Back in October 2016 I decided I would sign up for a couple of certifications in the new year that I was contemplating for a while. The first was POUND® (which we are launching in March!) and the second was to add another pole certification to my resume. After much research, I decided on elevatED. Even though I’ve been an instructor for over 6 years, there is always something new to learn and this would be a great opportunity to learn from one of the best and an industry leader, Michelle Stanek from Body & Pole NYC. I arrived (really) late on Thursday to Houston after a cancelled flight but I made it and was so excited to start the very next day. The weekend would be filled with pole dancing, laughs and education. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was keen to find out.
Friday was going to be a short day (5pm to 9pm) at Verticality Fitness (the studio hosting elevatED). I hopped in a taxi and made it a bit early to settle in. Everyone greeted me with a smile and as expected, we all asked each other where we were from. I happened to be the only Canadian in the group 🙂 Michelle came in and we began to introduce ourselves and our backgrounds in pole. We quickly got into the curriculum and discussed many topics including pole instruction excellence, body knowledge/muscle activation, common injuries and cueing. I really enjoyed the different perspectives we all shared and there were definitely moments of “I forgot about that” and “that’s a great addition to my teaching method”! I loved the section of cueing… Everyone learns in different ways and to incorporate different cues really makes a difference to students’ experience and progress. We ended the day and one of my new friends dropped me off at my hotel. I ordered some room service and went to bed early because tomorrow’s training would start at 9am.
Saturday would be 8 hours but I couldn’t wait to get moving! We would be reviewing warm ups and dance-based and strength-based techniques and spotting. It took me a while to figure out the different terminology (the old adage is true… every studio uses their own pole language!) but I got into the swing of things pretty quickly. We took a break and I went with my new friends to grab some lunch. Everyone was so welcoming and nice… That’s not surprising though. The pole community is amazing and some of my closest friends are people I met through pole. We finished up and walked back to the studio. When 5pm came around, I couldn’t believe that the time had passed so quickly!
Sunday was going to be another 8 hours plus a practical exam. No matter how long you’ve taught pole, an exam always make you nervous! We each created several pole combos and flows throughout the day. We all were learning different moves from each other and it was awesome to see other styles. We also taught each other moves and spins to prepare us for the practical where we would teach a specific technique to the rest of the girls. By the end of the day, I was losing a bit of steam but I was looking forward to teaching climbing. We were all to pretend that the others were new to the technique we were teaching and so I began my instruction. Michelle was taking notes and at the end she confirmed my success! We just had one more challenge upon returning home, the written exam.
The next day, I boarded my flight and the day after I successfully completed my written exam online for L1 Pole. Next up? elevatED L2 Pole! I can’t express how great this experience was for me and I know that my new knowledge will benefit my students and the other instructors at Aradia. The biggest take away for me was the EXPERIENCE we as instructors bring. This is the single most important thing I can give my students. Not only should we continue to focus on technique, safety and learning new things but when I think about any fitness classes I’ve taken, I think about my experience and the feeling I had during and after class. Classes should be fun, motivating and satisfying. The studio, music and comfort all play a part too. At Aradia, we want your experience to be fulfilling and our goal is to deliver that to you every single class!
(Many thanks to the elevatED team and especially Michelle Stanek!)