We have a passion for bodies
I was born in 1960 in Kfar, Israel. In 1962 my family moved to New York City for a period of eight years. At the age of ten, when we returned to Israel, I was introduced to the world of dance. I studied classical ballet and contemporary dance with the Bat Dor and Bat Sheva Dance Company. With this experience, I learned the elements of dedicated focus, hard work, and tough love.
At the age of seventeen, I was accepted into the Kol and Demama Dance Company. Eighty percent of the company's dancers were hearing impaired. These dancers were able to feel the music and movement through vibration, as well as watching and working with the twenty percent of we dancers who did not have their limitations. This enlightened me, taught me to communicate, and gave me an acute awareness through observing and paying attention to movement. This became another big step in my ability to interact with people; being as open as possible to one’s differences.
I moved back to New York City at the age of twenty and studied, performed, and taught for ten years. I was involved with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Larry Richardson Dance Company, and June Anderson and Dancers. At that time I studied
the Joseph Pilates Body Awareness Techniques, Moshe Feldenkrais Method, and the Alexander Technique.
In the mid '90s, I moved from New York with my husband and two children to Los Angeles, California, where I started teaching Pilates at the Ron Fletcher Studio. In 1995, I opened Mimi's BodyArt Pilates Studio in Venice, California. By this time I had developed a unique fitness program, based on my years of experience in different areas of dance and body awareness. I am devoted to working with people of all levels in a creative approach; bringing a healthy balance to their physical, as well as spiritual, practice.
I am presently active in ballet, Pilates and Iyengar Yoga. I love spending time in nature, which furthers my ability to develop new ways of supporting my beliefs. I share the journey of these discoveries each day with all my students and friends.
Cathy Jenkins has been teaching exercise for 27 years, and Pilates since she was certified in 2001. She was born and raised in NYC and graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Dance. Cathy began her dance training at the Joffrey School of Ballet where she studied intensively for 6 years. Later she worked as a fitness instructor and personal trainer in several NYC health clubs before returning to her dance roots through the study of classical Pilates. She does her best to include all of her knowledge and experience in crafting a unique session for each student every time.
Cathy is also a licensed acupuncturist, and earned a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San University. She specializes in musculoskeletal injury rehab, pain management, digestive problems, healthy aging preventative care, and much more. Both as a teacher and healthcare practitioner, her approach is to identify, fortify, and help enhance the natural strengths of each person in their healing process.
Melanie Kaplan has always been interested in the body and all it can accomplish. Training in tap, jazz, and ballet, Melanie ended up focusing on ballet and danced through high school. She began her study of pilates while in high school and has continued it every since. Melanie went on to graduate from Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica Summa Cum Laude. While there she completed an externship at the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health Center where she focused on general medicine, as well as completing clinical rounds at Cri-Help focusing on addiction. Since her time at Emperor's College, Melanie has had a private practice in Westlake Village and West Los Angeles, with an emphasis on treating pain, orthopedics, gynecological and fertility issues as well as general internal medicine. Melanie also worked at ECHO Malibu, a drug and alcohol treatment facility that treats adolescents struggling with addiction and other psychiatric and behavioral conditions.
Prior to her years in acupuncture, Melanie was trained in various modalities of massage including Deep Tissue, Pregnancy Massage, Trager, and Cranial Sacral unwinding. She has also studies yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Qi, and various forms of breathwork and meditation. While working towards her B.A. at University of Colorado at Boulder, Melanie studied literature and biology.
Melanie enjoys bringing her accumulated experience through the years to her pilates practice. She concentrates on helping people find their own paths to connecting both their mind and body, while taking into account the specific needs of each individual.
Alexandra España is a certified Pilates Instructor and classically trained professional ballet dancer. Born in LaVerne California, she began her ballet training at the age of 3, when she saw her first ballet and fell in love. At the age of 10, she began traveling the United States to participate in summer intensive ballet training programs, attending the School of American Ballet (New York City Ballet's school), Ballet Aspen, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Alexandra also trained at Lichine Academy in Los Angeles, and was privileged to work with the legendary Irina Kosmovska and the world famous Alexander Godunov. At the age of 14, she moved to Boston to live and to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts. During her time on the east coast she was chosen by the one and only David Howard to participate in his pedagogy seminars as a dancer/model. At 16, Alexandra returned home to attend and graduate from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. During her life as a student she studied classical and contemporary ballet, pointe, partnering, character, flamenco and Pilates.
Alexandra's professional career began at the age of 17, when she was hired as a principal dancer to perform and tour with Pacific American Ballet Theater. Two years later, she became a soloist with California's Riverside Ballet, where she was privileged to share the stage with New York City Ballet's Darci Kistler in Swan Lake. Later she became a principal dancer with Anaheim Ballet, where she performed as Snow Queen in The Nutcracker in California and Nevada. In 2005, Alexandra returnedto Riverside as a teacher with Riverside Ballet Arts, a Ballet Mistress for California's Riverside Ballet and BRAVA, and as a freelance dancer. It was after experiencing several injuries that Alexandra began to immerse herself in the healing technique of Pilates. She began teaching mat classes to her dancers and saw dramatic improvements in their strength, flexibility, and recovery from injuries. In 2011, she attended the instructor certification program by Body Arts and Sciences International at Cal State Long Beach and after 400 hours of practice and teaching received a certificate as a Certified Pilates instructor with an additional specialization in Pilates for Dancers. A year later she received a certificate in Pilates for Injuries and Pathologies.
After missing life in Los Angeles, Alexandra returned to expand her career in the commercial dance world and teach Pilates. Since living in Los Angeles she has taught for Equinox as a Pilates Instructor and Group Fitness Instructor, privately, and at other Pilates studios in Beverly Hills and around west Los Angles. She enjoys the ever evolving world of Pilates and helping her clients to heal themselves, become stronger and more flexible, and to better understand their body. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys yoga and spending time with her family.