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Meet the gals who brought Pilates to the Finger Lakes way back in 2001, and continue to innovate ahead of the curve.

Tori Ponder-Brown, LMT, NCPT, NKT3
Co-owner / Program Director

In 1994, Tori Ponder-Brown was introduced to Pilates while on a break from performing in the 20th Anniversary International Tour of “A Chorus Line”. Tori began training to become a Pilates instructor in 1996 and holds multiple Pilates certifications, including Pilates Method Alliance (PMA-CPT) and STOTT PILATES®. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and a Neurosomatic Therapist with certifications for Fascial Stretch Therapy - Level 2 (FST), NeuroKinetic Therapy - Level 3 (NKT), Yamuna Body Rolling® (YBR), RockTape Kinesiotaping, Personal Training (CPT) through AFAA, and RockTape Functional Movement Therapy as well as memberships with IDEA and Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). 

Tori has worked with NHL players from the New Jersey Devils and consulted with the head coach of professional AFL football teams in San Diego, CA, Wichita, KS, Davenport, IL, and Fairbanks, AK. Locally, she has worked with the Cornell Women's Swim Team, the Ithaca Swim Club, and professional dancers from the New England Ballet Company and has instructed classes at Ithaca College.

Other performance credits include starring as Paula McFadden in the West Coast Premiere of "The Good-bye Girl," a featured role in "The Will Roger's Follies," Don Arden's "Jubilee" in Las Vegas, and a year-long contract as a Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader.

Chimene Montivero-Cole
Chimene Montivero-Cole, MSPT, NCPT, NKT3
Co-owner / Education Director


After reaching her goal of competing internationally as a member of the USA National Karate Team in her late teens, Chimêne Montivero-Cole graduated with a masters degree in Science in Physical Therapy, and a minor in Nutrition Promotion from Ithaca College in 1999. In addition to holding multiple professional Pilates certifications, including Pilates Method Alliance and STOTT PILATES®, she has been a licensed Physical Therapist working in outpatient orthopedics since 1999 and prides herself in actively pursuing continuing education and developing as a movement specialist.

Her experience includes rehabilitation of a wide variety of spinal and sacroiliac disorders, movement impairments sydromes due to muscle imbalances, and pre and post surgery rehabilitation.  She has studied the M.E.L.T method and various self mobilization techniques and incorporates them into her Pilates practice as needed.  She is FMS Rock Tape certified, which can be used to increase circulation, and enhance performance and efficency of movement. Chimene is also a Level 3- Certified NeuroKinetic Therapy Practitioner.  NKT is a system for assessing and optimizing neuromuscular communication to improve motor control and reprogram dysunfctional movement patterns.

Montivero-Cole and Brown opened the region's first Pilates studio, The PILATES Room , in 2001. They created and trademarked AQUALATES® - Pilates Inspired Aquatics in 2006. 

Sylvie Yntema, NCPT, LMT, CPT, NKT3
Member Services Concierge


Sylvie has always loved movement as a form of expression and also as a path to achieve healing. This led her to begin her exploration of Pilates. In 2014 she completed her 1000 hr training with Pilates Associates Teacher Training Institute and became a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT). She is also a licensed massage therapist (LMT), and a NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). In addition, she holds certification as a Level 3 Neurokinetic Therapy practitioner (NKT).

As our Member Concierge, Sylvie is your dedicated support resource at the studio! She is available to help you navigate all aspects of your membership experience. Whether you need detailed explanations about our classes, private sessions, or membership options, our she has got you covered. She is also available to assist you with our studio management system, making it easy to book classes and manage your schedule. Have billing questions or need technical support? Sylvie is your go-to person for prompt and helpful answers. Our goal is to ensure your experience is smooth, enjoyable, and tailored to your needs. Don't hesitate to reach out and let Sylvie make your experience at Velliðan as seamless and delightful as possible!

Jennifer Makowsky, AS, PTA, NCPT
Staff Manager 

Jen Makowsky became a fully certified Pilates trainer in 2004. Trained in the classic Pilates method in Los Angeles, she returned home to Ithaca in 2013 and began working at The Pilates Room in 2014 where she has been inspired to explore a more contemporary approach to the practice.

Jen is a Physical Therapist Assistant and has been the Master Trainer for Pilates Associates Teacher Training Institute since 2017. In 2016 Jen became a RockTape Certified Functional Movement Therapist and the following year became a certified Level 3 NKT practitioner. Upon completion of these two programs, Jen felt the need to return to school to earn her PTA-AAS degree from SUNY Broome, in addition to her existing BA degree from SUNY New Patlz. She enjoys incorporating all of her training into Pilates sessions to enable clients to move more freely and easily while getting stronger.

As Staff Manager, Jen is here to ensure that your experience at Velliðan is nothing short of exceptional. If you have constructive criticism, praise, or suggestions regarding your interactions with our staff, feedback about an instructor's teaching performance, or thoughts on our class schedule, Jen is the person to talk to. She takes all input seriously and will make sure your voice is heard. Your satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities, and Jen is committed to creating a positive and welcoming environment for all our members. 

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