certified instructor + teacher trainer
April Tillman was born and raised in Hood River, OR. April grew up with the understanding that a healthy lifestyle begins with physical movement. After a car accident left her with an injured back, April discovered Pilates and found that this practice not only enhanced her recovery, but also embodied her lifestyle. In 1997, she became a certified instructor through Romana Kryzanowska, protégé of Joseph Pilates, and began her career working for Mari Winsor at Winsor Pilates. April has continued her pursuit of Pilates and has had the opportunity to teach Pilates in Santa Monica, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, and Sun Valley. She then moved back to Oregon and opened Urban Pilates. April has dedicated herself to Pilates and continues to participate in continuing education programs with Dorothee VandeWalle at Metropolitan Pilates in Seattle, WA. April continued her studies, becoming a Teacher Trainer and helping certify instructors through the M.A.T. Pilates teacher training certification. Recently, April has moved back to Hood River to open Summit Studio, but she can still be found from time to time teaching apprentices and other longtime clients during her visits back to Portland. During her off time, April enjoys spending time with her daughter, Simone and husband, Jonathan. She takes her high energy and enthusiasm into everyday life. April strives to bring this same energy, educated body awareness, and love of physical movement to each of her clients.
"My favorite exercises are leg springs and anything mat. You have to be honest when doing these exercises, they get your attention instantly and offer a little bit of everything…. STRENGTH, STRETCH, CONTROL."
Owner and Manager of Urban pilates
My journey to Pilates has been long and winding but I am so glad to have found this amazing, transformative practice.
I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho where I had a mostly inactive childhood. Playing in the school orchestra and singing in Jazz choir were my passions. Vocal Jazz studies were what brought me to Oregon in 1995 when, after I graduated high school, I attended Mt. Hood Community College’s vocal jazz program. After attending for 2 years I moved from Gresham into Portland and lived and worked all over the city doing a variety of waitress gigs, barista gigs and office work. I met and married my partner Tom and decided in 2004 to finish my bachelor’s degree at PSU, majoring in Spanish. The last year of pursuing this degree I became pregnant with my first child Henry who was born the Tuesday of finals week in June of 2008. School was then put off and in the mean time we added Charlie to our family in April of 2011. In the fall of 2012 I started school again, this time minoring in Spanish and majoring in Liberal Arts and Letters (AKA: the patchwork quilt of bachelors degrees) I proudly graduated in the spring of 2013.
It was in the fall of 2012 when I started school again that I first began practicing Pilates here at Urban. I was 35 years old but I felt like a 60 year old. My inactive childhood, years of working waitress gigs and the births of my two giant babies had taken it’s toll on my body. I wanted my body back. I wanted to move freely through the world as I felt I never had. I wanted to do a pull up. For real.
Now in 2019, with 7 years of Pilates under my belt, 2 of which were spent intensely learning the method, I feel more like my age. I am capable and more clearheaded. My life is more balanced. I’m still working on that pull up goal, but I’ve got a feeling it’s right around the corner.
In August of 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to purchase Urban Pilates and it has been a dream come true. I have missed working in customer service and now I get to do it in a business I truly believe in AND I get to practice Pilates every day. I love being a client at my own studio! We have the most amazing teachers!
“My current favorite exercises are Pull Straps and T-Straps on the Reformer. I have trouble connecting my shoulders down into my back and finding that connection through these exercises is super rewarding particularly when you feel your chest start to open up and your strength incrementally building up every time you practice. This connection as well as overall strengthening of my back is necessary if I want to reach my pull up goal.”
A native of Ashland, Oregon, Renata grew up with an innate love of movement and fitness. She discovered yoga in 1995 and became certified with D’ana Baptiste in 2007. After teaching yoga and dance all over Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina, and Utah, she discovered the M.A.T Pilates Teacher Certification program. After over 800 hours of intensive training under Brooke Tyler of Clasique Pilates, April Tillman of Urban Pilates, and Master Teacher Dorothee VandeWalle, she received her certification. Offering over ten years of teaching experience, workouts with Renata are dynamic, challenging, and fun for every body!
"My favorite exercise is Swan with the Push Through Bar. This exercise develops length and flexibility throughout the spine while it opens the chest; promoting good posture! Also, while enjoying this wonderful stretch, you're toning the seat, strengthening your inner thighs, and activating your core. So good!"
Catherine was born and raised in Los Angeles where she spent many years running competitive track. Her distances became longer and longer until she was running marathons and ultra marathons. Looking for balance she turned to yoga and was a dedicated practitioner for over a decade, studying Bikram, Ashtanga, and vinyasa flow, before giving Pilates a try. Completely humbled after her first session with April Tillman, Catherine became increasingly fascinated with Pilates, realizing the impact it has on overall strength and fitness and how it can benefit bodies of all types. She enrolled in the M.A.T. Pilates certification program under Master Teacher, Dorothee VandeWalle. Catherine brings her passion for Pilates to every session and challenges her clients with workouts that are energizing and fun.
"My favorite exercise is the Tower, but I don't consider it an exercise, I think of it as a special treat. I love how resisting the Push Through Bar articulates my spine, and the stretch I get for my stiff lower back is like heaven on earth."
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Deanna was first introduced to Pilates over 19 years ago through her classical ballet training at Pasadena Dance Theatre. Her drive to perform and share her love of movement took her to New York to train with Alvin Ailey, San Francisco with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and Florida with Miami City Ballet. She has since performed with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Continuum Contemporary Ballet, and in a plethora of commercials and music videos. Pilates has since been the driving force behind her healthy career as a professional dancer. She received her classical Pilates certification through a 470 hour comprehensive program with Pilates Technique Inc. This, combined with her knowledge from a career in dance, has further developed her teaching methods in both Pilates and dance studios. Deanna strives to help each client improve their mind body awareness through flexibility, stretch, and movement play. She is thrilled to be a part of the Urban Pilates family and is excited to share her love of movement with each client.
Shannon became a certified Pilates teacher back in 2010 after training under the Stott Pilates program in Oxford, England. After years of organized sports ranging from gymnastics to skiing to tennis to running, she realized that she needed something different that trained the body from the inside out. We are organisms, not mechanisms, so we should train our bodies as a whole. In Pilates she found a new world of movement, mindful movement, that afforded a balance between strength and flexibility. Most recently, Shannon completed an intensive 800 hour advanced classical Pilates training at The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado in 2016.
It’s all in the details she believes. So she will teach you the details.
Shannon works with clients of all levels to achieve their individual goals and develop their full movement potential.
Bio coming soon.