This week in our series of instructor features, you get to know Cassia Farias Thibert! She is one of our wonderful aerial instructors and teaches both Silks and Lyra (hoop) Cassia always has a genuine smile for her students and fellow instructors. You can’t help but be happy and excited for class – even if Cassia is going to make you do some difficult conditioning.
Cassia’s teaching experience extends back sixteen years to when she was teaching gymnastics in Brazil. The transition from gymnastics to circus and aerials happened eight years ago, and Cassia joined the Aradia Fitness Calgary in March 2018. Cassia also has a business that brings Physical Literacy to daycares. She believes that a lifelong affinity for fitness starts as young as preschool age, and their mission is to impact young kids with a fun, convenient, and affordable gymnastics based physical development program. Some circus elements are also brought in, of course.
Cassia has a one-year-old son Levi and an adorable Samoyed, Sky. We’ve seen some cute videos of Cassia training with little Levi and Sky supervising. Give Cassia a follow on Instagram to see what her family is up to and what you might get to try in her Silks and Lyra classes.
What surprised you the most about pole fitness?
How close to aerial [silks and Lyra] it can be.
What is your current favourite pole/aerial move?
I love all the drops on silks and splits poses on hoop.
Do you have a favourite off the pole conditioning exercise?
Aerials conditioning on silks.
What are your current pole and aerial goals for yourself and for your students?
My goal is get back in shape for performing, and for my students. I want to help them get the best experience with fitness and aerials.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Accommodating. I try to adapt my teaching according with the students.
What do you think students gain from being members at Aradia?
Access to a variety styles of fun and fitness class with a high level of technique.
Can you provide one piece of advice for students working through their pole journey?
Never give up and do it for the fun of it. Focus on your journey not everyone else path.
We are pleased to introduce our amazing student Alexandra!
We love featuring Aradia Fitness Calgary students on our blog. These women embody our community and demonstrate that they are positive, supportive and powerful. For May, we are featuring Alexandra! She is so much of an inspiration to our instructors that she was the overwhelming favourite this month! Alexandra took her first pole class with us in January 2019 and since then has been committed and focused on her progression (which is outstanding by the way). While remaining focused on her pre-med studies, she has tried out just about every single Aradia class. We are all envious of her perfect toe-point, definitely a ballet background! She is an absolute joy to have in the studio and always has a smile on her face. Here is her story.
Where are you from?
I’m from Calgary – not too interesting in my mind, but during university, I’ve lived in England for a year and Ontario for a semester.
Favourite pastime (outside of pole and aerial)?
I feel like I’m almost passionate about too much sometimes! I’ve been involved in dance and music all my life. I’ve been involved in ballet, jazz, and modern dance, and I’ve played violin and trombone. (I don’t have many pictures unfortunately but here’s an old ballet picture)
I also love science. I’m hoping to go into medicine, as I’ve found it fascinating since childhood. I’m working on my undergraduate Life Sciences degree, then hoping for med school!
What do you love most about the aerial arts?
I’ve wanted to try pole dance and aerial arts for so many years and I’m so happy to have the opportunity. I find it gives me an opportunity to connect with my body in a meaningful way (after struggling with body image for many years I find that so important), as well as an opportunity to be artistic and creative.
What is your favourite move, pole or aerial? What is your favourite class?
My favourite move in pole is the backwards spin, and my favourite Lyra move is probably mermaid, just because I know how to transition it well. My favourite class has to be Lyra – it hurts but it’s so worth it.
What keeps you motivated to come to your classes consistently?
What keeps me motivated is just the classes themselves! I look forward to it every day I go. The instructors are always so supportive and encouraging, while still pushing me to improve.
When did you first start coming to Aradia Fitness?
I started coming at the end of January and couldn’t get enough. I think I’ve gone to nearly every class I could since then – including some aerial hammock classes, some chair dance classes, and a FlexAbility class.
What surprised you about pole dance and aerial fitness?
Being someone that started in ballet at a young age, I was honestly surprised by how kind and welcoming the instructors were. Not to say that ballet teachers aren’t lovely people, they just tend to be a tad harsher – especially with exams and performances always on the horizon. Aradia has been an amazing experience for me. Also, I was surprised with how quickly I could pick it up – at the beginning of pole, I was convinced I’d never be able to move up a level, yet I’m nearly there now!
Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start flying today?
If anyone is considering Aradia, I’d tell them to just go for it! I know all the barriers that seem to stand in the way – you’re not fit enough, skinny enough, strong enough – I was there just 1½ months ago. I love everything about the studio and it’s been an amazing experience – it genuinely brightens up my day knowing I have a class coming up.
Interested in taking Alexandra’s advice to just go for it? We’d love for you to come try a class. We currently have some special $10 day time classes and every other Friday! Check them out on our schedule.
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!
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!