Meet the Team

At Fuse, we’re really picky about who gets to teach our classes. We generally pull people for signature mat class teacher training from existing students – people who have already taken upwards of a hundred or more classes, so they understand our class structure and appropriate level of intensity. Apparatus teachers come to us from a background in more traditional Pilates, and then transition through our bridge program until they’re fully capable of answering your class requests – from stretching out your tight back to tightening up whatever you feel needs tightening.

Mariska Breland

Fuse Pilates® Founder, Creative Director

In 1999, acting under the fear of a slowing metabolism, Mariska took her first Pilates class. After a 2002 diagnosis of MS, she became a devoted yoga and Pilates practitioner and taught her first class a year later.

In 2005, she started the Pilates program at DC’s Flow Yoga Center. She started mixing in elements of barre and yoga into traditional Pilates mat work, created new exercises to add to the mix, taught class to upbeat music, and started taking requests. Fuse Pilates was born.

Mariska has a savant-level ability to remember exercises and the knowledge and creativity to design new ones. With thousands of hours of training under her belt, and even more in front of a class teaching, she knows why an exercise will work and how to make it (and you) work better, smarter, or harder. She has written 7 training manuals for the Fuse Method, with additional books in the works.

As part of her comprehensive certification through Body Arts and Science, International (BASI Pilates), she completed a research project on Pilates for multiple sclerosis patients, which she expanded into an in-depth Pilates for MS advanced teacher training, incorporating the latest research in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation into a Pilates program design for MS and other neurological conditions. A “casual student of medical neuroscience,” Mariska has designed additional workshops focusing on how to integrate brain science into exercise programs to enhance performance and improve neurological function.

Mariska’s education in the movement arts is vast, including mat certification through Power Pilates, additional apparatus, mat, and anatomy training through Balanced Body Pilates, Peak Pilates, and a certification in PureBarre. She was one of DC’s first barre instructors, trained under Lotte Berk disciple and PureBarre founder Carrie Rezabek. She taught barre classes at B.Fit Studio from 2006-2011.

From 2010 until his death in 2013, Mariska studied in a one-on-one mentorship with renowned Pilates Master Julian Littleford, founding member of the Physical Mind Institute and one of the world’s most innovative and creative Pilates instructors. She also studies regularly with Jennifer Kries, 2nd Generation Master Instructor, who is credited with bringing Pilates to the masses, as well as other 2nd Generation classical teachers Lesa McLaughlin, Chris Robinson, and Andrea Maida.

Mariska is a PMA®  (Pilates Method Alliance) Certified Pilates Teacher and Continuing Education Provider. The PMA is the only third party professional certification in the Pilates field. In terms of advanced trainings, she is a Pre and Postnatal Pilates Specialist, trained through the Center for Women’s Fitness directly with its founder, Carolyne Anthony, who invited her to join the organization as faculty. She is also a Post Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist, trained through the Pink Ribbon Program. In 2013, she completed Pilates Studio Techniques in support of Heroes in Motion, overviewing skills to work with amputees and persons with traumatic brain injury. Additionally, she has advanced certificate training in Pilates for Injuries and Pathologies and specialized training in Pilates for athletes and for men. Still, Mariska’s heart (and most of her time) remains in the group fitness setting, inspiring the masses to learn to love to work out, and work out hard.

Outside of fitness, Mariska received a 2006 holistic health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (at that time – part of Columbia University’s continuing education curriculum) where she studied with Drs. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Barry Sears, and dozens of other leaders in the alternative health field. A former award-winning writer, video producer, and creative director, Mariska puts those skills to good use as a frequent guest on fitness and lifestyle blogs. She also creative directs Fuse’s website, marketing materials, and photos.

To learn more about Mariska, visit Pilates Anytime to take a class or workshop.

Roxanna Hakimi

Managing Partner, Co-Owner

Roxanna (Rox) grew up in Europe but managed to come to the U.S. without an accent. She graduated from University in London with degree in Hotel Management and soon after moved to Los Angeles to work for Four Seasons Hotels in wedding and party planning. Ultimately, she burned out thanks to some of the more memorable brides and their mothers.

Rox left party planning for the world of luxury goods, where she worked for LVMH as Human Resources Manager for Hard Candy and Urban Decay cosmetics. She loved it, but sadly never learned how to apply make-up. Luckily, she has a young daughter who will one day benefit from her treasure chest of cosmetics (but not until she’s 16).

Rox left L.A. to follow her husband to D.C. and someday, she will forgive him for that. Over the past five and a half years, Roxanna became a quasi Bethesda housewife, raising a set of Irish twins. When she needed to stop playing house, she decided to venture out and start her own business. She has always been interested in fitness (Pilates, marathons, running after her kids). When she took her first Fuse Pilates class, she knew she wanted to help the brand grow. She and Mariska formed Fuse 360 LLC, opened the Fuse Playground, and now, she’s not looking back!

You can find Rox at the Playground most days, handling the nuances of our online scheduling system, managing the work study team, helping with PR, marketing, housekeeping, welcoming students, and adding her fabulous sense of humor to the mix.

Addie Johnson

Senior Instructor, Teacher Trainer

Want a really upbeat teacher? Meet Addie Johnson, who found yoga and Pilates after a decade of running began to wreck her knees. A lover of dance parties, but not a “formal” dancer, she found that yoga was a wonderful way to fully express her emotions and thoughts through her body. She has been a yoga student since 2004 and was then introduced to Pilates and barre classes in Washington, DC when she moved here in 2006 for graduate school.

In addition to her Master’s in Museums Studies, she has two Pilates trainings under her belt: a traditional training from Quantum Pilates and a Fuse Pilates certification. She also holds advanced certificates in Pilates for Injuries and Pathologies through BASI Pilates, Pre and Postnatal training through the Center for Women’s Fitness, and Pilates for MS and neurological conditions. Addie taught barre classes from 2008-2011 and received her 200-hour yoga certification in 2009. After some serious life changes in 2009, she took her part-time teaching career full-time and has not looked back since.

Addie’s teaching style tends to be on the vigorous side with a strong emphasis on humor. She believes that while everyone should try to work towards their personal goals and strive to find harmony and balance within their body, laughter is essential.

In addition to teaching group classes and privates, Addie assists in Fuse Pilates teacher trainings, as well as developing exercises for the Fuse Pilates repertoire. Addie is fully certified by the Pilates Method Alliance.

Abe Ahern

Abe is a crisis intervention advocate and a long-time devotee of Fuse Pilates and the Fuse method, which gives him a way to both practice good self-care and to dig deep and challenge his strength and focus. He came to Fuse looking for a way to complement his cycling habit with muscle toning, but soon discovered that Pilates can work every zone on your body at any level of fitness. As one of the regular Fuse “guys,” it didn’t take long to learn that Pilates is anything but a breeze, but always a blast.

Abe is part of the original population targeted by Joseph Pilates’ fitness method: veterans. After an injury ended his running regimen and left him spending four years without a pain-free workout, a somewhat softer Abe discovered the power of Fuse’s 360 fitness with a focus on core stability. The hard work in Gillian’s mat classes transformed his body and his pain, leaving him healthier and fitter than he’s ever been. In the Fuse method, Abe also found a lot of exercises familiar from the Army’s Physical Training program, but with a focus and burn that rivals what any drill sergeant could inflict (plus the music is way better).

Abe’s a former Army fitness instructor himself, where he always thought misery was the point of exercise; but at Fuse, he’s learned that strength and endurance are not remotely incompatible with having an amazingly fun time.

Abe can think of literally dozens of ways to modify your push-ups, and loves to keep his mixes full of classic funk and electric beats. He will really, really do his best not to dance while you are sweating. It’s not that he enjoys your pain – it’s just impossible not to enjoy seeing himself, friends, colleagues, and students transform their bodies and feel stronger and healthier than they ever did before.

And yes – his manicure is better than yours.

Allegra Poggio

Allegra Poggio grew up in the Boston area and discovered Fuse Pilates as an activity to complement running and other outdoor adventures like paddle boarding, skiing and hiking. Allegra now lives in San Francisco (her soul mate city) and is bringing the Fuse hard core spirit to Bay area studios!

Her fitness education includes Mat and Reformer (bridge program) training with Fuse Pilates. Allegra has a comprehensive Mat and Apparatus Certification through Balanced Body and has additional chair apparatus training through Peak Pilates and Fuse Pilates. Allegra has studied anatomy comprehensively as part of all trainings at Fuse and Balanced Body. She has also been trained in the Balanced Body Barre program, Pre-Post Natal Pilates with the Center for Women’s Fitness, and Pilates for Multiple Sclerosis with Mariska.

Allegra has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Communications, and she is passionate about the emotional and neurological connection to physical exercise, nutrition, and working with people to achieve personal and fitness goals.
Her teaching style is challenging, disciplined, and calm. In her classes you’ll find detailed cues, energetic music, and a combination of challenging exercises to help you discover muscles that you have never felt before.

She found that Fuse helped to balance her physical and emotional self by strengthening and toning muscles while simultaneously challenging, focusing and calming the mind. Through her practice, she learned the power and value of understanding one’s own body to achieve personal and emotional goals. She sees life – and every day – as an adventure: one for which we should be strong, energized and well-dressed!

In her other activities, Allegra enjoys traveling (especially to Italy and Switzerland to see family and friends), joining a good dance party, reading (a lot), cooking (healthy!) and spending time with friends.

Ayelet Oser

Ayelet spends her life in studios either at Fuse or at school where she is obtaining her MFA in Interior Design at George Washington University. She came to DC after graduating with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from Goucher College in Baltimore. While at Goucher she became a fan of traditional Pilates method so much so that she had to receive special permission to take a third semester of the course. While at Goucher, she also had the opportunity to continue her interest in sports medicine, rock climbing, softball, photography and event planning.

Ayelet was introduced to Fuse by a good friend in February 2012 and it was love at first pulse, twist and tuck. She found the Fuse method challenging, effective and fun! She loved being able to use various modifications to build the strength she needed to nail the most challenging versions. Never being able to work out without music and always down for a dance party, Fuse brought the elements of a workout Ayelet was searching for together. In her first year at Fuse she took over 200 classes (!!) and partook in the Fall 2012 Fuse Mat Teacher training.

Ayelet emphasizes challenging one’s self in class, teaching exercises that push students to learn about and build their own strength with an emphasis on proper form to best access muscles in new ways. Her classes are set to energetic mixes that double for her living room dance parties

Clare Kelley

Tiny but tough, Clare Kelley can hold a perfect form teaser for minutes on end and then rush out of class to climb a up the side of a cliff while suspended from a couple of ropes and her fingertips. (Thanks, Fuse!) Her Pilates and yoga career began in 1999 as a complement to her various athletic activities – running, rowing, rock climbing, surfing, dancing, and even a (somewhat accidental) stint on the Costa Rican national aerobics team’s kickboxing squad!

Clare graduated from the inaugural Fuse Pilates teacher training and has been teaching ever since – first joining Mariska at Flow Yoga Center, and now, as a senior mat teacher at the Playground. Her continuing education and practice are informed by her experience with chronic back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and pelvic instability, a result of breaking her back in a rock climbing accident. And then breaking her back again (we think she should wear a bubblewrap suit).  Clare’s fitness education includes Pilates chair and reformer jumpboard training with Fuse Pilates and additional chair training with Peak Pilates and Balanced Body. On top of that, she added specialized coursework in shoulder and lumbopelvic stability with teachers such as Amit Younger, Megan Davis, and Kathy Van Patten. Clare also holds certifications in Step, Aerobics, and Kickboxing Skills and Choreography from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and 200-hour yoga teacher training. After deciding that a 9-5 job was hurting her back more than helping her life, Clare became a full-time teacher. She is completing her masters degrees (yup, two) in global public health and international development, where she focuses on preventing obesity through promoting healthy body image and fitness. She has completed coursework in pathophysiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and structural determinants of health.

As Fuse’s resident mixologist and Music Director, Clare puts her training from the Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University into practice by finding sweet tunes for classes — we call her the master of the mixtape.  Her piano teachers would be so proud! (Clare is also a different kind of mixologist – try one of her amazing cocktails at our next event.) Clare’s classes inspire students of all levels of fitness to challenge themselves in a lighthearted, non-competitive environment. Come to her class ready to work hard and leave satisfied!

Dara Angelo

Dara has always been addicted to exercise and chose Pilates as a path to solving her chronic low back pain and has never looked back (no pun intended). Dara swam competitively for ten years, has run two half marathons, and is an avid stepper (step aerobics – yes, it still exists). Her personal mantras include “sweat for real at least once a day, even if it’s dancing in your pajamas,” and “never do a form of exercise that isn’t fun.” Dara feels exercise is such a critical part of her daily routine that it should also be the highlight of her day.

After completing her 700-hour comprehensive apparatus training in October 2014, Dara chose to leave her desk job in Emergency Management to teach Pilates full-time. She believes Pilates is, by far, the smartest form of exercise she has done! Dara is a stickler for technique and provides hands-on adjustments to help her students get the most of each exercise.

Fuse Pilates allows Dara to tap her creative side by constantly thinking of new variations and ways to challenge her students, while also allowing her students to get a little dance party into their day. If you want some hands on attention and a no-excuses workout, check out one of Dara’s weekly reformer classes.

Dasha Barannik

Dasha first found her “flow” on the Reformer in college, eagerly attending 6am classes while her roommates slept until noon (being a morning person definitely helped!). After two years of living along the East Coast and practicing sporadically, Dasha returned to DC and found her true Pilates home: Fuse. She quickly fell in love with the workout, soundtracks and community she found at the playground. A regular Fuse practice kept her flexible, toned and, most importantly, sane. Knowing she wanted to be a part of this very special concept, Dasha completed her teacher training in winter 2012/2013.

Dasha was born in Moscow, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and studied International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. After college, she enjoyed many delicious (and lonely) dinners as a jetsetting management consultant, then returned to DC to launch the city’s first organic cold-pressed juice line for sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant chain. More than once, she juiced kale at 4:30AM, later to be seen holding teaser at Mariska’s 6:45PM mat class. That’s love!

When not Pilate-ing, as her boyfriend fondly calls it, Dasha enjoys making green smoothies, scouting new consumer-oriented health & wellness brands, and rocking all shades of purple (seriously, she counts 5+ purple accessories in her bag!).

Erin Shevlin

One of Erin’s college roommates introduced her to Fuse in the summer of 2012, for which she is eternally grateful. After devoting much of her time to Kung Fu from ages five to eighteen, Erin was a typical bored gym-goer in search of a more satisfying workout until she discovered her love of Pilates, Fuse-style. Roll ups and teasers have successfully replaced kicks and punches as her favorite fitness regimen.

Erin has a B.A. and M.A. from Georgetown, and she completed the fall 2013 mat training at Fuse. She finds teaching Fuse Pilates a perfect complement to her day job, and she truly believes that Fuse mat classes are the best kind of happy hour.

Originally from the Boston suburbs, Erin has lived in DC since graduating from Georgetown (for the first time) in 2009.

Gillian Love

Gillian is our resident superhero. By day, she’s a structural engineer. By night (and sometimes morning), she helps students build stronger bodies.

Gillian has always loved the aerobic benefits of running but lifelong asthma limited her ability to get in hard workouts during the colder months. After a few frustrating winters in college, she took a friend’s suggestion and purchased a $5 combination yoga and Pilates DVD. Once she got used to the strange looks from her college roommates while practicing in the living room she quickly began to realize the benefits of mind-body workouts. When she moved to California to pursue a graduate degree in engineering she ramped up her Pilates workout to 3 days a week and balanced them with strength training and aerobic workouts to help counteract stress. She was never happier or STRONGER!

After moving back to the DC area she tried her first Fuse Pilates class and quickly found out she could get the benefits of her various workouts in one class! Realizing she wanted to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of the movements, she participated in Fuse Pilates inaugural Teacher Training program over the winter of 2009-2010. She received her certification in February of 2010 and has enjoyed being able to share this unique Pilates method with her students ever since.

As a “type A” personality, Gillian has always pushed herself and her students to focus on great form. As an optimist, she believes there is always room to be happier and stronger.

Ginny Johnson, CHHC, AADP

Holistic Health Counselor

In addition to being a Fuse devotee, Ginny Johnson is a Board Certified Holistic Health Counselor with a passion for helping others look and feel as radiant, vibrant, and happy as they possibly can. She founded Urban Animal Wellness to guide busy Washingtonians back to the basics of healthy living. Ginny believes that even in our unnatural modern-day habitat filled with commutes, computers and ubiquitous processed food, it is possible — and fun!– to seek and find healthy natural nourishment.

Ginny is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied with field leaders such as Drs. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Marion Nestle and Joel Fuhrman. She draws on this training and her own personal and professional experiences to help others harness the power of food to change their lives. With Ginny’s instruction and support, her clients tackle health goals such as achieving optimal weight, increasing energy, banishing cravings (even for chocolate!), and improving sleep.

Ginny’s philosophy is a natural complement to the Fuse approach to Pilates – it blends elements from dietary theories ranging from Ayurveda to the Zone into one high-impact, life-changing program. She designs eating plans, recipes and tips that work for everyone regardless of lifestyle: omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan.

Ginny loves working with hard-core students in pursuit of their strongest, healthiest, most amazing bodies. She offers wellness and nutrition workshops as well as one-on-one counseling services at the Fuse Playground.

Janine Rudder

Janine is an educator working to improve the nation’s lowest performing schools. She started her education journey as a middle school teacher in Oakland, CA and since then has trained teachers in Central America, worked in the DC school system, and currently helps to create policies to improve the country’s neediest schools.

Janine first realized the importance of self-care during her years in the classroom. Adhering to a regimen that included frequent exercise and eating fresh food enhanced her capacity as a teacher. As a result, she became an avid runner and completed the Maui marathon. Her love for Pilates developed while she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, Central America. While serving, Janine found that Pilates was perfect because it required no equipment, helped to keep her strong and toned, as well as calmed the mind.

Looking for a way to deepen her practice and knowledge of Pilates, Janine found Fuse and was instantly hooked by the balance of fun and rigor as well as the unpredictability of the classes. As a former classroom teacher and teacher coach, Janine also is an advocate for educator wellness and intends to use Pilates to empower teachers to enhance their physical and emotional health.

Jen Hoar

Jen Hoar is a reformed ballerina who first saw a Pilates Reformer in a dressing room at her childhood ballet studio. She concluded it was a torture device for the ballet teachers, and she was half-right. Her own experience practicing Pilates began years later, post-college, when she succumbed to a Saturday morning infomercial sales pitch for a Pilates video and bought the VHS tapes. Following the mat workout video on her living room floor with the same people in the same outfits, in the same movements, every time, left her wanting more variety, fewer leotards and a real, live fitness family.

Allergic to human hamster wheels at gyms and hobbled by a sprained wrist from yoga, she fortuitously discovered Fuse one day in the fall of 2011, and became a Fuse convert immediately. Not long after, she became a Fuse evangelist and started teacher-training in Fall 2012. Jen became a Fuse teacher to share the strengthening and lengthening benefits of the Fuse workout with students, and do her part to contribute to the studio’s greatest asset of all: the community. It’s all about you, after all. She strives to ensure that students enjoy and benefit from the customization and personalization of the Fuse experience, which were the reasons she got hooked in the first place. Work on the body parts you want with a teacher who knows your name and is glad you’re there!

Jen is grateful that Fuse allows her to be the amateur DJ she never was and she has too much fun building new and diverse playlists for class. She also appreciates the opportunity to inject comedic commentary into class. You might as well laugh at her jokes. It’s good for your (hard)core.

Since graduating from Georgetown University in 2002, Jen has lived and worked in Washington, DC, and is originally from Westchester County in the New York City Metro area.

Jocelyn Murray

Her mother claims that Jocelyn started running before she started walking, and that energy stuck with her!

Jocelyn (known affectionately as the “Arms of Fuse”) has been practicing Yoga and Pilates for nearly 20 years. She began teaching PIlates in 2010 after completing her Fuse Pilates training with Mariska Breland. Jocelyn is also a graduate of Body, Arts and Sciences (BASI) Comprehensive Pilates Program. She has continued her education with courses in pre and post-natal Pilates, Pilates for MS, scoliosis, and advanced training in tower on the reformer, chair, and more.

In addition to group classes, Jocelyn also enjoys working with private clients to help them achieve their individual goals. She works with many types of clients including: pre and post natal clients, professional athletes,  injury rehab, mature clients and any one looking for a great workout.

Jocelyn is also an avid practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga. In 2008 she had the honor of going to Mysore India 2008 to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Center with Sharath Jois.

When not on a Yoga mat, Pilates mat, Pilates machine or Standup Paddle Board; she can be found at her LYS (Local Yarn Shop) knitting leg-warmers, hippos, hats and sweaters, socks. . .

Jocelyn is fully certified by the Pilates Method Alliance.

Laci McCandless

Laci is from Southern Indiana, the state where basketball rules. Being a tomboy whose favorite color was pink, she quickly devoted her free time to perfecting her basketball and softball game (and always had perfectly curled hair while playing). Since she was the first to dive on the floor after a ball – or for fun – she began noticing chronic back pain that oftentimes required bed rest. After seeing neurologists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and orthopedic surgeons; she accepted that her life was going to be restricted by back pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Not the case!

Laci was introduced to Pilates in 2007 when offered a complimentary session at a studio. It was love at first roll down! While far from being considered “flexible,” her improvement in posture and ease of movement was easily observed. After training with Suzanne Pride, Power Pilates Master Trainer, privately and in groups, she decided to pursue her comprehensive Pilates certification through Stott Pilates in order to share with others the transformation that had occurred on her own body.

When she relocated to DC, she stumbled upon Fuse, and she realized Pilates could be wonderfully fun AND effective! Who wouldn’t love doing spine stretch forward to Pitbull beats? The “up an inch, down an inch” method has decreased quite a few inches around her waist, but most importantly has vastly improved her quality of life. She attended classes six days per week for several months, joined Fuse’s apparatus training, and is beyond thrilled to be teaching a method she is so passionate about.

Laura Fassak

Laura studied Pilates as a dance student ten years ago and became a Fuse enthusiast after taking a class in 2010. After years of practicing teasers and planks on the mat and reformer, Laura completed the Fuse Pilates Teacher Training in spring 2014. She enjoys teaching classes that are challenging, balanced, and fun and believes that every single body can enjoy the benefits of Pilates, on and off the mat!

A Massachusetts native, Laura moved to DC to study International Relations at American University. When she’s not teaching or taking classes at the studio, you can find Laura working on Capitol Hill, traveling with family and friends, and enjoying all that the District has to offer.

Leah Lemoine

Leah fell in love with Fuse Pilates during her very first set of ‘hundreds’ back in January of 2011. Since then, she has watched her body transform and, just as importantly, loves that her measure of success changed from monitoring numbers on a scale to counting numbers of reps each class.

Leah grew up dancing and never lost the love of movement and expression. She gets the utmost joy out of pushing herself to her limits physically. Cycling has become Leah’s passion in the past few years and she enjoys bike touring, century rides, and cyclocross races. She has completed two multi-state rides and can often be seen heading out on the C&O Two Path with her camping gear strapped to the back of her bike.

Leah hails from Louisiana and prizes boiled crawfish and fried oysters above all other food groups. She is an environmental engineer working on watershed protection by day, but spends much of her spare time advocating for better bicycling facilities and alternative transportation.

Lisa Lowenstein

Lisa is a health policy lawyer by day, but her outlet has always been fitness. In fact, her passion for fitness began before she could even think about it. Her parents put her in dance class at the age of 2, and Lisa danced seriously through college. When she was an undergraduate at Princeton, she was the artistic director of eXpressions dance company. People would often find her on the elliptical machine or in a coffee shop choreographing dances in her head (yes, people stared…)

Lisa also started incorporating non-traditional music not only into her choreography, but also into dance rehearsals she led. Demi pliés to Blackstreet’s “No Diggity?” Why not? After college, she continued to dance and resurrected a defunct dance group while she was at law school.

When Lisa became a lawyer in NYC, she needed a new outlet and discovered willpower & grace®. After moving back to DC in 2009, she couldn’t find the class anywhere, so she became certified to teach it. Lisa has been teaching willPower & grace® for almost 4 years, and she is extremely excited to bring it to Fuse.

Lisa also found Fuse Pilates in 2009, and she loved it from the beginning. She became a more regular devotee when she discovered the Fuse Playground. With Fuse, Lisa has never felt stronger – Fuse has even helped her be able to do a real push-up! ☺ Lisa thinks that Fuse is the perfect combination of strength training, flexibility, and creative movement.

Because of Lisa’s dance background, you can expect her classes to have fun and interesting music – she lets the beat move her. She also is a stickler for good form, from head to toes (yes, she cares a lot about what is happening with your feet). Lisa also has the gift of gab – she loves to chat before and after class, so come say hello!

Maggie Derrickson

Maggie stepped out from behind Fuse’s reception desk as one of its workstudy students to join its teaching team in fall of 2013.

As someone who took a while to find her teaser, Maggie strives to help new students to Fuse or discouraged Pilates participants know that it takes time for some exercises to be done well (or at all). In her view, Pilates is awesome because sometimes just the act of trying to do the exercise is making a difference, so it’s good for all levels of students. She had to work an entire year before she could push myself up from the mat into a high plank, and the only reason she got there was because she kept on trying!

Maggie began doing Pilates because she needed the discipline of a group class. She found Fuse Pilates when she was searching for a strength-training regimen that also burned calories.

Maggie has also practiced Wushu, a form of Chinese martial arts where one tries to “float” or hover for extended periods of time. Unable to float, she transitioned to Kickboxing for a little over a year. She loved the cardio/strength training mixed with all-out violence.

Maggie is the proud parent of Fuse’s mascot, Daisy, a rescue spaniel/something mix that you’ll see occasionally at the studio and often on the Fuse Instagram page.

Meredith Capps

A former dancer, Meredith searched for years for a workout that would neither bore her to tears nor aggravate her pointe shoe damaged feet. Encouraged by a friend, she tried Pilates, and after dropping a dress size and growing half an inch, she became a devotee! Meredith received traditional mat and apparatus training from Quantum Pilates and was thrilled to join the Fuse teacher training program in 2012.

In addition to working closely with Fuse trainers Mariska and Addie, Meredith has taken continuing education workshops with Blossom Leilani Crawford, Mi Valentin, Nora St. John, and Lolita San Miguel. She is a certified Pre- and Postnatal Pilates Specialist through the Center for Women’s Fitness and a Specialist in Pilates-Based Exercise for Multiple Sclerosis.

In addition to her Pilates training, Meredith has a law degree from Vanderbilt University and spent more than 6 years practicing at a large DC firm before deciding to pursue teaching full time in 2013. Meredith is fully certified by the Pilates Method Alliance.

Meredith understands the frantic place of Washington life – and will often cue you to relax those shoulders! She believes that while a Pilates practice will strengthen and lengthen the body, the benefits are far greater than killer triceps or flexible hamstrings. She encourages her students to leave their worries at the door; you will leave feeling rejuvenated and de-stressed.

Michelle Deslauriers, DPT

In addition to being a Fuse student, Michelle is a physical therapist who specializes in manual techniques to help athletes improve their performance and eliminate pain. She is a board certified specialist in orthopedics and strongly supports the integration of physical therapy and wellness. Whether you have chronic pain or want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to achieve perfect posture, Michelle can help.

Michelle is a graduate of The George Washington University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she earned her doctorate in physical therapy. Since that time, she has furthered her education by studying additional hands-on techniques such as myofascial release and dry needling. Michelle’s objective is to provide the highest quality of care so that your physical therapy experience exceeds your expectations. Most of her clients see significant improvement in 1-3 sessions.

If you don’t consider yourself injured, but you’re experiencing pain during Pilates classes that doesn’t seem to go away (that doesn’t refer to the good pain), Michelle can conduct an assessment and work with you and your favorite Fuse teacher to make your teasers pain-free (they will still burn).

Michelle is conveniently located just up the street from Fuse in Woodley Park. For more info, visit

Monica Shores

Monica completed all levels of classic Pilates mat certification with Power Pilates in early 2010 and immediately followed it with Fuse Teacher Training the same year. She’s also a certified yoga teacher (300 hr training) through extensive studies with Rodney Yee in 2010—it was a busy twelve months! In the time since, she’s studied anatomy and breath with Leslie Kaminoff, and taken restorative yoga teacher training workshops with Judith Hanson Lasater as well as Pilates-geared anatomy workshops. She expects to complete her comprehensive Pilates training with Power Pilates in October of 2014, so will soon be prepared to sweetly make people suffer on the chair, cadillac, and barrel as well as reformer and mat. She also continues to educate herself on working with weights, which comes in handy during toys classes.

Having taken her first class with Mariska over three years ago, Monica still considers herself one of Fuse’s most devoted groupies. Her classes are heavily geared toward form and fun, and are set to the craziest mashups and remixes she can find. She loves Pilates for the powerful sense of accomplishment that comes from executing movement with precision and complete control, as well as for the way it’s shaped her body, and the amazing sense of length and ease that comes after a good class. Who can resist a work out that gives you amazing results while you lie or sit down? Her privates emphasize flexibility and spaciousness through core stability, and she loves incorporating hand weights, therabands, and magic circles.

Unlike many of her fellow instructors, she is an avid non-runner.

Paulette Bockmann

After first participating in Pilates 10 years ago, Paulette immediately realized this form of training was essential for her future well being and wanted to share the experience with friends. Pilates gave her body great core strength and balance which is a natural boost to excel in sports she loves as well as everyday activities.

Paulette received her Comprehensive Certification from Body Arts and Science International (BASI) and has been teaching both group classes and privates for five years. She is an avid cyclist and after the experience of injury and rehabilitation herself from a shoulder fracture as a result of a bike fall, Paulette decided to enhance her education with certifications offered by BASI including Pilates for Injuries & Pathologies, Shoulder Complex, Gait and Postural Structure, and Karen Clippinger’s workshop in low back pain, kyphosis, and osteoporosis. She is also a Specialist in Pilates-based exercise for Multiple Sclerosis.

After a few classes at Fuse she became hooked on the “fusion” of movement with traditional Pilates and started the teacher training program to become a Fuse instructor.

Rachel Bell

Rachel hails from San Diego, CA and brings a diverse array of experiences in the dance, Pilates, and fitness fields. She first discovered Pilates as support to her dancing in 2006; after pursuing her interest further, she completed her nine month comprehensive teaching certification in the classic Pilates method with an emphasis on the Ron Fletcher work from Studio du Corps in Costa Mesa, California under the direction of Master Teacher and former professional ballet dancer, Diane Diefenderfer. When she relocated to DC in 2009, Rachel began teaching Pilates throughout DC as well as the barre method at BFit. She first discovered Fuse when a friend convinced her to sign-up for bootcamp with Mariska – from that day forward, she knew Fuse was something special!

Rachel holds a BFA in Dance Performance and minors in English and Biology from the University of California, Irvine. Her strong dance background paired with her classical training allows her to focus on muscle lengthening, flexibility and core strength. When she’s not dancing or in a class, you can find Rachel enjoying good food, good friends, and traveling whenever possible. She takes on life with grace and strength – the same exact qualities that you’ll find in her classes.

Randi Moore

Randi first experienced Pilates in 2002 when she went looking for a fun, efficient way to stay in shape. Finding the gym highly disagreeable, she took to the Pilates method as a way to expand her body’s potential for strength, flexibility, and movement in a challenging, holistic way. She stuck with because it worked. Ten years later, Randi still finds herself consistently challenged in her own Pilates practice as well as in the classes that she teaches – and there’s nothing like Fuse’s “three requests” to keep a teacher on her toes. With this continuum on growth in mind, her classes strive to be both efficient and responsive to the ways individual bodies work best and emphasize Pilates training as a part of a large approach to wellness. Randi is a certified Prenatal & Postnatal Specialist through the Center for Women’s Fitness.

Originally from sunny California, Randi completed Pilates teacher training in 2008 at Pendelton Pilates in Cincinnati, Ohio while also earning a graduate degree in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. This experience being forever intertwined, she can’t help theorizing the sociopolitical implications of Pilates and has a few term papers to prove it.

Tori Ellis

In 2003, Tori accidentally started her Pilates practice when she began studying Tae Kwon Do as a means of staying in shape. While she didn’t know the intense core workouts her instructors gave her traced back to Joseph Pilates, they were included to help the students develop the strong core and discipline it takes to be a black belt.

After 7 years of Martial Arts, Tori moved on to the restorative practice of Yoga, and became more interested in the strength building potential of Pilates. One day, she dropped into one of Mariska’s Fuse Pilates bootcamps and started thinking about core training in a whole new way.

Tori sees yoga and Fuse not just as a means of working out, but a life long practice to better health. Her classes incorporate vibrant music with the intensity of Fuse exercises, and she occasionally mixes in fierce martial arts moves. Though Tori’s classes are always a challenge, they will appeal to the beginner student as well. Since she, too, was a new student once, Tori makes sure to give precise alignment cues, along with options to modify whenever necessary.

Tori received her 200 hour Yoga certification from Washington, D.C.’s Flow Yoga Center and her Fuse Pilates Certification in 2010. Tori also completed her Balanced Body Reformer training in 2012 and the Fuse Pilates reformer bridge program in 2013. In terms of specialty training, Tori is a certified Pre-and Postnatal Pilates specialist, studied Pilates for scoliosis with Karen Clippinger, and went back-to-the-basics with Pilates Elder Lolita San Miguel. She has also completed Mariska’s Pilates for MS training.

When Tori is not in a yoga or Fuse class, she can be found running through DC and Virginia training for her latest 10 miler.

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