Our Instructors

Larry Gibas, Director
Romana's Pilates certified since 1996
As an instructor and teacher trainer, Larry has been a driving force in the Pilates community in New Orleans.  In 1996, he began his studies in New York with the renowned master teacher Romana Kryzanowska.  In 2001, he opened his own studio, Uncle Joe's Pilates, a full-service Pilates studio that reflects the traditional teachings of his world-famous mentor.  Larry is a committed instructor who is dedicated to getting clients to realize their potential for a 
lean, strong physique.  A certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer, he also danced with the New Orleans Ballet Ensemble.
Juan Williams, Co-Director
Romana's Pilates cerfitied since 2003
Pilates was introduced into Juan's workout routine as an aid for tight hamstrings; a result of hobbies like volleyball and spinning. It was not long before he could feel the benefits of the system.  The Pilates method deals with precision, alignment, and movement; all aspects that Juan learned to value during the completion of his Master of Architecture I at Tulane University. "From the drafting board to the Pilates equipment; I guess I'm still looking for the beauty of lines." For Juan, it was not enough to just personally practice the method. He felt a need to aid others in achieving their own goals with the Pilates system. For his certification, Juan moved to NYC for an independent study under Romana Kryzanowska and her daughter Sari. "With such a change of career, I needed to guarantee my education to be the best one possible."  Since that time, he has earned teacher trainer status and a partnership in the Studio. With these two accomplishments he has been able to assist his partner Larry with the day to day studio operations, as well as training future instructors. For him, it is an honor to have these tools to aid preserve the quality of product and client satisfaction that Uncle Joe’s Studio stands for.
Carla Hood Arriola, Founding Instructor
Romana's Pilates certified since 2001

Carla’s interest in fitness began with her first mile run around the campus of her college—Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  “My studies would sometimes cause a great deal of anxiety.  Running was a way to relax and help to keep things in perspective.”  After graduating in 1991, Carla returned to New Orleans to begin seeking employment, but the fast and often cutthroat business world was no longer appealing.  It was at this time that her interest in health and fitness peaked.  She began running various 5K races and taught fitness classes in the city.

After a knee injury, however, Carla received a dismal prognosis from her doctor.  The early stages of osteoarthritis were detected in both knees and her aerobics and running activities would have to end.  This led Carla to her first Pilates lesson.  “Doing Joseph’s original method has tremendously helped my knees—they are definitely stronger. My body is stronger.”

As her training advanced, Carla decided to enter the Romana’s Pilates™ Instructor Training Program.  “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.  The demanding program challenges you not only physically, but it is also a test of mental endurance.  I’m a stronger person because I have met all of the challenges within the program and I’m very proud of that.”

Carla has been a teacher at Uncle Joes’s Pilates studio since 2001.  “I am so fortunate to have a career I absolutely LOVE!!!!  I welcome the daily challenge of motivating my clients with pilates.  They realize that stronger, healthier bodies can be achieved while having fun!”
Nicole Siegel, Senior Instructor
Romana's Pilates certified since 2005
Nicole began taking Pilates as a client of Larry Gibas in January of 2000.  Pilates, for Nicole, was the perfect way to relieve stress in her everyday, busy schedule of running a fast-pace business.  “Pilates, at the time, was my meditation tool.  That hour was for me.  I was able to forget about my personal distractions and focus on my mind and body connection.”  Nicole eventually decided to pursue Pilates as a career.  “I saw the difference physically, but more so mentally in myself. I had grown so much in my outlook on life.  Pilates had helped me so much positively, I knew I wanted to share this experience with others.”

Nicole moved to New York City to pursue her Pilates certification under Romana’s Pilates.  She studied at Drago’s gym under Romana Kryzanowska, her daughter, Sari Mejia Santo, and Romana’s granddaughter, Daria Pace.  She received her certificate in September 2005.

Nicole stayed in New York for several months afterwards working at Drago’s and Fiore Pilates in Mamaroneck, New York.  She then decided to travel with her certification.  She worked with a Level III instructor in Miami at Pro-Pilates.  Lastly, she moved to Canada to work with National Hockey Players and Olympic Figure Ice Skaters.  “Every traveling experience has been extremely educational.”

Nicole decided to move back to New Orleans to teach alongside her mentor, Larry.  “Larry has been such an inspiration to me. Coming back to New Orleans to teach alongside him and all the other excellent instructors here at Uncle Joe’s has been a great joy. You never stop learning at Uncle Joe’s.”

Aimee Pizana, Instructor
Romana's Pilates certified since 2017
Having been athletic throughout her life, Aimee was completely drawn in by the unique challenge presented by practicing Pilates.  It became clear to her that Pilates is not merely an exercise class, but a discipline offering vast benefits.  Upon this realization, Aimee was inspired to learn everything she could about Pilates.  With the wealth of knowledge available to her thanks to all of the instructors at Uncle Joe's, Aimee was able to successfully complete her certification as a Romana's Pilates instructor this year. 

Uncle Joe's Pilates Studio  8211 Hampson Street  New Orleans LA 70118  504.895.5008