Our Staff

Karen Riccio (Owner)


With the opening of Pilates Physique, Karen adds a second studio to her ownership of another thriving Long Island studio. She has been involved in fitness her whole life. Karen became quite serious about it when she studied karate, achieving the highest level brown belt when she was six months pregnant with her first child. She discovered Pilates after the birth of her second child and found it to be ideal because of its emphasis on core strengthening and realignment. Karen continued practicing Pilates until the day her third child was born and resumed her practice within six weeks following the birth. She finds it to be one of the most efficient methods of exercise because it simultaneously encompasses strength, balance, flexibility and coordination.

With the support of her family, Karen pursued the professional study of Pilates at The Pilates Academy International in Manhattan. She is certified in Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Tower and Cardiolates. She has been a student of Pilates since 2002 and an owner/instructor since 2007. In addition, she has a special interest and is continuing training in Pilates for Athletes. To date, she has trained a current member of the NHL, Olympic Track and Field athletes, the #1 16-year-old tennis player in the USA, a pre-teen from the NYC Ballet, and two 9 year old aspiring NFL players!

Maryellen Greco

Maryellen’s love of movement and dance began at a very young age. She enjoyed a long and successful career as a dancer on Broadway, including such credits as David Merrick’s original production of 42nd Street, Anything Goes, starring Patty LuPone, and Crazy for You, choreographed by Susan Stroman. She is also very proud to be a second generation Rockette (her mother was a Rockette from 1947-1953). Maryellen was introduced to Pilates while treating several dance related injuries. She was immediately hooked. She began studying the Stott method and is certified with Pilates Academy International (PAI). Her training goes on to include her most recent certifications in Beyond Barre and Revolution in Motion, founded by Dr. Edythe Heus. She continues to use her knowledge of movement and dance to enhance her skills as an instructor.

Aileen Surkes

Aileen has been a certified Pilates instructor through Stott/Pilates on Fifth since 2008.  Aileen began her career as a client and was fascinated by the difference it made in her shape and strength of her inner core when she connected her mind and body.  After taking classes at studios in the New York area for several years, she decided to pursue the logistics of anatomy by movement.  After years of training, she was able to take her knowledge of the core and inner strength and begin teaching Pilates.  Aileen has worked at South Shore Pilates in Long Beach and various Pilates studios in the New York area.  She continues to further her education in Pilates, by consistently attending many traditional and classical Pilates workshops, including ECA in Miami and the Javitz Center.

Aileen graduated from The University of Miami with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.  She then studied Martial Arts and became a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do.  Aileen pursued a career in Marketing and Merchandise Management.  She also was the founder and Life Member as well as the first President of the Kineret group of Hadassah.  Aileen resides in Atlantic Beach with her two beautiful teenage boys.

Theresa Pappalardo

Theresa’s career as a Pilates instructor began eleven years ago, at South Shore Pilates, Long Beach, NY.  It was there that she was trained in the Stott Pilates method.  Prior to Pilates, she had many years of physical training experience however, once introduced to Pilates, she believed it was the ultimate exercise for fitness and health.  That belief and conviction lead her to becoming an instructor.

In addition to Stott training, she has participated in many workshops, including one with Amy Alpers of the Pilates Center of Boulder , CO. , and the Workshop of Anatomy and Movement (in conjunction with Mt. Sinai Hospital).  Most recently she completed the BASI Training Course for the purpose of being affiliated with a national certification program.

On a more personal note, she and her husband, Leo, live in Atlantic Beach with their three children and have been there for 25 years.  She holds a BS degree in Business from Stockton State College in Pomona, NJ and worked in the world of stocks and bonds until married.  Fifteen years later, her passion for Pilates began and she has been teaching since.

Stacey Willensky

In her early twenties, Stacey, started exercising after work with her twin sister to relieve stress, stay in shape, and keep a sense of humor.  After moving to Long Island and the birth of her 1st child, she began working out at Sleek & Chic in Oceanside. The owner suggested she would make a great instructor and so began her new career.

Stacey was first certified as a fitness instructor in 1989 and taught at Sleek & Chic. In 1991, she became certified in aerobics.  Her classes quickly began to grow in popularity due to her fun approach to fitness.  “Working out should never feel like a chore.  Whatever class I teach, I bring a little fun to the class to make it more enjoyable,” says Stacey. In 2000, she certified as a Pilates Mat Specialist with Physical Mind in NYC. She taught at Hollywood in Lawrence, Anti-aging in Hewlett, and for New York Sports Clubs.  Stacey joined Body Reformers Pilates Studio in East Rockaway and called it “home” for more than 10 years.

Stacey loves working in a small studio setting.  “It gives me the space to assist each client on the personal level that they deserve.  I believe fitness is a part of a maintenance program for a long healthy life,” she says.

Katie Rouse

Katie fell in love with Pilates when she took her first private in 2012 to complement her weight training at the gym and has been hooked ever since. Katie had never felt such a deep connection to her inner core muscles. She discovered how to use her mind and body simultaneously while exercising. Her dance background and interest in all things fitness made her enthusiastic about taking her Pilates experience to the next level and becoming certified. Katie is currently training to complete her certification in Pilates with Equinox Fitness Clubs. When her certification is finished, she will be trained to teach Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Tower, Chair, Barrel and Spine Corrector. Pilates has helped Katie with her hip imbalances and neck tension.

Katie graduated from Hofstra University with a BBA in Accounting and is going back for her Masters in Healthcare Administration in the Spring of 2015. As a new instructor, she hopes to share her passion for Pilates with her clients while helping them to lengthen and strengthen their bodies.

Simone Brochard

A dancer from an early age to her mid-twenties, Simone began to study Pilates in order to rehabilitate her back from a career-ending injury. Although Simone managed a successful business and earned her Masters Degree in Psychology, without dance, she felt unfulfilled. Finding Pilates – and specifically Pilates Absession – was a life changing event. Not only is she now physically stronger than ever, with a deeper understanding of the body, she is once again part of a dedicated and supportive fitness community. Through Pilates, Simone has rediscovered the joy of movement she experienced while dancing. Simone considers Pilates to be more than a style of exercise; it is a very effective mental and physical discipline which can be both therapeutic and fun!

Jim Schuerger

Jim’s interest in fitness and health was sparked during his high school years while playing basketball and baseball at Kellenberg Memorial High school for 4 years.  He suffered a severe shoulder injury in his senior year, playing baseball, which prevented him from continuing his athletic career in college but his passion for sports never subsided.  Jim became acutely aware of all the training necessary to compete in sports at a high level from pre-season to post-season while competing in high school.  He developed a passion for fitness training, not only for athletes, but for all types of people in need.  Jim went on to study Exercise Science and graduated with a B.S. from SUNY Cortland.  Rehabilitation and Special Populations became an interest and priority in expanding his overall knowledge about the human body.  He worked in all areas of various physical therapy offices learning recovery strategies, injury timetables, progress tests, preventative exercises, diagnostic logic and personal skills involved with people in pain and discomfort.  He also worked as an Assistant Coach for an adapted swim team of children and young adults ages 8-23 with Aspergers, Autism, ADHD and blindness.  Jim currently works for the Sport Performance Group training elementary, middle and high school and college elite athletes and is a personal trainer at Sportset Health and Fitness Club. Overall, Jim’s experience in health, fitness, athletics, rehabilitation, nutrition and special populations has given him the necessary skills to coach all people in obtaining their desired goals.