Our Student Ambassadors for 2017

Steph - Pole Divas Moonee Ponds

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas? My journey at Pole Divas Moonee Ponds started in 2011. From a young age, I have trained in and performed calisthenics- a sport that requires us to "train to be the same". After 15 years of calisthenics, I was ready for a change. I still wanted to dance, but in a new and interesting way. After reading about pole fitness and the benefits of pole dancing, I soon discovered Pole Divas! Initially I was nervous to begin pole dancing as it was completely different and out of my comfort zone, but it fair to say that the nerves were replaced with love very soon after beginning. I have loved being involved in the culture of pole dancing- a sport that requires precision, strength and poise while having the freedom to grow and develop at your own pace. I love being in a fun and supportive environment, while getting fit at the same time- it is definitely the change I was looking for! :)

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed?
Because of Pole Divas, I can say with confidence that I am a happy, confident and strong woman. Pole Divas has not only transformed my body and skill level, but it has transformed my mind. Being around women who encourage and empower one and other on a daily basis has made me who I am today. Surrounding myself with the friends I have made through Pole Divas, and the amazing instructors, has given me a positive outlook on myself and my own life. Being in an environment that allows me to develop my skills in my own time, I have been able to better understand what my body is capable of and refine my individual skills as a pole dancer. I am now able to appreciate what my body can do and how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. I have come a long way from when I first started at Pole Divas Moonee Ponds, and I am excited to continue my journey of mind, body and skill at Pole Divas :)

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months?
My fitness goals are based around my pole goals- My aim for 2017 is to have a regular training schedule for pole dancing to train my strength and endurance. I am hoping to enter 1-2 competitions next year as being focused on developing a routine helps me to stay focused, which in turn will help me get into a regular training regime. But my main focus of 2017 is to train my strength and endurance to get into the Elite level at Pole Divas :)

Moni - Pole Divas Mornington

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas?
I started at Pole Divas in the last term of 2013! I went from doing gymnastics, calisthenics, life-saving, netball to no sport what so ever. I was getting bored and becoming very unfit, I had heard so many positive things about Pole Divas and decided to give it a go!

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed?
I really don't think I could choose just one area, I mean I have seen a change in my Body, I'm more fitter, I remember my first class and I was absolutely dead after the warm up, these days it's like yeppp now bring on the remaining 45mins of class! My skills!! Gosh I can't believe some of the tricks I can do, I look back at photos and feel so proud how much my skills have improved.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months? I would love to be able to do 2 laps of pantera climbs and try to nail different grips when doing hand springs, OHHH and to finally get that bloody brass monkey! Ps I only just found out it was called brass monkey not grass monkey hahahaha glllll.

Candy - Pole Divas Richmond

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas? I wanted to try pole dancing for a while. I liked the idea of expressing the fun and playful side of me which I don’t allow myself express too often. Life is stressful and work is crazy. I do crossfit for fitness but there was just something about pole which made me scared an intrigued at the same time. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but I really believe that if something scares you then, you have to do it; at least give it a go. You only live once right? So I forced myself into the studio and picked up a trial offer back in the middle of last year. I was greeted with the most friendly and warm receptionist with bright pink lipstick and fell in love with the place. Like I said work is stressful for me. I have to be quite masculine to manage a team. Crossfit is manly too so it was so nice to be greet by such positive, free and fun loving feminine energy. I signed up right away and to be honest, it’s one of the best gifts I’ve given to myself. Now I get to let loose, be free, express my feminine side and do it for no one else but me.

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed? As I posted on my Instagram, I am an advocate and survivor of child sexual abuse. At first you may not think it could relate to dancing but what Pole Diva means to me runs much deeper. My mission in life is to inspire other survivors to seek freedom from their trauma and to live the life they truly deserve. Did you know that even as adults, many survivors carry the trauma from the abuse which can result in depression, anxiety, body issues and much more?! Sad but true. If I told my younger self, you can one day be comfortable in your own skin and enjoy the playfulness of femininity, I would never have believed it. Pole dancing was a gift to myself is a part of my journey to healing. Sounds crazy, right? It has allowed me reconnect through movement with my playful, silly and feminine self - which I have a bad habit of locking away due to the trauma. Pole dancing helps me to express a part of me which has been suppressed. Allowing myself to just let go in a safe and supportive environment. Letting go can bring so much joy! Now I get to “let go” every week, several times a week and this has truly transformed my life. To own your story, to be comfortable in your own skin and to allow yourself to live is what I teach to other girls (survivors) though my website and newly created youtube channel. You can check out my website here - www.thestrengthtosurvive.com In the process, I have met such a great bunch of girls. From bar tenders, to lawyers, to nurses, all with one passion that bring us together.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months? Oh this is easy!!!! - Deadlift handstands/handsprings - Splits on a pole!!! - I don't know what you call the in this industry but open flags is what I know the movement as. That's holding the pole while being horizontal.

Ember - Pole Divas Prahran

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas? I started at Pole Divas 2.5 years ago. I have always been a very active and fitness focused person. My friend saw the Pole Divas $50 intro offer and convinced me to sign up. I was a bit hesitant at the time - I was obsessed with weight lifting and cycling, and didn't really have time to add a new "sport" to the mix. I agreed to do the intro offer with her just to be nice! I was completely surprised by my first class! It was like being in a night club - the lights were low, all the girls were in sexy little outfits and high heels, dancing and singing along to awesome music! It was a great vibe, and I knew I needed to get more! I signed up for a beginners course straight away. I look back on that moment and know it must be fate. I have a dance background and did classical ballet for 15 years when I was younger. I stopped dancing after high school and got really obsessed with gym and fitness. I feel like I've come full circle now as a pole dancer - I have the best of both worlds; dance combined with strength and fitness. I couldn't love it more!

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed? Pole Divas and pole dancing has changed every aspect of my life! I don't think anything has impacted me as much as my pole journey. It's hard to choose just one area, but I would have to say self image. As females, we are bombarded with ideals of what it means to be the "perfect woman" 24/7. TV and magazines show us how to look, fashion trends, career expectations, fad diets, and even the choices and activities of our closest friends all influence us in some way, often having a negative impact on our self image. With these skewed ideals and expectations, it is difficult to see through the clutter and be the genuine self-loving amazing individuals we were designed to be. My pre-pole self was confused and insecure. Through pole dancing, I have gained this amazing respect for my body and learned to embrace every part of it. My Pole Divas instructors inspired me week after week with their amazing strength and grace. I saw confident, independent women who worked hard but still had fun. They didn't obsess over their body shape and size, rather, they strutted through life (in 8 inch heels of course) with strength and confidence. The support of my fellow Pole Divas sisters constantly encouraging me and practising self love was another positive influence. I eventually learned that it was possible to be a healthy, confident woman who didn't give a *&#% about the latest diet fad or how others judged her body. My self-image now is so healthy and positive. I embrace my strength, massive shoulders, and all the amazing skills my body is capable of. I don't care about being that skinny bikini model - I would rather be strong! Because of pole, I can now genuinely say I am completely happy with who I am inside and out and have been able to overcome my self image demons who have haunted me for so long. My new confidence and self-image have rubbed off on other parts of my life. I'm more assertive in relationships and at work. I speak my mind and speak up for myself and others. I love and value myself, and aim to inspire and empower other women with self-love whenever I can.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months?
I have soooo many goals! I usually set pole goals each month, so I have specific things to work on and can hold myself accountable. At the moment I am trying to master: 1. straight leg gumby straddles and gumby shoulder mounts 2. Handsprings and holds 3. Performance skills (better eye contact and facial expressions aligned with the theme of my show). 4. Better dynamic pole moves on static pole. I actually choreography my whole showtime routine this term on static pole to challenge myself to move more dynamically! My longer term goals for 2017 are iron x, aerial handsprings, mastering my performance skills, exploring different dance and choreography techniques, and of course MORE competitions!

Mel - Pole Divas Caroline Springs

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas?
My pole journey started in late 2007 and finished in March 2011 when I fell pregnant with my first child. I came back this year in January after having just over 4 years off to have my family (I have 3 children). I started at Pole Divas because I wanted to challenge myself in a sport I had never tried before. I had no idea what it would be like and what I was up for but I knew I had to try it out. I have a dancing background which started when I was 2.5 years old and after taking time off I wanted to try something different and get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to discover who I was as a dancer. When I attended my first class I was instantly intrigued by the beauty, strength and confidence that came with pole dancing and I had to try it out. I was always a bit of monkey growing up so climbing a pole sounded like a lot of fun!

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed? The number one area of my life that Pole Divas has transformed is my sense of identity. When I first started at Pole Divas I automatically felt like I fitted in somewhere, I found a side of myself as a dancer that I hadn't discovered before. When I took time off and became a mother (which I love and wouldn't change for the world) I missed that part of me. As a parent you sometimes forget about yourself, you're so focused on these tiny little people that you forget about the passions you had and what helped shaped you as a person. When I came back this year Pole Divas allowed me to find that side of myself again and essentially transformed me into a pole dancing mum! Now I can share this side of me with my children and show them what I love and how much I missed being at the studio. I feel like I've been renewed and although being a mother is my full time job, I learnt that it's also so important to know who are as a person and I found that side of me again when I walked back into the studio this year.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months? To work on my transitions and cleaning them up. I really want to master straight leg front straddles and be able to do more tricks on my bad side. I would also like to work on my overall fitness and finally get that middle split happening.

Nicole - Aerial Divas Mornington

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas?
I started doing Pole in May 2010 (after searching for Ballroom dancing studios in Mornington!), and Hoop in February 2015. I have always danced since I was 3 years old when a doctor told my Mum to send me to ballet classes to fix my bowed legs. Thankfully, she did and it did! After searching for ballroom classes in Mornington, and stumbling across Pole Divas, I thought this would be something great to try. I was hooked from Day 1. When D announced that she was opening an Aerial studio, I was so excited. I'd never seen hoop performed before, but just had a feeling this was going to be something I would love. I love it when I'm right ;)

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed? I would have to say "believing in me". I have had to learn to trust myself to know that I have the ability and strength to do some amazing things. Hoop has really pushed me with this this year. My journey with hoop has been so much quicker than pole, and sometimes that is scary to think about where I'm at now. I think with pole I had longer to digest it. Performing in Aerial Unleashed this year for the first time was an eye opening experience. Although I have danced for so many years, and performed on stage, I have never done a solo. Never. Ever. That experience took me well outside my comfort zone, and knowing that it was all up to me was daunting. I'm so glad I did it though, as I have learnt so much about myself from the experience. It's also helped me to relate to my daughter (who has just started doing her own dance solos this year), and know the emotions she is experiencing. She watched me go through the whole experience, and I hope that has helped her to believe in herself when she performs.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months? I want to work on my mobility/flexibility. I'm noticing that they aren't what they used to be so I want to make sure I don't keep tightening up. As always, I love working on my strength. I've just recently started working with a new Personal Trainer which has been great. He gets me to work on using my core for everything - always switched on - and I'm noticing the benefits already.

Amelia - Aerial Divas Richmond

Why and when did you start at Pole or Aerial Divas?
On Friday 2 March 2012 I saw a static trapeze duo perform at Adelaide's Fringe Festival. I was spellbound. The strength and control and the aerial aspect made bells ring in my head and I thought I have got to make this happen, I have got to experience what it feels like to be that strong and have that much control over my body. As I reflect on this right now as I write this, I'm remembering the partnership of the duo as well. I was drawn to how in tune with one another those two women performing were. The first day of August that same year I left my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand where each Thursday evening I had been driving home grinning after group Charleston dance classes for the past 18 months or so. I loved learning to dance at that studio and those Thursday evening drives home after class have stayed with me, I always felt so happy. I went into a bubble of fun backpacking Europe on my own for a few months before settling down in London. In September 2013 I relocated to Melbourne and was looking for ways to make myself happy in a new city where I didn't know many people. I remembered those Thursday evening feels after Charleston class and the lovely friends I made and decided I'd re-create that experience. I googled "Richmond Dance Studio" and before my eyes had seen the word Aerial I had clicked through to the Aerial Divas promotional video. I got butterflies, I was so excited! I remembered the static trapeze act I had seen in Adelaide the year before and how drawn I was to it and I couldn't wait to start learning how to pull my body around an aerial apparatus. I booked a beginners course for the first term of the following year. Monday 13th January 2014 I took my first aerial hoop class in Richmond. I didn't know anything about Pole or Aerial Divas at that stage. Was I in for a pleasant surprise! I was in love instantly with the hoop, and I experience those same Thursday evening happy feels during every single visit to Divas. The fact that I'd stumbled upon Pole & Aerial Divas as a brand, organisation, studio, is a huge, lovely unexpected bonus.

What is the #1 area of your life that Pole Divas has transformed?
I was thinking recently about how as a 9 year old girl I felt uncomfortable in my body. 34 year old Amelia understands that some of the images that 9 year old Amelia had been exposed to had a severe damaging affect on her self image - much like far too many young women the world over, still today. We know this is a common response to media like magazines, television, movies, music, and even through the verbal and non verbal communication from family, friends, teachers, and strangers. Thank goodness during my early development years the internet wasn't yet what it was very soon to be - I cannot imagine what its like to be a mother in this awesome technology age. After being a student at Aerial Divas for 12 months or so, I realised I had more and more frequently been choosing not to travel down this life-long well-trodden neurological pathway of negative body image. I sat in class one day and realised I was enjoying seeing how my sides roll when I bend into the hoop. I enjoy seeing how much bum I have when I'm sitting in a flat split on the floor. I walk down the street and I like the way my legs jiggle. The positivity I experience at the studio and the positivity I see others experience at the studio I truly believe are solely responsible for this positive shift in my thinking. It is a huge deal to change a person’s thinking. You have to cut a new track for your thoughts with a sometimes blunt bushwhacker.

What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months? One moment while I consult the aerial hoop goals and achievements page of my bullet journal... . . . . . Chin ups. The struggle is real. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely Goal - 5 unassisted full hang chin-ups by this time next year. I want to progress through A2 to A3 in the next 12 months. Straight legged static and spinning straddles Gumby spinning straddles Transition cleanly Improve gumby split Improve straddle split Improve back flexibility Walking fitness