About us

Studio Philosophy

Starting your training at the studio you embark on a journey with your teacher, discovering your needs, and setting your goals. You will become aware of how your movement patterns affect every day life activities. Together with you, a personalised and challenging program is created with the aim to achieve your individual goals. Our staff is very experienced and will offer helpful feedback throughout your sessions. The Pilates method offers a very large amount of exercises, which all have an unlimited number of variations. We encourage you to practice at home and design a small program for you to help to integrate the new movement awareness into daily life.

At Leilas’s Pilates we offer a private studio situation. In your class only you and the Pilates teacher are present in the space. We share our front door with the Fysio Diamond Factory, which allows for close collaboration with their physical therapists as well as their extensive network of health practitioners.

Each staff member at Leila’s Pilates brings their own personal and unique skillsets gained across their individual career and they’ve each been educated through the Polestar Comprehensive Education (www.polestarpilates.com).

About Leila

My personal Pilates career has spanned more than 30 years, which has allowed me to specialize in this field in depth. My interest in Pilates comes from my constant curiosity about movement of the human body and the unique way that harmony in the body can be improved with the Pilates Method.

I have a holistic approach to my work, which has its origin in the many years of education and development in combination with my intuitive nature. The special thing about this work is that everyone is so different, and I continue to find it fascinating to find the right attunement for every person I work with.

Over the past twenty years I have taught many professional dancers, among others at the Nederlands Dans Theater (www.ndt.nl), the Dutch National Ballet (www.operaballet.nl) and the students of the National Ballet Academy. I have also been guiding top athletes in injury recovery and performance improvement for almost ten years.

Since 2010 I represent Polestar Pilates (www.polestarpilates.com) in the Netherlands and as one of their senior teachers I am responsible for training future Pilates teachers.

In collaboration with the Physiotherapy practice ‘Fysio Diamond Factory’ I teach clients with a wide range of complaints and injuries. It remains special for me to be part of the recovery process in people, to see complaints decrease, and thereby contribute to the overall well-being of my customers.

Every year I attend classes and courses. Some of the teachers I’ve been inspired by: Clarice Marshall, Brent Anderson, Elizabeth Larkam, Marie José Blom, Karen Clippenger, Liz Bussey, Deborah Kolwey, Jane Paris, Madeline Black and Jelena Petrovic.

I have also given several major presentations at IADMS, an international organization promoting the science of dancers’ health.

In addition to my long career as a Pilates and floor barre teacher, I am also a certified Vaganova Ballet teacher.

A team of experienced teachers works at this studio, who have all successfully completed the Polestar Pilates Comprehensive training, and who have each built up their own expertise through their years of experience.

The Team

Ellen Meijer

My name is Ellen Meijer. I am an experienced Pilates and Yoga teacher and training mentor for the Polestar Pilates course in the Netherlands. 

My teaching practice is diverse: I work with dancers and athletes, but also with people who are healing from an injury due to illness. From pelvic instability from pelvic problems, lower back, breast cancer, neck and shoulder complaints to burnout complaints. In addition, healthy aging has my attention.


Leila Kester

My personal Pilates career has spanned more than 30 years, which has allowed me to specialize in this field in depth.

My interest in Pilates stems from my constant curiosity about movement of the human body and the unique way that harmony in the body can be improved with the Pilates Method.


Daan Visser

Daan started his first classes with Leila Kester in pilates in 2007 and spontaneously became enthusiastic about how much influence pilates has on the awareness of our body and mind.

In addition, he was quickly surprised that the recovery process from injuries went so much faster and how the entire body could be brought into balance. He also found it very interesting how much power this method gives and how much influence it has on our height and flexibility in our daily activities.

This tasted like more and motivated him to start his Pilates training at Polestar Pilates in 2019.

What mainly motivates Daan is to give the customer a different perspective on how we can deal with the body and its influence in the long term. In addition, he teaches you to discover how Pilates can make you feel that you can feel much lighter and rested after just one session than before you started the session.


Violeta Gago

Violeta is a Pilates trainer and movement artist. She started doing Pilates in 2009 to recover from a dance injury. After feeling how effective the Pilates method was, she decided to pursue Pilates as her professional career.

She started practicing and teaching Pilates in her native city, Madrid. She also taught physical theatre and bellydance, and performed professionally for 8 years. Then, she moved to Amsterdam in 2016 and started teaching here and then followed the studio training under Leila´s guidance.

Violeta is a trainer full of energy and loves to be in contact with other people. She believes that Pilates is specially powerful because of its precision and body-mind connection. She likes attention to detail but she aims to make her classes fun and easy going.

Violeta is Polestar Pilates Comprehensive Studio Teacher ® and Jumping Fitness Trainer ®. She has a Master of Performing Arts and a Bachelor and Master Degree in Architecture.


Michele Jimenez

Michele is a certified Pilates Comprehensive teacher, and is specialised in working with dancers. 

She was a former principal dancer with The Dutch National Ballet and The Washington Ballet. Michele was born in America and raised in the Dominican Republic, where she began her dance training. Over the span of a 20-year dance career,  she tackled a wide range of repertoire and worked with some of the most important choreographers in the world. Jimenez lives in Amstelveen and works as a Pilates teacher,  guest ballet master and repetiteur. She is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and a Progressing Ballet Technique instructor. 


Karen Gallegos

Pilates focusses on precision of movement. It allows my clients to get to know their bodies better, to improve their posture and to make them feel renewed after class.

I feel enthusiastic about teaching at Leila’s studio because most of my life I have danced ballet and would love to help dancers in their journey, with pilates. It is inspiring being surrounded by great teachers at the studio.


Arnaud Maquet

Arnaud is a former professional dancer and currently a physical therapist, Pilates teacher, and personal trainer.

Arnaud finds great pleasure in helping people move to the fullest of their possibilities. Guiding clients to learn more about their bodies and find pleasure in moving, brings him true satisfaction. He uses Pilates as a tool to help clients in the process of connecting the mind and body. Once this connection and awareness are established one can move better and feel better. From there, if you wish to, you will be able to be physically challenged safely during a session with Arnaud


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