Lisa Hirsch

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


 Lindsay Hallam

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

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


 Albina Katsman

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

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

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.


 Nicole Chavez

Nicole Chavez
(Operations Manager)

Hometown: Houston, TX
Nickname: Tricky Nicky
Favorite hobbies: Getting lost trail running in Malibu
Secret talent: I can make tacos disappear.
3 things to know about Nicole:
1. I have a closet just for my sneakers.
2.  I'm training to get my black belt. #Ninja goals.
3. I played Volleyball at ’Bama. (I'm tall on the inside.)
Instagram: @nchavez399


 Jackie

Jacquelyn Fischer
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Nickname: Jackie
Favorite Hobby: My favorite hobby just so happens to be my job! I love to work out, so you can usually find me at The Studio or cycling or boxing somewhere around LA. When I have a day off, I am either on the water, attempting to be a subpar surfer or spending time with friends.
Secret Talent: It isn't a talent, but it's definitely a secret: When I was 18, I was on Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Brady, and I chose to see what was behind the curtain and wound up with a stainless-steel range oven, every baking supply you could ever need and a granite counter top.
3 things to know about Jacquelyn:
1. I have been practicing Lagree for five years on and off due to injuries. It has shown me the greatest results of any workout I've ever done—and I've tried just about everything!
2. I am currently getting my Masters in Public Health. I am also a certified Pilates instructor and rehabilitation trainer for cancer patients and survivors.
3. I love a good taco and margarita, so if you ever need a recommendation just let me know.
Instagram handle: @jackiefischer

 Ken Ackermann

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


 Olivia Chaniewski

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

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


 Casey Palazzo

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

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


 Brittany Grasmick

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


 Melanie Murphy

Melanie Murphy
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Palm Desert, CA
Nickname: Mel, Melon, Capslock
Favorite Hobby: Initiating dance parties where they didn’t exist before, dominating at beach volleyball, playing in the waves, traveling to far-off lands and having adventures with family and friends.
Secret Talent: I know all the words to every Billy Joel song and would challenge anyone to a Billy sing-off.
3 things to know about Melanie:
1. I’m currently a graduate student at USC, working towards my Master’s in Nutrition Science to become a registered dietitian in holistic and integrative nutrition.
2. My spirit animal is the Bison.
3. I have owned and operated my own health-and-wellness boutique PR agency for the past four years and have been working in healthcare PR for nearly a decade.
Instagram handle: @mgmurphy88


 Sarah

Sarah Isabel Vazquez
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nickname: Sarita and Sarisabel
Favorite Hobby: Photography, traveling and hiking.
Secret Talent: I have cat-like reflexes.
3 things to know about Sarah:
1. I make pottery.
2. I love dancing salsa.
3. I've walked El Camino de Santiago.
Instagram handle: @sarisabel

 Mary Miller

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


 Erika Rae Defrates

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


 Justin Jairam

Justin Jairam
(instructor)

Hometown:  Born in the Bronx, NY but raised in Guyana, South America
Favorite hobby: Dancing; you play it, I’ll dance to it!
Secret talent: I have double-jointed fingers, knees and toes.
3 things to know about Justin:
1. I teach a challenging class, I think how you show up for yourself in the face of that challenge is one of life’s greatest insights.
2. When I was younger, I always wanted to be an Actor. So I moved to LA and made it happen. (Preparation + Opportunity= Luck/Success) Thank Seneca or Oprah!
3. My father’s favorite quote when I was younger: “Your attitude determines your altitude.” - Winston Jairam, said in a very deep, inspiring tone.
Instagram: @maybejustinalastair


 Erica Brettler

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


 Journey Kan

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


 Grace Elizabeth Baen

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


 January Malkus

January Malkus
(INSTRUCTOR)

Hometown: Huntington Beach , CA
Nickname: None.
Favorite Hobby: Hip-hop dancing and singing.
Secret Talent: Hula hooping. I won best hula-hooper at all the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs .
3 things to know about January:
1. I live on a boat.
2. I love my dog, Winston.
3. I’m a foodie and will try anything once.
Instagram handle: @msjanuaryy