You may know me by my Instagram handles (@ballerina_fit or @balletfittheory), but my real name is Sophie Folts-Mercure. I’m a husky and cat mom x3, “Breaking Bad” fan, fitness junkie, former ballerina, ice cream addict and the creator of Ballet Fit Theory at Fit Atelier. Chances are if you’ve been following Fit Atelier on Instagram or been in the new store (hey, South End!), you’ve seen me either hanging up on the wall or pushing clients to pulse it lower (lol, sorry not sorry).
A native to Charlotte, I grew up dancing and doing musical theater. After a five-week program in NYC the summer before my senior year of high school, I was asked to stay on full scholarship at Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet’s year-round professional training program. The answer was an immediate ‘Yes’!
So, I came home to Charlotte for two weeks, packed up my room, said my goodbyes and flew back to New York (nervous, but so excited). Training and rehearsing by day, I finished my last year of high school online at night. Four-and-a-half years of hilarious roommates, strict Russian instructors that would make you cry but also make you stronger all in one day, eccentric (but brilliant!) artistic directors, four bruised toenails, an early high school graduation, one ACL replacement surgery, four months of rehab, my parents’ divorce, a strained hip flexor, a million jammed ankles, 100 physical therapist appointments and another ACL tear scare later… and I was feeling VERY burnt out physically and mentally. I made the tough choice to come home to Charlotte, in Spring 2015 and regroup.
As I was re-enrolling in college classes and trying to figure out my next move, I was offered a job as an instructor at Miller Street Dance Academy and Charlotte Ballet. Teaching dance is something that never occurred to me, but I am so grateful and happy it found me – almost five years ago this August. Fitness became my newest form of self-expression when I gave up performing. It not only kept me strong and healthy (preventing other knee issues), but movement was so ingrained in me from such a young age, it was the perfect – and needed – therapy.
Eventually, I found myself studying to get my Certified Personal Trainer title through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and it wasn’t long before I was teaching dance conditioning classes at Charlotte Ballet and training private clients. The endorphins moving and sweating give me feel like nothing else, and I love getting to share that for a living.
I first got involved with Fit Atelier by coming to West Kept Secret & SCLPT MTHD just over a year ago. And I’m so thankful for the community I found here. Not only is Fit A the place I met two of my closest friends, but it led me to creating Ballet Fit Theory. There is nothing better than walking in to teach BFT and seeing clients that have become regulars making friends with one another, twinning in their latest Fit Atelier sets or hyping up nervous newcomers! Hopefully you guys can see my love and passion for BFT and Fit Atelier when you come to class every week.
These days, if I’m not at Fit Atelier leading your sweat, teaching at Charlotte Ballet orrr training private clients... you can bet money I am binge-watching “Sabrina” on Netflix, with a bowl of popcorn, three cats and an oversized husky surrounding me.
Fitness is pretty much my whole life these days but below are a few details (fitness aside) that make me, me!
Thanks for taking a minute to learn more about me and stay tuned for more fun fit tips from your girl and all the Fit A trainers!
- I have four pets- three cats, one dog (Jack Sparrow, Rihanna, Margot Fonteyn, & Zeus my husky)
- I’m the youngest of five kids
- The scar on my stomach is from a surgery when I was born from a rare birth defect called an Omphalocele. When I was young and other kids would ask “Where’s your belly button?” (rude) I told them I was an alien and didn’t have one (why Soph, why?)
- The only time I ever do my hair (come on, I sweat for a living!) is if I have a photoshoot or a wedding to go to.
- May or may not sleep in Harry Potter boxers bc #HPfanforlyfe