Robin Truxel, owner

Owner and Certified PHI Pilates instructor Robin Truxel holds a BS in Clinical Science and an MS in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Robin has considerable professional experience working with a range of individuals from professional athletes to prenatal and post-partum women to mature clients with osteoporosis.

Robin's journey with Pilates began as a way to rehabilitate a back and hip injury while training for road marathons. She continued to study the movement for the streamlined effect it had on her body. Robin has successfully completed 13 marathons (including Boston, New York and Death Valley) and improved her scoliosis with help from Pilates and Stretch Therapy  techniques.  She is passionate about helping pregnant women and new mamas as well as those with complicated injuries.

Desiree Cafaro, studio manager

Desiree Cafaro holds a BS in Psychology from Appalachian State University and is a certified Pilates instructor through The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and PHI Pilates. In addition to her Pilates teaching, she has extensive experience working as a physical therapy aide. Desiree enjoys working with individuals of all abilities and helping them to achieve their fitness goals and is especially passionate about working with people who have back pain. She also currently works with golfers, runners and equestrians and helps them improve at their sport.

Desiree is also a Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and she supports clients as they make changes in their diet to feel their best and live healthier. For more information visit

Ellie Tor

Ellie Tor has been teaching Pilates for over 10 years. She first earned a BA in English Literature from Montana State University and then spent a year completing her mat and apparatus Pilates certification through the PhysicalMind Institute in Portland, Oregon in 2004.  After finishing her certification, Ellie owned and operated her own studio, Tor Pilates, until she moved back to her birthplace, Charlottesville, in 2009.

Ellie loves to combine her experience in dance, TRX and Stretch Therapy to create new choreography and to keep her classes interesting.  She works with clients of all ages and abilities and hopes to foster a fun approach to movement.  

Romina de los Santos


Romina de los Santos has been teaching Pilates for over 14 years. She earned her full certification in apparatus and mat Pilates from Marie José Blom in Long Beach, California in 2000. Romina has taught Pilates in classical as well as contemporary styles at studios in California, Oregon and Massachusetts.

In addition to her Pilates training, Romina is a certified instructor of GYROTONIC® exercise. Romina holds a BFA in Dance from Cal State Long Beach, and in 2007 she was awarded an Enrichment Fellowship for MFA studies in Dance from The Ohio State University.

Julia Bruneau

Julia Bruneau holds a BA in Biology from University of Virginia and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She first discovered Pilates at tru Pilates in 2006, drawn to the comprehensive way it toned and energized the whole body. As a natural extension of her interest in body mechanics, movement and posture, she began her Pilates certification in 2008 under PHI Pilates.

She enjoys helping clients of all backgrounds discover the benefits of a balanced, healthy lifestyle that Pilates creates.  When she is not teaching Pilates or working as a physical therapist, Julia spends time with her family doing DIY projects in her home. 

Lizzie Coleman

Lizzie Coleman holds a BA in Art History and French from Lake Forest College in Illinois and is a Certified Pilates Instructor through Balanced Body University. Lizzie is the mother of three children. She volunteers as a land coach for the Western Albemarle High School crew team. She is a lifelong horse, down-hill skiing and tennis enthusiast. Her active lifestyle has always been complemented by various forms of organized exercise.

Lizzie discovered Pilates in her early 40s and was completely won over by its rejuvenating effects. She is eager to share with her clients the incredible postural strength and energy found in a consistent Pilates practice.


Lolly Young

Lolly Young attended Texas Christian University as a ballet major and graduated with a degree in French, Spanish and education. She furthered her schooling with degrees in educational administration, always keeping her love of dance in the forefront. She has studied modern dance, belly dancing and Zumba. She has a wide range of education in the fitness industry, including certifications in group exercise, BOSU, mat Pilates and Spinning. She brings a wealth of experience to tru Pilates as she has been teaching fitness for more than 35 years.

Lolly's full-time job is as an administrative liaison for the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program for Chesterfield Public Schools. She is grateful to be able to combine her two loves of language and exercise/dance during her career .

Eiley Patterson


Eiley Patterson has 12 years of combined teaching experience in Pilates and yoga. She completed a 500 hour Yoga Source teacher training in addition to earning her Pilates certification through PHI Pilates in 2008. Eiley also has a BA in English from Kenyon College, and an MEd from the University of Vermont. Her passion for education led her to also complete Childlight Yoga and Mindfulness Training for Children.

Eiley enjoys working with all clients and incorporates her yoga background into her Pilates teaching, creating a great balance. She is currently enjoying country life, fixing up an old farmhouse with her husband and two kids.



Erin O'Hare, studio assistant

Erin first came to tru nearly two years ago, when she dared herself to try Pilates because, well, it terrified her. Once a dedicated hot yogi, she’d always thought that Pilates was for the super-fit, six-pack abs crew only. But after two years of consistent practice, she’s learned the truth: Pilates is for everyone. 

Erin grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, but lacks the accent. She came to Charlottesville seven years ago for graduate school in English literature at UVA and stuck around after finishing her degree. She reports and writes about local music, art, theater, comedy, food and drink, and mind/body for C-VILLE Weekly’s Living and Arts sections.

Kiersten Shue

As a gymnast and dancer, Kiersten loved the art form in movement.  She earned her BS degree in Psychology from Skidmore College and her BA degree in Nursing from UVA. She began her Pilates training in a rehabilitative facility in Virginia and then earned certification with STOTT Pilates in Boston and later PHI Pilates.  

She practices gymnastics regularly with the UVA team "kids" and also enjoys peaceful interludes reading novels and biographies snuggled up with Roxy, the family French Bulldog.