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Student Spotlight – Jimena

For the Student Spotlight opening of 2019, we bring you Jimena Torres (Jay)! Jay started pole fitness as a part of a personal healing journey, with the intention of building emotional and physical strength, as well as confidence.

She began attending Pole 1 classes with Aradia Fitness Calgary in 2015 and has progressed to being a regular Pole Sport Organization competitor as well as local performer, both on and off the pole. Jay has discovered her true identity on stage, placing fourth this year out of 11 in the Entertainment category at PSO Canada West in Vancouver in September 2018. She has been entertaining audiences all over Calgary with her drag performances and pole skills.

Aside from her pole and aerial skills, Jay has the ability to make anyone she encounters in our studio feel absolutely welcome. Jay has brought so much energy and love to our studio, and we treasure her as part of our family.

Thank you, Jay!

1. Where are you from?

I’m originally from Lima, Peru, but I’ve lived all over. We left Peru and moved to Belgium when I was two, then Germany when I was four, and I’ve lived in Canada since 2006!

2.  Tell us about your life outside of pole – what are your favourite things?

My biggest passion in life is makeup, and I began my career as a makeup artist three years ago. I also started performing drag back in October, and I’ve fallen in love with both the art form and the community of performers within it. I pretty much love anything creative and I find that through drag I’ve been able to combine my makeup artistry and my love for dance!

Aradia Fitness Student Spotlight Jay

Jay in drag backstage at PSO Canada West in September, 2018.

3. What do you love the most about pole? How does it make you feel?

What I love most about pole is the confidence that it gives me. I don’t hide the fact that I struggled with a restrictive eating disorder for years (while I was already doing pole) and so oftentimes people ask me if I found pole fitness helpful or harmful when it came to my body image and recovery. And, while at points anything involving big mirrors was challenging, I know without a doubt that pole played a crucial part in me getting to a place where I love my body not only for what it looks like but for all that it can do! The community is extremely positive and there are pole dancers of all different shapes and sizes doing amazing things, it’s quite uplifting!

4.) What is your favourite pole or aerial move?  

My favourite pole move changes constantly, but I’d say at the moment is the Ayesha. I find it quite fun cartwheeling into it! I think most people at the studio know that my absolute favourite classes are the spin pole classes, and I know that’s technically more than one class but I love all levels of it! I just feel so free when I’m on spin, it’s hard to describe!

5.) What motivates you to keep coming to class?

There are two main things that keep me motivated to come to classes regularly: the competitions/showcases and the people. I absolutely love creating, so competitions force me to put together new combinations, dance moves, costumes and themes and so I find motivation to keep training and doing the more dancey classes too. As for the people, I’m friends with a lot of my fellow polers and I always look forward to seeing my instructors and catching up with them on everything!

6.) When did you start coming to Aradia Fitness?

I actually took my first ever pole class at an Aradia Fitness in Ontario back in 2013. Although I didn’t stay very long, once I moved to Calgary I decided to take pole back up (about 4 years ago) and while I’ve had to take a few breaks here and there due to my health I’ve never actually left (and never will – you’ll catch me at a pole competition at age 75, I’m not kidding).

7.) What surprised you about pole and aerial fitness?

What surprised me the most about pole dance and fitness is how many styles of pole there are. I think most people think of just exotic when it comes to pole, and while I love a good exotic class, I also love doing flips, contemporary, low flow, you name it. It’s equal parts art and sport and I find that there’s something there for everyone.

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

I really don’t know where to start with this one. Start pole today because you want to feel empowered. Do it because you’re sick of the gym and want a way to work out that doesn’t feel like an obligation. Or do it because you need a community, a family of people that are supportive and will continue to challenge you. Pole dance because you were made to feel less than and want to prove everyone wrong. Do it to relieve stress. Or to be able to express yourself after a long day at the office. I don’t care what your reason is, just do it. You’ll thank me later, I swear!

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Jay’s peachy Allegra 🙂

 

Student Spotlight – Jillene

At Aradia Fitness Calgary, we celebrate the success of our students.  Every month, we feature the student who has shown extraordinary improvement, commitment, and superstar attitude.  This month, we are proud to show off Jillene.

Jillene attends classes regularly and lights up the studio with her smile and fiery red hair!  She sets a wonderful example for all the students in class with her determination to succeed and the joy she clearly finds in dance.

Thank you for joining our Aradia family, Jillene!

1.  Where are you from?  Hometown?
 I am originally from Lillooet, British Columbia. I do not have a specific place I consider my home town as I have never lived in a place for more than two years until I moved to Calgary.
2.  Favourite pastime (outside of pole), including any other dancing you do…..
My favourite pasttime is my burlesque. There are so many creative elements to building a burlesque dance, like building a story, choosing music, creating coreography, and designing and making a costume. I love seeing how an idea progresses into a stage production. Burlesque is so beautiful and versatile, and it is something I feel my soul resonates with.
3.  What do you love most about pole?
I love that pole is constantly challenging me to connect with my body. I love that it pushes my mind and body to work together. I still take level one classes and realize I have more to learn. I also carry trauma in my body that has disconnected me from fully moving within myself. Pole and aerials have helped me engage my muscles and body in such a healing way.
4.  What is your favourite pole/aerial move? What is your favourite class at Aradia? 
My favourite pole and aerial move are actually the same!! The fallen angel! My favourite class is definitely the 2/3 splits on Tuesday mornings with Robin. I actually build my work schedule around being able to go to that class. I always laugh a lot in that class.
5.  What keeps you motivated to come to your classes consistently?
I have moved through a lot of different fitness classes and spaces. Aradia fitness is different because I feel like I am apart of a fitness family. The teachers are amazing and I have met incredible people in the classes as well. I look forward to seeing everyone at the studio. I also love that it is easy to see your own progress. I always learn a new move and struggle with it, and then after consistent work I can do it. It is empowering to see your own growth. Pole and aerials both feel like their own language. The more I learn of them the more I feel I can speak through them, so I am anxious to learn as much as I can!
6.  What surprised you about pole and aerial dance and fitness?
I think what surprised me the most was how painful both are. I am sure almost everyone has seen me on the floor at some point or another, clutching some part of my body. But in many ways it has taught me resilience. The more you let it hurt and work that area, it hurts less over time. I was surprised as well to learn the versatility of pole. I had a very stereotypical view of pole as mainly a sensual type of dance, which I have always loved about it, but I have learned how pole can be used to express so many emotions. That really hit me when I did Robin’s pole fluidity class. The movement was expressively sad and heavy. I loved it.
7.  Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start pole today?
I would join for either of two reasons. First, Aradia has such supportive and engaging teachers. I always feel so encouraged, challenged and celebrated every single class. It is easy to see the instructors value your growth as a student. Second, pole and aerials are absolutely badass and empowering. You can do both of them at Aradia! As a burlesque performer, taking classes at Aradia has expanded my dance vocabulary and improved my strength. As a human, taking dance here has improved my physical and mental health. I think everyone should take classes here.