Dana-Joel Belkholm has been studying Pilates since 1993. After weight lifting, running, swimming and dance, it was Pilates that was the most well rounded workout, addressing body imbalances, strength and flexibility. He started at Erskine Fitness (one of the first Pilates studios in the city) as a client, studying with Jane Erskine. Two sessions a week quickly became three, which then became an everyday routine. At that time, Erskine Fitness was the only non-traditional studio in Seattle. (This was also before the New York studio starting suing various studios around the country for using the term Pilates - a lawsuit that they lost incidentally.)
At Erskine Fitness, Dana became the office manager which allowed him to 'do Pilates' as often as possible. Being in the studio daily and observing and learning from all of the other instructors (as well as Jane) allowed Dana to immerse himself in the method. Many of teachers with their own studios started at Jane's. And after an informal apprenticeship (there were no real 'certification programs' at that point), he started teaching beginning Pilates as well as studying with Cary Regan who had moved from New York City and the original Pilates studio and was teaching at Erskine Fitness.
When Cary Regan moved to Seattle, bringing her extensive experience in the "New York style" to the West Coast, she was the most experienced Pilates teacher in the Northwest. She had studied, taught and managed in the original New York studio with Romana Kryzanowska and was in Romana's first certification program with Bob Liekens (NYC) and Phoebe Higgins (NYC) as well as Romana's daughter, Sari. Cary was able to teach all of the details and intricacies of the Pilates method and freely shared her knowledge at Erskine Fitness.
In 1997, Dana moved to Hamburg, Germany to pursue an opera career. There, he ended up teaching at one of the few studios in Hamburg - Das Studio fuer Koerperbewuesstsein. When he came back from Germany in 1998, he completed a formal certification program with Ms. Regan and she invited him to teach in her own studio on Capitol hill - One-to-one Training at Velocity Dance Studio. They later became business partners and were looking to move the studio to a new location when family issues called Cary back to NYC. But it was these years of teaching alongside Cary while observing and absorbing all of her knowledge as well as continuing to study with her that has given Dana the depth of knowledge that goes far beyond the average teachers knowledge.
In 2000, he moved the studio to a 3000 square foot space in the Central Area and became Mind and Body PIlates. The vision was to provide private reformer based training as well as a large space for classes utilizing other Pilates equipment thus making it more affordable to a larger population. He taught there as well as at West Seattle Ayervedic Studio. It was in this studio, that he adapted and developed the Wall springs (which is taken from the work done on the Cadillac) This work was, at that time, not taught anywhere else in the U.S and has continued to be an exclusive aspect of Mind and Body Incorporated.
Throughout his career, Dana has taught all types of clients from young to old, active to therapeutic. He has gained the trust of many Physical Therapists in the city and has conducted workshops for the Physical Therapists at Virginia Mason as well as Olypmic Phyisical Therapy. Because of his 50+hours/week teaching schedule, he is among the most experienced teachers in the Northwest. But more importantly, is breadth of knowledge comes not merely from his teaching experience but in the recognition that the students are the real teachers and the teacher must always be a student.
Heather Parsons, with over 20 years of experience, is well-respected Pilates, group fitness and personal training instructor in the Seattle area. Heather’s compassionate-yet-demanding approach has enabled her clients to not only reach their goals, but for many to truly regain a quality of life through fitness and healing of both the body and the spirit. Having always approached fitness from a highly competitive mindset shaped by years as a competitive cyclist, dancer and rower – a nearly-fatal cycling accident left Heather physically and emotionally devastated. Forced to confront her own personal struggle and grief that surfaced from the accident, Heather not only recovered, but emerged with an entirely new perspective and respect for the human body and how, if properly and intelligently cared for, could bring about more than just physical strength but confidence, joy and peace of mind.
Heather’s ability to connect with the fitness novice, competitive athlete or rehabilitative client decisively sets her apart from the “one-size-fits-all” approach of many instructors and fitness programs today. Parson’s methodology, while rooted in sound principals based on the client’s current physical condition and/or limitations, is not undemanding, yet clients return again and again to be pushed, challenged and ultimately inspired by her uniquely motivating and results-oriented teaching style.
Heather Parsons is a Pacific Northwest native residing in the Seattle area where she continues to offer a diverse and effective fitness experience to people seeking a smarter approach that can produce life-changing results.
Verna Kilic started coming to Mind and Body Pilates as a beginner in 2004, and has continued to learn ever since. Coming from a background as a speech language pathologist, she understands how important it is to be able to teach functional skills systematically, keeping the individual in mind as well as general principles of fitness, health and wellness. Verna leads small group and individual classes focusing on basic Pilates technique through a variety of exercises designed to strengthen and improve flexibility. Verna believes that a sound body awareness and fitness are essential keys to quality in everyday life. Mind and Body Pilates weaves together many disciplines to challenge and tune each student physically and mentally, adding in fun, music and creativity to keep it fresh!