I had the pleasure of meeting Cassandra, the owner of Aradia Fitness in Mississauga. The very first time we met I knew that we were a good match! As a pole dance studio owner she has to overcome the stigma associated with pole dancing being associated with stripping and embraced as being a great workout and way to express ones creativity and if it ends up looking super sexy then so much the better!
As a photographer I loved the challenge of capturing her brand. Not only does she demonstrate the strength and beauty of pole dancing but she's an entrepreneur and loves the branding process!
Here's what you need to know about Cassandra (in her own words):
"I STARTED my crazy adventure when I was 41, after having a career and being a mother to two girls. I never had dance, or gymnastic background or any coordination. I’m accident prone, I suffer from vertigo, and yet I can “do it” because I was bitten by the bug and because I put hard work and effort into it. I know some things I’ll take months and years to “get” and other things are just outside my “doable” talents, no matter how much time and training I put into it. But some things I can master and others are amazed by. So each person has their own talent, their own time frame and their own battles, wins and successes. If you know these things about me, maybe you too can overcome YOUR fears and more importantly EXCUSES, and just give it a ‘spin’! You need to know I have a secret love hate relationship with pole. I HATE not being able to “get moves” that I’m really driven to. It discourages me and gets me down. But then I do a dance and the entire world melts away and there is nothing else. And I can’t wait till the next session. I cry and dread having to take a week away from a pole."
When I asked Cassandra why she got into teaching pole dancing she explained that it was a by product of owning the studio! After she had kids she was looking for a new challenge rather than the corporate job. "It turns out I’m not too shabby at it, but I did it as a happenstance of loving my passion and deciding to be a studio owner."
Her favourite thing about her job Cassandra says; "Watching other women become inspired, empowered, and fit, combined with growing in ways they never thought possible. For my own self; being fitter than I’ve ever been in my life, huge personal growth in areas other than physical strength and let’s face it, playing on “monkey bars” whenever the urge hits me."
As pole dancing has always intrigued me I had to ask what one needs to know if they want to try it? "Truth: They need to know it is EXACTLY like any other form of fitness. It isn’t hard. All it takes is practice and conditioning, time and effort. They have to know they won’t “get it” instantly. I’m dumbfounded by the number of first-timers who walk in with the expectation of “show me how to flip upside down”. Are they the type to also go into the Running Room and ask “show me how to win the Boston in 2 days”? or “show me how to win the Brier” after one time on a sheet of ice curling? They need to know that they are going to have to put time into conditioning your skin to grip, and your muscles to spin, climb and invert. Otherwise injury WILL result. They need to know that there will be tricks that come easy and those that are forever elusive. They need to know that feeling of disappointment when the instructor says “thanks for a great class” and you feel like 10 minutes, not an hour has passed. They need to know that if they really embrace this, that there is a sister-hood and comradery about the pole fitness world that is NOT like anything else. Truth: You do not need to be a certain age, size, fitness level to try it. You do not need to be FIT. That is what we do. In fact, most “fit” people come in and still are surprised they have to put in the “time effort and energy” to “get good” at pole fitness."
I love her answer because it's very similar to how I feel about jumping into any photography session! You don't need to practice or condition but an hour will pass quickly and you can be any age or size! You just need to be prepared to embrace a hidden part of you!
So if you are interested in doing a pole dancing class, here's what you need to bring with you!
"The most important things to bring aren’t things. They are an open mind, a sense of adventure, humbleness and oh yeah, a water bottle. ;)"
Cassandra's best advice is a simple quote from Nike! "Just Do It!"