We’re on the second part of our series where we share the stories and journeys of our co-owners, Demetra Lykidis, Monika Deviat, and Robin Buriak. In part two, you may already see a common thread: Pole (and aerial) is life-changing. If you stick with it, the physical and mental health benefits continue, and you’ll see that there is no end to what you can learn, play with, and keep developing and refining. The path may even change as you find a new style or a new apparatus. Robin’s journey is a love story.

Why pole? Because everything.

The journey to pole dancing probably started when I lived in BC. My fitness program consisted of sneaking away from my two children for short periods of time to walk the steep hills of Lions Bay with my best friend, Char. These were breaks for us that built us into cardio powerhouses. We were known in that small mountain town because every day, we would walk from 800ft to the ocean and back several times, all the while yapping about all the shit. It was heavenly, and sure great for our health and wellbeing.

Well, then I went and fell in love. My 3N0 (his Plenty of Fish handle, haha) turned out to be a native of Calgary so off we went. Me and my two little jerks were off to live in Okotoks (never heard of the place). All was super great…except it was flat. I had no steep hills to grind up, and there was no Char to talk with and share the suffering. So, one day when it was -30C outside, I was sweating, swearing, and watching the clock while running on a stupid boring treadmill in a stupid indoor gym, I thought, ”That’s it. I’m taking a damn pole dancing class.”

I had partaken in a pole party at another beautiful friend’s house back in 2007. I never forgot it. 10 women, 1 pole. Still, it stuck with me. Fireman spins, body waves, and a few made-up moves that I might even still use today. I did a quick look around Calgary for a pole studio, and there she was: the lovely Aradia Fitness Calgary, run by the equally lovely Demetra Lykidis. I never even knew until later that my very first class at Aradia was, in fact, the very first class ever upon opening. HOW FUN!!! And how cool is it to have been one of the very first clients and still part of this studio’s journey?

I never looked back. I have not set foot in a stupid gym since. I was hooked from my first spin right through the feelings. I was about to turn 45 when I started in Pole 1 in 2015, and on the day of writing this, I am about to turn 54. I became a regular, attending classes two or three times a week. I just couldn’t get enough and purchased my home pole at about three months in. Almost a year after my first class, Demetra asked me to try out for an instructor position in 2016. Not even a year after that she asked me to be a partner, along with the delightful Monika Deviat. I was all in.

Since that time, I have participated in one CPFA Canadian Championship, Masters Division, one PSO Canada West competition, Masters Division, and one showcase in Edmonton with Aradia YEG. Exciting stuff. My routines were definitely trick-centred, with strength and muscle being my focus. The dancing at Aradia has been great for me, to loosen up my body and mind where I tended to be a little stiff. If I ever compete or perform again, I will definitely try to incorporate more dance flow.

My wonderful partner 3N0 (his name is actually Ian xoxo), is a firefighter and Safety Codes officer. He has been so supportive of my pole life and I also support his fundraisers and volunteer events. I will put on the small-sized firefighter gear and run stairs with him in my Aradia swag to fundraise for various fire-related causes. The firefighting gear is no big deal for a pole dancer to haul up and down stairs! Ian assists us in our annual safety checks of our aerial rig. We are very serious about it here (the photoshoot was Ian’s idea).

During the day, I am a swim instructor, lifeguard, and aquafit instructor, so leading group fitness classes is my life now. My aquatic students vary so much in age. I enjoy introducing fresh babies to the water all the way through the ages to showing seniors the life-changing effects of water and music.

I am still all in. I love this studio, our classes, our instructors, my partners, our students, all of it. Being an instructor and owner could have changed my feelings for pole (it is work after all), but they haven’t. I LOVE teaching my classes, and I still LOVE being a student of our vastly talented instructors. There is so much to learn and try even after all the years I have been training and teaching, I can’t imagine a life without it.

– Robin Buriak