Our Instructors

Sharon Courtney McSpedon

Sharon has a unique multidisciplinary approach to conditioning that is a natural outgrowth of her own diversified background. After years of dance training and performing, she became certified in group exercise, personal training and kinesiology in NYC. She then worked for the NY Health and Racquet Club and as the manager and teacher trainer of an elite exercise studio on Park Avenue. Shortly there after she became an avid student of the Lotte Berk Method and barre exercise as a method of conditioning.  In 1987, Sharon was introduced to Pilates and received her first full Mat and Reformer Certification with Marie Jose Blom, of Balanced Body and Smart Spine fame. During her Pilates apprenticeship, she became certified in Yoga Therapy by it's creator, Michael Lee of Phoenix Rising and  began to work for Manhattan Home Fitness.

After thousands of hours of training and teaching, she launched Creative Conditioning, a personal training company that catered to the needs of many high profile clients in NYC and then in Los Angeles. As the West Coast representative for the Personal Fitness and Bodywork Professionals Association, Sharon was also instrumental in promoting one of the first companies dedicated to providing a professional organization devoted to the needs and education of trainers. While working in LA, Sharon taught group fitness for several well known studios and health clubs where she quickly became known for incorporating elements of Pilates into all of her classes, including Low Impact Jazz, Step Aerobics, Body Sculpting, Circuit Training, Slide, Prenatal Fitness and Sports Conditioning. She also created a Pilates based training program for a running club in Manhattan Beach, CA with whom she trained and completed the Los Angeles Marathon. She continued her work in Bergen County, NJ after returning to the East Coast and in 2002, received her certification in IMX Pilates, known for it's advanced  protocol and emphasis on athletic conditioning.

Over the years, she has had the privilege of learning from several of the Pilates elders including Lolita San Miguel and Mary Bowen. Sharon has most recently completed comprehensive coursework with Balanced Body for her third Pilates certification. She has also had intermediate and advanced training in the form of workshops with PEAK, Power Pilates, Physical Mind Institute, and STOTT.

Sharon moved back to Ridgefield in 2003 where she has maintained and grown her practice, teaching Mat, Reformer, and Barre Work to a wonderful and devoted clientele. She is the wife of Kevin (often seen around town, nursing an injury from playing or coaching hockey) and the mother of three terrific children, Maggie, KC and Braeden. In addition to Pilates, she is known in Ridgefield for having taught dance and musical theatre to children and directing the Children's Choir at St. Mary's Church. The Pilates Barre is the culmination of 25 years of teaching, training and connecting.

Owner/Director – Creative Conditioning, LLC
1989 – Present


Full Mat and Reformer, Marie Jose Blom/PFBPA, 1987
Mat and Reformer, IMX Pilates, 2002
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Reformer, Balanced Body
Mat One and Movement Principles, Balanced Body
Trapeze Table and Cadillac, Balanced Body
Anatomy, Balanced Body
Pilates Chair, Joy Puleo
Yoga Therapy, Michael Lee, Phoenix Rising
Spinning, Madd Dogg Athletics
Studio Barre, Tower, Fundamentals, Technique, Artistic Flow – June Kahn
Foam Roller, Movements Afoot

Some recent professional Pilates workshops including Pilates on Tour:

Exo Chair Flow, Pilates Arc, Reformer for Athletes, Pilates for the Low Back, Assessment Techniques, Tactile Cueing, Standing Pilates, Jumboard Technique,Triad Ball, Bender Ball, Gliding, Magic Circle, Box & Pole, Bosu Skills & Drills.

Andrea Fossum Atkins
Andrea was born and raised in Greenwich, CT.  She is a college graduate with ten years professional experience in Marketing, Sales and Human Resources.  She first started taking Barre classes in 2000 and immediately became addicted to it.  As an avid student, she was in class as often as possible.  When her family re-located to Illinois, she became a student at a local Barre studio and was soon approached by the owner to train as a teacher.  After a full year and the completion of intense training, Andrea became an instructor.   A move back to CT prompted an immediate search for a dedicated barre studio. "The Pilates Barre is like no other studio I have ever attended and I am thrilled to be part of such a great team of professionals!" 

2012 marks the start of Andrea's 5th year as a teacher of Barre Technique.

Simone Rucolas
Simone Rucolas  has been certified to teach the Pilates Method since 1997.  She was trained by Joseph Pilates protégés, Romana Kryzanowska and Bob Liekens of Power Pilates in New York City.  She has counted ballerina Suzanne Farrell and actress Joanne Woodward among her clientele.  Originally from Switzerland, Simone grew up as a competitive skier and gymnast.  She earned a degree in Environmental studies and Economics from Vassar College, so clearly Pilates seemed like the natural path to follow.  In 1995, Simone moved to Ridgefield where she met her husband, Ron.  Now married, Simone is living the American dream with two beautiful kids, two dogs and a cat, sans white picket fence, because her husband installs electric fences.

Simone Gell
Simone Gell is Barre Certified by Exhale, NYC and has been a student and a teacher of barre for sixteen years.
Simone’s background is in dance and the equestrian art of Classical Dressage. Attentive to form and alignment
and providing individual corrections for each student, Simone finds it fulfilling to help students reach their goals
and to encourage and support them.

Elaine O'Brien
Elaine is a fully certified Pilates instructor and trainer.  After a shoulder injury limited her ability to play tennis and exercise, Elaine turned to Pilates. She was so encouraged by the results, that she decided to pursue a career in Pilates instruction to help others maintain a healthy lifestyle. Elaine enjoys teaching challenging fitness routines, and tailoring routines for individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

As a mother of three, and the daughter of two active seniors, Elaine appreciates the opportunities that Pilates can offer to all ages and body types.  She loves working with groups and individuals to help them craft routines to achieve their unique fitness goals.

Prior to her Pilates career, Elaine worked in the restaurant business with her husband where they own and operate three restaurants in Midtown.  She lives in Pound Ridge, New York, where she has resided with her family for the past 25 years.

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Reformer, Balanced Body
Mat One and Movement Principles, Balanced Body
Mat Two, Balanced Body
Trapeze Table and Cadillac, Balanced Body
Anatomy, Balanced Body
Pilates Chair, Balanced Body

Marisa Duffy
Marisa Duffy was born and raised in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., played on various school sports teams, was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years, enjoys the arts, cooking, eating and is a member of the garden club of Yorktown. She has been teaching in Westchester for 20 years. Marisa is certified as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and has a double Pilates certification. She has taught mat for over 12 years and more recently certified to work with the Pilates apparatus. She teaches a new cutting edge technique called M.E.L.T. which is a self-treatment that helps prevent pain, heal injury and erase the negative effects of aging and active living. She believes in whole body health, thoughtful, creative exercise done with proper technique and form for efficiency and positive life-long results. 

Amanda Grant
Amanda is a Barre based exercise devotee.  After many years as a student of the method, Amanda was trained in BarSculpt, a contemporary version of the Lotte Berk method of exercise.  Amanda has been teaching barre exercise for over seven years.  You can also find her leading spin classes at JoyRide Ridgefield.  Getting people focused and fit while having fun is her passion.  Prior to moving to Ridgefield with her husband and four children, Amanda taught at a top Pilates/Barre studio in Wellesley, MA.  This will be Amanda's 4th year teaching at The Pilates Barre.   
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