The Pilates Advantage

My Story


Hello! I’m Debra (aka Deb or Debbie) Dodge and I have been a Pilates’ teacher for over 20 years. I’ve brought

together what I’ve learned over the years from many brilliant movement people, anatomists, and educators, as  well as my life experiences, to educate the community on how to

efficiently build, strength (and not get hurt), improve flexibility and bring mindfulness and full-body health into any activity you enjoy including yoga, Pilates, fitness, dance, sports, golf, or equestrian endeavors.

I began my movement career interested in trying everything, ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading, aerobics, etc. I also belonged to a women’s body building gym downtown Minneapolis. Exercise helped improve my mood and made me feel better in my body. When I had my first lovely daughter, I was lucky to be a stay-at-home mom, but I found my mental health declined without outside stimulation. I joined a health club with a daycare, and in 1997, I got certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE) as a Personal Trainer.

I was first introduced to Pilates in the late 1990s when I was reading a People Magazine. Courtney Cox (Friends) gave an interview and mentioned how much she loved Pilates. I had no idea how to pronounce it. However, the health club I worked at announced that they were looking for people to teach it. I took a 15-minute introduction to Pilates mat class and walked out of there thinking, “Where have my abs been for the last 30 years!” It was love at first sight.Fast forward 20 something years and here I am!

Pilates made sense to me. It was efficient – we were breathing, flushing our bodies of toxins, strengthening from the inside out unlike any other exercise I’d ever experienced, getting our bodies toned with the precise Pilates exercises in their designed sequence. I started my teacher training through The PhysicalMind Institute to teach Pilates mat exercises. It was obvious from the very beginning, teaching people to move correctly is a process and some are just not interested. No one wanted to slow down, think, feel or get strong from the inside/out.

In 2000, I completed PhysicalMind Institute’s Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Program so I could begin teaching on all the Pilates’ apparatus. I then did my apprenticeship at a studio in Minneapolis where I was introduced to another world of Pilates. This is where I started to learn: there are many ways to teach Pilates – it depends on who teaches you. I traveled back and forth to The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO. Later, I went back to The Pilates Center for my Pilates’ Master training.

I have been privileged to be able to take workshops with most of the First-Generation Teachers (those people taught directly by Joseph Pilates), as well as many talented and amazing 2nd and 3rd generation Pilates teachers. This experience has provided a view of the diversity of the lineages and the value that each of these teachers contributed to the evolution of The Pilates Method.

Prior to 2005, any Pilates School could “certify” their students to teach The Pilates Method of Exercise. As I mentioned above, because there were so many people from different lineages that couldn’t agree on how to teach Pilates because they were all taught differently, the Pilates industry needed to come together. I was involved in those planning stages to help create a standardized test for Pilates teachers. Simply, a ‘competency test’ to make sure Pilates was being taught safely by qualified instructors and to not forget the legacy of Joseph Pilates and his

wife, Clara, even though it was inevitable that things would change the more we knew about the human body and science.

The National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) is THE TEST that all Pilates teachers, who are interested in the health and safety of teaching Pilates to the general population, should have. Passing the NPCP test is a Pilates’ teacher’s Certification. (More on this under the Tab
“National Pilates Certification”)

Pilates National Certification Logo

In 2004, I founded The Pilates Advantage in Rockford, MN. I subsequently moved the studio to Medina, MN in 2010. I closed the Medina location May 31, 2022 when I decided to pursue my true passion which is movement education for all ages. I have been a Franklin Method Movement Educator (Level lll) since 2010. I use all the tools I’ve learned to help you feel better in your body.


Did you know that you can naturally…
– Get stronger in mind and body (they work together!)
– Ease common aches and pains with scientifically proven techniques
– Have natural inner confidence
– Experience comfort and ease in your body
– Tone your abs, arms, legs and glutes without creating tension or hurting yourself
– Learn healthy movement skills to keep you active at any age – good habits start when we’re
Let’s start working together on the design of your body!


NCPT-Master Pilates, Level 3 Franklin Movement Educator

Pilates:  CoreDynamics Pilates, Pilates Center of Boulder, Balanced Body, PhysicalMind Institute

Other:  Franklin Method Level 3 Educator, ACE Personal Trainer, ACE Orthopedic Specialist, Buff Bones (Osteroporosis Safe Exercise), CoreAlign, Barre, BOSU, TRX, Indoor Rowing

Degree:  B.S. Exercise Science