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OUR TEAM

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.


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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. 


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Kelly Sheppard, owner of Eastside Bodyworks, began her Pilates practice in 2003 and completed her certification program in Charleston, SC through Praxis Pilates. Kelly later opened up her own studio, Southeast Pilates in Charleston, SC. She relocated to New Jersey and opened her next studio, Eastside Bodyworks. She has been featured in Pilates magazine and puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance.


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Erica Breen first discovered Pilates as a dancer and later completed her Balanced Body Comprehensive Certification program in May 2014. She is a Pre/Post-Natal Specialist and has also completed training in Pilates for Neurological Conditions and the Buff Bones program. She is completing her Women’s Health Exercise Specialist certification program, which includes advanced studies in Menopause, Breast Cancer, MS, Brain Science and Scoliosis. She recently created a 6-month apprenticeship anatomy program for newly certified instructors and serves as a mentor as well.  Erica also pursued The Science & Psychology of Teaching Master’s Program, and during her research focused on Scoliosis clients, specifically adolescents.

 


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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 and former studio manager. She was inspired to become an instructor after her regular practice of Pilates and Barre transformed and aligned her body. This is Saron's 8th year as a member of the team!