mat work.  After much studying and practice, she received her certification through AFPA.  She also has experience with the fitness program created for dancers, Progressing Ballet Technique, and with teaching Barre classes.  Beyond the physical work, she has also taken a course in Dance Kinesiology, which allowed her to obtain a clear sense of the body’s mechanics and how everything works together to create movement.  Along with dancing full time, Emma is currently attending DePaul University, and is majoring in Philosophy.  She is eager to incorporate all of her knowledge as a ballet dancer into her teaching.

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Ilana Faust
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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Jim DeLapp
 Yoga Instructor

I took my first yoga class in 1968 but I only practiced a few weeks. It would be thirty-two years before I stood on a yoga mat again.
I am a former rugby player and competitive cyclist. Because of my athletic pursuits I developed serve arthritis. A friend suggested that I try Bikram yoga. I ran out of my first class in a panic ten minutes after it started but after calming down, I returned to finish, and I was hooked. Within a few weeks the arthritis in my hands disappeared and the pain in my knees lessened. I was amazed by the profound changes in my life as the result of practicing yoga.
At the age of 58 in 2003 I attended Bikram Teacher Training in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2011, I moved to Nepal to become a certified Vinyasa teacher. I am committed to continual education to expand my knowledge and have over 1000 hours of training. I have had neck cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, and multiple joint replacements, and my yoga practice helped me through it all. My students call me 'the bionic yoga teacher.’ It is my desire to show others how to heal themselves and improve their lives no matter their age through regular practice of yoga.
For me teaching yoga is not a job but a calling. I spent over twenty-five years in hotel management and appreciated it when a guest would tell me what a great experience they had. But their experiences were fleeting. When I started teaching yoga, I realized that the experiences my students received would stay with them a lifetime and at that moment I knew I was supposed to teach yoga.

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