Meet the Team

Holly Swanson PMA-CPT®, Owner

Holly comes from a long background of movement and has always been active in athletics. Starting at the age of two, Holly was an accomplished gymnast and ballet dancer for most of her early life. Beginning in college, she was introduced to Pilates after attending a session with her mother during a visit home.


Shortly after her return to Chicago, she completed her Pilates certifications in both Stott Pilates and the PhysicalMind Institute, including a concentration in breast cancer rehabilitation through the Pink Ribbon Program.


In 2015, Holly's love of teaching led her to open the Core Chicago Instructor Training Center with Holly as the lead Instructor Trainer. Holly is certified through the Pilates Method Alliance as a PMA-CPT®.

Jenny Cleary - Senior Staff

Jenny discovered her passion for Pilates at a young age. She quickly saw the benefits it had to offer when it eliminated her chronic neck pain that was caused by an automobile accident and exacerbated by poor daily habits.


Classically trained and certified by her mentor, Romana Kryzanowska, Jenny's practice has evolved over the past 20 years to embody the importance of the classical principles with the advances in exercise science utilizing contemporary teaching models. She feels this is the best way to experience the integrity of Pilates while progressively tackling the evolution of modern daily life.  


Jenny recently sold her Pilates Studio in Lake Bluff after 12 years, to focus her time on teaching and the pursuit of deepening her practice with additional Pilates and teacher training certifications. She is passionate about helping clients discover their inner strength and potential when they learn to work mindfully. She believes that it is the "little things" one focuses on daily that have the most significant impact on our lives and maintaining a healthy balance.  

Petra Weith

Petra Weith, a native of Kansas City, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her love of Pilates, begun as a cross-training and restorative practice, became a true passion, leading her to gain her classical Mat certification in 2014 through Movement Insights, a program directed by Collette Stewart. After relocating to Chicago, she continued to teach Pilates while working in Arts Administration. 


Petra completed her Comprehensive Training under the direction of Holly Swanson here at Core Chicago Pilates, and is so excited to be part of this fantastic team. She firmly believes that Pilates factors into creating healthier, happier humans, and that its principles incorporating holistic movement, cognitive body awareness and restoration positively effect the physical and mental well-being of its students.  

Samantha Dauer

Samantha graduated Magna Cum Laude with her BFA degree in Modern Dance, from Point Park University. Her professor at Point Park introduced Pilates to her and she's loved the practice ever since. The cross training is exactly what her body needs in order to stay healthy and perform well during long rehearsal days.


When she returned to Chicago she met Holly Swanson and became comprehensively certified in Pilates through "The LAB". She applies all of her pilates knowledge to her dancing, as these two movement passions intertwine so well. Her favorite pilates exercises are, more often than not, any exercise that is upside down … mainly trapeze or chair! The challenge of being inverted is exciting and humbling, and she enjoys pushing herself to overcome fears and obstacles.


She is ecstatic to be teaching at Core, and share her love and knowledge of movement with her clients. Samantha is also a professional company dancer with South Chicago Dance Theatre for their 2019-2020 season. For more information about Samantha visit her website at

April Torneby

April Torneby is a dancer, choreographer, and fitness instructor who loves sharing her passion for movement with others. April received her BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle WA and then relocated to Chicago in 2012 where she has spent the last seven years teaching dance and boutique fitness. Her experience includes working with all ages in large groups to one on one sessions in dance

, barre, cycling, TRX, HITT training, and group reformer classes.  


April loves how Pilates not only strengthens your body but it teaches you how to move efficiently. April believes that by using the Pilates method to better understand or bodies we can avoid injury, build strength safely, and translate these smart movement habits into our everyday lives to feel and perform our best.


When not at the Pilates studio April is choreographing and teaching at Kaleidoscope Dance in Skokie IL as the Assistant Artistic Director of their youth dance company. 


April is excited to join the Core Chicago Pilates community!

Liza Wolin

Liza Wolin has been an avid mover from a young age. Growing up as a dancer, as well as experience in gymnastics, the arts were always important. Setting aside dance for college, Liza didn’t get back into movement until a few years ago where she fell in love with aerial silks and fitness. She began teaching that shortly after and was eventually introduced to Pilates through friends. It wasn’t long until Liza made that her sole focus and practice. This past year she completed her comprehensive training with The Lab under the direction of Holly Swanson and Jacquelyn Brennan. Liza is thrilled to be apart of such a dynamic team at Core and continue her Pilates journey!

Ashley Ziemba

Ashley is a native Chicagoan. Hailing from Streeterville, she grew up playing competitive Tennis.  It was in High School that her mother introduced Ashley to Pilates and she immediately saw the benefits, both in tennis and in life.


Upon graduating from the University of Colorado, Ashley carved out a successful career in the Digital Media Industry. Between business travel, sales pitches, hours behind a desk and client entertaining, she always turned to Pilates to keep herself grounded and sane.  


Two children later, Ashley decided to leave the corporate world behind and follow her dreams and passion commit to Pilates full time.  Under the Mentorship of Holly Swanson and Jacquelyn Brennan, Ashley completed her 500 Hour Comprehensive Teacher Program (The Lab Teacher Training). Ashley hopes to empower both men and women to discover and learn the long term benefits of Pilates movement, the same way she did. 


When not in the studio, Ashley is busy chasing her two young boys (3.5 and 2) around, loves to cook and is still trying to convince her husband to come to class :)

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