What inspired you to get into pole/aerial/dance/fitness?

I enrolled in my first pole class when seeking a new way to build upper body strength for military fitness testing. That's what I told my instructor anyway, and what I kept telling myself. While pole and the aerial arts most certainly help develop upper body strength, I think I knew in the back of my mind that the best way to do more push-ups and pull-ups was to practice push-ups and pulls-ups. Looking back, I believe what I really wanted was to get better in touch with my femininity after years of participating in male-dominated sports and being the only girl whose hobbies always involved playing with bugs or working on cars. Pole helped me find that confidence, as an outcast 17-year-old girl too busy comparing herself to others to see the beauty in herself.

What would you like every new VF student to know?

Practicing pole and the aerial arts requires patience, determination, and an attitude to see any failure as an opportunity to grow. If a dancer perfected every moved they were introduced to on the first try, their journey would be quite short and pretty dull. We dance, we exercise, and we practice because we enjoy the act of doing so, and we must accept that the majority of the time we spend working on our craft will not be used demonstrating perfect moves, but developing the imperfect ones. So if it feels like nothing you're doing is right, you're off to a great start!

What wisdom would you like to impart or message would you like to send to all VF students, new and old?

Being exposed to pole and the aerial arts is an incredibly unique experience and opportunity. We are all athletes, artists, gymnasts, dancers, acrobats, and expressionists rolled into one form, whose practice encompasses all cultures, genres, and styles. Whether you've been to one pole class just to say you've tried it, or you're a seasoned aerialist preparing for a Cirque du Soleil audition, we're all part of the same loving community.

Tell us something about yourself that is surprising or hard to believe?

While I have not competed in pole (yet), I have competed in automotive racing, marksmanship, junior Olympic archery, long distance running, shot-put & discus throwing, and various art disciplines including welding.

What is your favorite pole/aerial memory and why?

When I arrived at my very first pole class at the Vertical Academy in Littleton, branded as "pole fitness," I was expecting pull-ups, flags, and more strength training work. I was surprised when they dimmed the lights, turned on slow music and introduced a series of more sensual pole moves, (but certainly didn't have a problem with it). About three quarters of the way through class, I was feeling like a badass conquering some of the basic intro moves and shocked by how everything I had worried about on the drive to the studio seemed to not exist anymore. During every move I tackled, I felt like I was engaging every muscle in my body, I was sweating through my shirt, and then the epiphany hit... "This is where the fitness part comes in!" I realized that regardless of whether your pole style is sensual, contemporary, jazz-inspired, or any combination of your heart, mind and soul, it is one hell of a workout!