Our fully certified teachers have fulfilled a minimum of 700 hours of active training in all apparatus and mat work, seminars, and apprentice teaching. In addition to regular study, our teachers also fulfill 16 hours of continuing education annually. We strive to share/inform consumers of the power of the original Pilates Method by offering apparatus and mat sessions with experienced professional teachers in a safe environment. See “About – Our Commitment to the Original Pilates Method.”
Lesa McLaughlin, Owner, was certified as a teacher in The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning by The Pilates Studio in New York in 1995 under the tutelage of Romana Krowsanavska and is a Second Generation Teacher. She received a Gold Certification by the Pilates Method Alliance in 2005. She holds a BFA in Dance from George Mason University (1984) and has taught dance, movement, and exercise for over 40 years.
In 1998, she co-founded Pilates at Excel Movement Studios (now Excel Pilates DC), a 5,000-square-foot Pilates studio in Washington, DC. In 2002 she opened a satellite studio in Annapolis, MD, with then business partner Kerry De Vivo. She has worked with clients for 23 years in The Pilates Method Of Body Conditioning. Ranging in age from 10-85, clients have included athletes such as dancers, gymnasts, swimmers, ice skaters, runners, golfers, equestrian jumpers, and bodybuilders, all working to achieve better performance or to gain a competitive edge. Lesa has also worked with clients at a rehabilitative level as well as for injury prevention. Conditions and issues have included herniated discs, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, MS, knee surgery prevention, knee and hip replacement, and pregnancy.
In 2001 she collaborated with Kerry DeVivo to create and establish a comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Program at Excel Movement Studios in which she developed the curriculum, program outline, and training manual. Currently, she teaches all system levels as well as continuing education.
Lesa McLaughlin’s experience is that of a Master teacher. She considers her strength in teaching to be a deep understanding of the work of Joseph Pilates and helping each client to see, feel and reach their fullest potential. Lesa considers the work of Joseph Pilates to be an inspiration. She has experienced personally the depth and power of the work and considers her ability to practice and teach Pilates a true privilege. The most satisfying aspect of her Pilates experience is to see daily, through her teaching, the meaningful impact it has on others.
Stefanie Covey has been practicing Pilates since 2005 when she lucked into a deal at a Denver Pilates studio and quickly fell in love with the movement, focus, and mind-body connection she found in the work. Since moving to DC’s Brookland neighborhood in 2012, Stefanie has been a dedicated student at Excel Pilates. In 2016, Stefanie completed Excel Pilates’ 700-hour Teacher Training Program, studying under expert teachers who learned from instructors taught by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates. She is a certified, third-generation classical Pilates instructor. She brings to teaching her lifelong dedication to helping people change their lives. She’s passionate about helping others improve their health and wellness and is excited to guide students through their own discoveries, victories and healing through Pilates. In addition to practicing Pilates, Stefanie has spent her career fundraising for nonprofits that help people who are homeless, abused and in need.
Jacqueline Emanuel has been a dedicated student of Excel Pilates DC since 2000. With each year, her interest, enthusiasm and dedication to the Pilates method continues to grow. She applied for the Teacher Training Program in 2015, after realizing she can soon retire from her 25-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. Jacqueline believes that Pilates is a meaningful way to help people improve and maintain a high quality of life. Her approach is to both challenge and nurture clients. “Pilates has been an invaluable inspiration to me and I want to help people of all levels realize the energizing benefits of the method.” Growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with an active outdoor lifestyle, she enjoys skiing, hiking, and yoga. She lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and two daughters. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Denver University. She received her Pilates certification through the Excel Teacher Training Program in 2016.
Brianne Barrow Little has been teaching Pilates since 2006, first experiencing the method as a graduate student in dance. Not surprisingly, its complement to dance drew her toward a deeper learning and teaching. Trained through Power Pilates and PMA certified in 2013, she enjoys helping students find their “a-ha” movement moments and translating those into life outside the Pilates studio! She enjoys working with bodies of all shapes and capabilities, with specific experience with pre- and post-natal, osteoporotic, and hypermobile students. Brianne brings positive energy with a focus on proper alignment for maximum efficiency and strength building to her teaching. In addition to teaching, Brianne enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, swimming, and gardening.
Laurelle Lo has studied Pilates at Excel Pilates DC since 2008. Laurelle took a circuitous route to Pilates: she trained as a ballet dancer in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Later, she worked in the Canadian House of Commons and secured a B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Ottawa before moving to Washington, DC, and getting her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center and pursuing a career in corporate litigation. After starting a family, Laurelle focused on pro bono work for global health and educational causes, while returning to dance part time. It was then that she began studying Classical Pilates in earnest, quickly discovering for herself that Pilates, as a system of thoughtful, precise and invigorating movements, always makes her feel stronger (and taller!). Laurelle hopes to impart her love of Pilates and the rewards anyone – dancer, lawyer, teacher, parent – can reap from Pilates by bettering the mind and body, from your core to the tips of your toes. Laurelle received her Pilates certification from the Excel Teacher Training Program in 2018.
Janice Marks has studied Pilates at Excel for almost 20 years. With a background in theater and dance, and inspired by all the wonderful teachers she has worked with, she finally decided to take the Teacher Training Program in 2016 and received her certification in 2017. Janice credits Pilates with changing her life in countless positive ways. She can testify to the benefits to body and spirit, having experienced recovery from injuries, resilience through major life events, and the ability to stand taller, literally and figuratively, through her practice. She is excited to share the power of Pilates with her students. Janice spent 35 years as an arts administrator and arts management consultant before starting her second career teaching Pilates.
Michelle Mendelson has studied The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning since 1999 and received her teacher certification from Excel Pilates DC in 2002. She holds a Gold Certification from the Pilates Method Alliance and is Pink Ribbon Program Certified to work with breast cancer survivors. Michelle has worked with people of all ages, from childhood into their 80’s, and with many different fitness levels, sizes, shapes and conditions. She has worked with women through the ninth month of pregnancy, and with women returning to Pilates after giving birth. She truly believes that Pilates is for everybody; yes, even for men! Michelle holds a degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia and worked in her pre-Pilates life in journalism and elementary education. In Michelle’s words: “It’s a good feeling to see people getting stronger and healthier and to know I’ve had some part in that, and to share my love of Pilates with others.”
Tatjana Parsamian moved to Washington, DC, in 2010 and started immediately teaching at Excel Pilates Studio. Before she moved to the USA, she was the co-owner of “City Pilates,” the largest Pilates studio in Vienna, Austria. She developed and taught her own “Contrology” Pilates Teacher Training Program throughout Europe (Austria, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, Cyprus) for more than five years. Tatjana gave Pilates Master Classes at various conventions in Budapest, Vienna, and Zagreb. Tatjana’s training is through B.A.S.I. and Peak Pilates, USA. She is a PMA certified Pilates Professional. Tatjana holds a master degree from Vienna (Austria) University for Music and Performing Arts in Piano Performance & Piano Pedagogy. She is also a professional Aerobics, Dance, Step and Zumba Master trainer educated in Munich, Germany in 2001 and Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003. In Tatjana’s words: “Pilates is my passion and it is a big part of my life. I love movement, as it is the essence of life and well-being. In each session, I enjoy giving a piece of my own passion to the students and love helping their bodies and minds transform.”
Susan Reynolds received her teacher certification from Excel Pilates in 2013. She began studying Pilates in 2003 in order to develop a more balanced body as she struggled with scoliosis. The patience required in her own journey gives her a unique perspective, and she finds it rewarding to help others grow stronger while finding more balanced, efficient ways of moving through Pilates. Building on earlier training in ballet and modern dance, Susan now teaches and performs the Argentine tango. During the day she’s an acquiring editor of psychology books for a local press.