I interviewed the ladies of Poler Ice, Madera's first women's fitness studio to offer pole dancing in Madera Ca
My business partner, Renee Gaumnitz, and I opened up Poler Ice Fitness in Feburary of 2012. We both fell in love with pole fitness and wanted to share our enthusiasm with other women.
Our goal was to create a comfortable, encouraging environment where women could come and express themselves through pole dance; to help tone & strengthen their bodies and build confidence & self-esteem.
Renee is married, has two small children, and works full time. I work in fitness, am a wife and, recently, a new mother. We both know the importance of maintaining health and a strong, confident mind in order to be the best in our careers and at home. Taking some 'me time' is so important for women and we want to help!
How did you start pole dancing? Where did you learn/train?
Having grown up playing sports, I continued to maintain my fitness disciplines taking up long distance running and then eventually acquiring a love for resistance/strength training. However, I found myself bored with my daily fitness regimen and decided to explore alternative fitness options.
Through an internet search for alternative options, I came across Venus Pole Fitness in Turlock. CA. I signed up for pole dancing classes and after the first class, was in love! I found it to be physically challenging as well as super fun and a way to express myself through dance.
I knew I eventually wanted to open up a pole fitness studio in my home county so I decided to leave my 10-year legal career and enter the world of fitness. I started by obtaining a certification as an ISSA Personal Fitness Trainer and began training women as a part time job.
I also found a second love, Crossfit (elite fitness), and started coaching evening classes at Crossfit Merced. I then obtained a certification as a Pole Fitness Instructor through the Felix Cane program at OC Pole Fitness.
How long have you been pole dancing?
I have been pole dancing, on and off, for the last 4 years.
How did you get started as an instructor?
I was constantly in search for a pole fitness studio closer to home wherein I would be able to attend more than one class a week. I came across a gym in Fresno, Fort Washington Fitness, which was opening pole fitness classes. I tried out a class and was asked if I was interested in teaching. I began teaching classes a couple nights a week.
What is your favorite pole trick?
My favorite pole trick is the (twisted grip) handspring.
What has been your most challenging to learn?
I would have to say the handspring was the most challenging for me to learn, so far.
Which pole dancing trick do you want to master?
I would love to master the Phoenix. I have the spin and the handspring nailed and have been working on putting the two together.
What advice do you give beginning pole dancing students? Advanced students?
My advice to beginning students is to not be intimidated. To relax, have fun and make it their own. I tell my students that I do not want them to look just like me; I want them to find their own, unique style and to put their own personalities into the movements. I also remind them that everything will feel awkward at first because everything is new but to not be discouraged…it will soon be second nature!
My advice to advanced pole dance students along with also advising them to make the movements their own would be to work on polishing their performance. For them to work on their extensions, finishing the movements/tricks, pointing toes, work on transitional flow, as well as proper breathing!
What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with stripping/exotic dancing? What is your response to those who ask about it?
I think the stigma associated with pole fitness is slowly vanishing. Since pole fitness is fairly new and, in the past, poles were mainly used in strip clubs it is only natural for people to associate the two. I just believe pole fitness needed time for people to be educated about what it is and to understand the distinction between pole fitness and stripping/exotic dancing.
I am a huge advocate for pole fitness (obviously!) and believe it is an amazing workout! I constantly tell people about it and stress the strength that it takes to do many of the skills. I assure women, who are interested, that there is no nudity and that our classes are ‘women only’! Pole Fitness builds strength, cardio, self-confidence and self awareness.
Have you ever competed in pole? Do you aspire to?
No, I have never competed in a pole competition. At this point in my life, I do not aspire to ever compete. I simply aspire to continue learning and sharing/teaching what I have learned with others!
Do you have a pole dancing hero?
It would be hard to narrow it down to just one. There are so many amazing pole dancers who inspire me. To name a few: Felix Cane, Jenyne Butterfly, Estee Zakar, Leigh Ann Orsi, Michula Nunez, Zoraya Judd, Alethea Austin.
I have had the pleasure of taking workshops from each of these amazing women and love that they are so humble and willing to share their knowledge. They are all so incredibly talented and all have their own unique styles.
Do you currently train with any studio, instructor or dvd?
My business partner, Renee Gaumnitz, and I travel to other studios (in California) for workshops to learn new tricks. We have not found a studio close enough to home to regularly train.
What is your favorite pole workout wear?
I love Felix Cane's tank tops and love the booty shorts from Poletential and OC Pole Fitness. I stock up on them every time we visit!
Do you have a favorite pole grip product that you use?
I use Dry Hands!
Note: Unfortunately, Poler Ice Fitness is now closed. For those ladies living in the Madera, California area, the nearest pole studios are:
Pole Star located in Fresno, California
Polesque Vixens located in Merced, California and
Venus Pole Fitness located in Turlock, California