This article was originally published on Core Arts’ Facebook Page. Check out Athena’s full professional profile on her Linkedin Page.
“Over the years that I’ve been taking Pilates, it has helped me recover from injuries and to strengthen my body for dance, so I’d like to the inspire other dancers to think about their overall wellness as well.”
Tell us about yourself
I love to dance and I have been professionally dancing since the age of 10. During my adolescent years, I trained at Ballet Pacifica, which later became Maple Conservatory. While heavily training in ballet at Maple, I also started training in other dance styles at Dance Precisions with Shannon Mather and Francisco Gella. In 2008, I was one of the category winners for the Music Center Spotlight Award, a prestigious honor that allowed me to perform in front of a full house at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. As a finalist for the Spotlight Awards I was also given the opportunity to travel and dance in Europe. So shortly after I graduated high school, I jumped at the chance!
After this wonderful adventure, I got accepted to The Ailey School in New York City. However, I made the choice to come back to Los Angeles to start my professional career when I was offered a job to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards. Since then, I’ve been dancing professionally and loving every minute of it. I’ve danced on TV shows and with Grammy award-winning artists, and in the last few years I’ve also started choreographing.
When did you first encounter Pilates?
The first time I encountered Pilates was when I was ten. My mother insisted I take Pilates to help with ballet training. I took Pilates classes at other studios, and then later on after meeting Sharmila I started taking it at Core Arts.
What inspired you to become a Pilates instructor?
To be a better dancer inspired me to become a Pilates instructor. After seeing the improvements and changes in my body – in how much it helped my movements – I knew right then that I had to go beyond just being a Pilates student so I can fully understand the dancer’s body.
What has surprised you about being a Pilates apprentice?
What surprised me about being an apprentice was the knowledge and confidence I gained by putting in the many hours of observation, and working hands-on with clients of different body types.
What is your favorite Pilates exercise so far?
My favorite Pilates exercise so far is “front split.”
What do you plan on doing once you become a certified instructor?
I plan to continue dancing, choreographing and working with dancers after I get certified. I hope to share the knowledge I learn at Core Arts and work with dancers, helping them get stronger, be more flexible and prevent injuries while they continue their dance training. Over the years that I’ve been taking Pilates, it has helped me recover from injuries and to strengthen my body for dance, so I’d like to the inspire other dancers to think about their overall wellness as well.
Why did you choose to get certified at Core Arts?
I’ve known Sharmila since I was 15 and she has helped me train and get through many injuries during my competitive years of dancing. She’s also mentored me throughout my dance career so it helped that I knew her. But honestly, I chose to get certified at Core Arts because I have seen results on my own body after taking Pilates.