INSTRUCTORS

Founding Partners

allison

Allison Ward, Studio Owner
allison@lightspacechicago.com

B.A., History, Indiana University
M.A., Arts Administration/Nonprofit Management, Indiana University
PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 3)
Teacher Trainer

Allison discovered Pilates in 2007 when chronic lower back pain - and numerous (frustrating!) trips to doctors and physical therapists - led her to seek more holistic treatment methods. Since then not only has her back pain disappeared, but her experience led her to an entirely new career helping guide others on their own paths to pain-free movement. She completed her Pilates training in 2010 at Urbancore Pilates & Fitness, and is certified through the Pilates Method Alliance.

Allison has the unique ability to see and understand pain, and she intuitively knows how to motivate and guide clients to healthier and happier movement. Using a West meets East approach, she combines Pilates exercises, Clinical Qigong and Gift of the Tao Qigong movements, and even a few things from her experience in the dance world, into a beautiful masterpiece that helps her clients connect to their bodies on a deeper level to achieve change from the inside out.

In addition to her work at LightSpace, Allison is dedicated to pursuing certification in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese Energy Healing. She is a direct student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax. Since studying this system she is constantly amazed at its effectiveness, and incorporates it into her teaching in a variety of ways, depending on the unique needs and personalities of her clients.

Allison has many years experience in dance performance and athletics, starting from an early age. Her first job was dance demonstrator and class assistant for Diane Gudat at The Dance Company of Indianapolis. Allison moved to Chicago in 2007 after earning her M.A. in Arts Administration/Nonprofit Management from Indiana University, and worked for several years in that field. However the world of working closely with people, and teaching them healthier movement, is where she really belongs.

She keeps a pair of tap shoes at the studio, so if you’re lucky you might catch her working on her time steps before your next session.

annie

Annie Murray, Studio Owner
annie@lightspacechicago.com

B.A. History, Pomona College
M.B.A., Booth School of Business
PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 3)
Teacher Trainer
Certified Integrated Movement Specialist

Annie first began her study of Pilates in 2006 and immediately recognized the unique benefits to her post-partum health and overall well being.  In 2010 she decided to become an instructor and was trained at Urbancore Pilates. Annie completed her PMA certification in 2011.

Annie strives to broaden her knowledge and experience with continued study of Pilates, anatomy of movement and various post-rehabilitation protocols. In 2013 she completed her certification as an Integrated Movement Specialist (functional anatomy) with Evan Osar, and she is currently pursuing certification in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese Energy Healing and is a direct student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax.

Annie's varied experience in finance and consulting, and as a mother of three children, gives her a unique ability to connect with and motivate a variety of clients.

 

beth

Beth Milligan, Studio Owner
beth@lightspacechicago.com

B.S. Business Administration, Marketing, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 2)
Shiatsu Massage Therapist, AOBTA CP

Beth has done Pilates on and off over the years and always enjoyed it, but in 2012 when Pilates and Qigong helped her avoid surgery for a bulging disk she became passionate about it. With her eyes opened to how she had been compensating for a weak core while running, playing tennis, strength training and even sitting at her desk, Beth began learning more about Pilates and its many benefits. She began her Pilates certification in 2013 at Urbancore Pilates and Fitness. Beth is certified through the Pilates Method Alliance.

Beth is currently pursuing two additional certifications, one in Shiatsu bodywork at Zen Shiatsu Chicago and the other in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese  Energy Healing and is a direct student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax. She has already begun incorporating these techniques into her work to help her clients address their pain and achieve their goals. These tools, combined with years of experience in competitive sports (tennis, swimming, volleyball, softball, and badminton), marathons and triathlons, allow her to design programs for her clients that help them move and feel better in everyday life as well as on the court, field, or in the pool.

After over 15 years in advertising, sitting at a desk and on hundreds of planes, she loves her second career in Pilates and wellness. Originally from the northern suburbs, Beth has been living in Chicago since graduating from college.

lisa

Lisa Slattery, Studio Owner
lisa@lightspacechicago.com

B.A. Early Childhood Education,
Columbia College Chicago
PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 2)

Lisa began practicing Pilates in 2012, as a method for improving her strength and to feel more centered in her daily life. Lisa fell in love with Pilates and how it made her feel each time she left the studio. She was hooked! Lisa began her teacher training in the fall of 2013 at Urbancore Pilates and Fitness and completed the certification process in the fall of 2014. Lisa is certified through the Pilates Method Alliance.

In her teaching, Lisa blends both Western and Eastern techniques and guides her clients toward their goals using this distinctive method. Building upon her knowledge is imperative to Lisa’s teaching and she continues to integrates different classes on anatomy and movement into her schedule. Lisa is currently pursuing certification in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese  Energy Healing and is a direct student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax.

Lisa grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois and has resided in Chicago for almost a decade. She works during the day in her preschool classroom, creating different art projects with her 20 three- to five-year old students. Don’t be surprised if you come in for your session on a weekday and find Lisa covered in glitter or paint! (Extra glitter available upon request!)

Certified Instructors

Jill Rimmey

PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 1)

A native of Minnesota, Jill moved to Chicago in 2009. Prior to moving to Chicago, she attended the University of Iowa where she received a B.A. in Political Science.

Jill started attending Pilates mat classes when she was in high school. While in college Jill participated in Pilates classes off and on, but it wasn't until she moved to Chicago that she started practicing weekly. She became stronger and more centered, which was important for her because of her work as a bartender in the service industry. The job is demanding and hard on the body. After committing to Pilates as her primary workout, she noticed improve strength, flexibility, and stamina.

In 2016 Jill decided to pursue certification to become a Pilates instructor under the instruction of Annie Murray and Allison Ward at LightSpace. Her passion and love for Pilates is palpable and shows through in her approach to the craft.

Priscilla Alvarez

B.A. Spanish Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S. Research Administration, Rush University
PMA Certified Instructor (Tier 1)

Priscilla started practicing Pilates in November 2010, when she began experiencing job-related chronic lower back/hip pain after making a career change. She went from a physically active job as a physical therapy aide, to a 9 to 5 desk job which was not active at all. This took such a toll on her body it became painful to even walk! Familiar with Pilates as a form of therapy for back pain, she sought out a rehabilitation-specific studio near her and found Urbancore Pilates. Not only did she feel immediate pain relief after her first couple of private sessions, she discovered an exercise that helped her find the Mind-Body connection she always sought. She’s been addicted to Pilates ever since!

Priscilla continued to practice Pilates weekly in the form of a duet for the next five years, and it remains the only physical exercise she is truly loves. Listening to her gut she decided to take her practice to the next level by completing teacher training with her favorite instructors at LightSpace, and is now fully certified through the Pilates Method Alliance.

During her teacher training, she discovered how well she responded to Eastern energetic techniques/Qigong which are an integral part of the LightSpace system. She enjoys introducing beginners to the basics of Pilates and movement Qigong, as well as to returning to her roots of physical rehabilitation using the Pilates method to address injuries.

Priscilla is currently pursuing certification in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese Energy Healing and is a student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax.

Priscilla was born and raised in Chicago (Little Village!).  When Priscilla is not at LightSpace, you’ll most likely see her out and about on her bicycle, at a local brewery, or catching her favorite bands in concert.

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Rachel Andre

B.S. Entertainment Business, Full Sail University
A.S. Music Recording/Production, Full Sail University

Rachel rediscovered Pilates in 2014 after being reminded of the health and wellness benefits she had experienced years before. Originally from Kansas City, MO, Rachel moved to Chicago in 2006. Since then she has been employed as a Graphic Designer, working on music projects with her husband and traveling when possible. Although happy with the creative aspects of her profession, she had been combating the side affects of having a desk job. She started seeing a Chiropractor for some mild back pain and was encouraged to get back into Pilates.

Rachel began taking Private Sessions from LightSpace owner/instructor Beth Milligan, where she not only started to feel healthier and more energized but also inspired to teach. She hopes to encourage and impact others the same way.

Apprentice Teacher Trainees

 


Dorothy Mora, Apprentice Teacher Trainee

It took two hip surgeries, a back surgery, and constant battles with anxiety and mysterious allergies for Dorothy to realize something needed to change. In 2015, she found Pilates and it opened up an entirely new (and pain-free!) way to experience life.

For the first time, she felt safe and supported enough to look deep into her own body and begin a lifelong healing, self-discovery journey.  She is excited to help others begin to tune into their own bodies too, and cultivate a deeper internal awareness and relationship with themselves.

Dorothy believes that getting to know yourself from the inside out is a deeply profound and empowering journey that begins to reverberate out into every aspect your life. In addition to the profound benefits of Pilates movements, she also offers Breathwork and Clinical Qigong sessions to further support and energize her clients’ personal goals and transformation.

Dorothy holds a B.S. in Education from Indiana University. She is a certified Breathwork facilitator and is currently pursuing certification in Clinical Qigong, Movement Qigong, and Chinese Neuro-Energetic Therapeutics through the Institute of Chinese Energy Healing and is a student of internationally acclaimed Qigong Master and NQA Certified Level IV Teacher Michael Lomax. During the day, she works at YMCA of the USA supporting the Y's efforts to strengthen communities across the country and around the world.

 


Kelli Kaul, Apprentice Teacher Trainee

Kelli’s motivation to join the LightSpace instructor team comes from the personal impact Pilates and Qigong have made on her life.  She no longer relies on pain medications or visits to the chiropractor to get by.  For the first time, she has the ability to manage her own stress and feels incredibly fit and powerful from exercise.  Even better, she won’t need another surgery to repair a 2nd herniated disc caused by a disc surgery years ago.

Kelli wants to make a positive impact on other’s lives at work.  Her goal is to focus on students that want to overcome physical, personal and emotional life challenges.  She’s extremely gratified to be able to make a difference.

Melissa Mai, Apprentice Teacher Trainee

Melissa began practicing Pilates in 2014, hoping to find something exercise-related that could hold her interest better than the traditional gym setting. She immediately loved everything about it - the challenge, how strong she felt, and the great learning environment. Pilates became more than just an exercise program when she began to experience very serious and incredibly scary symptoms including back pain, leg numbness and spasticity, and trouble walking. It took took six months for doctors to properly diagnose and treat the severely herniated disc in her neck. Following the first of two surgeries, Melissa's neurosurgeon told her that she could have very easily have become a quadriplegic!

During that scary time, she put her Pilates practice on hold and instead sought out pain relief in the form of Clinical Qigong treatments at LightSpace. As she healed, Melissa began to fold Pilates back into her recovery and they continue to be an integral part of her life.

Both practices have brought so much to Melissa's life on physical, energetic, and emotional levels! They helped her navigate the frustrating and stressful rehabilitation she went through, as she re-learned to sit, stand, and walk without using her neck. She is beyond excited to bring Pilates and Qigong to others - especially those who may never have considered them before or may be too intimated to try!

 

Roneen Ordower, Apprentice Teacher Trainee

Roneen is an MD and 15 years ago she realized that no amount of green tea with help with her stress unless she started moving!

She joined a gym, but realized that without proper body alignment and a strong core all she was doing was injuring herself.

So eight years ago Roneen added Pilates to her "keep moving" list. Now, she "gyms", she does Pilates, and four years ago started learning Salsa...Cuban style!

For the record, Roneen still doesn't like green tea!