Group Exercise Instructors

Don Bard | Kia Blaustein | Julie Graff | Henry Heikkinen | Jaelynn Horton | Holly Johnson | Emilie LenoirKirsten Olshan | Francesca Pavlovici | Billy Prusinowski | Audrey Rees | LaTecia Yarbrough

Abbey Asher

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Abbey is a formally trained ballet and jazz dancer who performed professionally in Santa Barbara. She began studying Iyengar yoga in 1995 and completed teacher training in 2004. Abbey has been a student of Maya Lev and Kofi Busia for many years and is currently teaching yoga at Yoga Center Santa Cruz in addition to her classes on campus. In January of 2008, Abbey studied for one month at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India.

Class(es) taught: Iyengar Yoga

Don Bard

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Don started practicing yoga in Hawaii learning the Primary-Series in Ashtanga Yoga. This vigorous practice consists of poses connected with the breath in a set sequence. When he moved to Santa Cruz in 1987, he found TriYoga, a style that merged breath awareness with a progression of creative sequence levels. He became certified to teach TriYoga in 1995, and now teaches a variety of yoga classes that include TriYoga, Iyengar, and Anusara alignment principles, with an approach influenced by the teachings of Erich Schiffmann - practice from a relaxed mind-set that focuses on feeling what you're doing as you're doing it. Don's classes emphasize moving consciously, staying within your range of comfort, and being relaxed while building strength and balance. All of Don's classes are multi-level and everyone is welcome.

Class(es) taught: Flow Yoga, Iyengar-Inspired Yoga

Kimball Barton

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Kimball is a Personal Trainer certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has been a trainer in the Santa Cruz area for over 18 years. She works really well with a wide variety of individuals and really enjoys creating dynamic and fun workouts for her clients. Her specialties include core conditioning, functional training, general strength,  and cardiovascular training, and adding FUN to your workout. In her free time, Kimball enjoys playing poker, gardening, hanging with her dogs, hiking, and painting.

Class(es) taught: Core Conditioning, Total Body HIIT, TRX® ( Total-body Resistance X-Training)

Kia Blaustein

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Having grown up in Lemoore, California, Kia graduated from Cal-Poly with a B.S. in Animal Science. While in Santa Cruz, Kia has spent seventeen years studying Iyengar Yoga, in addition to being a certified massage therapist, and a mother of four. Through her yoga practice, Kia’s study of the expression of movement within the body led to a newly discovered fascination with dance. After having studied intensively with Worldanz, Kia became a certified Worldanz instructor in August of 2014. Kia remains grateful to teach Worldanz at UC-Santa Cruz, sharing her passion for dance within the UCSC community.

Class(es) taught: Core-Yoga Fusion, Fit Barre,

Diana Chen

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Diana discovered Pilates while searching for ways to reduce stress. She found that Pilates not only encouraged strength from the inside out but also helped center the mind and body. As an instructor, she is thrilled to share her love for Pilates, and its unlimited possibilities, with the community at UCSC. Diana has a longstanding interest in exploring the mind-body connection. She has a BA in psychology from Cal and a masters in HCI from Carnegie Mellon. Diana completed her training as a comprehensive Pilates instructor at Innerstellar Pilates & Yoga and is also currently completing the Balanced Body Bridge at Agile Monkey.

Class(es) taught: Mat Pilates

Dreya Coleman

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Class(es) taught: Slow-Flow Yoga

Madison Daniels

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Madison is currently an undergraduate student at UCSC and she thrives on teaching yoga. She initially started practicing yoga in 2014 to help rehabilitate her knees, but fell in love with the lifestyle and has been practicing ever since. Madison became certified to teach Vinyasa Yoga in 2015 through "Core Power Yoga", and she is able to sequence her classes to suit all levels of skill. Madison is a strong advocate for health, balancing the mind and the body, and living in the moment, which she believes are all achieved by practicing yoga.

Class(es) taught: Vinyasa Yoga

Maris Degener

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Maris is a yoga student and teacher, as well as a UCSC psychology student. She came to the practice of yoga in high school after facing mental health challenges and has fallen in love with sharing the practice and passing on what has been taught to her. She teaches the Vinyasa Flow style of yoga, and her classes have been described as loving, passionate, and heartfelt. Her classes are intended to guide students back home to their inner power and to provide them with a mindful balance of movement and stillness. You can learn more about Maris at yogamaris.com.

Class(es) taught: Empowering Yoga, Sunrise Yoga

Kathy DeLaCruz

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Class(es) taught: Zumba®

Lyndel Fusello

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Class(es) taught: Circuit Xpress

Gina Garcia

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Born and raised in Guatemala, Gina traveled to the United States at the age of sixteen to pursue her interest in art and dance. She studied at Boston University, ultimately transferring to and receiving her degree in Fine Arts at the University of California—Santa Cruz. Gina developed Worldanz in 2008 as a way in which to combine her love of dance, her unyielding interest in global cultures, and her restless desire to exercise both aggressively and unapologetically. Having spent twenty-five years studying every dance form that came her way, Gina wanted to find a way to share the unique and intricate gifts that each form provides. Similarly, as a fitness enthusiast, Gina has remained extremely interested in helping people tap into the joy of high-intensity training. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of feeling strong, healthy, and embodied, Gina wants people to experience the mental and spiritual rewards that come with maximum athletic exertion within the ecstatic study of dance.

Class(es) taught: Worldanz

Julie Graff

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Exercise has always been a very important part of Julie's life. When she was young she participated in a variety of sports. While she still plays soccer, she has found a love for a multitude of fitness classes such as kickboxing and HIIT. She loves teaching and enjoys sharing her passion for exercising by encouraging, motivating, and helping people reach their own fitness goals while they participate in her classes. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching her daughter's soccer team and her son's baseball team. She mountain bikes and volunteers at her kids' school.

Class(es) taught: Barre AboveCardio Kickboxing, Fit Barre, Pop Pilates

Henry Heikkinen

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Class(es) taught: Iyengar Yoga

Jaelynn Horton

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Jaelynn is a Colorado native who's loved dancing her whole life. Her first format of dance was clogging, but later on, in college, she discovered the joys of dance fitness. When she discovered U-JAM, it was love at first sight. When she's not dancing, you can find her playing peekaboo with her 1-year-old daughter, playing the piano, and hanging out with her hubby.

Class(es) taught: U-Jam Fitness®, Zumba®

Sneha Jariwala

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Sneha is an undergraduate student affiliated with College Ten at UCSC studying MCD Biology. She is from the East Bay area and has lived in California all her life. She was a captain for her high school's Bollywood dance team for two years and has experience in Bollywood and Bhangra. She enjoys going to the beach and hiking at the various trails upper campus. She earned her Zumba certification in December of 2018 after participating in the group exercise classes for a year. She looks forward to encouraging her fellow college students to exercise and have fun.

Class(es) taught: Zumba®

Holly Johnson

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Fitness has been a lifelong commitment for Holly. She's been a group fitness trainer for over 20 years, consistently teaching weekly classes as well as taking continuing education classes. In addition to being an instructor, Holly is also a student in the world of fitness, health, and wellness. She's obtained fitness certifications in cardio strength, water aerobics, kickboxing, step, and cycle. Creating fun classes with a variety of challenging movements is Holly‘s goal. Modifications and safety are of utmost importance, as well as music that motivates movement. In her free time, Holly also enjoys hiking, cooking, embroidering, art, and watching her daughters play competitive volleyball and basketball.

Class(es) taught: Core Conditioning, Total Body HIIT

Kylie Lange

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Growing up in Los Angeles, Kylie spent the first 15 years of her life deeply immersed in various styles of dance. Her background in expression-through-movement and her interest in meditation led her to explore Vinyasa yoga. After beginning college at UCSC, she began a regular yoga practice to build mental, emotional, and physical strength and to join a community of supportive friends. Kylie obtained her RYT 200 certification in the fall of 2018 with the hopes of sharing her love for yoga and its profound impact on her life with other college students. Kylie’s classes invite students to explore their inner worlds and care for their bodies through linking movement and breath and empowering students to meet their edges.

Class(es) taught: Sunset Yoga,

Emilie Lenoir

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Emilie is a current student at UC Santa Cruz studying Environmental Science. She grew up as an avid dancer and while living in Montana took her first Oula class. From there she fell in love with the dance fitness format that incorporated a mind-body connection through physical movement. The classes gave Emilie an outlet and a community, which is why she eventually decided to start teaching it herself. She loves creating a space for others to let go and have fun dancing alongside her. Outside of Oula she’s busy admiring all that Santa Cruz has to offer, knowing sunny beaches and rainy days will never let her down.

Class(es) taught: Oula Dance, Oula Power

James Lewis

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James is a retired Navy service member and former Command Fitness Leader for Navy sailors. After retirement, he became a Certified Personal Trainer through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) while completing his bachelor's in Kinesiology from CSU Monterey Bay. He recently completed his Master's in Exercise Physiology at San Jose State University. James specializes in exercise routines designed to improve overall fitness and health, including strength, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory conditioning. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, playing sports, spending time with family and friends, and freelance writing. His latest book is entitled Exercises for Older Veterans with PTSD.

Class(es) taught: Total Body HIIT

Hannah Malone

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Class(es) taught: Cardio Dance, Total Body HIIT

Rosa Meigs

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Rosa has been practicing yoga since 2014 and completed their teaching certification in 2018 with Yoga to the People, a dedicated donation-based studio in San Francisco. They are additionally informed by their studies in meditation and mindfulness with communities such as the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland. Their evolving intention as an instructor is to make yoga as accessible as possible to people of all bodies and life experiences. They offer classes that seek a consistent balance between effort and ease. They want students to be able to show up in whatever mental, emotional, or physical state they are in and take the hour for themselves in whatever way they need. Whether you need a place to work out, stretch, breath, rest, meditate, worship, have fun, learn, and/or heal––there is something in yoga for just about everyone. Take what works for you, leave what doesn’t. Just remember to say thank you.

Class(es) taught: Power Yoga

Kirsten Olshan

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Class(es) taught: Sunset Yoga

Francesca Pavlovici

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Francesca recently moved to California from New York. She is currently a graduate student pursuing her PhD in Chemical Biology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics. Her passion for dancing bloomed from her childhood experiences as a modern dancer. As an undergraduate student, Francesca joined Hofstra’s competitive ballroom team. After two amazing years of competing, she had to take a break due to sustained injuries. But her dancing career didn’t end then; once she recovered, she re-entered the world of dancing through Zumba and immediately fell in love as it combines the gracious moves of Latin dancing, the wonderful sounds of Latin music, and intense cardiovascular exercises. Francesca’s goal as a Zumba instructor is to have fun while still breaking a sweat. In her free time, Francesca loves to travel and to discover all the unique cultures of the world.

Class(es) taught: Zumba®

John Perez

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Class(es) taught: Zumba®

Billy Prusinowski

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Billy is a Cardio Kickboxing instructor out of New York. His UCSC FitLife classes are a high-intensity kickboxing workout, utilizing gloves and bags and set to fast-paced music. His kicking, punching, jumping, and squatting combinations are designed to increase your metabolic rate while toning and strengthening your muscles. Influenced by his extensive experience with Kenpo Karate and Ukrainian Dance, participants will find elements of both throughout their workouts. He instructs both of these, along with cardio kickboxing, in studios across the Bay Area. Billy makes a concerted effort to create a SAFE SPACE for all bodies, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes to come to try a workout where any and all moves can be modified for people of all abilities.

Class(es) taught: Cardio Kickboxing

Audrey Rees

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Audrey is a yoga instructor certified through Reach Yoga of her hometown of San Diego. She is a third year majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She has been practicing yoga since she was sixteen and decided to become RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certified in 2019 because she was inspired by the fitlife yoga instructors at UCSC. She is honored to teach classes and offer a place for students to feel at home in college, as she felt when she first came to UCSC. Besides yoga, Audrey is a dedicated animal rights activist who enjoys the beach, her friends, travel and time away from her phone.

Class(es) taught: Sunset Yoga

Shane Sanchez

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Shane Sanchez attended UCLA and the University of Montana, where he received his undergraduate degree in Literature. It was at the University of Montana where Shane first began his study of dance, training in Modern and Jazz Dance while teaching Freshman Seminar. Shane continued his dance training in Jazz and Ballet while a graduate student at UC-Santa Cruz, where he received his master’s degree in Literature. Shane has taught aerobics and core conditioning since 2003 and has been training with Worldanz since February of 2008. Shane remains actively grateful to Worldanz for the community of elegant dancers it reliably crafts here in Santa Cruz.

Class(es) taught: Worldanz

Gavin Smith

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Class(es) taught: Vinyasa Yoga

Rachel Van Dessel

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Class(es) taught: Flow Yoga

Gillian Vickers

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Gillian has been a mover for life, but her consistent yoga practice began at UCSC over a decade ago, training Warrior Yoga under Sensei Kevin Snorf. Gillian is thrilled to complete the circle and return to UCSC to share a movement practice that continues to bring her joy, challenge & strength. Join Gillian to learn the classic sun salutes and how to drop beneath the physical and discover deeper layers of the self.  Gillian also loves to share her other great passion, dance. Join her in Zumba to get great cardio workout shaking it to the rhythms of Columbia, Cuba and more!

Class(es) taught: Cardio Dance, Vinyasa Yoga

Abigail Walsh

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Abby is currently a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Developmental Psychology at UCSC studying gender in children’s media. Abby completed her 200-RYT training in Ashtanga Yoga and her 500-RYT in Anusara yoga. As an academic, Abby always found it all too easy to get caught exiting in an ongoing pattern of stress. Yoga offered Abby an opportunity to just breathe (simple, right). Through her practice, she was able to quiet the mind, relieve tension and stress, and challenge herself mentally and physically. Abby is interested in therapeutic yoga, beginner and intermediate yoga, and overall body alignment that offers a holistic mind-body connection. In addition to teaching adult classes, an eternal kid, Abby teaches children’s yoga, and teen yoga, as well. Abby has found a great balance between her scientific academic side and her introspective spiritual side. She hopes to help others find a similar balance in their own lives.

Class(es) taught: Yoga

Breana Watkins

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Breana received her 200-hour teacher training in 2015, specializing in Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Looking for new ways to self-heal and find healthy outlets of emotion, she naturally gravitated to asana, pranayama, and meditation. These tools help incorporate a flow that is holistic in mind, body, and spirit. After receiving her 25- hour Restorative TT, she focuses on breath, equanimity, and comfortable yet vigorous postures for all body types. Her passion for self-care drives her sequencing, as she modifies each flow to her students' needs.

Class(es) taught: Power Yoga

Xiomara Wimmer

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Class(es) taught: Total Body HIIT

LaTecia Yarbrough

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LaTecia is from Southern California and recently graduated from Mississippi State University with a Master of Higher Education Leadership Student Affairs. She moved to Santa Cruz for her current full-time at UCSC as a Coordinator of Residential Education at Rachel Carson College. She is somewhat new to the Zumba fitness family, having begun teaching classes in January of 2019. She enjoys meeting new people and building new relationships, and hopes to one day train and teach up-and-coming new professionals. She loves the beach ("it's my happy place"), hiking, movies ("large popcorn with extra butter"), food ("especially when something is really good it makes me want to do a happy dance"), dancing, music, and spending time with friends and family.

Class(es) taught: Zumba®