The Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Studio

The studio is a small, intimate space and was designed to maximize as much of that space as possible. There are essentially three rooms: main studio space, private studio space, and the wash room. There are very few permanent structures in the studio: ballet barre, Ped-O-Pul, and TRX multi-mount structure that are all on the east wall. All of the other Pilates equipment can be moved out of the main room and stored in the back room (or private studio space) in order to have an open studio space for mat classes, barre, and Fletcher Floorwork.

  • Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Studio
  • Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Main Studio Space East Wall.
  • Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Studio
  • Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Private Training Space and glimpse of main studio space.
  • Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness Main Studio Space Cleared for Matwork

Meet our Team


Wes Waggener, PhD, CSCS

Wes Waggener has been teaching, coaching, and training people of all ages since 1997. He has earned degrees in physical education and a masters of science in biomechanics from Ball State University (Muncie, IN). Wes also earned a PhD in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. Wes has taught in higher education since 1997, serving on faculty at both alma maters in addition to Lansing Community College, Eastern Michigan University, and The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. While completing his PhD, Wes moved to Chicago to write his dissertation. In the process, he started personal training. Upon completion of his degree, he moved to Ann Arbor and began working in medical fitness as a fitness specialist and personal trainer. In that time, he was able to expand his clientele to include running a physician referred exercise program. Not only did this lead to a position at the corporate office of a wellness management company, but it led him back to Chicago to begin a comprehensive program of study in Pilates. Wes completed his Fletcher Pilates comprehensive program in 2011 and the Fletcher Pilates Advanced Intensive (Tucson, Arizona) in 2017. He has taught studio Pilates in a commercial gym and at a Chicago neighborhood studio before opening Bird Dog Pilates & Fitness with Suzi Butcher in 2016. As a former gymnast, Wes coached for 4 seasons as an assistant coach to the Ball State University women’s team and also coached youth gymnasts, volleyball players, and tennis players. In addition to teaching Pilates, Wes works in wellness and medical fitness management. In his spare time, Wes enjoys playing tennis, working out and spending time with friends.


Chelsea L. Smith, PMA-CPT

Chelsea has been a lover of movement since a very young age. She was first introduced to the Pilates method via her classical ballet and contemporary dance training, and it was during that time that she noticed the amazing benefits that Pilates could provide her both on an off the stage. From injury prevention, greater athletic performance, and helping her develop a stronger mind/body connection, she knew she would eventually want to share the method’s benefits with others.

Fast forward a few years, and Chelsea pursued her BFA in dance at Arizona State University. During college and shortly after, she studied Pilates via a classical training and later a contemporary training through Balanced Body. Since those early days, she has completed her comprehensive training on all apparatus and is a certified Pilates Teacher through the Pilates Method Alliance. In addition, to her love of movement, Chelsea also is certified through Keri Glassman’s Nutritious Life Program. She is a self-proclaimed wellness junkie, and she hopes to inspire others to feel their fittest inside and out.

When she’s not training in the studio, you can find her biking around Downtown Phoenix, checking out a new book, or walking her rescue dog, Frankie.


The Pilates Method

Most people that come into the studio are surprised to learn that Pilates is actually a surname. Joseph H. Pilates is the man that is credited with creating the movement program we call Pilates, a distinction that was made posthumously. Joseph Pilates called his work Contrology and described it as "complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit" that was critical for transforming the body physically and also transcending oneself to a higher level of well being or whole-body health. In 1929, Pilates opened his Universal Gymnasium (or studio) in New York City and really honed and established his brand, Contrology. An author of two books and innovative line of equipment, his ideas and apparati continue to flourish as a world-wide phenomena. His book, Return To Life Through Contrology, is still very relevant today.

The Pilates Movement Principles

  • Awareness
  • Balance
  • Breath
  • Centering
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Flowing Motion
  • Precision
  • Rhythm
  • Oppositional Energy
  • Endurance
  • Spirit

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness."

-Joseph H. Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology.