On January 2, 1996, Deb knocked on Kyria’s condo/studio door. Having been referred by a Canyon Ranch contact, Deb disclosed her desire to learn and teach Pilates. To this, Kyria responded, “I’m not quite sure what to do with you but come on in…” Thank goodness for great beginnings!
Deb was born in Boston, where her father completed his residency, and moved with her family to Tucson at age one. Her passion for this place and her long-time citizenship certainly grounds her firmly in the “Proud Tucson Native” camp.
Through age 15 Deb was a competitive gymnast. When her family briefly lived in London, her gymnastics coach required his athletes take classical ballet. Deb wasn’t a fan. But she soon discovered that ballet fit her body better than gymnastics. Having suffered wrist issues, Deb made the transition to dance and studied Ballet and Modern dance through high school.
After graduating from California’s Santa Clara University in three years, Deb moved to New York City to dance professionally. She became a temporary resident in her brother’s living room while she took classes and ushered at the Joyce Theatre where she got paid to watch dance performances four nights per week! However, even joined in her NYC adventure by her high school sweetheart -now husband- Freddy, the call of the desert became too strong to stay in Manhattan. “I’m not a city girl. I needed mountains, blue sky, and some connection to the Earth,” she explains. So, they returned to Tucson and Deb alighted on Kyria’s doorstep after having been introduced to Pilates through her dance studies.
The summer after their first interaction, Kyria and Deborah took an extended road trip around the Southwest to study various lineages of the work. Road trips generally either make or break relationships. This one solidified an outstanding partnership. That Fall, Kyria and Deb opened the first commercial space for Body Works Pilates. It was here that Deb first met Ron Fletcher when Kyria brought him in for a workshop.
Not long after Deborah’s daughter was born, so was the first Fletcher Pilates® Teacher Training Program. Deb’s maternity leave from the studio brought to light the importance of developing an efficient, comprehensive program to disseminate knowledge of the lineage and create qualified teachers. The rest, as they say, is history.
Deb continues to teach at the central Body Works Pilates studio (not to mention across the country and at international engagements.) As Director of Education for Fletcher Pilates, she manages the curriculum for the internationally disseminated program and teaches fledgling instructors.
Deb is incredibly passionate about Pilates. She emphatically and fascinatingly waxes poetic about the practice, philosophy, master teachers, and elders of the lineage when given the chance. But she is even more passionate about her closely knit family – not just her high school beau/husband, Freddy and children Serena (20 yrs) and Rey (17 yrs) but her parents, in-laws and a bushel of diverse, extended family sprinkled around the country. Then there’s Tucson and the desert. Deb loves this place. Whether exploring the city or the surrounding wilds, she takes it in and proudly shares her love and discoveries as only a true daughter of the desert will – with joy and fresh, wide-eyed glee.
Scratch the surface of Deb Mendoza’s reserved outward persona and you’ll encounter an incredibly knowledgeable, passionate Pilates teacher, dedicated wife, mother, and daughter, and a truly enthusiastic Tucson fan. To bask in some of her enthusiasm for 55 minutes or so, call the Body Works Pilates studio or check online to get in on one of Deb’s amazing Floorwork group classes or to schedule a private session!