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Instructor Trainers

The Merrithew Faculty, or members of our esteemed team of Instructor Trainers, is made up of highly qualified and internationally sought-after educators who are known for their dedication, professionalism and attention to detail. All of our faculty members hold full certification in the STOTT PILATES® method and have achieved additional designations to complement their training. A diverse group, they come from various backgrounds including physical therapy, exercise science, athletic therapy, dance and group and personal fitness training to name a few. Every member of the team strives to uphold the highest standards of training that have been developed worldwide.

Danica Larson
SweatShop Fitness Health Club
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer

Additional credentials and designations
BA English Literature and Music

Bio

Danica became a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor in 2003, motivated by her desire to share the mental and physical consciousness and balance she found in Pilates. In 2008 she moved on to become an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew, specializing in STOTT PILATES. She currently teaches at The SweatShop in St. Paul, Minnesota where she enjoys helping students and clients alike to improve their strength, posture and body awareness.

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Daniela González Ares
COMPLETE BODY movement
Dublin, Ireland

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, ISP; Total Barre®, ZEN•GA® Mat

Additional credentials and designations
Certified Gyrotonic Instructor, Certified Yoga Instructor, Massage Therapist and Pink Ribbon Instructor

Bio

Daniela González Ares is a Lead Instructor Trainer for Merrithew specializing in STOTT PILATES®, Total Barre® and ZEN•GA® and is owner of Complete Body Movement in Ireland a Merrithew Licensed Training Center. Residing in Dublin since 1994, Daniela (called Dani by friends and family), was born to Spanish parents in the Netherlands and is a fluent speaker in various languages. She has always been interested in sport, particularly in swimming, karate, gymnastics and horse riding. Unfortunately Daniela suffered a horse-riding accident in her early twenties, which indirectly led her back to the gym, and a move to Ireland led her to STOTT PILATES. Daniela owns a personal training and Pilates Studio called AJNA in Dublin, is a certified gyrotonic instructor, certified yoga instructor, massage therapist and pink ribbon instructor. In 2012 Daniela received the award for Outstanding Personal Achievement by Merrithew.

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Danyelle Millar
The Pilates Body
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels; CORE™

Bio

Former dancer and competitive swimmer, Danyelle was first introduced to Pilates by The Pilates Body Director, Connie Ierullo in 2000, where she has been a member of the teaching staff since 2002. Danyelle is an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew, specializing in STOTT PILATES® and CORE. She instructs the Matwork, Reformer, and Cadillac, Chair, and Barrels courses. Continuing to further her education, she is currently completing an Honours BSc in Life Sciences at the University of Toronto and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) accreditation as a Personal Trainer. Danyelle is driven to help clients achieve their goals and has worked with clients of all ages and abilities, but she finds it most fulfilling when teaching clients with specific needs or injuries. After the birth of her first child Danyelle and a difficult recovery, she has shifted her energy to teach Prenatal & Postnatal Pilates & Fitness. She helps to promote the benefits of exercise during pregnancy and enjoyment moms can experience while exercising with their babies.

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Darcy McMurray
Full Circle Studio
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels

Bio

With an extensive background in dancing and a fascination with the intricacies of the human body, Darcy easily embraced her Pilates practice when she began studying it in 2001 at the Merrithew Corporate Training Center in Toronto. By 2003, she was asked to join the company as an Instructor Trainer and her career took off with international travel to represent Merrithew as an Instructor Trainer at workshops and exams. She also played an intrinsic role in the development of Merrithew’s DVDs, manuals and other course materials for STOTT PILATES®. In 2008, Darcy opened Full Circle Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she continues to train and work privately with clients and small groups. She also continues to attend workshops and study anatomy to further deepen her understanding of mindful movement.

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David Freker
DFX Pilates
Sacramento, California, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, ISP

Additional credentials and designations
ACE Personal Trainer, BS and MS in Electrical Engineering

Bio

With Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering, David worked for fifteen years designing computer chips for Intel Corporation. He was first introduced to Pilates in 2000 by a Physical Therapist as a cross training method for cycling and mountain bike racing. With a strong technical background, he was fascinated with the precision, biomechanics and effectiveness of the method. He pursued instructor training with several organizations before choosing the STOTT PILATES® method and becoming a fully certified instructor. Passionate about Pilates, David changed career paths and became a STOTT PILATES® Instructor Trainer in 2004. After teaching the program in Northern California for several years, he founded DFX Pilates which serves as the Merrithew Licensed Training Center for the Sacramento region. David became a Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer in 2016.

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Deborah Degano
Berliner Pilates
Berlin, Germany

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer

Additional credentials and designations
B.A. in Ballet & Modern Dance from the Dance Academy in Milan, Italy; Musical Fitness Instructor for F.I.F. (Fitness Italian Federation); Professional Theatre Acting Diploma

Bio

Deborah discovered Pilates while obtaining a professional degree in Ballet and Modern Dance from the Dance Academy in Milan, Italy.

She started her STOTT PILATES® training with Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer Claudia Fink at Pilates Italia® and in 2009 moved to Germany where she continued to focus on her Pilates education. In 2011, she became a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor and immediately founded the Berliner Pilates Studio, where she enjoys training clients of all levels in the vibrant multicultural environment of Berlin.

She became a Merrithew Instructor Trainer in 2019, specializing in STOTT PILATES Matwork & Reformer. In addition to teaching Pilates and running her studio, Deborah is still passionate and active in many dance performance projects that are regularly presented at the independent art venues of Berlin.

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Debra Hunt
SweatShop Fitness Health Club
Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, ISP; ZEN•GA® Mat & Equipment; Merrithew™ Fascial Movement

Additional credentials and designations
BA Dance, Mills College

Bio

Debra began her journey with STOTT PILATES® after experiencing 18 years of chronic pain from injuries sustained in a car accident. She immediately took a liking to the STOTT PILATES method, realizing it was the only modality that actually worked to heal her body. Becoming a Full Certified Instructor in 2005 and an Instructor Trainer in 2006, her STOTT PILATES training is complemented by a background in dance and gymnastics. She is now a Merrithew Lead IT.

She works with people in all states of health, wellness, recovery and restoration, including high level athletes. Debra was chosen to work with touring Cirque de Soleil performers in 2013, and in 2014 she began to travel annually to Korea to provide STOTT PILATES professional training for enthusiastic Korean students.

Debra revels in learning about new, innovative mind-body modalities and anatomy. This is exemplified by her enthusiasm and leadership in ZEN•GA®, Merrithew Fascial Movement, and other mindful movement modalities. She has been immersed in the study of fascia for over ten years and is consistently successful with client concerns, addressing complex dysfunction through a fascial lens.

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Denise Carter
Floating
Nassau, Bahamas

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels; Total Barre®

Bio

Denise has always had a love for fitness and after many years as a personal trainer in the exclusive Lyford Cay Club in Nassau Bahamas, decided to explore Pilates. After extensive training in Toronto, Canada, she returned to the Bahamas and opened a Licensed Training Center for Merrithew in 2005. Denise is a fully certified Instructor Trainer for Merrithew and has travelled from Australia to Italy to train future instructors in the STOTT PILATES® method. Denise currently teaches Pilates, Total Barre®, Pre and Post Natal exercise, Post Rehab movement and Active Isolated Stretching from her studio in Nassau, Bahamas.

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Dot Kavanaugh
Floating
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer

Additional credentials and designations
BA

Bio

Dot became certified as a STOTT PILATES® Instructor in 2003, and in 2009 she became an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew specializing in STOTT PILATES. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Windsor in 2004, and is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In 2001 Dot received her certification as a Yoga Teacher by the Sivanada Yoga Group, and has acted as both the instructor and owner of The Yoga Centre in Windsor since that time. She brings over 10 years of experience in teaching movement, and keeps her programming interesting and up to date by taking a variety of continuing education workshops.

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Dr. Dana Stieglitz
dfx pilates
Sacramento, California, USA

IT qualifications
STOTT PILATES® Matwork & Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries and Special Populations

Additional credentials and designations
RN, DNP, FNP-BC

Bio

Dana studied nursing and received her BSN in 1984 and earned Master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis as a family nurse practitioner in 1998. With an interest in fitness, she became AFAA certified in group exercise and taught various types of classes for 15 years until 2006, when she was introduced to STOTT PILATES® and completed her certification in 2008. With an interest in rehabilitative Pilates, Dana perused the STOTT PILATES Rehab courses with a goal of conducting a doctoral research study. In 2014, Dana completed her doctorate in Nursing Practice. The research study, “Equipment-based Pilates Reduces Work-Related Chronic Low Back Pain and Disability: A Pilot Study,” was published in the Journal of Bodyworks and Movement Therapies in January of 2016. As an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew, she hopes to bring Pilates into the healthcare setting as a treatment option for chronic low back pain, acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

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