I met Erica Pinigis when I when my daughters and I were taking dancing lessons at Kanopy Dance (Overture’s resident modern dance company). She is a wonderful teacher and an exuberant mover. Her deep intellect and her kind nature make it easy to be around her. After an extended time in the SF Bay Area, Erica and her partner have moved to Madison, and I am so lucky to have her coming to Jules Pilates to teach beginning equipment classes. Ongoing classes will begin this Friday, 5:30 pm. I posed a few questions so you can all begin to get to know her too.
Q: I know you’re a dancer and choreographer and you grew up in Madison. Can you tell us a little about your path with dance?
I started dancing at Kanopy when I was 13, so compared to other dancers I started quite late, but I quickly fell in love. I knew within a few years that it’s what I wanted to do with my life and I dedicated as much time to it as possible. I was fortunate to study dance at the University of Minnesota for undergrad and produced a lot of work there. When I was ready for a change I moved out to the SF Bay Area where one of my younger brothers was living. I danced like crazy for several years, got my MFA in Performance and Choreography at Mills College, and launched my own dance company Scratch Dance.
Q: How did you get involved with Pilates?
When I was finishing up my MFA at Mills I took a Pilates course. It was a unique credited course because it was the first qualifying teacher training course in the STOTT Pilates certification path. I really enjoyed it, so after I graduated I continued with the Reformer certification course at the San Francisco LTC. Holly, the studio owner (and Mills Proff) called me out of the blue one day and asked me if I’d be interested in working at the studio while I worked on my certification. Holly was an incredible boss and a huge inspiration for continuous learning and growth. I caught the Pilates bug from her.
Q: You were in the SF Bay Area for a long time, what drew you back to Madison?
Yeah! I was in the Alameda, and island off the coast of Oakland for almost 9 years and I loved it! The dancing was awesome, I loved my job, I had great friends and a makeshift family…. but the cost of living is outrageously high and continuing to make and perform dance was a never ending hustle. My parents ultimately lured me and my partner Nicholas back with the promise of affordable real estate. Being closer to my parents, my youngest brother, and my nephew feels more and more important to me, and I can see a future for myself now that might involve a growing family.
Q: You’re renovating a house! How do you feel about power tools?
<p”>We closed on a house on the near East side almost a year ago. It’s 1920’s bungalow that ended up being a total gut job. So far the new stuff includes a roof, windows, gutters, furnace, water heater, HVAC, all new plumbing, electrical, walls, insulation, etc. We’re done tearing down and ready to build back up. I crossing my fingers that we can move in around March.
I love feeling like I have had a hand in the creation of my home. I can imagine sitting in my finished house someday and being able to see through the walls as if I have xray vision – knowing that I pulled the nails, scraped the floor, and laid the tile. Power tools? Well, I know what my body is capable of and I like feeling that expand. But a lot of power tools still scare me – haha! With great power comes great responsibility you know :P I look forward to using the power sander to refinish the floors.
Q: What is your favorite way to unwind at the end of the day?
I like a glass of my partner Nicholas’ home brewed hard cider – or a really hot bath – or a hard cider AND a bath at the same time. I also like knitting and playing board games.
Q: Any words of advise for young athletes?
Try to take joy in the experience of the work and not the outcomes. Every moment has exquisite potential. There will always be something more to strive for, so the striving has to be its own reward.