Pilates Place co-owners Carrie and Sarah met at a westside Pilates studio where they quickly became friends and coworkers with similar ideals for their clients. With diverse backgrounds in dance, theatre and swimming, Pilates has become a common ground on which to showcase their varied talents and extensive knowledge of how the human body moves. Sarah and Carrie opened their studio in February 2007 and have continuously evolved their teaching styles through dynamic workshops, private lessons, and conferences around the country in order to stay on the cutting edge of their industry. They authored a unique Teacher Training program that combines classical and west coast styles of Pilates because they believe that one style of teaching doesn’t always work for every individual. Together they continue to grow as teachers, evolve as masters of the craft, and share their love of Pilates with others.
Carrie Jacobsen's professional qualifications & Bio
Received her Pilates instructor training on all apparatus from a second-generation instructor of the Ron Fletcher lineage.
Received her first Mat Pilates instructor training through the International Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.
Is a native Californian and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Arts. As an avid swimmer for over sixteen years, Carrie competed on a state level in both the breaststroke and freestyle events, along with her first year in college. Her love of competitive sports, combined with her study of form while in the theatre, left Carrie yearning for a way to extend and improve her knowledge of the body in motion. The answer was Pilates. Carrie has been studying Pilates since 1999 and keeps striving to better her craft.
Sarah Leifer's professional qualifications & Bio
Received her first Pilates instructor training on all apparatus from a second-generation instructor of the Romana Kryzanowska lineage. Along with guest teacher Jillian Hessel.
Received her second Pilates instructor training on all apparatus from a second-generation instructor of the Ron Fletcher lineage.
Hails from Hudson Valley, New York. Captivated by ballet and dance at a very young age, she spent the first twenty years of her life studying the art form. AS A member of the Royal Academy of Dancing, she was classically trained in ballet. later, she studied jazz and tap and then focused on modern dance in college. Sarah earned a B.F.A in Dance/Theater from Emerson College in Boston, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. A fractured left foot just prior to graduation put her dancing on hold, and she searched for a way to stay in shape and maintain her body’s strength. Pilates became a low-impact extension of dancing, a way to keep the rhythm, choreography and expression of dance alive. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Sarah became a Pilates teacher and has been practicing this new exercise (art) form since.
Front desk extraordinaire …
Cat Braithwaite comes to our front desk from the seemingly disparate worlds of Nutrition and Rock and Roll. As a rock vocalist and violinist who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 23, her focus on wellness and longevity led her to a love for Pilates as a holistic method of fitness, alignment and rehabilitation. Her diagnosis also led her to seek wisdom through food, and in turn became a nutrition consultant in 2007. You can find her womanning the desk and plugging you into your favorite sessions on weekday afternoons and also reaping the benefits of Pilates in our group reformer classes. Most nights, you may also find her thrashing out with the other metalheads on the Sunset Strip or performing with one of her many musical acts around town. Keeping Rock and Roll alive AND well is her life's purpose and Pilates Place is the perfect place to keep this Rock rolling.
Lien Han grew up in Hawaii and Los Angeles, where she received her BA from UCLA and a Masters from Pepperdine in education/psychology. Lien left the working world to be a full-time mom to her two daughters. It was back pain that introduced her to Pilates, and she has been a Pilates enthusiast ever since! It’s the physical, mental, and "core" aspect of Pilates that she loves so much, and now any free time she has is usually spent on the reformer! Lien earned her teacher training through Pilates Place, and is thrilled to be a part of the team here. She enjoys motivating people and strives to keep her classes challenging and fun!
Michelle Donati PMA® CPT, holds two Pilates trainings- BASI & PSC, and she also has her national PMA Certification. She started teaching in Los Angeles and moved to London where she opened her own studio. Life brought her back to LA, & we are excited she’s joined us at Pilates Place. Under her instruction, clients can expect to receive attention to detail on all exercises to ensure they gain the full benefit of each pilates session. She loves seeing clients progress and grow- this is what motivates her signature style: a unique collection of knowledge, skill, and breadth of experience. Clients will find her energetic, encouraging, and helpful in the support of a positive and healthy lifestyle.
Tatiana Lanning was born and raised in Oxford, England, and has lived in Santa Monica for the last 11 years. She began her Pilates practice more than 14 years ago, after suffering years of terrible back pain. She was very proud to graduate from the first Certification program at Pilates Place in 2009, and has been teaching consistently since then- injury and pain-free! As an athlete and former dancer, Tatiana has an innate understanding of the body in motion, proprioception, physical and mental limitations, and how to push them safely, and intelligently. Her clients range in age from 19 to 96, and as a mother of three who has lived and worked in two continents, she brings all kind of skills to her teaching style and ethos. Her focus is attentive, prescriptive, and fun! Getting more flexible, stronger, more confident in how the body moves and works, and enjoying the huge Pilates repertoire is her guiding force.
Zoe Gannon grew up in San Diego, CA. When she wasn't at the beach she could be found at dance or gymnastics. A graduate of SFSU, Zoe earned her Bachelors in Liberal Arts with a minor in Dance/Creative Arts. After attending college in San Francisco, Zoe moved to Los Angeles to be close to friends and family. She completed classical Pilates training at Sheppard Method Pilates from a 2nd generation Pilates teacher. Zoe believes that as an instructor, she has the opportunity to guide people toward better health through Pilates practice; to participate in the pure joy of movement and to link Pilates to everyday life.
Brigitte Toubia was born and raised in Santa Monica, California. She strongly believes that fitness based physical activity and conscious movement is essential for one's well being, and that Pilates offers practitioners the best of both. Brigitte was introduced to Pilates in college, and her love of its unique brand of strength building and focus led her to become certified with Pilates Place, where her love continues to deepen thanks to her wonderful teachers & peers. She feels the effect Pilates has on a person’s body is truly altering, and is honored to help her clients learn to listen to their body and activate their core. She looks forward to teaching you, and will make each class challenging, motivating, and of course, fun!
Chloe Peterson is a native Angelino and wellness enthusiast. She has an extensive background in Theater and studied abroad with the London academy of music and dramatic art. Chloe discovered pilates from a friend (who was getting certified) and was instantly hooked! A firm believer in the body-mind connection, Chloe knew she had found a fitness regime that not only truly challenged and changed her physically, but also prevented injury while emphasizing body alignment and awareness. Chloe went on to complete the Instructor Certification program at The Sheppard Method. She is thrilled to be teaching and finds delight in helping others feel good in their bodies.
Julia Wood is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Villanova University with a degree in Computer Science. She grew up playing almost every sport imaginable - from soccer to gymnastics to archery, but settled on Volleyball and went through college playing for their varsity team. Upon graduation, she began a stressful career in LA and began looking for a good workout that would also keep her centered and calm. She found Pilates. Not long after, Julia was hooked and decided to quit the computer world to further her Pilates practice. She enrolled in the Teacher Training program at Pilates Place, and years later as she continues with Pilates, her enthusiasm for it only grows.
Olga Vakula is a Romana’s Pilates Certified Instructor. A student of Pilates since 2008 Olga earned her certification in 2014 after leaving entertainment industry a few years prior. Her love for Pilates stems from its positive impact on her own physical and mental well-being, and she strives for others to find those very benefits. Olga is an avid hiker and outdoor fan who takes several Pilates lessons herself weekly.
Nicole Kohansamad was born and raised in Santa Barbara and moved to LA 10 years ago to attend USC. Growing up, she never considered herself athletic and generally dreaded all things fitness. Fast forward to the years after college when a demanding corporate job left her seeking ways to release stress through activity. Pilates quickly became her favorite workout - with its combination of mobility, strengthening, and body awareness. Nicole has used Pilates to work through hip and back pain from the desk-job life, and hopes to help others find relief from daily stress through Pilates!