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ABOUT THE FACILITATOR
SOFIA ENGELMAN

My job is to listen, collaborate with, and support you. Together, we will get you moving, revitalizing your relationship with your body by deepening your awareness and knowledge of self. My classes are both sweaty and contemplative. I know that each person is unique so I don't use words like "neutral" or "normal" and I reference action, intention, and orientation rather than shape, result, or appearance. I understand and approach "queer" not just as a label pertaining to gender identity and sexuality but also the action of queering: to question, reorient, and make strange. I facilitate Pilates queerly.

 

I am a dance artist, educator, writer, and certified Pilates instructor. I fell in love with Pilates while navigating chronic illness and then healing from and returning to dance after a subsequent invasive, emergency surgery. Pilates supported me in finding stability, joy, deep + tonic muscles that I had never intentionally engaged previously, breath, and appreciation for myself.

With curiosity and eagerness, I have trained via several contemporary Pilates programs in order to engage with a multiplicity of experiences, approaches, and perspectives: The Kane School (Mat), East River Pilates (Reformer), and Ellie Herman Pilates (Springboard, Cadillac, Barrel, and Chair). I am in a continual practice of finding ways to make this work accessible, decolonial, evidence-based, fear and harm-reducing, and consensual. My facilitation is grounded in my practice as a dancer and inspired by the teachings of my dance, somatics, and anatomy/kinesiology teachers. I also hold a BA with Highest Honors in Dance from Smith College. I live in Brooklyn / Lenapehoking with my spouse Em, three cats, and about 40 plants.

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Image Description: Collage of photos of Sofia by Keira Cronin moving at bodycraft Studio in Brooklyn Heights.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

WHO IS WELCOME HERE?

Queer Body Pilates centers queer and trans folx. However, you don't need to claim these identities to attend QBP classes (exception: Tuesday evening LGBTQ+ Group Pilates). I am also comfortable and experienced in teaching fat individuals, people over 70, blind and vision-impaired movers, Deaf and hard-of-hearing practitioners, and disabled and chronically ill folx. However, I don't claim expertise in working with any particular disabilities or diagnoses. I have personally found Pilates highly effective in reducing my own pain and a joyful, process-oriented, and potentially radical movement practice.

And no experience is required; I love when I get to facilitate someone's first Pilates class. QBP welcomes those who haven't felt safe attending Pilates classes in the past. Don't hesitate to contact me with your access needs.

WHERE ARE IN-PERSON CLASSES?

Mat-only private sessions can be held in your Brooklyn home. Reformer, Chair, and Mat private sessions are held at my home studio in Bed-Stuy and duets/trios are held at studios in Boerum Hill and Fort Greene. Exact location will be shared upon registration. Please contact me with your access needs if they will affect location as many of the options (outside of your home) require traversing one flight of stairs.

You can also catch me offering Reformer classes at Fort Pilates on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE SLIDING SCALE?

The low end of the sliding scale is intended for those preparing for or recovering from gender affirming or emergency surgery, BIPOC, and people without a financial safety net who couldn't otherwise access Pilates.


The high end is for those who are able to invest such resources into this exchange, supporting QBP and subsidizing classes for those who need to pay less.


Please be honest about what you can afford.

WHY IS POST-GENDER AFFIRMING SURGERY PILATES LISTED SEPARATELY?

This service is listed at a lower cost to make Pilates accessible to those who can't otherwise afford it during recovery. These one-on-one sessions also require a different kind of attention and preparation as the facilitator (and I may communicate with your surgeon, PT, care team, or other medical providers) so I like to have a heads up in advance.

WHAT ARE THE PILATES APPARATUS? HOW DO I CHOOSE BETWEEN MAT AND APPARATUS PILATES?

Reformers are the original Pilates equipment invented by Joseph Pilates. I love them because they facilitate a unique sense of full body connectivity and they give movers amazing, subtle feedback about where they are and what they are doing. Also, working on a moving surface with resistance is just super fun and facilitates new, often delightfully surprising embodied pathways. Private sessions may also incorporate more rehabilitative work on the cadillac, as well as supported and challenging movement on the barrel and chair. Movement is low impact and kind to the joints.

 

When we work on the Mat, we can use props to replicate many of the Reformer exercises and sensations. I love Mat Pilates because we are able to practice movements that are bit more similar to those you may enact in everyday scenarios and it puts more responsibility on movers to find awareness and specificity. Mat Pilates is also always more affordable simply because Reformers are expensive and we have to rent them when we go to the studio! Like the Reformer, Mat Pilates exercises are low impact and kind to the joints.

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