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Meet Your Neighbor: Kate Knepper Offers Fitness and French at Féminine Pilates

Meet Your Neighbor: Kate Knepper Offers Fitness and French at Féminine Pilates

Written by Shayda Windle 

When Kate Knepper, a Pilates instructor and French tutor, was given the chance to rent the space above Atelier Design & Decor on 15 East Washington Street, it was an offer she could not refuse. In September, Knepper opened Féminine Pilates. 

Knepper, just 21 years old, says she could not have done it without a little help and guidance from her parents. Her journey to become a Pilates instructor began after spending time at Carriage House Pilates & Wellness in Winchester, where she trained and completed her 450-hour certification. It was there that she realized she wanted to take her practice further. After becoming an instructor, she knew she wanted to have her own studio, so when the space above Atelier Design & Decor opened, she jumped at the chance to rent it out. 

The studio has been such a hit in Middleburg that she already has a waitlist for some classes. “People will drop in and comment on the ‘cute little fox’ they saw on the door,” Knepper says. “Some stop in who have never tried Pilates before, and I always offer a free trial to clients because I believe you should be able to try something before paying for it.”

Féminine Pilates is different from traditional Pilates in that reformer machines are used during the workout. The studio can hold up to four reformer machines — so four students may be in one class at a time. Given the demand for reformer Pilates, Knepper hopes to grow her studio space so she may offer more to the community in the future. The reformer machines look like bed frames with cords used for stretching and strength building. But Knepper assures, it’s not as scary as it looks or sounds. Many people prefer reformer Pilates to traditional Pilates because it is a low-impact, full-body workout that allows you to work your joints and muscles through a complete range of motion. 

Ultimately, this workout can result in toned muscles, a strengthened core, and better posture. The reformer also decreases the likelihood of injury because of the focus on posture, form, and fixing muscle imbalances. Knepper uses the bar at the end of the machine to teach barre classes, too. 

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to keep the instruction engaging, either. “I try to vary the classes to keep them exciting, which is key,” Knepper shares. “Each day, I go in to teach and think: What will happen today?”

Beyond her Pilates offerings, Knepper also offers introductory and intermediate French tutoring for students of all ages. As an honors French student from Catholic University who is currently completing her undergraduate degree through an online program at Indiana University, she is passionate about teaching the language to others who love it just as much as she does. She has been surprised and impressed at the response to this aspect of her business — specifically among children who have come in with an interest in learning the language. 

Before opening her business, most of Knepper’s French students included teens and college-aged individuals. She would sometimes jump on a Zoom call with a student and speak in French for an hour to get a conversation going. Now, she finds herself playing board games in French, reading bilingual books to children, and walking around her studio labeling items like “gingerbread house,” “Santa,” and “Christmas tree” with their French translations to help children build their vocabulary. 

Ever the entrepreneur, she continues to find ways to keep the creativity flowing for all her students — whether it is mastering French or practicing Pilates. 
In January, Knepper will be taking her studio to the next level and offering something new for her clients — a 30-minute mat Pilates class — you guessed it, taught in French. There is truly something for everyone at Féminine Pilates, and Knepper is a welcome addition to the community. A variety of courses for every level of student can be found on the studio website at, with descriptions, dates, times, and availability. ML

Published in the January 2024 issue of Middleburg Life.

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