Smartbody’s teachers use a strong classical Pilates foundation, while incorporating contemporary knowledge in anatomy, biomechanics, Alexander Technique, body rolling, and more. We are ever curious learners and regularly follow workshops and conferences on the cutting edge of movement studies. This approach has established us as one of Europe’s leading Pilates studios.
Elegant and intimate in the heart of Amsterdam
In 2006 we moved into Molenpad 15, a grand old building in the center of Amsterdam overlooking the famous Princengracht. Wooden floors, sky high ceilings and windows, and classic Amsterdam architecture combine to make Smartbody warm, spacious, and unique. We share our building with a wide range of body experts, including Profysio , one of Amsterdam’s premier physical therapy practices, with whom we collaborate to meet the diverse needs of our clients.
Smartbody teachers: passionate professionals
I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. –John Steinbeck
Smartbody prides itself in the quality of its teachers. Our teachers are trained and certified by rigorous professional training programs and are constantly delving deeper into the the art and science of Pilates and Alexander technique. We think they are the best in Amsterdam. But what we really love about our teachers is their passion for their work and their ability to communicate that to their students. Please read what each teacher has to say about themselves and their teaching style.
Jelena Petrovic was one of the first people to teach Pilates in the Netherlands, back in 2000. She studied Pilates with Dylan Skybrook in Minneapolis and Ellie Herman in San Francisco and began teaching at various studios and gyms in 1999. From 2000 to 2006, she taught Pilates to groups and individuals in Amsterdam, while also working as a choreographer and dancer, both in the Netherlands as well as internationally. In 2006, she threw in the towel and stopped dancing, in order to start Smartbody, Amsterdam’s first fully equipped, full service Pilates studio. Jelena is the mother of two boys, Owen and Milan, who can both do perfect crescent rolls.
I teach with passion, humor and total commitment. During my years as a dancer, I was most inspired by those teachers who made me work hard and challenged me but had compassion for me and saw me as a person. This is what I’ve aspired to ever since. I like to give people the sense that they’ve achieved something beautiful and important through movement. I love that I have such a varied clientele – people rehabing from serious injuries, musicians, pregnant women, postnatal women, former athletes. Everyone learns differently, so my teaching remains fresh and accessible! (Jelena)
I know I should train – that it’s an essential part of a healthy lifestyle – but I am as lazy as can be. For me, Jelena is a star trainer; intuitive, inspirational and encouraging. She embodies Pilates for me. Every session is different – and as much fun as she can make it. I have been training with her for about 6 years, and yes, it’s hard work, but also a pleasure – and I KNOW it works.
Anna Levin is one of the two “Master” teachers at Smartbody due to her many years of diverse training and teaching experience and overal quality of her work.
Anna started doing Pilates while dancing professionally in Chicago, Illinois. She certified at Body Balance, Chicago in 1999. Pilates brought a new element of core strength to her dancing and kept injuries at bay throughout her rigorous rehearsal and performing schedule. She certified in Gyrotonic in 1998. She moved to Amsterdam in 2004 where she helped build up Smartbody Studio in their early days. In 2008, she completed her Yoga training at Svaha Yoga. Anna has also studied with Cara Reeser, Elizabeth Larkam, Rachel Taylor Segal, Amy Taylor Alpers, Deborah Kolwey, Carolyne Anthony, Kirk Smith and Sharon Gallagher. More recently she is exploring Movement Based Mobility with different teachers and is doing The Kathy Grant Heritage Training with Cara Reeser. She is currently the assistant director of the Smartbody Studio Pilates Teacher Training program, teaching there regularly, as well as a guest teacher at Ekhart Yoga online yoga studio.
I love sharing my knowledge and experience through my teaching. Helping people find their limits and push their capabilities to a new level is very exciting. It’s also wonderful to work with people recovering from injury and see them rise up and come out of pain and stiffness to mobility and movement again. The joy I get out of teaching comes when I see my clients’ progression through regular and consistent practice. I love teaching and helping my clients succeed with their own bodies at their own pace. It’s very exciting to teach someone an exercise that appears to be impossible for them and watch their face light up when they succeed. (Anna)
Smartbody private sessions with Anna are the perfect remedy for body and soul and have truly become highlights of my week. Anna’s spot-on, challenging, yet patient, instruction targets my weaknesses and has resulted in strengthened core and posture, more attuned body awareness, and blessed stress release. And her intelligent, lovely demeanor in the peaceful Smartbody studios just keeps me coming back for more.
Our Alexander technique teacher, Patrick Johnson, is certified by the most rigorous of the training bodies, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) as well as the Nederlands Vereniging voor Leraren van de Alexander Teckniek (NeVLAT). He also has a broad experience in sports and movement, currently a teacher of running and dance and formerly a high level tournament squash player. In addition to teaching private Alexander technique lessons, Patrick teaches both running and anatomy workshops at Smartbody. Patrick has a PhD. in Physics spent many years as a research scientist.
Many people think that they are supposed to go through life feeling stiff and clumsy. In fact, just the opposite is true. We are designed to move with poise and grace. This fact guides my teaching style. My goal is to give my students the tools they need to discover this natural coordination. (Patrick)
I very much recommend Alexander lessons with Patrick to anyone who wants to explore how their body can be more free and easy to live with.
Astarti first studied Pilates during her dance education in Athens, Greece. Having experienced by first hand the benefits of Pilates as a dancer, such as full body strength, awareness and postural improvement, she decided to become transmitter of the method herself. She completed her mat and equipment training at Smartbody in 2009, taught by Jelena Petrovic and Anna Levin, and is a post-graduate of the Heritage Training, a comprehensive program dedicated to the work of legendary dancer and pilates teacher Kathy Grant, taught by her long-time student Cara Reeser. Astarti continues to expand her skills and knowledge by training with and following workshops given by worldwide acclaimed instructors such as Kirk Smith, Sharon Gallagher, Tom McCook, Jessica Cresey, Amit Younger, Jessica Fundim, as well as by practising other relevant somatic approaches such as Alexander technique, Rolfing, Feldenkrais and martial arts. She has been teaching at the Smartbody Studio Pilates Teacher Training Program since 2016. Next to her Pilates teachings, Astarti is a freelance dance artist and dance teacher.
My goal as a Pilates teacher is to take my students through the classic pilates repertoire with a safe approach and a touch of humor. I enjoy making the method understandable in my students’ bodies as well as witnessing how their movement skills grow. I aim to make each class a rich and challenging journey at a both physical and mental level. I teach people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds at a daily basis. I give emphasis in the process rather than the product by respecting everyone’s learning rhythm and needs. (Astarti)
You will feel better after ten sessions, look better after twenty, and have a complete new body after
Marieke van der Tol
Marieke began practicing Pilates after she suffered a mild lower back pain. After the first couple of lessons she felt a release. Her enthusiasm grew with every lesson.
Marieke holdes a degree in Human Geography at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. When the opportunity arose to enhance another side of herself, she seized it. In 2013 she accomplished the Comprehensive Teacher Training Program at Smartbody Pilates Studio in Amsterdam. She followed several workshops by Pilates professionals like Sharon Gallagher and Tom McCook.
The combination of mental focus, flexibility and strength is what makes Pilates so special to her.
Getting to know your body in an active way – not only your strengths but also your weaknesses – is a great journey. Pilates takes you on this journey where body and mind are learningn to work as a team. It makes your body leaner, longer and healthier. It’s rewarding and satisfying! (Marieke)
A body free of nervous tension and fatigue is an ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of meeting all the complex challenges of modern living.
Dereck graduated as a Pilates teacher from Smartbody studio in December 2017 he is now teaching group Reformer and privates classes at Smartbody.
Dereck’s interest in movement started at a young age with gymnastics, hip hop, and jazz dance. Later he took up ballet and modern dance and began his career as an international dancer. Dereck discovered Pilates through dance. To him Pilates is a wonderful support to heal and restore balance between body and mind. Bringing this wonderful tool to others is what motivated him to become a teacher.
Dereck also teaches the dance method called Double skin/Double mind and recently graduated as a Yoga teacher in Sivananda tradition.
In my class I try to support my student in drawing the intention and focus toward their body. It’s important to me that they have the necessary tools to grow awareness in their practice. I believe that Pilates offers a way to build up a strong sense of core which allows freedom of all kinds, both in movement and in the mind. (Dereck)
Alice Tossut studied ballet and contemporary dance from a young age. When she was 18 she moved to Rome where she completed the 3 year DAF (Dance Arts Faculty) professional dancer certification course. There she was also introduced to the Pilates method. She worked as dancer in Rome and later in Amsterdam where she moved in 2015. In 2016 she followed the KinetiCode Pilates Teacher Training and received the Pilates Mat certification. After one year of teaching she discovered SmartBody and in 2017 she completed the Equipment Teacher Training.
I find Pilates always a challenging work in progress. It requires a strong mind-body connection, mobility, strength, focus, awareness, precision, control and a lot of commitment. Pilates, in our fast-paced “must happen now” society, also shows me that some things need time to happen. It can really improve your daily life.
I love teaching because I have to find the key to connect to each new client. I have to find the most effective approach – the right exercises, pace, and personalized feedback that works for them. I try to create a unique relation with each of my clients and am amazed at how they progress. (Alice)
Erik Constantin studied ballet at a young age at the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam and continued dancing afterwards with various dance companies throughout Europe. He started training Pilates for recovery of a injury and was immediately hooked and slightly obsessed. After dancing professionally for 18 years, Erik decided to end his dancing career and move back to Amsterdam. He immediately started searching for a Pilates Teacher Training and found Smartbody. In September 2019 he started the Pilates Mat Teacher Training and immediately continued into the Comprehensive Teacher Training which he graduated in October 2020.
Pilates is for me a perfect harmony connecting body and mind together and training the body as a whole. Rarely have I experienced a technique so complete on all levels. I love passing on that experience to other people. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced student, it is amazing to see the changing physicality and inner growth which improves your quality of life in every single way. (Erik)
Zakia el Abodi
Movement has been a natural and important part of Zakia’s entire life and has continued through her current dual career as an artist (visual and performance) and a Pilates teacher. Zakia earned her BA in fine arts from the Rietveld academy and trained to be a teacher at Smartbody in 2013. In addition to her artistic and Pilates training she has also trained intensively in Horton technique, Feldenkrais, Inyengar Yoga, and physical theater.
Pilates supports the diverse physical challenges demands of her artistic work – both the long periods of standing and sitting when creating art objects as well as demanding movements when creating performance art. This has given her a deep appreciation for the wide ranging benefits of Pilates.
I love Pilates for its strong body-mind connection and it’s unique ability to strengthen, stretch and re-balance the body from inside out. I love to teach. It is a fun and beautiful method and I love to see the wonderful benefits of Pilates on the people I teach. I focus on classical Pilates but include contemporary approaches and ideas from my own eclectic movement background. (Zakia)
Kristen Hollinsworth spent 24 years dancing professionally in NYC. During those years she toured the US and Europe performing in the work of Susan Marshall & Co, setting the repertoire of the company, and guest teaching at numerous Universities including The Juilliard School, NYU, and Princeton University. Kristen also had the pleasure of dancing with The Metropolitan Opera from 1998-2008 in many productions. She first came to Amsterdam, NL in the fall of 1996 and fell in love with the city during a tour of the Phillip Glass opera Les Enfants Terribles which performed all over Europe and the USA. In 2017, Kristen relocated to Amsterdam with her family and in 2019 she completed the Smartbody Comprehensive Teacher Training Course under the superb guidance of Jelena Petrovic, Anna Levin, and Astarti Athanasiadou.
For me, movement in its various forms is most enjoyable as a communal experience either through group, duet, or private lessons. I like to use the Pilates classical repertoire and principles as a structure for my classes while also weaving other movement ideas into the mix for variety, always looking for opportunities to play and discover. It is a real gift to see significant changes happen in just a few hours a week of private Pilates lessons with Smartbody clients where I can put more focus on individual needs and movement goals. (Kristin)