Meet Our Team

Holly Swanson, Owner

Holly was introduced to Pilates through her mom! She took her to a session when she was home from a college visit and she loved it!

After testing out the corporate world, Holly decided to work for her mom’s studio. She eventually bought it after seeing that this was how she wanted to help people discover what their bodies are capable of doing.

After years of developing her own teaching style, Holly began certifying teachers and continue training them as Co-Founder of The Lab Pilates.

  • Holly holds certifications from the PhysicalMind Institute® (2006) as well as Stott Pilates® (2008) in the contemporary Pilates world, and has completed over 200 hours of continuing education in Classical Pilates though various institutions.

    After completing coursework for the Pilates integration for the Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI), Holly focuses heavily on pre/post rehab and helping heal those nagging injuries you thought you had to live with the rest of your life. 

  • Anywhere along the North Branch trail - most spots feel like you aren’t even in the city anymore!

Maggie Ferrell, Instructor

Maggie began taking Pilates classes with her mom at the age of 12 to cross train for my dance practice.

She continued on into college where she majored in dance education and was able to study Pilates throughout all four years. In addition to her BFA in Dance Education from Ohio State University, Maggie completed her 500 hour comprehensive training with The Lab.

It’s always a good day when it starts with Pilates!

  • Previously, she completed the Pilates Proworks Teacher Certification program in 2018. Maggie is also working towards her certification as a Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist through Dr. Sarah Duvall.

  • You can always find her walking around the city with my dog, Lyla! They spend most days in Lincoln Park or on the lakefront trail enjoying the outdoors while the weather is nice!

Mandy Milligan, Instructor

Mandy started taking Pilates as cross-training for dance. The work really changed my body and helped with her craft and she wanted to share that with others.

Mandy has been teaching Pilates professionally since 2014. She likes to take a creative, problem-solving, contemporary approach to Pilates with my clients. The most rewarding part of her job is helping people rediscover their body and gain confidence through movement.

  • Mandy is internationally certified through the National Pilates Certification Program and has a BFA in Ballet Performance from University of Cincinnati.

    Some of her additional training credits include Balanced Body® Certification, NeuroMovement Trent McEntire Pilates,  Anti Racism and Allyship for Rehab and Movement Professionals with Dr. Jennifer Hutton, Integral Anatomy with Gil Hedley, Gait Patterning with Madeline Black and Nutritious Movement with Katy Bowman.

  • I love Gyrotonic and Gyrokenesis in addition to having a personal yoga practice. I'm also a professional modern dancer with several small dance companies in the greater Chicago area. I'm always moving all the time!

April Torneby, Instructor

April began Pilates back in college while she was working towards her BFA in Dance at Cornish College of the Arts.

Many of her favorite professors were also Certified Pilates Instructors with a wealth of information about the body. Pilates helped her work past overuse injuries and become more in tune with her body.

  • Aside from her BFA in Dance, April completed The Lab 500 hour Comprehensive Training.

    She is also certified to teach indoor cycling, TRX, and barre. April has been teaching for over 12 years and looks forward to many more.

  • I believe Pilates is cross training for life and I love helping clients make the connections between Pilates exercises and everyday activities. Pilates is more than just fitness, it is movement education.

Signe Knutson, Instructor

Signe was studying dance at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and was first introduced to Pilates through taking an elective course.

The challenge of Pilates supported her dance movement and made her want to learn more. Signe’s interest peaked after moving to Chicago and researching how to become an instructor.

  • Through connections at her university and the Chicago Pilates community, Signe found The Lab Training Program and began in 2021. 

    Due to her dance training, she loves pushing the boundaries and getting creative with Pilates movement, while staying true to the classical conditioning and alignment work it provides.

  • Walking down to the lake with my Yorkie, Tillie, is always a great way to get some fresh air and play time! Signe loves to bring a mat and work in a Pilates flow, or just relax in the sun.

Liza Wolin, Instructor

Liza stumbled into Pilates after years of dancing up until college. Her sister who also was a dancer was always a fan of Mat. After she tried Pilates with the addition of the equipment, she was hooked.

Liza loves Pilates because not only is it a safe workout for basically everyone, but it truly transforms not only her body, but her mind when she does it. There is nothing like it!

  • Liza completed her 500 hour comprehensive training with The Lab, under the direction of Holly Swanson and Jacquelyn Brennan, as well as her certification from Pilates Pro Works. Her most recent continuing education is in Pre/Post Natal Pilates and Exercise. 

  • Liza likes to cover all spinal mechanics and the whole body in class, but her favorite go-to is all things abs, especially obliques! 

Sage Miller, Instructor

Sage studied Pilates on and off growing up, and decided to pursue it more seriously during college.

She had a growing interest in anatomy and the mechanics of movement which felt like natural to step into the world of Pilates.

She realized that Pilates offered new insights and connections to movement and she loves sharing that knowledge with others.

  • Sage holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. She was certified in Mat Pilates during her time at Cornish and went through my 500-hour comprehensive teacher training from the Lab Pilates Training in Fall of 2021. 

  • Dancing! Sage’s favorite days start with a ballet class.

Alex Blaze, Instructor

Alex Blaze (feel free to call her “Blaze”, everyone else does) has been a student of pilates for over 10 years and completed her training with The Lab Pilates program. Alex began her pilates journey as a way to rehabilitate her pelvic floor from her first endometriosis surgery in 2008 and has continued on 8 surgeries later.

Alex is passionate about helping fellow desk jockeys (Alex works full time in tech) with mobility and is passionate about pelvic floor pain management. She believes fitness is for everyone and works to make sure everyone feels successful in her classes.

  • In addition to completing The Lab 500-hour comprehensive Pilates teacher training, Alex attended the University of Illinois (go Illini) where she graduated with duel degrees in Finance and Business administration.

  • When Alex isn’t working her day job or teaching pilates, you can find her traveling with her husband on Scuba or Ski trips, spending time with her dog Izzy, or reading a book (she’s on track to finish 125 books in 2023).

Alessandra, Instructor

Originally from New Jersey, Alessandra graduated with a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah, and then moved to Chicago to dance professionally.

Upon moving to Chicago, she found Pilates as a way to condition my body and prevent and rehabilitate injuries. She completed my Comprehensive Pilates Teacher training in May of 2021 through The Lab Pilates in Chicago. Alessandra loves helping clients achieve their goals and seeing a difference in their lives while practicing Pilates.

  • Alessandra completed The Lab Comprehensive Program in May of 2021 and incorporates her dance experience into her teaching style, focusing on strengthening the powershouse.

  • Alessandra dances professionally at Visceral Dance Chicago. When she is not teaching and dancing, she enjoys spending time with friends and hanging out with her doggo.