Heather Andersen

WHO: Heather Andersen, Dancer, Dirt Biker, Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire. 
WHY SHE’S FOXY: She’s a classically trained ballerina from Oklahoma City, former Mormon punk and one of eight siblings who moved to New York City at the age of nineteen to take the ballet world by storm — but then found her calling hanging upside down in heavy metal t-shirts, teaching foxy ladies to find strength and serenity by practicing pilates.


ON HER MAIN SQUEEZE: “Brion and I met while performing at Bowery Ballroom. I was helping out my friends Das Racist by dancing on stage and he was drumming with Gordon Voidwell. I thought he was really cute and decided I was going to make out with him. I knew right away this boy was going to be my boyfriend. We had our first date one week later. I was so nervous when he asked me where I wanted to go to dinner I just said, "I need a drink." We've been together ever since. There are LOTS of boys that seem like they are worth dating in New York: fake rock stars and actors with “promising” painting careers. These will not make good boyfriends but will make great stories to tell your friends. Basically there are like five boys in all of New York City worth dating, so you have to snag them up without scaring them. Like catching a kitten or a butterfly. You kind of have to trick them into it.”


ON DANCING: “As a kid I was always covered in mud, climbing trees and riding my second-hand dirt bike around town. I grew up in suburban Oklahoma. We’d build forts and make fires and get into all sorts of trouble. I discovered ballet when I was really young. Someone gave me a VHS tape of  The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker and I would watch it over and over again. I was always giving performances. I was obsessed. I convinced my mom to homeschool me, and my whole life became ballet. I had this whole other reality that no one knew about. It was a really intense, competitive way to grow up. Like, if you miss one class, some other girl is going to get your part. But having control over your body — doing multiple pirouettes and jumping through the air — it’s like being a bird. It’s like being another creature. That feeling of freedom is amazing.”  


ON DISCOVERING PILATES: “I started taking pilates when I moved to New York at nineteen to improve my dancing. I was really injured. I began learning about my joints and anatomy and the functional use of my body. Learning to love my body and feeling strong was really healing, especially coming from such an aggressive background. Then I started noticing people’s bodies differently in ballet. I got hooked on pilates. But I couldn’t find the studio I wanted to practice in. I wanted to be able to curate the teachers and the teaching styles and the environment. The vision was to create this positive, beautiful space — modern, mellow and healing that also provided a kickass workout. It took three years for me to make it a reality, but I finally opened New York Pilates last year.”



ON PILATES AND WEDDINGS: “Pilates is great for a bride-to-be because it’s a total mind/body experience where she can Zen out and get strong. Pilates is actually very meditative - you have to focus deeply on your individual body parts. Feeling where different muscles are and how to use them, being very specific. You learn about how to keep your body healthy and pain free while gaining strength. Plus, you can use your pilates training in  while you walk down the aisle by keeping your shoulders low and wide - and using your lats and abdominals to throw the bouquet to the back of the room (to a reluctant receiver). Kidding! But seriously, taking on a regular practice during a very stressful time is the best way to get grounded, instead of spiraling into stress. You get to focus on yourself and calm down.  If you are a person who is prone to back pain, pilates will ease your discomfort. Brides think that just 'cuz they’re getting married they have to crash diet and workout like crazy and sculpt this weird body that doesn’t even belong to them.  With pilates you get the best version of your body, minus the insanity and pain. It gives you space to find peace within yourself. It leaves you feeling in control.“ 


ON BEAUTY: “Okay, I'm a weird hippie. I've been washing and moisturizing my face with aloe vera gel and jojoba oil forever.  When you slather it on its kinda like the grandma trick of using petroleum jelly but it's aloe. I've also been brushing my teeth with aloe too. The only weird chemical product I'll ever use is the Clairol Purple Shimmer and Lights shampoo, because nothing else makes my hair look so awesome."


ON STYLE: “I used be a punk when I was sixteen. I had a shaved head. In high school my style icon was Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club. Now I would describe my look as a minimalist unicorn or maybe the Khaleesi from Game of Thrones dressed in Helmut Lang”. 



ON HER FANTASY WEDDING: “Frieda Khalo and Diego Rivera’s. I would take Brion (my life and biz partner) for my date and make him wear a canary yellow suit with red shoes. I would wear a silk smock covered in rainbow flowers and brush up my eyebrows."


FAVE LOVE SONG: “I've always found the Bach ‘Cello Suites’ to be deeply romantic (especially the Yo Yo Ma version). Right now I'm also obsessed with Reptar's ‘Three Shining Suns’”.  


FAVE LOVE MOVIE: “Balanchine and Maria Tallchief —  It’s the love story of a muse and a master.” 


FAVE LOVE MOVIE: “Dirty Dancing (no one puts baby in a corner!), and Romeo + Juliet."