Categories > Pole Experience

A Students’ Perspective of Pole 4

It is my pleasure to introduce our guest blogger, Alex Zabel. Alex is one of our Pole 7/8 students who puts a lot of time and effort into her training. She also understands the methodology of our pole and aerial curriculum. However, she is not shy about letting her instructors know how she is feeling about the exercises. I can’t recall exactly what set Alex off, but after one of my classes with her, she went on a rant about Pole 4. We know this one of our “biggest” and most challenging levels to get through because of all the foundational moves in it. What was fantastic, was that Alex realized this and also the why behind it. So, I told Alex she had to write a post for our blog. I love what she wrote for us (to show my appreciation, bonus core exercises for you next class, Alex).


Before I even went to my first class at Aradia, I scoured the entire website. I must have read every single word on all of the pages. As I was reading about the different levels of pole, including the required assessment before you level up, I was intimidated. Immediately I thought, “Maybe I’ll never have to assess, and I’ll be happy at Level One?”.

Keep in mind, anyone who’s seen me at the studio knows that thought didn’t stick around for long. But, it did stay long enough to make me absolutely committed to mastering each move (in every level and on both sides) before attempting to level up!

This commitment was totally fine as I progressed through Levels One, Two, and Three. Then, Pole Four hit. HOLY SMOKES! Inside AND outside Leg Hangs with NO HANDS?! The bruises from practicing those killed me! And Butterfly?! Butterfly freaked me out! Knee Pit Holds? They looked so beautiful when other people did them, but I swear my knees were not sticky enough to play around with Genie! I did countless Pole Four classes (for real, I have no desire to count the number of Pole Four classes I’ve done). I felt like I was never going to level up.

Guest blogger Alex Zabel in an extended butterfly on pole

Extended Butterfly

I’m not going to lie. I started to get a bit frustrated. How could I have moved through the other levels doing almost the minimum number of classes and then hit this wall in Pole Four? I was excited to learn new things I had seen in different levels at the studio, or on Instagram, and I wasn’t feeling exceptionally patient or interested in waiting.

Having reached the point where I am on the other side of Pole Four, I can say with absolute certainty that every single Pole Four class I did was necessary. In fact, continuing to take Pole Four has been valuable.

I’m going to take this moment to give a shout out to the ladies at Aradia for developing the curriculum the way they have. It’s pure genius! Wizardry.

At some point, it becomes apparent how so many moves at every level build upon themselves in the next level. For example, Jasmine and Leg Hangs are a precursor to nearly everything in the entire world. Practicing Split Grips leads you to Butterfly, which leads you to Extended Butterfly, which

Guest blogger Alex Zabel perfomring a split grip ayesha on pole

Alex perfomring a split grip Ayesha on pole

helps you with your body positioning and confidence for Ayesha (which, in my case, still took forever to get).

Let’s not forget to mention the conditioning! As much as I whine about the conditioning, every time I have to do it, it made such a huge difference in my ability to see success in my moves. Without the regular conditioning, I am sure it would have taken me so much longer than it did!

To blast through any level (especially Pole Four) as quickly as possible, or to train to the point where I simply “beat” the assessment would have been a colossal mistake. We are familiar with the feeling of being discouraged because we can’t get moves. If we don’t spend the time building the strength in the levels previous, we simply prolong the struggle and frustration in our new level. It leaves room for cheats and bad habits that take even more time to correct as we try and compensate for the technique we were too impatient to develop.

Pole is hard. And that’s definitely one of the main reasons why I love it so much! I feel such a huge sense of accomplishment when I finally get that move I’ve been working on for months! And there are infinitely more moves for me to learn and practice! Pole Four isn’t just a plateau where, once you’re past it, you can start flying through the levels again. It’s just the start of when things get hard and take time to master. Instead of looking at it as an irritant or annoyance – I look at it as a turning point where I started doing really cool stuff!

Alex Zabel

An Instructors Perspective of the Studio Feature Video Shoot

For this week’s post in our series about our time with Kira Noire and Evgeny Greshilov, we voluntold one of our lovely pole and aerial instructors, Clare Burton, to write a piece for us. We also have the perfect video clip to accompany this post on our instagram feed. Make sure to check it out with the sound on. Here’s Clare’s experience of our studio feature video shoot.

Although I knew who Kira and Evgeny were before they arrived, I feel as though I didn’t wholly appreciate the opportunity to learn from them until I was in their presence. I distinctly remember watching both of them practicing before our workshop began and getting chills. The precision, flexibility, and strength took my breath away. As a trained dancer, I noticed these attributes immediately and realized how much I could gain by attending these workshops. All three workshops I attended were hard work, but I came away with a new appreciation for what I am capable of. It’s a never-ending journey of discovery that pole dance has to offer!

When Demetra told us about the video they would be creating for us, I knew this would be a fantastic way for the instructors (including me) to showcase the best of what we offer. Even though I’ve been involved in music videos and similar projects in the past, there’s nothing quite like the experience of hearing “Just one more time!” or “Again!” over and over. Both Kira and Evgeny were committed to producing the best video they could and consistently brought new ideas and angles for us to try.


Kira Noire assisting Clare Burton during the Aradia Fitness Calgary Feature Video Shoot

As I completed my solo shot for the video, featuring my favourite flexibility move, Allegra, I was challenged by them to attempt it with straight legs (which I had not achieved before). Kira pushed and pushed until finally, it was a perfect split. I was so unbelievably happy I was able to complete the move and have it captured in our video! When the final product was released, I could barely contain my excitement. I was bursting with pride for my fellow instructors and my studio. It was a fantastic experience to work with both Kira and Evgeny, two incredible professionals who will always be remembered by us all.


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!


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