Pilates Staff and Certified Instructors
Vicki Parsons, Director, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness and Pilates Center
Vicki helped design and develop programming that now offers dance and fitness classes to over 10,000 adults annually. Health, fitness, and overall wellness are a priority, and through classes, community-based programs, and Ballet Austin’s Be Well initiative, she helps promote health and 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 improve overall wellness. Vicki taught at Austin Community College and worked with several non-profit organizations to develop and present workshops on health and well-being. As a Life Coach, promoting health and wellness to people of all ages 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 Channel
Vlada Sheber, Pilates Program Director & Master Instructor
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 at the Pilates Center of Austin. There she studied under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle.
In 2007 Vlada was named Program Director for Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center, participating in both the original design of the Center and expansion 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 Pink Pilates Program 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.
Vlada also 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 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 team at the Pilates Center.
To see Heilla’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule click here. To book a private Pilates reformer session with Heilla 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.
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 in how 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.
Ashley Piper, Certified Pilates Instructor
Ashley recently retired from Ballet Austin after 22 years as a professional dancer. During her time with the company, she danced principal roles in works by Stephen Mills, George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Pontus Lidberg, Lar Lubovitch, and Christopher Wheeldon, and enjoyed performing leading roles in full-length ballets such as Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake and Giselle. Ashley grew up outside of Chicago where she began her dance training with Ms. Sherry Moray-Marsala.
Ashley was first introduced to Pilates as a young dancer, and it has continued to support her dancing, fitness, and wellness goals throughout her life. In 2019, she began training to become a certified Pilates instructor to share the benefits of this wonderful movement practice with her community. She is certified through Balanced Body and has trained with Master Instructors Julie Lushington and Karen Sanzo. She completed a specialized certification in Prenatal/Postnatal Pilates as well as continuing education in anatomy and physiology for women’s health. As a mother of two, Ashley is especially passionate about supporting women to keep moving through pregnancy and beyond.
Ashley has a BA in Dance and The Humanities from St. Edward’s University. She is a member of the Ballet Austin Academy Faculty and is also a 500hr certified Dharma Yoga instructor with additional certifications in Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Ayurvedic Wellness. She believes in promoting wellness through movement for every body through all ages and stages of life.
With her background in dance and Yoga, Ashley has enjoyed teaching movement for almost 25 years and is excited to be a part of the team at the Pilates Center.
To see Ashley’s Group Pilates reformer teaching schedule click here. To see Ashley’s drop-in fitness and Pilates mat classes click here.
To book a private Pilates reformer session with Ashley email the Pilates Center.
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
Claire is from Austin, grew up at Ballet Austin. She trained in the Ballet Austin Academy. Claire attended the University of San Diego and St. Edward’s University. She began her Pilates practice year ago, training under Ballet Austin’s Pilates Program Director, Vlada Sheber.
Claire is not Balanced Body certified and looks forward to being a part of the Pilates journey for others as an instructor.
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 click here. To see Ramsay’s drop-in dance fitness & fitness classes click here.
To book a private Pilates reformer session with Ramsay email the Pilates Center.