Andie spent her childhood in sunny Orange County, CA, playing outdoorsy games, writing “novels” and painting and drawing whenever and wherever she could. It was at the ripe old age of 10 that Andie stepped foot in her first ballet class, and only so because her mother bribed her with some Barbie or another. From class one, however, she was quite literally in love. Thus, passion, talent and discipline formed a union that would take Andie from Southern California, to New York City in the span of six years, and then from student to professional in one more. They say it takes eight years to train a dancer…Andie shaved one off and made it happen in seven.
Her retirement came equally as quickly, due to a career ending surgery to remedy a lifelong struggle with scoliosis, a hereditary and incurable affliction of the spine. Post-surgery, her vertebrae would be forever fused, from upper thoracic to lower lumbar. However, because fitness and health had been a dominant part of her life for a solid 12 years, Andie healed and got back to full strength, if not anywhere near full flexibility, in no time.
No longer a performer, ballet remained an integral part of Andie’s life as she began to teach what she knew so well. First children and teens, then adults, and Andie found her passion shift into a desire to help women transform their bodies through dance and other forms of fitness such as Pilates, and personal training. The discipline of a ballerina never dies, and soon Andie was certified as a personal fitness trainer, as well as a Pilates instructor, and a full time employee of the Tracy Anderson Method in Studio City, in addition, she remained a part-time Master Ballet Teacher.
In the spring of 2008, Andie branched off to train solo, integrating all forms of workout that have kept her fit and strong since she was 10 years old. Namely: Ballet, Pilates, and even bits and pieces of traditional fitness training. Anything that keeps a person strong, lean, and injury-free is fair game in Andie’s fitness realm. No dogma need apply.
Ballet Bodies is her creation, and today it is the place where her passion, talent and discipline lie.
...always seeking a type of perfection akin to that of the ideal ballet dancer.
Kate Highstrete grew up in Huntington Beach, CA where she began studying ballet at the age of 3 at Huntington Academy of Dance. Her summers were spent away at summer programs at Marin Dance Theatre, the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, LINES Ballet, and Washington Ballet. For her junior and senior year of high school she attended North Carolina School of the Arts where she received the Melissa Hayden Endowed Scholarship and the Nutcracker Scholarship.
After high school Kate came back to Southern California to train under Alicia Head, Diane Lauridsen, and Charles Maple at South Bay Ballet. She also began to seriously study Pilates and Gyrotonics under Alicia Head at Long Beach Dance Conditioning.
In the summer of 2009 Kate completed her Pilates training in Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced equipment and mat work from Long Beach Dance Conditioning under Marie-Jose Blom and Alicia Head. As well as teaching at Ballet Bodies, Kate also teaches ballet and Pilates mat classes for dancers. At present, you can see Kate perform in and around Los Angeles as a member of Los Angeles Ballet.
Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
Sarah was born and raised in Nashville, TN, where she trained and competed throughout her childhood, in ballet, jazz, modern and hip-hop. At 18 years old, she was chosen to spend the summer as a scholarship student at LA’s famous The Edge Performing Arts Center. She was one of only 10 young dancers in the country to receive this prestigious opportunity that year. The summer session opened the door to numerous performing opportunities, and soon LA became Sarah’s permanent home: the perfect place to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer. Since then, she has worked with such amazing choreographers as Michael Rooney, Tracy Phillips, Nancy O’Meara, and many more. As well, Sarah has performed with the LA Opera, Latin pop music sensation, Chayanne, and as a guest dancer on the Ellen DeGeneres Show; as well, her dancing can be seen in commercials, music videos and industrials.
After years of performing professionally, Sarah began to add teaching dance to her repertoire. Three years ago, Sarah briefly relocated to Oregon, where she ventured further into the fitness realm with an intense focus on the practice of Mat Pilates. Under the tutelage of Shelly Stephenson and through Bodies in Balance, Sarah became a certified Pilates instructor, and began to impart her physical knowledge to dancers and non-dancers alike, in and around the city of Portland.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, in the summer of 2010, Sarah became one of Ballet Bodies well-rounded, physically astute young talents. Sarah is an enthusiastic and inspiring trainer, and one Ballet Bodies is proud to call part of the team.
Movement is the key to life... and repetition is the secret.
Originally from Ithaca, NY, Amy studied dance (Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop) for 12 years during which she competed all over the country. In addition, she played many sports and was a member of the cheerleading squad - which awoke the inner aerobic leader in her. Amy majored in drama at NYU during which she studied more Ballet, Tango, Tap, Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates. While in NY, Amy also spent two years training at Jivamukti Yoga Center in NYC, which is a vigorous and intellectually stimulating type of yoga.
Since moving to LA in 2005, Amy has broadened her study to include high impact step aerobics, cardio, and kick boxing at Gold's Gym, in addition to Pilates Circuit training with Leigh Kelly and private sessions with certified Pilates Instructor Mindy Whitehead. This multitude of training has culminated in Amy developing her own method. By blending these myriad techniques, Amy has created a program of intense cardio with Yoga and Pilates aimed at forming a long, lean, and strong body. Over the past year, Amy has developed a dedicated clientele that has been seeing miraculous results. Thanks to Andie Hecker, Amy is now thrilled to be part of the Ballet Bodies Team.
Push yourself to the point where you want to quit more than continue..and then keep going
Romi grew up on the beautiful Monterey Bay peninsula. She began dancing at the age of three, studying initially with the Carmel Ballet Academy and advancing to a full scholarship with the Peninsula Ballet Center (PBC). Under the direction of Milou and Kira Ivanovsky (formerly with Col. de Basil’s Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo), she trained with emphasis on a Vaganava/Cecchetti fused technique. In addition to training with PBC for over ten years, Romi was a featured dancer with their local ballet company, Ballet Fantasque.
Throughout the years, Romi was accepted into various summer dance programs. A highlight of Romi’s training was the summer of 1998, when she trained with her lifelong idol, Maria Tallchief, in Taos, New Mexico. However, during a summer ballet intensive in 2000 with the Boston Ballet, Romi was diagnosed with a potential stress fracture in her lower sacral area – this explained the back and hip pain she had been experiencing since the age of seven. So began Romi’s quest for correct body dynamics and strengthening.
Romi achieved her Pilates certification in 2005 through the Pilates Center of Austin, CoreConnections© Pilates Teacher Training Program. With the West Coast in her heart, Romi returned to California and has since been teaching Pilates in the greater Los Angeles area. Along with a busy instruction schedule, Romi periodically seeks to broaden her knowledge base and to stay abreast of the latest training methods by attending various teacher education workshops, including the Pilates Method Alliance national conferences in New Orleans and Palm Springs.
Outside of dancing and Pilates, Romi’s passions include hiking and rock-climbing as well as currently pursuing her A-License in solo skydiving.
In January 2011, Romi proudly became a new member of the Ballet Bodies team. With her strict and upbeat teaching style, Romi has a unique ability to understand her clients’ limitations; she knows how to safely expand their limits, opening their bodies toward more flexibility, strength, and endurance.
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
Nancy, who is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, fell madly in love with jazz, ballet, lyrical, and contemporary dance forms at an early age. The competitive dance world brought her to Los Angeles, and after spending some time in the city- she knew there was no going back.
Before moving to Los Angeles, Nancy was one of a several hundred to audition for the LA Laker Girls, and one of the elite 20 to make the team. She continued on for three seasons, while simultaneously getting her BFA in Dance from Loyola Marymount University. Nancy’s lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer gave her the opportunity to travel to places like the Philippines and Hong Kong as an international ambassador, as well as dance at the Chinese Music Awards. Nancy performed with Beyoncé at the NBA All-Star Games. She also traveled on two national tours as a backup dancer. She can be seen in several commercials, feature films and television shows such as Conan, The Ellen Show, and The Mindy Project.
Nancy found Pilates through the dance program in college, and it was then that she became captivated with its grace, concentration, flow and precision. When teaching dance was simply not enough, she became certified in barre fitness. Shortly thereafter, Nancy received her Pilates certification from BASI Pilates in Los Angeles. After experiencing a Ballet Bodies private session, Nancy knew there was nothing else quite like it: specialized, gratifying, energizing, and remarkably intense in all the right ways!
Nancy finds great joy in teaching and motivating her clients toward a healthier and happier lifestyle. She strives to transform and challenge the body, regardless of the level or ability of the client.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.