Meet our instructor trainers.

Leslie Braverman

Owner, Pacific NW Pilates | Lead Instructor Trainer, STOTT PILATES®

Leslie was a professional dancer for 15 years. She performed with the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, The Richmond Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland’s BODYVOX. Her early passion for dance began at North Carolina School of the Arts where she was awarded the 1988 Peabody Scholarship Award for Excellence. Leslie was a Level One ARTS recipient (sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) in 1989 and was a semi-finalist—and one of five sponsored Americans—to compete in the 1988 Prix de Lausanne International Dance Competition in Switzerland.

She was introduced to Pilates while studying at The School of American Ballet in New York. Years later an injury and a gifted surgeon led her to STOTT PILATES—a contemporary approach to the original method. She credits STOTT PILATES with restoring her movement and prolonging her career.

Leslie became a STOTT PILATES instructor in 1997 and an instructor trainer in 2000. She was designated as a STOTT PILATES Lead Instructor Trainer due to exceptional commitment and leadership in 2012, qualifying her to teach curriculum to other instructor trainers internationally. Leslie’s Pilates teaching is enlightened by a life-long passion of dance. Her performing career and education blend the art and athleticism of movement with the science of exercise.

Leslie has presented courses and workshops for STOTT PILATES in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Japan and Turkey. Back home in Portland, Leslie loves to train dancers, athletes, fitness clients and aspiring instructors each week. She is collaborator and founder of Pacific NW Pilates with Melanie Byford-Young since its launch in 2001 and leads in managing and marketing the studio.

Melanie Byford-Young, BHSc. PT.,

Owner, Pacific NW Pilates | Master Instructor Trainer of Rehabilitation, STOTT PILATES®

Melanie Byford-Young is a leader in the global community of Pilates, PTs, and fitness training. She has pioneered the use of STOTT PILATES® to assist with physical rehabilitation and therapeutic conditioning for more than twenty years. In 2007, she was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Rehab program for STOTT PILATES® — including the development of a new instructor curriculum, training materials and DVDs, which she appears in.

Melanie was originally a licensed physical therapist, graduating from McMaster University in Ontario with a Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy in 1991. She also earned the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s Certificate in manual and manipulative physiotherapy and has taken specialized orthopedic courses on the shoulder, cervical spine, foot mechanics and running mechanics.

In 2001, Melanie started teaching STOTT PILATES courses and workshops.  Melanie has committed her career to teaching therapeutic applications of Pilates, and helping clients with injuries and rehabilitation issues. While she is not currently practicing nor licensed as as a physical therapist, she brings together her years in the field to help clinicians with integrating Pilates into their practices and teaches Pilates instructors how to work with injured clients.

Melanie’s ground-breaking approach has put her in high demand with medical professionals, and with pilates and other fitness instructors. She has taught courses and workshops throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe for STOTT PILATES and has made guest appearances at conferences such as IDEA World Fitness and Body Mind Spirit.

Katherine Brown

Instructor, Pacific NW Pilates  | Lead Instructor Trainer, STOTT PILATES® and ZEN•GA™

Katherine has more than 10 years of experience teaching group classes and private clients of all backgrounds and abilities. Brown pursued her Pilates education at Pacific Northwest Pilates, Central YMCA Pilates Academy in London, England, and STOTT PILATES headquarters in Toronto, Canada. She holds certifications in Total Barre™ and ZEN•GA (Mat and Equipment), and a “Specialist” certification in Pilates for Athletic Conditioning. Brown believes Pilates is more than just exercise. It’s a way to improve how our bodies function in a lasting way, which can free us from pain and injury. She emphasizes correct biomechanics and heightened body awareness to help her clients create healthy patterns of moving and living.

Holly Shaw

Instructor, Pacific NW Pilates  | Instructor Trainer, STOTT PILATES® and Total Barre™

Holly Shaw completed her full certification with STOTT PILATES® in 2014 and went on to become an Instructor Trainer for Merrithew™ specializing in STOTT PILATES Mat and Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, and Barrels and Total Barre®. She teaches private sessions and group classes at Pacific NW Pilates. Holly has danced professionally with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BodyVox, Éowyn Emerald and Dancers, and skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE. Holly currently performs with push/FOLD in Portland, OR, and also is the company's Managing Director. Holly has performed internationally in Japan, South Korea, Germany, and India and consistently uses Pilates as a form of cross-training for her dance career. Along with her pre-physical therapy studies, in 2010 Holly graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in Ballet with an emphasis in performance and teaching. Holly specializes in training athletes and dancers, and also enjoys guiding older adults and special needs clients to using effective and efficient movement in all areas of life.

Debra Hunt

Instructor, Pacific NW Pilates  | Lead Instructor Trainer, STOTT PILATES® and ZEN•GA™

Debra began her journey with STOTT PILATES® after experiencing 18 years of chronic pain from injuries sustained in a car accident. She immediately became fascinated with the STOTT PILATES method, realizing it was the only modality that actually worked to heal her body. Following rehabilitation, Debra attained Full Certification in 2005 and was promoted to Instructor Trainer in 2006. Her STOTT PILATES training is complemented by a background in dance and gymnastics. In 2016, Debra became a Merrithew® Lead IT.

Debra works with people in all states of health, wellness, recovery and restoration, including high-level athletes. She has worked with the touring cast of Cirque de Soleil’s Amaluna, as well as a number of professional athletes. 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, integral anatomy, and all things movement-related. 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 since 2009 and is consistently successful with client concerns, addressing complex dysfunction often through a fascial lens.


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