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suzette smith

Suzette Smith, founder and owner since 2004, born in Chingola, Zambia, established Shelter Island Pilates in 2004. Suzette is a former professional dancer trained in New York City. She danced throughout Europe and later founded her own ballroom dance company, Sophisticated Steps, in New York City. She spent a decade working for the Board of Education in NYC teaching dance and choreography, and collaborated with City Center to develop dance programs in schools citywide. She was recognized as an award-winning choreographer for her work at the Professional Performing Arts School.

A survivor of breast cancer since 1995, she embarked on a journey of healing, becoming a Reiki and Transformational Breath practitioner, as well as studying the healing art of Thai Yoga Massage in Thailand.  She is deeply grateful to have found Pilates as the perfect venue to synthesize her vast knowledge of the body, her innovative teaching expertise and her profound healing practices. Suzette specializes in body alignment, postural assessment & correction, and proper mechanics. She is inspired to create a nurturing and restorative fitness environment, and her studio and staff are expressions of the values she and her business embody: expert knowledge, commitment to excellence and customized care.

Suzette received her Pilates training at the prestigious Kane School of Core Integration in New York City and her national certification through the Pilates Method Alliance. Suzette is a Barre instructor, as well as a Zumba and Nia instructor. She has her Master's Degree of Education with a focus on dance from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA. Suzette works at her Shelter Island studios year round and hosts Pilates & Wellness retreats internationally.


Ilissa Shapiro received her Pilates certification from Pilates Institute of America and has been an instructor for 10 years. Ilissa started her professional career in Marketing with a Bachelor’s degree from FAU, but moved out of the corporate world to pursue her passion in fitness. After taking Pilates classes she decided to get her certification to become an instructor. Ilissa brings a smile and positive energy to every session. She encourages her clients to allow their bodies to move and flow without restriction and is known for balancing her cheerful encouragement with dynamic workouts. 


Regan Nuchereno received her full apparatus and mat certification at Body One Studios (500 Hours) and received her BFA in dance from Southern Methodist University. A classically trained ballerina, Regan danced for Configuration Dance Theatre, The San Diego Ballet and had the amazing pleasure to perform with Cirque du Soleil. After herniating two discs in her back, she received physical therapy in the form of Pilates. Amazed by her quick recovery and transformation into a stronger and better functioning body, Pilates became an essential practice in maintaining balance and strength in her own body as a dancer and a teacher. 


Nicole Silver received her comprehensive certification from Erika Bloom Pilates Plus, and earned her BFA in Dance from the Boston Conservatory. She also studied Thai Yoga Massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Nicole is known for her sharp eye and attention to detail in alignment, and loves teaching people how to feel better in their bodies. She has taught both in the US and abroad, including Thailand and the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Nicole believes that Pilates is the perfect foundation for movement, and that the physical and mental benefits of a consistent practice are truly life-changing.



Erica Essner is a Pilates Method instructor who holds certifications from both Ellie Herman and from Jennifer Stacy of Peak Performance in San Francisco with additional studies at the St. Francis Sports Medicine Clinic. She takes an innovative approach to Pilates while maintaining the flow, breath and movement in which the original form intended. Her professional dance background including teaching and directing a dance company help complement her dynamic approach to movement. 


Dawn Hedberg is a Yoga Alliance certified 200 hour YTT graduate currently working on an additional certification in Restorative Yoga. As a lifelong student of yoga, she has experienced first hand the many benefits of breath-based movement and aims to bring an inclusive and uplifting experience to students of all levels.

Saron Smith-Hardin is a visiting Barre teacher at Shelter Island Pilates & Barre. She was inspired to become an instructor after her regular practice of Pilates and Barre transformed and aligned her body. This is Saron's 7th year as a member of the team!