Everything we do at our studio is aimed at helping to increase your awareness, improve your movement and enhance your overall well-being. The fundamental principles of Pilates (stability, strength, stretch and stamina) are at the core of all our services. Every instructor in our studio teaches with this philosophy and keen anatomical awareness to provide you with the best instruction and experience possible.
Rachel is originally from Virginia Beach, VA where she was first introduced to Pilates under the instruction of Kathryn Finney and Gayla Zukevich in 2002. She then began a career traveling the world on rock n roll tours. For the next 15 years, during her times home from the road, she returned to her pursuit of Pilates. While living in NYC she advanced her practice at Power Pilates. It was at that studio she decided to become a trainer. In 2011 Rachel earned her Pilates mat certification from Power Pilates under the instruction of Susan Moran. Later that year, Rachel earned her 200hr yoga certification from YogaWorks with teacher trainers Alicia Cheung and Oliver Reinsch. She then made the move to Chicago to study under the instruction of Doug and Alicia Zabrocki, Linda Spriggs, and Beth Reidinger. She completed her 600hr program with Power Pilates in 2012 and began teaching at PCC. For the next 6 years, Rachel continued touring, meanwhile always returning to Chicago and her pilates home at PCC.
In the fall of 2018 she decided to leave the road behind and make her primary focus teaching Pilates. She took over ownership of Pilates Center of Chicago from Doug and Alicia Zabrocki in February 2019. Most recently, Rachel received her Oov training certification.
Rachel is loving being in Chicago and at PCC full time!
Barbara Katz discovered Pilates in 1995 while searching for relief from the pain and fatigue of several back issues, including scoliosis, stenosis, and a herniated lumbar disc. In the eleven years that followed that first lesson, working with trainers taught by Romana Kryzanowska,
Pilates gave Barbara her life back. She resumed the physical activities she had always enjoyed with renewed energy and vigor. In 2006, Barbara left the corporate world of children’s educational publishing to become a certified Pilates instructor. Barbara draws on her own background to understand what clients with similar issues may experience. And she offers this advice, “While we can’t always heal certain conditions, with Pilates we can manage them quite successfully and have a better quality of life.” Barbara helps clients to focus on what they can do and to learn how to safely and vigorously work out even if they have physical limitations.
Barbara is now also certified to offer Oov training. The Oov places the body in an anatomically correct, neutral position to facilitate efficient movement. It helps elongate the spine, relieving pressure on discs, while building strength and stability and increasing range of motion in the shoulders and hips. The principles and goals of the Oov system coordinate well with Pilates. Both develop a strong, stable core as the foundation of movement. Oov training can improve performance in any physical activity. Clients can combine Oov training with Pilates lessons or devote their entire lesson to Oov.
Melanie Hortin received her Pilates certification from Romana’s Pilates in 2002. She was fortunate to have all of her training and seminars taught by Level 1 instructor, Juanita Lopez, and to be tested by Romana Kryzanowska herself, protege of Joseph Pilates, for her 600-hour exam. Currently, Melanie is on staff at Pilates Center of Chicago, Pilates Practice Inc, Lou Conte, Pilates Inc, Extensions Dance Center & Chicago Ballet Arts.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in dance from SUNY Buffalo and getting her Pilates certification, Melanie began a very fulfilling 12 year career with River North Dance Chicago. She has worked with many top choreographers in their field such as Adam Barruch, Rubeny Sabrina Veliz, Frank Chaves, Harrison McEldowny, Kevin Iega Jeff and Julia Rhodes. Additionally she also had the pleasure to perform choreography by Sidra Bell, Danny Ezralow, Robert Battle, Randy Duncan and Sherry Zunker. Throughout her time with the River North Dance Chicago company, Melanie had the opportunity to tour nationally and internationally including: Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Columbia, and Russia.
Melanie has been developing and teaching a Theraband class over the past three years called APP. Whether it be class, rehearsal or performance, she saw that there was a need for dancers to learn about tools and exercises that could help keep them free from injury, while warming up and strengthening their body. This class is specifically structured to ‘Activate, Protect, & Prepare’ a dancer’s body against injury.
Annette Thurman is happy to be returning to Chicago after teaching Pilates in Los Angeles, CA, for the past 10 years. As a Senior and Certification Instructor at Whole Body Method in Los Angeles, CA, she brings her vast knowledge of the Classical Pilates System to her new home at Pilates Center of Chicago. Annette is always aiming to make each session dynamic, creative and fun, while honoring the integrity of Joseph Pilates method. A former professional dancer, (you may have seen her perform at some of the Musical Theater houses in the Chicago area or touring Internationally- Europe, Japan dancing and tapping away) choreographer, gymnast and magician’s assistant. (I always joke and say I used to be taller) All of this wonderful experience will add to her teaching mix, as she creates a challenging and interesting experience for the client. Annette has developed a wonderful “Cadillac Side Manner”, but don’t let her pleasant demeaner fool you! If it is a seriously challenging workout you are seeking, she will guide you safely through the exercises while twisting, bending and flexing beyond your potential. Annette always has the goal in mind of the client feeling energized, stretched and stronger; accomplishing this with her incredible compassion and expertise. A client once stated after taking a jump board class with Annette that it was like a ‘flying ballet class’. Come join Annette and our great PCC team for group class or a customized private session. Any of our services can range from helping the client feel relaxed and restorative to strong and challenged……it will do your body good!
Yeongyin Jung was born and raised in South Korea. She started training in Contemporary pilates in South Korea in 2014 and came to New York in 2017 to learn more and have a deeper understanding of pilates. She has trained with Cynthia Shipley, Sari Mejia Santo, Anthony Rabara and then got certified in Romama's pilates in June of 2018. Before becoming a pilates instructor, she used to work as a magazine editor and afterwards an English teacher in South Korea. One day, she was suddenly diagnosed with spondylolisthesis in 2013. She was practically confined to a bed, she couldn't walk or stand, for almost one month. This experience drove her to learn pilates, now she has a totally different body. This helped her get back her strength and flexibility that she had before her diagnosis. Yeongyin loves to give clients what their bodies need and share the pleasure of the journey of pilates. She loves the moments when she gets to see her client's subtle smiles when they feel the difference. She loves to let them find the connection within their own bodies. She loves standing in front of them to give them the moment of discovery.
Naomi Rusalka is from Chicago, IL and started Pilates at age 11 to supplement her ballet training and prevent injury. As a dancer she trained in Chicago with Bolshoi Ballet soloist Dmitri Roudnev, at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C., at Jacob's Pillow in the Jazz/Musical Theatre Program as a scholarship student under the directorship of Chet Walker, and in New York with Broadway notables Jeff Shade, Chet Walker, and Rachelle Rak, and ballet superstar Gelsey Kirkland. After deferring her acceptance to The University of Chicago, Naomi studied biology at The City College of New York where she also worked as an undergraduate research technician in the Wallman Vision Research Laboratory. She completed eight production cast dance contracts for Norwegian Cruise Line from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean to Hawaii to Asia and Australia; three as Dance Captain and the featured Lady Luck/Shining Star in Tiger Martina’s VEGAS! THE SHOW. In 2018 Naomi completed the Power Pilates 600 hour Comprehensive Apparatus Training Program at their New York flagship studio, where she learned the classical method of Joseph Pilates from Jordana Herman, Stephanie West, and Lesly Levy. In 2021 Naomi completed the Professional Circus Training Program at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston, IL. Naomi is so excited to join the team at Pilates Center of Chicago!
Sarah's lifelong love and study of movement began as a student of classical ballet in Toledo, Ohio. While studying at the University of Utah, Sarah majored in ballet performance. After a back injury sidelined her professional career she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toledo. In 2004 she moved to Chicago where she continued to attend ballet classes and turned to Pilates to help increase her strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility. Sarah quickly fell in love with the Classical Pilates method and completed the Power Pilates Teacher Training Program in 2006. After a move to the suburbs and the birth of her two daughters Sarah struggled to get her body back on an even keel and was also diagnosed with arthritis in her spine. It took several years and not a few tears, but with the guidance of the Pilates Center of Chicago she was able to rebuild her body through weekly sessions with Barbara Katz (they completed their training program together) and the support of the studio. She is thrilled to be back teaching and is excited to continue to share the joy of movement with others through her teaching, and to help them heal, achieve, and maintain healthy lifestyles.