Exercise. One word, many ways to partake in it. Exercise, for me, was always easy when I was in high school. Once I left for college, I was bound and determined to stay in shape and maintain my active lifestyle. Boy was I blindsided. My first few weeks in college were easy to maintain a balanced schedule between schoolwork and exercising. After the first month or so in college, my schedule began to fall far from where I wanted (and needed) it to be. I could not stick to a schedule as I began to work and focus on my grades more. Fast forward to the early summer of 2018, and one of my co-workers had convinced me to go to a pole dancing class with her. I walked into that first class in Appleton with a studio full of women and a mind full of curiosity. The first person that I met that day was Instructor Olivia, and immediately I was intrigued by her. I had asked about her experience with the studio and her background. I was in awe. I then met Instructor and Owner Paula, who had greeted us with a smile and information that sparked even more curiosity. Our time came to dance, and we were greeted by Instructor Niki and we began to warm up. This introduction class was so much fun, and hard. I have never been introduced to a workout that challenged me and was entertaining. After that class, I immediately signed up for a full membership.

Throughout the next few months, I found myself falling more and more in love with Aerial Dance. I found myself with increased self-confidence. Overall, I found a workout regime that did not bore me to death. The classes vary by Instructor and by intensity, which I find stimulating. After a few months of focusing on pole, I began to dabble with other apparatuses. I found a love for aerial hoop. As my journey continued, I began to progress, and then I put my foot into performing in the annual Christmas Show. I signed into Instructor Lynn’s routine for “Candyman” by Christina Aguilera. My partner and I practiced until we were bruised. When the day came to perform, our spirits were high and we were nervous! That night was a night I will never forget. When the ladies from the two studios came together to take our final group picture, I knew Aerial was something that I was going to stick to until I couldn’t do it any longer.

Skip to this year, I am participating in our tenth annual Christmas Show. I signed into Kim’s “Party Rock Anthem” routine by LMFAO, and I am loving the friendships that I have formed with the ladies that are in the routine. Time is ticking away as the Christmas Show grows closer, and we are putting together our finishing touches to the routine. Now that October is almost over, show practices are being mingled into our regular schedules. The holiday season, especially Christmas, brings everyone together. The two studios come together to put on a show for our families and enjoy the holiday together. It is a truly invigorating experience.

I was always curious about aerial, pole in particular. When my co-worker mentioned that there was a class being offered, I was hesitant and excited at the same time. I feared that I was expecting too much of myself. I thought that in order to pole dance, one had to have a specific body type. When I walked into the studio that first day, I saw women of all shapes and ages. After my first class, I felt empowered and confident in myself. After all this time, I am excited and proud to say that I have found a workout routine that has stuck longer than two weeks. I truly believe that part of that reason is the supportive and empowering environment that the studio creates. The studio doubles as a gym and a place to escape from reality when the world is looking a little grim. I am thankful for the safe haven that the studio has provided for the women and myself, and without it some of us would not know where we would be. Thank you to all the instructors and ladies at Aerial Dance for the positive experiences throughout the years!