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, community organizer, and 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 trained at The Kane School of Core Integration to receive my Comprehensive Pilates Mat Certification. I am in a continual practice of finding ways to make this work accessible, decolonial, evidence-based, fear and harm-reducing, and consent-based. 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 partner (in dance and life) Em, three cats, and about 40 plants.

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Image Description: Illustration of Sofia with denim hair holding a black cat and wearing a white muscle t and rainbow paints.

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: Thursday 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 private sessions can be held in your Brooklyn home or my Crown Heights home studio. Reformer sessions are held at studios in Crown Heights and Boerum Hill. 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.

In-person Sunday morning (10-11am ET) Group QBP is at bodycraft in Cobble Hill; 103 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11201. This space has a wheelchair accessible entrance and studio but the bathroom is not wheelchair accessible.

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 REFORMERS? HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE BETWEEN MAT AND REFORMER 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.

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!

When choosing between Mat and Reformer Pilates, ask yourself:

Do I want to work online? I only offer Mat Pilates online.

Do I want to/am I comfortable paying more for Reformer Pilates? For some people it's worth the extra $$ and for others it isn't.

What am I curious about?