Our Teachers - Our Commitment to You
Our principal goal is to empower all participants in the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning to be in control of their own health and well-being, and to provide a supportive atmosphere in which clients may grow, learn, and be guided toward a fitter lifestyle. Our teachers are highly trained, enthusiastic people dedicated to health and wellness. We are strongly committed to the power and depth of the original Pilates Method.
The physical conditioning system developed by Joseph H. Pilates is a highly evolved and in depth program that should be taught by individuals who have studied the system intensely and seriously.
Our fully certified teachers have fulfilled a minimum of 700 hours of active training in all apparatus and mat work, seminars, and apprentice teaching. We strive to share/inform consumers of the power of the original Pilates Method by offering full Pilates sessions, incorporating both apparatus and mat exercises, with experienced professional teachers in a safe environment.
Several Excel Pilates Annapolis, Inc. instructors are certified in The Pink Ribbon Program and are Post Operative Exercise Specialists for breast cancer survivors. We apply the knowledge from the program, regarding the effects of surgery on the survivor, directly to Pilates session design. The goal is to assist cancer survivors in experiencing a classical Pilates session while honoring their physical history.
Kerry De Vivo, 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 has a MFA degree in Dance and a BS degree in Arts Management and is Pink Ribbon Program certified. Kerry is currently serving as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Authentic Pilates Union. Kerry celebrated her 20th year of teaching Pilates in 2015.
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 affiliate studios along with Excel Pilates Northern Virginia.
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.
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 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 and has a contributing interview in Fiasca's most recent book, Voices of Classical Pilates II, The Men's Work.
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 adolescents to seniors, 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, golfers 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-surgical 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 Dance Exchange, Adrienne Clancey and Mim Rosen. Her choreography and performances have been viewed in Colorado, New York, Maryland, Washington D.C, 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 fitness 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.
Amanda Smith Breon is a third generation Pilates instructor* and has been studying Pilates since 2002 and received her teacher certification from Excel's Pilates Teacher Training Program in 2004. Following graduation, Amanda was part of the teaching staff at Excel Movement studios in Washington, DC before moving to Emmitsburg, MD in 2005. Amanda has been teaching Pilates in Leesburg, VA, Frederick, MD, and Thurmont, MD until relocating to Annapolis to join the staff at Excel Pilates Annapolis - her "Pilates home." Amanda is a Teacher of Teachers for Excel Pilates' Teacher Training Program and also serves as an apprentice advisor. Amanda holds a B.A. in dance from Mercyhurst College and has taught dance in various dance studios and programs since 1997. Amanda completed the Power Pilates Bridge Certification program in 2010. Amanda is also Pink Ribbon Program certified. Amanda is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Health Promotion at Maryland University of Integrated Health.
Amanda fell in love with Pilates when she came to explore the method to further her dance training. She not only continues to learn all the things she could ever want to know in order to better organize her body, but has also found a lifelong practice of the body, mind and spirit. "I have had such a profound experience with Pilates, the kindness and expertise of wonderful teachers, self discovery, and the feeling of success over and over again through this method. I can only hope to share some of that with others whatever their goals may be. For me, practicing Pilates grounds me and elevates my spirit while building my body one work out at a time."
Renée Farnie is a third generation Pilates teacher* and a 2017 graduate of the Excel Pilates Teacher Training Program. Renée grew up in Colorado, and got her BA in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Working as a graphic designer in Texas she met her husband and shortly after they were married moved to Annapolis in 1998. She grew up playing soccer and swimming and after graduating pursued any athletic activity she could enjoy, she discovered a love for windsurfing, which led her and her husband to Annapolis.
She discovered Pilates after her second child was born. Chronic back pain and the desire to continue to lead an active, athletic lifestyle led her to Pilates, after the first session she was hooked. Renée was certified by Peak Pilates in September of 2009 and has been teaching Pilates in Annapolis since 2005. To further her Pilates education, Renee completed the Excel Pilates Mentor Program which lead to her interest in enrolling in the Excel Pilates Teacher Training Program as a bridge student.
Renée is passionate about Pilates and the benefits it brings to so many people of different fitness levels. Her passions also extend to Stand Up Paddleboarding, an active ministry with high school kids and enjoying family and friends.
Ashley Adams is a third generation Pilates instructor* and a 2014 graduate of the Excel Pilates Teacher Training Program. Ashley started practicing Pilates in 2011 as a means to help relieve her own back pain due to scoliosis. She studied ballet, gymnastics and other forms of exercise but Pilates was the only modality that gave her relief. After being a student for three years it became clear that she wanted to teach and pass on her passion and love for Pilates with others.
She apprenticed in the Excel Pilates Teacher Training Program and graduated from the program in April 2014. Ashley started teaching at The Ellicott City Pilates Center in Howard County, MD where she developed a focus on working with young athletes to help them build a stronger core to improve their balance and flexibility. Her goal would be to work with adults and teens who suffer from Scoliosis as well to help them gain strength and find relief from the persistent aches and pains of the condition. She believes with early intervention and persistence, Scoliosis can be manageable and pain free as a young adult through the Pilates work.
Ashley Adams graduated from Gettysburg College in 1997 and received her BA with a major in Art. She lives in Howard County, MD with her husband and three children.
All members of the teaching staff at Excel Pilates Annapolis meet annual requirements in continuing education.
"It is always amazing to me to see the difference between doing the exercise and doing it right. It fascinates me when I get that little tidbit that gives me the insight to do something differently to make the exercise work. After years of Pilates, I still learn, learn, learn. I love the studio and the teachers. I am so pleased to be a part of this wonderful journey." -Karen Clarke, Realtor, age 65, Pilates client since 2004
* Kerry De Vivo is a second generation instructor, teaching Pilates from the direct lineage of Joseph H. Pilates. After the passing of Joseph Pilates, his studio was managed by his wife Clara. Later Romana Kryzanowska, protege of Joseph Pilates, maintained his studio. Teachers who completed their teacher training through a first generation teacher (in Kerry's case, Romana Kryzanowska) are categorized as second generation teachers. Amanda Smith Breon, Leah Van Buren, Ashley Adams and Renee Farnie are third generation teachers.