|Shannon Burbridge owner of
Aura Pole Fitness
My favorite part of writing for my audience is getting to try out new experiences. Things that maybe I wouldn’t have had the courage to try before. This week’s review is one of those new experiences. I had heard of Pole Dance fitness before but really wasn’t sure what to expect. Word of mouth traveled my way claiming how challenging it was, how sexy you feel, and how it’s not sleazy like people might think. Shannon Burbridge introduced herself to me at a party about a year ago and we chatted about her company Aura Pole Fitness. Her passion for the concept really spoke to me. When I began this Fitness Trends series, I knew I had to reach back out to Shannon, and see for myself what Pole Fitness is all about.
My wingman and bestie Sophia Gholz and I made our way to Vertical Fitness this week to train under Shannon in one of her weekly classes. Within minutes of the class beginning, my soul began to sing a siren’s song as the layers and labels of the world began falling away… revealing a side of myself I hadn’t paid attention to in quite a while. Here are my:
1. Pole Dancing is trashy
This is by far the number one stigma Pole Fitness has going against it. Perhaps rightly so due to it’s seedy history. However, once this concept is stripped down what’s revealed is a legitimately challenging full body work out. My conversation with instructors and participants alike, during the class, exposed how close knit this passionate community is. It seems once the Pole Dancing bug bites you, you are hooked. In reality the class is moving, sensual, and brilliantly daring. It’s also an incredible core work out that pushes you to explore new facets of your mind and body, not unlike yoga. Pole Fitness Dancers choose to be bold, secure, and passionate. Shannon shared with me that husbands love their wives transformation while training saying, “Whatever you did to my wife, keep doing it”.
|Chair dancing is also incorporated into classes|
|“Stripper Heels” optional|
|Pole Fitness is Exhilerating|
This was one of the most surprising myths the class participants were eager to bust. The main demographic for classes? Moms. Surprised? Don’t be, with all the preconceived ideals society puts on moms, who wouldn’t welcome the chance to break out and be who you want to be… if only for an hour? Mom’s and mature women alike are put in a box. We are told “You should be conservative.” “You should be tame.” “You should be professional.” When all along there is a wild thing ready to be released. That wild thing doesn’t go away just because you gave birth. Women like to be reminded, “You still got it girl!” Husbands love to see that side of their wives reawaken. There were plenty of women over fifty in the class as well. This was inspiring as I saw women taking back their self confidence and brazenly proclaiming, “I am fierce“. They excitedly shared how the classes changed the way they look at themselves, that they suddenly find themselves walking a little taller, and speaking a little bolder.
|Pole Fitness Students Practice for a Recital|
|Floor work begins the class with lengthening and stretching|
When asked what I thought of the class I spoke about how impressed I was that it didn’t feel sleazy… but at the same time it wasn’t a white washed over commercialized aerobics class. Like any great dance class you lose yourself a little in the music… but like any great fitness class you push yourself to the max. Shannon’s personal mission is to fuse the concept of main stream gym classes with pole fitness. She sees these classes as the next staple in the gym. No longer condemned to shadowy clubs, pole fitness would make a terrific addition to the aerobic roster fitting in nicely between TRX, and Zumba. Though it’s an uphill battle Shannon believes that with enough demand from the public, progress can be attained. She is calling on all gym aficionados to go to your management and tell them, add Pole Fitness to the class list!
Another preconceived ideal about these classes is that they are cheesy. Not so! Just like any dance class there is learning curve, teaching your body to go against it’s normal muscle memory and awaken that curvy side. Arch the back, lengthen the legs, stretch out, and take up space. The music was grooving and heady, creating just the right atmosphere to break free. Classes have purpose, beginning with a warm up and ground work, and following with technique for safe dancing sequences. The atmosphere is welcoming as participants cheer each other on, leaning on each other for moral support, and motivation to accomplish goals. Pole Fitness competitions are also popping up all over the country with experts like Shannon even pushing for it to be in the Olympics one day soon. Local classes aren’t confined to working on a pole. Instructors get creative with boot camp, cardio, and core classes all incorporating, you guessed it, the pole.
|Dancers, Acrobats, and Gymnasts are just some of the titles Pole Fitness Performers can claim|
I was encouraged by students to tell my readers, “You can do more than you think”. As one fifty something attendee noted, “I took yoga from Shannon for two years. As she encouraged me to try Pole Fitness, I thought for sure I could never do it. I started last October and now I’m up on the pole in the air doing tricks. Anyone can do it.” No judgement, only acceptance. Students are all shapes and sizes. One look around and you see every level of fitness around you and plenty of flaws. Refreshingly, no one cares. This is a community and these ladies have each others backs.
|Amy with the class at Vertical Fitness Studio|
If you are thinking of going out on a limb and trying something that will make you feel exhilarated and alive. You should really contact Aura Pole Fitness and sign up for their next class. Instructors are well qualified with AFAA certifications, and years of experience under their belts. You are in safe hands. What are you waiting for?