At Aradia Fitness Calgary, we celebrate our students’ success. Every month, we feature a student who we feel exemplifies our Aradia family spirit, and the joy of our pole community.
For the month of July, 2019, we are featuring Yulia Zhdanova. Yulia brings so much positivity with her to the studio. She works hard in class, much as she does in her Korean Martial Arts where she holds a black belt. She is sweet and quiet, and probably the best-dressed on our studio, dazzling us daily. Well done, Yulia! You have come so far and we can’t wait to see where you will go in your pole journey!
Where are you from (hometown)?
I was born in Moscow,Russia.
What is your favourite pastime, outside of pole, including any other dancing that you do?
I have a black stripe in Korean Martial Arts and I enjoy fitness. Taking pole lessons allows me to be more confident and love my body.
When did you first start coming to Aradia Fitness?
My first class in Aradia Fitness began on August 30, 2018 from Intro to Pole.
What is your favourite class at Aradia?
Some of my favourites are Floor Play, Exotic Flow and Pole Circuit.
What do you love most about pole?
All classes and levels of Pole are great with amazing instructors.
What keeps you motivated to come to your classes consistently?
What keeps me motivated to come to Pole classes consistently is my eagerness to learn new Pole moves, having best teachers, and a friendly environment in the studio. Because of those things, I want to come everyday!
What surprised you about pole fitness?
I had a good understanding, that pole dancing requires hard work, and you have to be strong and believe in yourself. As you get more practice, you will begin seeing good results and start loving it even more.
Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start pole today?
I strongly recommend joining Aradia Fitness Calgary to increase confidence and love for your body.
At Aradia Fitness Calgary, we celebrate our students’ victories. Mya Bakk is our Student Spotlight for February, 2019! Mya has come so far in her confidence and ability that she is performing a solo in our Spring Showcase in April. We can’t wait to see her shine!
1. Where are you from? Hometown?
I was born and raised here, in Calgary.
2. Favourite pastime (outside of pole), including any other dancing you do?
Baking is a passion of mine. I love experimenting with desserts, cakes, chocolates and candies. I love it so much that I went to pastry school and now I’m working on getting my red seal!
3. What do you love most about pole?
I love that pole is a combination of strength and art. I really respect the discipline and dedication dancers have for what they do and pole dancing is no exception.
4. What is your favourite pole move? What is your favourite class at Aradia?
The butterfly. It’s not my best move, but I have fun doing it. I’ve also taken a liking to the martini sit.
My favourite classes are Exotic Flow and Pole Fluidity. It’s great seeing how the moves we learn in class can be strung together to make infinite and beautiful combos! They also really bring me out of my shell and boost my confidence, since I’m usually pretty reserved outside of the studio.
5. What keeps you motivated to come to your classes consistently?
Seeing my progress week after week is fantastic but my sisters are the best motivators for me. The three of us all do pole and we share pictures and videos of our progress with each other. Watching my sisters’ fitness journeys and being able to celebrate our milestones with each other encourages me to keep doing my best.
6. When did you first start coming to Aradia Fitness?
I started in October of 2016 for a couple of months but took a break to focus on school. I took up classes again in January of 2018.
A very comfortable martini sit. Nice, Mya!
7. What surprised you about pole dance and fitness?
I knew a lot of muscle control was required for pole but I was definitely unprepared for how much you had to condition your skin to perform certain moves.
8. Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start pole today?
The pole community is amazing! Everyone I’ve met at the studio has been so friendly and encouraging since day 1. They celebrate the victories with you – big and small – and help lift you up when you’re feeling discouraged. It’s a great environment, where I feel like I’m not being judged and I can learn at my own pace. Pole is an amazing workout and confidence booster. It’s also a lot of fun!
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!