lisa hirsch-solomon
(Founder/ceo)

Hometown: born at NYU Hospital, high school in New City, NY but call Venice, CA my home
Nickname: Mook, Lis
Favorite hobby: Traveling, swimming, online shopping (I just browse…I swear!), eating
Secret talent: knitting
3 things to know about Lisa:
1. I once weighed 44 lbs more
2. I went to school in New Orleans
3. I am not a good dancer even in my own mind.  : )
Instagram: @lisanhirsch


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Lindsay Hallam
(instructor)

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Nickname: When I was little it was "peanut" because I was very small.
Favorite hobby: I am a hobby queen, but I get bored easily and end up moving on to a new one. My favorite hobby is finding new hobbies!
Secret talent: Juggling
3 things to know about Lindsay:
1. I am loyal, ambitious and independent.
2. It's hard for me to commit to plans ahead of time—unless it involves eating food.
3. I value my health, family, close friends and my puppy, Nutty, most in life.
Instagram: @lindsay.hallam


Dana Goodman
(instructor)

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Nickname: D
Favorite hobbies: Working out and going to the beach with my husband and daughter.
Secret talent: I can say the alphabet backwards.
3 things to know about Dana:
1. I have a 7-month-old daughter, Saylor.
2. I married my high school boyfriend.
3. I'm pretty much the world’s worst cook.
Instagram: @dana__michelle


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Albina Katsman
(instructor)

Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine
Nickname: Al, Bina, Beans, Bean, Beany, Beany Baby, Bean Bag, Beaner
Favorite hobbies: Dancing and Cleaning. Actually, dancing while I clean is probably my favorite thing.
Secret talent: I can speak Russian.
3 things to know about Albina:
1. I am a working actress.
2. After teaching or taking class at (MDR) East, I sometimes go to Costco just for the free samples.
3. My favorite number is 5.
Instagram: @akatsman


Stephanie Nuno (instructor)

Hometown: Playa Del Rey, California
Nickname: Guera (pronounced “weh-rah”). It means blondie in Spanish.
Favorite hobbies: Entrepreneurship, business and biology.
Secret talent: My guacamole gets me into all the good parties.
3 things to know about Stephanie:
1. I have 2 kids.
2. I am deathly afraid of bears.
3. I speak Spanish.
Instagram: @guera1599


SVETLANA DOROFEEVA
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Barnaul, Russia
Favorite Hobby: Hiking, travelling and eating.
Nickname: Sveta, Svet
Secret talent: Cooking Peruvian food.
3 Things to know about Svetlana:
1. I grew up in Siberia and I have lived in New York for 7 years.
2. My high school days included dance and sport aerobics competitions.
3. My family lives in Russia, Thailand and New York.
 

Ken Ackermann
(owner/cfo)

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Nickname: Fox, Dante Jacuzzi, TJ Champagne
Favorite hobby: Surfing
Secret talent: I can touch my nose with my tongue.
3 things to know about Ken:
1. I played music on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for 6 months.
2. I found my first gray hair in high school, was salt and pepper by 25 and totally gray by 30.
3. I love pasta.
Instagram: @icu_everywhere


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Olivia Chaniewski (instructor)

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Nickname: Liv
Favorite hobby: Watching or performing improv comedy.
Secret talent: Drawing and painting
3 things to know about Olivia:
1. I love a good philosophical conversation about the meaning of life.
2. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
3. I won a yodeling contest in high school.
Instagram: @oliviachaniewski


Melissa Kusack
(instructor)

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Nickname: Melissa comes from the Greek word for “honey bee” so my mom has always called me that. 
Favorite hobby: I enjoy cooking and once a month I order Blue Apron, a delivery service of ingredients and recipes that you make at home. I try my best not to burn down my home every time I do it.
Secret talent: I can finish my shampoo and conditioner at the same time.
3 things to know about Melissa:
1. I decided on a career in fitness after receiving degrees in marketing and finance and working at an insurance company for many years.
2. I always have a banana in my bag.
3. I have only been to Vegas once, and it was to see Cher in concert.
Instagram: @melissakusack


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Casey Palazzo
(instructor):

Hometown: New York City, NY
Nickname: Lil dog
Favorite hobby: Shopping at HomeGoods. Please don't judge me.
Secret talent: I’m as crafty as they get! I can make something out of any materials as long as I have glue.
3 things to know about Casey:
1. The greatest lesson I ever learned was learning to believe in myself. I want to help others find that same freedom.
2. If Britney Spears and Lil Wayne had a child that was raised by hippies it would be me.
3. The best advice I was ever given is, “When you give someone a hug, be the last one to let go.”
Instagram: @cdutchie


YUMI SUGAI
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Nickname: Yums and Yumster
Favorite hobbies: Traveling, trying different workouts, reading, sailing and skiing.
Secret talent: I can do really great handstands.
3 things to know about Yumi:
1. I was a collegiate athlete (track and cheerleading).
2. I attended medical school.
3. I'm extremely clumsy and tend to fall easily but recover well.
Instagram: @its_yumi


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Brittany Grasmick
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Denver, CO
Nickname: Britt, Grazz, BTG, Salad Fingers
Favorite hobbies: I’m extremely active and love playing or watching sports. Running, hiking, biking, boxing, skiing, surfing, spinning—I do it all.
Secret talent: Expert-level music-playlist curator, homemade-cookie dough maker, and pigeon avoider.
3 things to know about Brittany:
1. I’m a practicing entertainment/IP attorney and published author.
2. My French bulldog, Francis (aka “Frank”), is named after my favorite artist, Frank Sinatra.
3. Known for my cackle, I also sport extremely long, skinny, elegant fingers—hence the nickname “Salad Fingers.”
Instagram: @btgworm

Mary Miller
(instructor)

Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA
Favorite hobbies: I love waking up early, bike riding, spending all day at the beach, reading a good book and traveling anywhere and everywhere.
Secret talent: I can do Bear one-handed off the back of the Megaformer.
 3 things to know about Mary:
1. I went to the Junior Olympics in track and field when I was in 5th grade.
2. After college at the University of Colorado in Boulder and before moving to LA and working at The Studio (MDR), I was a snowboard instructor and lift operator in Mammoth for a season.
3. I am a middle child and left-handed.
Instagram: @marymiller2323


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Erika Rae DeFrates (instructor)

Hometown: Watson, LA
Nickname: Arie or Rika Rae
Favorite hobby: Dancing with an extra side of dancing.
Secret talent: I'm good at impersonations. I can do Jimmy Fallon, Sofia Vergara and anyone in The Studio (MDR).
3 things to know about Erika:
1. I love donuts.
2. I have been dancing since I was 4 years old and started dancing professionally in college.
3. The year before moving to California, I was the dance-arts teacher for 3rd through 8th grades at a magnet school in Louisiana.
Instagram: @itserikarae


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Justin Jairam
(instructor)

Hometown: Bronx, NY
Favorite hobby: Ballet
Secret talent: I have double-jointed fingers, knees and toes.
3 things to know about Justin:
1. I talk with my hands.
2. I have an unnatural love for Beyoncé.   
3. I love spontaneously breaking out into choreographed dance routines.
Instagram: @maybejustinalastair


ERICA BRETTLER
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: I’m a Jersey girl through and through! From Tenafly in North Jersey but been living in LA for 8 years and loving it.
Nickname: Peach (because my maiden name is Piccininni), and Er.
Favorite hobby: Playing violin in the Santa Monica Symphony.
Secret talent: I do a mean impression of a baby dinosaur hatching from an egg. I sing. Not at the same time!
3 things to know about Erica:
1. My parents are Italian immigrants - I speak Italian.
2. Yes, it's me in that TV commercial.
3. I can’t do a cartwheel. Or dive head first into water. But I can pretend to be a baby dinosaur jumping into water, so that’s useful.
Instagram: @ericapiccininni


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journey kan
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Walnut Grove, CA (You probably have never heard of it - yes, I'm a "small town girl")
Favorite Hobby: Laughing at my own jokes
Nickname: Journs
Secret talent: Hoarding nail polish and beauty products
3 Things to know about Journey:
1. In school, I would do anything to get out of P.E., from faking an asthma attack to hiding behind the bleachers during the mile
2. I can make a pretty sexy Excel spreadsheet
3. My diet is 70% vegan and 30% circumstantial
Instagram: @journsLA


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Grace Elizabeth Baen   
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: San Marcos, TX
Nickname: GeeBee, GiGi
Favorite hobbies: IDancing and teaching ballet, volunteering, eating, traveling, hanging at the beach and having great conversations about changing the world.
Secret talent: I have an abundance of bad jokes I like to tell my friends and strangers.
3 things to know about Grace:
1. I’m wildly optimistic and will find the positive in any situation.
2. I have three older brothers, meaning I’m the baby and the only girl—and the favorite.
3. For the last nine years I have volunteered with the ALA (American Library Association) to teach more than 4,500 high-school junior girls the different levels and forms of government, as well as how to write bills, legislate, debate and public speak.
Instagram: @gracebaen