Meet the Big Toe Studio Staff

Don Spence

Pilates Teacher and Studio Program Director

Don has been involved in athletic development since the age of 14.  He began by using exercise to lose weight, which sparked his career in athletic performance and competition. A personal quest developed into a lifelong passion of athletic and fitness excellence. This life experience allowed a passion to turn into teaching and assisting others in their quest to be leaner and healthier while providing a better understanding of lifestyle choices that affect overall health and personal fitness. This knowledge of how personal body image and the positive effects from athletic performance has allowed Don to follow through on his own personal quest of helping others to achieve their individual high level of knowledge regarding sensible fitness exercise decisions. This led to the creation of Body Quest Advantage and Big Toe Studio in 2004.

Don successfully completed the Polestar Education training to be a Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Pilates Mat work in 2001 and is a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher.  He is the founder and Director of the Pilates Career Institute Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training School, which is a Colorado Private Occupational Teaching School under the Department of Education.  He is also a Personal Trainer, and an American Massage Therapy Association Certified Massage Therapist.  He has spent more than three decades bringing people back from injuries to their fully functioning….and often better selves. Don appreciates the effect that Pilates has had in his life, and attributes his continued competitive performance and athleticism to his regular practice of Pilates.

After completing a successful career as a Professional Bicycle Racer, he started a new career in rehabilitation as a Neuromuscular Therapist with Orthopedic Center of the Rockies in Fort Collins, Colorado. He went on to become the Rehabilitative Fitness Coordinator for Health South Outpatient Rehab Centers in Northern Colorado.  With his interest in rehabilitative exercise, Don then became a Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Pilates Mat work in 2001. Don opened his first Pilates studio in December of 2004, and then opened his current location in the beautiful Palmer Flowers Retail Center in 2009. In 2014 Don launched Big Toe Studio Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training School, which changed its name to Pilates Career Institute, the school compliments the Pilates studio while training student teachers to be experts in utilizing Rehab based Pilates to reach all levels of potential for clients, students and teachers.

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.     Joseph Pilates

Samantha Levine

Certified Pilates Teacher

Samantha Levine completed the 450 hours program with the Pilates Career Institute and is a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher.

Samantha has a background in education as a Montessori school teacher and has been practicing Pilates for ten years. After a Pilates Mat Workshop, Samantha decided that a career as a Pilates Teacher would give her opportunities to share the benefits of practicing Pilates as a Teacher of Pilates.

Inga Balinski

Certified Pilates Teacher

Inga decided to pursue her interest in Pilates by becoming a Certified Pilates Teacher. The experience of doing previous Pilates sessions convinced her that finally there was a perfect balance of strength and flexibility after years of training in ballet and gymnastics. Inga’s academic career in linguistics and having an amazing family put running and tennis as her primary source of exercise.

After researching options for Pilates teacher training, Inga decided that the emphasis  Pilates Career Institute placed on using Pilates exercise to assist in helping clients safely prepare for pre and post orthopedic issues was a perfect match for her to help clients achieve their absolute best healthy outcomes.

The dedication to learning the Pilates Method and acquiring excellent academic knowledge and experience was rewarded by completing the Pilates Career Institute student training program and achieving her National Certified Pilates Teacher award issued by the National Pilates Certification Program.

Tessa Higgins

Massage Therapist

Tessa chose to pursue a career in massage therapy after seeing close friends and family struggle with PTSD and war-related injuries. Since graduating from USCI and getting her NCBTMB certification in 2010, she has worked as a traveling massage therapist and enjoyed taking continuing education classes to better serve the people she works with. Tessa’s goal is to see her clients live healthy, pain-free lives, and is excited to continue exploring the endless opportunities of natural healing methods.