<<Click on each teacher’s image to read their bio.>>
Lesley Davenport is from Marietta, Ohio and moved to Pittsburgh to attend Point Park University. Upon graduation from PPU with a BA in Dance Ballet and Jazz concentrations, she freelanced throughout the greater Pittsburgh region gathering as much experience teaching and performing as possible. During these years Lesley was lucky to have become a founding member of H20 Contemporary Dance, whom she still dances with.
Her first exposure to Pilates was mat class held in a yoga studio. Chronic back pain and spasms forced her to take a private session with a friend who was an instructor, Gwen Ritchie. After a few short weeks of regular work, Lesley was a believer. “My body shape began to change quickly and my chronic pain was cut in half. All due to one weekly lesson and practicing as I could. I discovered that I was incredibly unbalanced, with weak abdominals and an unstable pelvis. My body had a host of consequences occurring that I thought were normal and I needed to live with. With a steady Pilates routine I was able to correct many issues and in turn it gave me back my health. I can do things now that I struggled with in my performance years. The positive effects of Pilates continue to blossom for me season by season in the studio. It became a passion for me to help others have opportunities for excellent training and positive experiences in the studio.”
Lesley founded The Pilates Center of Pittsburgh in 2006. Her certifications include Core Dynamics, Power Pilates, and Women’s Center for Fitness Prenatal and Postnatal Certificate. Consistent and numerous hours of continuing education keep Lesley inspired and evolving as a studio owner, practioner and teacher of the work. She lives in Dormont,PA with her husband Michael and two young children.
Allison Castello is a graduate from Point Park University. She earned a B.A. in Dance with a concentration in Modern Dance. Allie is a comprehensively trained Pilates teacher through Power Pilates. She has done numerous hours of continuing education to deeper her understanding of the method. Allie works full time teaching dance and Pilates. She understands that movement can be used in multiple facets. Through teaching and her own practice Allie has experienced how movement heals. Allie continues to dive deeper into the layers of Pilates, hoping that she can continue to empower those she teaches through movement.
Ruchi Acharya PT, MS, CAE and the owner of Vitality Physical therapy, has over 15 years of clinical experience as a Physical Therapist.
Ruchi received her B.S. in Physical Therapy at State University of New York, Buffalo, and M.S. in Biomechanics and Ergonomics at New York University. Her work experiences include acute care, in-patient rehab, cardio-pulmonary rehab, vestibular rehab, outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine.
Ruchi practices a genuinely holistic treatment approach known as Myofascial Release (MFR). The MFR approach maximizes healing in patients by engaging both the body and mind. She treats patients with the aim of achieving independence through proper body mechanics and movement, enhancement of strength, improved flexibility, and postural and movement awareness.
Ruchi accepts medical insurance through her practice Vitality Physical Therapy and is a certified direct access PT, no referral from PCP needed. She currently accepts Medicare, High Mark, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna.
Kiley Coulter’s first experience with Pilates was at Slippery Rock University, where she received a BA in Dance. After college, Kiley lived in NYC for eight years where she continued to dance and take Pilates classes. Her desire to maintain a life-long career in movement inspired Kiley to enroll in the Power Pilates teacher training program, where she completed all levels of mat as well as the Comprehensive program under the direction of Bob Liekens and Susan Moran. Kiley taught at the Power Pilates flagship studio in NYC until she moved to Pittsburgh in 2013.
For Kiley, Pilates is both fun and challenging, and it has been the optimal method for improving her strength, balance, and overall body awareness. She strives to bring the enthusiasm and knowledge gained through her own practice and training to each session she teaches, and she provides appropriate challenges for each client to grow stronger and work towards their full movement potential. Kiley’s clients should expect detailed instruction on technique and form, but most importantly they should be ready to move! You can also follow Kiley on Facebook.
Michael Duray has been a body worker since 2002. Mike maintains a private practice which focuses on Structural Integration, orthopedic massage and an exploration of movement though individual Pilates instruction. A student of motion, he has actively practiced Shotokan Karate since 1972. He volunteers his time as an instructor at the University Of Pittsburgh. Mike is a certified Peak Pilates instructor and is also on staff at Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Athletics where he teaches group classes. He is also a faculty member of the Massage Therapy Institute of western Pennsylvania, where he endeavors to increase local awareness of the benefit of Structural Integration and Visceral Manipulation.
Tonya Ford has taught ballet for the past 19 years. She trained and danced at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and at Point Park under the direction of renowned dancers Valentina Moukhanova, German Zamuel, Dana Arey and Patricia Wilde. Tonya learned the Vaganova Technique while studying under the direction of the prestigious John White of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet.
Over the past almost two decades of teaching ballet, Tonya began to explore more ways to train the body. This led her to study the MELT Method in New York City under the creator Sue Hitzmann which she now teaches in Pittsburgh. Tonya’s fascination with the body prompted her to study the anatomy trains curriculum for movement therapists. She also studied the psoas under the direction of Liz Koch.
Tonya became certified in MAT Pilates through Power Pilates giving her yet another method to offer to dancer and regular students. Under direction of Kevin Lucas, she studied and offers courses in the Relief Through Rolling method and her newest endeavor has led her to NeuroKinetic Therapy created by David Weinstock. Tonya is a lifelong student whose focus is on the body and movement techniques.
Sally Putt took her first Pilates class in June 2009 in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She was curious to find out what this exercise was all about as she had always been active and enjoyed exercising, but the pounding of aerobics and running over the years took a toll on my knees and lower back.
Sally has an engineering background and the attention to details and control in Pilates immediately resonated with her as a student and teacher.
Sally started in on teacher training to help others to achieve the great changes that Pilates can do to your body and mind. Her Power Pilates certification in Beginner and Intermediate Mat has allowed her to teach Pilates since 2013. She is currently enrolled in comprehensive equipment training to allow her clients to experience more fully everything the practice can offer.
As a movement professional and dancer, Sarah Zielinski found Pilates as way of rehabilitation from various injuries and surgeries by becoming a student of Lesley Davenport at The Pilates Center of Pittsburgh. She became literally ‘moved’ with how much Pilates helped fine-tune her body as an instrument; she knew she wanted to share that knowledge of body awareness through movement.
While dancing professional in New York City, she received her Pilates Mat and Equipment certification at the Kane School of Core Integration. Sarah fell further in love with healthy, healing movement and attended/assisted with the production of the 10th annual FAMI (Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries) Kinected Workshop at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC.
She enjoys continuing to explore the life long learning of anatomy, injury prevention, self-care, and fitness with her clients because she personally knows how strengthening the body can strengthen a healthy and happy lifestyle.
During teaching she has encountered clients living with a wide array of chronic issues (post-trauma or injury), those hoping to establish a deeper connection to their bodies through exercise, and athletes of all sorts wishing to prevent injury and strengthen their fitness routine.
A native of Pittsburgh, Sarah graduated summa cum-laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Point Park University. After graduation she moved to NYC and had the privilege of working with The Metropolitan Opera, Doug Varone, Zvidance, Lorena Egan, Jessica Taylor (Damagedance), Awakening Movement, Caleb Teicher and many others.
Her past musical theater credits include: The Wizard of Oz National Tour, West Side Story (Anybodys), Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Starlight Express.
She is enjoying dancing in her first season with Attack Theatre back in her hometown of Pittsburgh.
Cheers to happy movin’ & groovin’!
Viviana Romanazzi moved to Pittsburgh from her home of Rome, Italy in 2015. Her path to studying and teaching Pilates began first as a client almost 15 years ago just when the Pilates method was starting to get known In Italy. After personally discovering the big improvement undergone by her body after a few years of practice, she decided to become a teacher.
She started her training in Rome with an American teacher Patricia Medros who is a direct disciple of Romana Kryzanowska. During this period, Viviana obtained her first Degree in Pilates Matwork from “One Pilates Rome” in October 2012.
Viviana has taught Pilates at various gyms in Rome while at the same time studying to obtain her final degree in Matwork and Apparatus in July 2015. Immediately after receiving this degree, she and her husband and two young daughters moved to Pittsburgh for his career.
Viviana’s passion for the method has led her to continue her education with Shari Berkowitz “The Vertical Workshop”, a second generation Teacher from New York, and she’s currently enrolled in her program for teachers “Pilates Intensives”.
Being in the US is for Viviana a big opportunity to continue learning from the best Pilates teachers and elders: she attended a workshop in Rockville, MD led by Deborah Lessen and she will be attending in November a workshop led by Karen Frischmann.
Viviana sought out classical Pilates studios and has found a home here at The Pilates Center of Pittsburgh. Her philosophy as a student and teacher of Pilates is “The things you teach are the things you feel.”