Archives > October 2019

Student Spotlight – Leah

Our Student Spotlight for October 2019 is our amazing student Leah!

Every other month we spotlight an Aradia Fitness Calgary student who we feel embodies our community of positive, supportive, powerful, and fabulous men and women. Just about every day of the week, Leah can be found at our studio dancing on the pole, spinning on the Lyra, or flying on the silks. She is an absolute natural; her progress has been outrageous. Leah works so hard and always shows support and encouragement to her peers. Here is her story.

Where are you from?

I was born in Manitoba, but Calgary is essentially my home town!

What is your favourite past-time? (Besides pole of course, haha)

Leah’s paintings

It’s more than a pastime but I love painting and drawing! I am in my last year of art school, working towards my BFA in Drawing. I am also working on my Certification in Women’s Counselling and would love to find a way to incorporate the two in my future career.

What do you love the most about pole and aerial?

I love that it’s such a well-rounded means of getting healthier. The creative nature of the sport makes you reconnect with yourself and your body in such a unique way. I love that my fitness goals are no longer centered around aesthetic achievements that would often leave me feeling discouraged and ready to fall out of routine. Now I’m just focused on what I am capable of and the journey is so exciting, rewarding, and addictive! I also feel really supported and encouraged by the community, and am really honoured to be part of such an amazing group of people at Aradia and the pole community in general.

What is your favourite class at Aradia? What is your favourite move?

My favourite pole move lately is jade split! It’s one of the first moves I saw that I was really enamoured with, so it’s been really satisfying to work towards. It’s tough to choose a favourite class, I love my regular levelled pole classes because that’s where I see the most of my improvements and always learn something new! But I also love getting into my 8-inch platforms and doing Exotic Flow classes. I also like how restorative Aerial Flow is after a weeks’ worth of exhausting pole/silks/lyra classes.

What motivates you to keep coming to your classes consistently?

I would really like to try competing one day! As a kid I did vaulting competitively (for those who don’t know, vaulting is gymnastics on a moving horse. Yes, my mom liked putting me in unconventional sports lol) so I kind of missed competing and performing now that I’ve found a sport I absolutely love. It’s also just so easy to want to keep taking classes consistently. There’s a variety of different classes to take throughout the week and almost every day has a bit of something for everyone.

When did you start coming to Aradia Fitness?

I started at Aradia in May 2019 after living a very sedentary student life for multiple years and it has been exactly what I needed! Now I’m there almost every day and take multiple classes a day if I can, I wish I started sooner.

What surprised you about pole and aerial fitness?

I was surprised by how painful so many graceful and lovely looking moves were. It just goes to show how conditioned and powerful pole dancers really are both physically and mentally to make such intense moves look effortless. It’s a good feeling when previously painful positions become easier.

Why should someone join Aradia Fitness and start their pole and aerial journey today?

Pole and aerial sports have so much to offer, whatever it is you’re looking for! You will improve on whatever you perceive your weaknesses to be, and will find new strengths. The people at the studio come from all walks of life and everyone is very accepting and inclusive. I always leave the studio feeling inspired and energized (also very eager to come back). The atmosphere at Aradia is amazing and the classes are so fun and challenging! The studio is bright and beautiful, and the instructors and fellow students make it such a special and welcoming place. It’s improved my mental and physical health, and just my life in general drastically and I’m so thankful for Aradia!










Preparing for the Aradia Fitness Calgary Feature Video Shoot

Thanks for following our journey as we reflect on our recent experiences with Kira and Evgeny. This week we get to share all the excitement in planning the feature video we filmed and then premiered on October 1, 2019. 

(If you’re joining us now, and wanting to catch up on the full story, check out part 2 on why we wanted Kira and Evgeny as guest instructors.)

In thinking back, I remember the feeling of being on cloud nine when we received confirmation of the approved visas for Kira Noire and Evgeny Greshilov (from Immigration Canada)! It didn’t take long for reality to sink in that I had to get serious about planning and executing the Aradia Fitness Calgary video shoot. Although Evgeny was prepared to bring over all the required equipment to shoot the video, I still had to come up with the inspiration and overall plan. 

The Purpose. Ultimately, my goals for producing the feature video were to: 

  1. Share with our followers how truly amazing our team is.
  2. Make our current students feel proud to be a part of the Aradia Fitness Calgary community.
  3. Encourage men and women to try pole and aerial as well as to join our family. 

This required careful thought, creative inspiration, and a well thought out plan to work!

The Music. My first step was to listen to music. Although it helps get my creativity to flow, finding music that speaks to me is difficult. Picking the right music for the video was especially challenging because copyrights and licensing requirements limited my options. I easily listened to over 150 songs, one that would be inspiring, but with softer sections complemented by edgy dynamics. I wanted the music to motivate people to feel strong and confident, while also having a bit of a sexy feel to it.

Finding the right song helped me to answer the question, “What defines Aradia Fitness Calgary and what do we stand for?”. I tried to bring the answer to life in our video; inclusiveness, community, family, professionalism, encouragement, knowledge through experience and training, and (most importantly) that we love sharing our passion with others. 

The Preparation. Planning what to showcase in the video was the next step. I envisioned a mixture of beginner to advanced combos and tricks to highlight what new and existing students could experience with us. In preparation for the video shoot, planned during Evgeny’s visit, we organized a practice the Monday night prior. We then drafted a list of moves and combos for Kira and Evgeny to review when they arrived. 

Arriving on Wednesday, Evgeny asked to see the studio as soon as possible, so he could have a better idea of what he was working with. There was a moment in the studio when he looked at me and said, “I’m going to climb the truss and video your team from the top.” Our truss for our aerial equipment stands at eighteen feet – and since we are conscious about safety – I told him I would get Monika (our resident climber and rigger) to bring in her climbing gear. He looked at me like I had two heads! 🙂

Evgeny Greshilov crouched on top of an aerial truss filming the aradia fitness calgary feature video

Luckily, Evgeny did not drop a camera on us 😉

I continued to brainstorm ideas with Kira and Evgeny over Wednesday and Thursday. We were able to come up with a final draft (even with Ari, the puppy, interrupting and demanding Evgeny’s attention). We had confidence in the plan, and we were prepared to adapt as the shoot progressed. 

The Video Shoot. Friday arrived, and it was GO time! Evgeny and Kira were unbelievable. Evgeny was able to shoot 78 takes in less than four hours, a testament to their talents. Kira was always ready with adjustments and ideas to change up a section and Evgeny had us repeat takes until the shots and angles met his vision.

Kira Noire helping to pose the instructors of Aradia Fitness Calgary for their feature video shoot.

Kira posing some of the instructors.

I cannot explain how genuinely thankful I am that we had this once in a lifetime experience. We were so incredibly lucky to shoot our feature video with the guidance of two of the best pole athletes in the world!


Why We Wanted Kira and Evgeny as Guest Instructors

This blog is part two of a series about our time with Kira Noire and Evgeny Greshilov in July 2019. Here is the link to catch up on part 1, “Connecting Kira and Evgeny with Aradia Fitness Calgary“.

When I was deciding on who to bring to Aradia Fitness Calgary, there were a lot of things I needed to take into consideration. 

  1. What styles were most popular?
  2. What skills did we (the instructors) collectively need or want to work on?
  3. Which pole athletes (those who hadn’t been to Canada before) could bring the most value to students.  

All guest instructors we’ve brought to Calgary in previous years showcase amazing skills and are genuinely unbelievable instructors. However, some athletes seem unattainable because of all the red tape to get them into Canada. I wondered, “Should I take the risk and try to get it done?”. I decided it was worth the extensive hours of work and expense to achieve it. The pole athletes at the top of my list were Kira Noire and Evgeny Greshilov.

Kira started pole dancing in 2008, with no previous gymnastics or professional dance background, but her passion for pole was instant. After two years of practicing, she started to teach and compete in Russia, Europe, and then globally. In 2015, she partnered with Evgeny Greshilov in doubles competition. In 2017, the two of them started working with the biggest Russian Dance-Circus show at Leningrad Centre as pole artists. Kira now travels most of the year as a performer, judge, and instructor. Her awards include (but are not limited to): Winner of Pole Classic 2016 (Pole Expo), Ultimate Champion at IPC 2015 in doubles (Hong Kong), and Winner of Pole Art Cyprus 2014. 

Although her awards are impressive, what drew me to Kira was her dance ability and musicality. Exotic (Russian style) was something I was currently training in, and she is one of the best in the world. The technical aspects of it are difficult to master and, knowing our students loved this genre; I thought it was a no brainer. This would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for students and instructors to receive some of the best instruction on musicality, lines, pointe work, and seamless movement, melting from one to the next. If she accepted the invitation to Calgary, I knew her workshops would be in high demand.

Evgeny is a world-famous athlete who has changed the vision of male pole dancing. He started his career as a pole athlete in 2010, becoming a Russian triple champion in less than one year. In the spring of 2011, Evgeny won the male category of the Aerial Pole International and, by the fall, achieved the title of World Champion at the World Pole Sport & Fitness Championship in Budapest, Hungary. He became the first Male World Pole Champion in history. He continued to amaze and excite the pole community by becoming a three-time World Pole Champion and a seven-time International Pole Champion (among other achievements). Evgeny is so precise in his instruction that I couldn’t resist bringing them both! He honestly can get anyone into anything. He is that talented. 

Evgeny is also the founder and co-owner of the online school Open Dance Academy. To add to his long list of talents, Evgeny is a pole videographer, and I had followed his work for several years.  

I took a leap and reached out to both Kira and Evgeny, in hopes they would respond to my request and accept the invitation to come to Calgary. Thankfully, the gamble paid off. Kira Noire and Evgeny Greshilov were coming to Calgary!

Also, a dream of mine was that one day we would have the fortune of having Evgeny shoot and produce a video for us. When we announced the video shoot to our instructors, they were ecstatic! They knew this was a once in a lifetime experience, and we couldn’t contain our excitement.

This was going to be an unforgettable experience! 


Kira and Evgeny with their Calgary host Ari the puppy

Kira and Evgeny with their Calgary host Ari the puppy.

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