Program Directors and Faculty
Lesa McLaughlin, Program Director, is the owner of Excel Pilates DC and 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 Kryzanowska. 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 30 years.
In 1998, together with Kerry DeVivo she opened Pilates at Excel Movement Studios, now known as Excel Pilates DC, in Washington, DC. In 2002 they co-founded another Excel studio in Annapolis, MD. Lesa has worked with clients for over 20 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 worked with clients at a rehabilitative level as well as 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 his/her 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.
Kerry De Vivo, Program Director and Owner of Excel Pilates Annapolis, is the only second generation Pilates teacher in the Annapolis area. She is a certified teacher of The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning by The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO (1995) and by Romana Kryzanowska at The Pilates Studio in New York, NY (1996). She holds an MFA in Dance and a BS in Arts Management. She is Pink Ribbon Program certified. Kerry is currently serving as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Authentic Pilates Union. Kerry began studying Pilates in 1986 with Steve Giordano at SUNY Purchase. In 1998, after completing her Pilates certifications, she co-founded Excel Movement Studios, a 5,000-square-foot Pilates studio, with Lesa McLaughlin in Washington, DC. In 2002, she co-founded Excel Pilates Annapolis. The DC and Annapolis, MD, studios now operate as “sister studios.” Kerry is co-director of Excel’s Pilates Teacher Training Program established in 2001. The Pilates Teacher Training Program at Excel is dedicated to providing high quality training in the original work of Joseph H. Pilates. It is a comprehensive and in-depth one-year training program requiring a minimum of 700 hours of hands-on training in all levels of the Pilates mat and apparatus work. Kerry works directly with apprentices to help them reach their goals of teaching Pilates. In 2009, Kerry helped develop Excel’s Pilates Teacher Mentor Program designed to offer high level continuing education to area Pilates teachers. In 2012 Kerry developed The Pilates Principles Program, a high-caliber continuing education program. Kerry is co-author of the research study, The Benefits of The Pilates Method for Shoulder Stabilization in Dancers, which was presented at the Annual Symposium on Medical Problems of Musicians and Dancers in Aspen, CO. She is also co-author of Excel’s Pilates Teacher Training Program Manual and Excel’s Pilates Mat Guide.
Kerry is also a featured contributing writer in Peter Fiasca’s book, “Voices of Classical Pilates”. From 2009 – 2011, Excel Pilates Annapolis was an official studio of The Pilates Center’s Masters Program. During this time Kerry participated as an approved presenter for continuing education workshops for The Pilates Center’s Masters Program. Kerry has taught the Pilates Method to clients who range in age from 12-80, applying Pilates in its original form for performance improvement, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and fitness. Her clients have ranged from professional athletes including runners, dancers, gymnasts, football players, cyclists, and rowers, to individuals with specific health issues, to those simply looking for an alternative fitness program. Kerry has worked with clients in pre- and post-surgery situations. Kerry has presented workshops on Pilates at Physical Therapy clinics and at the University of Colorado/Boulder, the University of Maryland/College Park, the University of Florida/Gainesville, and Shenandoah University. She taught Pilates in Relation to Modern Dance, a semester long class at George Washington University. Kerry was a Panelist on the Careers in Dance Board, representing Pilates, for the 8th Annual Dance Medicine Symposium at Goucher College in March 1998. In addition to Pilates, Kerry had a professional career in dance. She served on the dance faculty at George Washington University and the University of Maryland at College Park. She performed with Deborah Riley Dance Projects for three years as a principle company member and has performed with Liz Lerman, Adrienne Clancey and Mim Rosen. Her choreography and performances have been viewed in Colorado, New York, Maryland, Washington DC, the U.K., and Australia. Kerry’s teaching is inspired by the life’s work of Joseph Pilates as well as her clients. “It is a gift to work with a client for years and assist them in their journey to meet their health goals. Pilates is a sound method of body conditioning that is rich with detail and powerful with results. It is a method that is applicable to all bodies.” Kerry is dedicated to the original Pilates method and to offering clients an empowering fitness experience. She only employs teachers who share the same commitment.
Alexandra Adams, Program Faculty, is a third generation instructor of Joseph H. Pilates and owner of Excel Pilates Northern Virginia. She has practiced Pilates for sixteen years, and has been a certified Pilates instructor for almost a decade. Upon graduation from The Madeira School in 1999, she went on to attend Goucher College. Alexandra graduated from Goucher College in 2003, with a Bachelor’s Degree with distinction in Dance Performance and Choreography. After dancing professionally throughout the Washington DC area and continuing to study Pilates, she completed a rigorous, comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Program at Excel Movement Studios. In 2008, after four years of teaching Pilates, Alexandra completed the Masters Program at The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado. The Pilates Center is the first of its kind to offer a Masters Program to already accomplished teachers. At the time, Alexandra was one of ten instructors worldwide to complete the program. Since 2004, Alexandra has been teaching at the most respected Pilates studios throughout the Annapolis, Baltimore, and Washington DC areas. In 2010, Alexandra opened The Pilates Center at The Madeira School, a boutique Pilates studio on Madeira’s campus. Shortly after opening, The Pilates Center at The Madeira School was voted Best Pilates Studio by Northern Virginia Magazine. After four years of teaching Pilates enthusiasts from the DC area, Alexandra has relocated and naturally renamed The Pilates Center at The Madeira School to Excel Pilates Northern Virginia! Affiliated with Excel Pilates DC and Excel Pilates Annapolis, Excel Pilates NoVA continues a fifteen year tradition of providing the highest quality of traditional Pilates training. Alexandra is a life long studier of the Pilates Method, a member of the Authentic Pilates Union and honored to be an alumna Pilates Ambassador to lululemon Tyson’s Corner.