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Instructors

Pilates Staff and Certified Instructors

Vicki Parsons, Director, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness and Pilates Center

vicki.parsons@balletaustin.org

Vicki helped design and develop programming at Ballet Austin that now offers dance, fitness and Pilates classes to over 10,000 adults annually. Through classes, community-based programs, and Ballet Austin’s Be Well strategies, she helps promote best practices for physical and mental health and overall well-being in the Austin community.

Vicki joined Ballet Austin in 1997 after years of experience working in the field of Long Term Care, specifically in direct care as a Recreation Therapist, using therapeutic recreation as a treatment intervention to promote healing and living a healthy and well life. Vicki taught at Austin Community College and worked with several non-profit organizations to develop and present workshops to encourage and empower people through all ages and stages of life. As a Life Coach, promoting healthy living, and “living life to the fullest” continues to be one of her greatest interests and passions.

She holds the professional designations of Certified Brain Health Trainer (CBHT) and Certified Functional Aging Specialist (CFAS) as well as certifications in Senior Fitness Programming, Group Exercise, Advanced Sports Nutrition, and is a certified Fitness Business Manager. Vicki developed curriculum for and teaches Active Aging at Ballet Austin, including Better Balance & Movement, a falls prevention program, as well as other aging classes promoting physical and cognitive functions. In 2015 Vicki implemented the free BeWell Healthy Living Talks and is a requested speaker at area businesses, organizations, and conferences.

Follow Vicki: Twitter @VickiBeActive   Instagram @Vicki_BeWell  and Ballet Austin’s Be Well Youtube Channel 

Vlada Sheber, Pilates Program Director & Master Instructor

vlada.sheber@balletaustin.org

Originally from the Ukraine, Vlada Sheber received her training in classical ballet from the State Classical Ballet College of Russia (Voronezh.) Vlada performed as a soloist in the Donetsk Ballet Theatre before immigrating to the United States. She was a company member with Ballet Austin from 1992-2003.

In 2002, Vlada received her diploma as a Certified Core Connections® Pilates Instructor from the Core Connections® Comprehensive Teacher Training Program studying under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle of the Pilates Center of Austin. She then began teaching Pilates at Ballet Austin’s Firehouse location.

In 2007 when Ballet Austin opened the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Vlada was named Program Director for Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center, participating in both the original design of the Center and the expansion to 2 studios in 2015.

In 2009, she attended a training under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle and Michele Larsson providing insight and approaches into working with older clients. In 2010 Vlada attended the Pilates Pink Ribbon Certification training in Houston, Texas and became a certified Post-Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist. Having worked with breast cancer survivors continuously since 2010, she further developed a specialized rehabilitative workout for breast cancer survivors to include humor and compassion; Ballet Austin’s Pink Pilates Program.

Vlada has trained extensively in a physical therapy clinic under Allison Bennett (Women’s Health specialist) which expanded her knowledge of anatomy and Pilates rehabilitation. She has developed Pilates workouts specifically for osteoporosis, scoliosis, and chronic back pain.

In 2005 she was acknowledged as a “Pre-eminent Purveyor of Pilates” by Austin Monthly Magazine. In recognition of Ballet Austin’s commitment to excellence, Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center was a past recipient of “Best Pilates Studio in Austin” by Rare Magazine and Austin Fit Magazine. In 2021 Vlada was voted BEST PILATES INSTRUCTOR in Austin by Austin Fit Magazine.

Vlada’s knowledge and approach to her practice of Pilates make her a highly requested master Pilates instructor.

  • To see Vlada’s Group Pilates teaching schedule at the Pilates Center downtown click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session email Vlada.

Heilla Lain, Certified Pilates Instructor

In 2007, as a full-time attorney with two young children, Heilla began looking for an exercise program which was gentle yet effective. The nascent internet led her to the Ballet Austin Pilates Center which was located just a few blocks from her downtown office. She began coming to 7 AM classes with Vlada and then going straight to work. Many things in her life have changed since 2007, but Pilates has been a constant! 

In 2022, after over 15 years as a dedicated Pilates student, Heilla decided that she wanted to share her love of Pilates with others and became a certified Pilates instructor. She is certified through Balanced Body on the Reformer and has trained with Master Instructor Brooke Bowersock. 

Heilla holds a BA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, earned her Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis in 1999 and has practiced environmental law for over 20 years. 

Community service is a cornerstone of Heilla’s life in Austin. She is an active volunteer with Shalom Austin at the Dell Jewish Community Center. In her volunteer roles, she is most passionate about helping end food insecurity by working with the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry and combating period poverty with the Austin chapter of Dignity Grows (formed through Shalom Austin’s Women’s Philanthropy committee). Over the years she has held various fundraising and chair positions, helping to expand and renovate the Dell JCC campus to better serve our growing population. She is also a proud graduate of the Leadership Austin class of 2022.        

Heilla loves to travel. While she is happiest hiking or skiing in the mountains with her husband and two teenage children (one in high school and one in university), she enjoys visiting new countries, hearing new languages and experiencing new cuisines. Cooking (mostly plant-based) and baking are her favorite creative outlets – she blogs about it all on her Instagram account @halocooks Walking her two Goldendoodles around the lake or in her neighborhood with a friend or while listening to an audiobook is her preferred way to start the day. 

Heilla is thrilled to share her love of movement as a part of the Ballet Austin Pilates team, and to be teaching at Ballet Austin’s Pilates Studio at the Dell Jewish Community Center.

  • To see Heilla’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at Ballet Austin’s Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Heilla at Ballet Austin’s Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J email the Pilates Center.

Kara Nelson, Certified Pilates Instructor

Kara grew up with competition dance, but fell in love with Ballet after she earned her first pair of pointe shoes. Throughout her rigorous ballet training, she loved taking weekly Pilates classes to heal and reset her mind and body.

At the age of 16 Kara pursued her ballet career by moving to North Carolina to dance with a company until she had an unfortunate knee injury.

Due to her love for dance, after Kara returned to Austin she again started teaching dance to young dancers.  Her injury and return home also led her back into the Pilates studio to begin a deeper practice of Pilates and eventually pursue her Pilates certification. Kara is excited to share her love of Pilates throughout the Austin Community at Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center and Ballet Austin’s Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J!

  • To see Kara’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Kara at either location email the Pilates Center.

Cicily Oliver, Certified Pilates Instructor

A dedicated Austin resident with roots in Chicago, Cicily Oliver is on a mission to promote wellness, aesthetics, and balance through the body-mind connection, movement, and lifestyle. As an eternal student and teacher of Pilates and yoga, she guides her students and clients towards holistic well-being through various approaches.

Cicily’s Pilates journey began in 2008 in the vibrant streets of Chicago. While passing by a local studio during her daily commute, her curiosity drew her inside, eventually leading her to become a private client. It was here that she discovered a profound connection to the precision of movement, the synchronization of breath, and the graceful flow of Pilates.

In 2023, Cicily achieved comprehensive certification as a Pilates instructor in Austin, TX. Her commitment is to empower individuals of all levels to unlock the transformative potential of this remarkable discipline. Additionally, in 2022, she obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification, further enhancing her ability to guide and inspire her students.

Cicily champions a holistic approach to Pilates and yoga, emphasizing the synergy of physical strength, mental clarity, and profound self-awareness. Her classes prioritize precise movements, core strength, and mindfulness, all within a nurturing and supportive environment where students can thrive and explore their physical capabilities.

  • To see Cicily’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Center downtown location click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Claire at either location email the Pilates Center.

Elise Pekarek, Certified Pilates Instructor

Originally from the Chicago area, Elise began her ballet training with Judith Svalander in Crystal Lake, Illinois. In 2007 she was accepted into Ballet Austin’s Trainee Program and moved to Austin to further her dance education. In 2009 Elise joined Ballet Austin II and became a Ballet Austin company member in 2011. After dancing lead roles as a member of Ballet Austin’s professional company for 12 years, Elise is now focusing on her Pilates practice.

Elise had utilized Pilates as a part of her ballet training and as a means of injury prevention and rehabilitation, but after moving to Austin Elise found a passion for Pilates, fitness and wellness. In 2009, Elise studied with Ann Arnoult and became certified in the D.K. Body Balancing Method of Pilates mat instruction. She finished her Balanced Body Pilates training with Lisa McKenny in 2011 and has a BA in Business Administration through Columbia College of Missouri.

Elise firmly believes that Pilates supports well being and movement at any stage in life and enjoys sharing that passion through her work in the Pilates Center at Ballet Austin.

  • To see Elise’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Elise email the Pilates Center.
Megan Richard

Megan Richard, Certified Pilates Instructor

Balanced Body trained and PMA® Certified Pilates Instructor.

Megan began training in ballet at the age of four in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was first introduced to Pilates in 2001 through her studies in dance. She quickly noticed how effective the exercises were in strengthening and toning the body, as well as helping enforce proper alignment and aiding in injury prevention. Recognizing the compliment to her ballet technique, she continued practicing Pilates throughout her performing career.

In 2008, Megan received her Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in Photography from McNeese State University, and began teaching ballet while continuing to dance.

Megan is enthusiastic about pursuing a career that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle for herself and others, while staying involved in the Arts. She began her Balanced Body Comprehensive Training with Susan Clark in 2017. She attended Pilates on Tour in 2018 and had the opportunity to recieve continuing education from Shari Berkowitz, Diedra Manns, Karen Clippinger, Tom McCook, and Joy Puleo.

  • To see Megan’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule click here.
  • To see Megan’s drop-in dance & fitness and Pilates mat classes click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Megan email the Pilates Center.

Morgan Stillman, Certified Pilates Instructor

Morgan Stillman is originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., and joins the Ballet Austin company for the 2017/18 season after dancing two years with Nevada Ballet Theater where he was featured in a variety of classical and contemporary roles. Morgan received most of his formal training at Indiana University Ballet Theater under the guidance of Michael Vernon, Violette Verdy, Jacques Cesbron, Guo Pin Wang, Victoria Lyras, and Shawn Stevens.

Morgan is also a certified Pilates instructor, having received his training and certification at Las Vegas’s Classical Pilates Comprehensive Pilates Training Program.

To book a private Pilates reformer session with Morgan email the Pilates Center.

Claire Street, Certified Pilates Instructor

A native Austinite, Claire Street grew up dancing at Ballet Austin. In 2005, she began practicing Pilates at Ballet Austin under Pilates Program Director and Master Instructor Vlada Sheber. Ever since her first class, she has been an avid believer in the benefits of Pilates in her own life, and is excited to be at Ballet Austin as an instructor to introduce more people to her favorite fitness program.
Claire is Balanced Bodies Pilates certified, and continues to train under the supervision of master instructors Vlada Sheber and Brooke Bowersock.
  • To see Claire’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Center downtown location click here.
  • To see Claire’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Claire at either location email the Pilates Center.
Ramsay Wall

Ramsay Wall, Certified Fitness, Pilates, & Dance Fitness Instructor

Ramsay has taught many forms of movement for more than 15 years. She began teaching spin classes in 2001 and then ventured into Pilates and yoga. In the last few years, Ramsay has expanded her fitness repertoire to teach dance fitness classes, fusion classes, and barre. She is a registered Yoga teacher (E-RYT 200), a certified mat Pilates instructor, a certified barre instructor, a licensed Dance-Fit instructor, and has a general group exercise certification through AFAA.

Her primary goal is to make her students feel at home, happy, and healthy in her classes. She takes pride in doing so, and loves what she does! You will enjoy her upbeat and personal teaching style.

  • To see Ramsay’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Center downtown location click here.
  • To see Ramsay’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule at the Pilates Reformer Studio @ the J click here.
  • To see Ramsay’s drop-in dance fitness & fitness classes downtown click here.
  • To book a private Pilates reformer session with Ramsay at either location email the Pilates Center.
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