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Kelly Otis, PT

Kelly is a licensed physical therapist and a certified PMA and Polestar Pilates instructor. She has been practicing physical therapy since 1990. As a young competitor in swimming, crew and cycling, Kelly was introduced into the world of physical therapy as a patient after several knee surgeries of her own. In 1990, she received her degree from the Northwestern University Physical Therapy program. From 1992 until 1999, she founded and directed an outpatient clinic, Solutions Physical Therapy, in Fremont California. There, she worked closely with professional and college athletes, as well as respected doctors of orthopedics, neurology, internal medicine, osteopathy and chiropractic. In 1998 she relocated to Santa Cruz County and has since been working in the field of Pilates as a Polestar certified practitioner specializing in rehabilitation and movement reeducation. Kelly’s educational background in physical therapy includes courses in Maitland and McKenzie Spinal dysfunctions and derangements, Sacroiliac Dysfunctions, Craniosacral treatments and recently has worked more closely with various approaches to rehabilitation using Pilates methodiologies. Her background is strong in manual therapy and includes working with pre/post surgical rehabilitation and dysfunctions of all musculoskeletal areas. As a physical therapist, Kelly’s goal is to provide quality treatment, education and personal motivation with all her clients. Teaching Movement and postural exercises with a comprehensive core and joint stabilization program, Kelly is dedicated to enable her clients to understand and work with injuries using Pilates methodology on traditional Pilates equipment and the mat. Helping others gain better control of movement in a functional and pain-free way to stay physically fit, Kelly focuses on a holistic and self-empowered approach to rehabilitation and fitness.

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Denise Louise, DPT

Denise is a licensed Physical Therapist who has trained in Pilates through Body Arts and Science International (BASI). Denise attended Cal State Long Beach, graduating in 2009 with her BS in Kinesiology, Exercise Science and with a minor in Business entrepreneurship. She then attended grad school at Long Island University, Brooklyn and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2012.
She started working in orthopedic outpatient clinics during her first two years as a Physical Therapist. In those settings she developed experience working with a wide range of patient populations of all ages including pediatric and geriatrics, patients with acute injuries, chronic pain, workers comp, pre/post surgeries, neck and spinal pain/dysfunction, movement disorders, and athletes/return to sport. She enjoyed taking continuing education courses that helped improve manual skills and other modalities to facilitate optimal function and efficiency of movement for patients. Denise was introduced to the Pilates Method while in Physical Therapy school.
She saw the endless benefits of the Pilates approach to fitness and how it could be beautifully blended with Physical Therapy to fully enhance a patient/client’s overall function and quality of life. She appreciates the holistic approach of Pilates, which focuses on connecting the mind and body and encompasses the whole person, mentally, physically and emotionally. As she practices Pilates, she notices positive changes in movement and increased body awareness within herself unmatched by any other exercise program.  Starting June 2014, Denise took an amazing opportunity to complete an internationally renowned post-graduate residency program to fulfill her desire for consistent improvement and growth as a Physical Therapist. She completed the certification in PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) at Kaiser Foundation Rehab Center in Vallejo during 2015. There, her specialization was working with patients in the adult neurological rehab setting, including those recovering from stroke, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other neurological disorders like MS, GBS, ALS, among many others. She recently relocated to the beautiful Santa Cruz area and is excited to put her focus back into the outpatient setting at Core Connections, utilizing the equipment and principles of Pilates to guide patients toward optimal function and fitness.


Denise provides a unique and effective approach to rehab with her knowledge and experience as a Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor, her advanced training in both orthopedic and neurological settings, expertise in movement analysis, manual skills, verbal instruction and exercise prescription.

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Christy Wilson

Christy began her Pilates journey in 2006, after being diagnosed with bilateral hip Avascular Necrosis. Trained in classical Pilates for four years, she went on to complete training and certification in Body Arts Science International mat and all apparatus 2010-2012. Additionally, in 2012 she also completed BASI’s continuing education certificate course Pathologies & Injuries . After having had both hips replaced in 2013, she completed BASI’s Pilates Low Back Pain Extension/Flexion Based certificates, as well as, Rotator Cuff & Shoulder Impingement, both in 2014. In 2016, she was certified as a Personal Trainer through American Sports & Fitness, as well as, TRX suspension training utilizing Pilates as the foundation for both. She continues her desire to implement Pilates in every day life and believes that Pilates is medicine for the body and soul.

dsc_0067Shari Scruton, ACE, BASI Certified

I discovered the joy of movement as a child gymnast and continued to embrace it during my teenage years through competitive sports. After being introduced to Pilates in the early 1990s, I was intrigued by the graceful yet challenging nature of the Pilates discipline. My personal practice has since further evolved into a more mindful integration of different modalities with functional movement. My goal with each client is to create an intuitive and focused workout which addresses an individual’s specific needs. I aspire not only to train my clients but also to educate them to incorporate Pilates principles throughout their daily routines. Additionally, I enthusiastically train athletic teams with a focus on core strength, speed, agility, and injury prevention. As a former collegiate athlete and mother of three very athletic children, I understand the importance of match fitness and the frustration of down time due to injury. In my leisure time, I enjoy cooking, dinner parties with family and friends, reading psychological thrillers, and girls’-night-outs! BASI Certified Pilates Instructor NASM Certified Personal Trainer ACE Certified Personal Trainer TRX Suspension Training, Group Suspension Training, and Functional Training Courses Completed Functional Movement Systems (FMS) Level 1 Course Completed Shaw Academy Sports Nutrition Certitied U.S. Soccer Federation D License.

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Lisa Malfa

Lisa Malfa is a Balanced Body Certified Pilates Instructor and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist. After graduating in Psychology from Boston College in 1993, she decided to explore movement and the body in Brazil. There she immersed herself in Brazilian dance and the graceful movements of Capoeira Angola. Lisa was introduced to Pilates by one of her dance teachers and quickly felt it was a nice compliment to her movement practices. Fascinated by the mind/body connection, she decided to further her studies in Bioenergetics, a form of psychotherapy that uses the language of the body to heal the mind. In 2005, she completed her certification and worked in a private office until she returned to the states in 2013. She enjoys practicing yoga, dancing and singing in her free time.

dsc_0263Peter Schierling, ACE, CPT

Peter Schierling, CPT, EMT, BS Kinesiology, Emphasis in Movement Science. Peter has held his American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer since 2004. He is currently building towards a career in Physical Therapy and has earned many certifications along the way, including specialized training using the TRX. Exercise has been in his life since he was 12 years old, working out with the YMCA’s Youth Strength Training Program and as a competitive athlete in school sports from junior high through college. Early in his athletics career Peter encountered significant sports injuries to his back and shoulder. Eager to get back to peak performance, Peter studied the body and learned how to come back from injury. His personal experience and professional knowledge help him connect and educate people in moving better and staying healthier.

831-440-8304