Testimonials & Stories~ What Our Students Have To Say;
“I went to the Paramount in October……
…… and watched the East Coast Championship! It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that and I was hooked. I was blown away at the athleticism and grace and knew that I wanted to try to learn to do that After the competition was over, I stopped at the E-Fit table and picked up literature…took a one time Exotic class and a one time pole aerobics class. Just from those two classes, I was empowered and am certainly hooked.”
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~ By Aurora
“No one there thought pole dancing was ‘stripping,’ and everyone had a different story to tell of how they first got into this rising form of athletic art.”
When my alarm went off that Saturday morning at 5 a.m., I jumped up, wide awake with a big smile on my face. I was going to New York City to see the U.S. Pole Championships, and there wasn’t even the smallest part of me that wanted to stay in bed. And, I pretty much felt that way for the next three days.
The weekend began with seven of us piling into Desha-Biller’s van, and heading to Washington, DC, where we hopped a bus taking us to the Big Apple. Before we even got there, we made heads turn. To get us pumped up, we watched “Ms Pole Australia” on our laptops on YouTube, providing quite a shock to the elderly couple sitting behind Trixxxie and me. By the time we hit the city, we were ready for some live pole action.
The next day, we quickly got a sense for the type of crowd this show was drawing. As we waited for the doors to open so we could begin seating, we couldn’t help but make friends with everybody crammed in next to us. Pole dancers from far and wide! And pole dance supporters, boyfriends, friends, and teachers also filled the crowd.
Finally, we were in a room of hundreds of people that understood this passion. No one there thought pole dancing was ‘stripping,’ and everyone had a different story to tell of how they first got into this rising form of athletic art.
If I could use one word to describe the ladies performing that Sunday afternoon at the championships, it would be ‘inspirational.’ I remain in awe today, weeks later. For those of you E-Fit old timers, remember the platform stages we used to use for the poles? The stage these ladies performed on was not much bigger, and they had two poles on it. I wondered: How can they do anything without falling off the stage? How will they invert without kicking all the lights? Boy, was I about to learn that the world of pole dancing has no limit.
The first competitor blew my mind, as did the next 10 women. Spins, and turns, and lifts, and inverts. The transitions were flawless. The ladies had grace, poise, and above all, incredible strength. I believe there were multiple minute-long slots where my jaw remained dropped, mouth wide open. The first round was a required technical round, where the ladies used no props, and had to fit in a certain number of techniques, and remain on the pole for a specific amount of time. The second round was more artistic, and optional, where they had a chance to show off more moves, individuality. Both rounds were hands-down incredible.
In-between performances, we enjoyed MC entertainment, as well beautifully strong pole cleaners, who looked like they were having as much of a ball as we were.
No words can describe the elegance, control, strength and beauty of the winner of the U.S. Pole Championships, Janyne Butterfly. The whole audience gasped as she hung from the pole, using seemingly …nothing! What is holding her up? As I watched her lower her legs from an invert with absolute control and grace, all the while smiling at the judges, I caught my breath in awe of her core strength. Her creativity, beauty and artistic ability didn’t pass my notice either. As she spun around the pole in a long flowing sheer white skirt, to one of my favorite songs ever, I knew she had a lifelong fan. I jumped up to give her a standing ovation when she was named the champion.
And, as if all that weren’t enough, the ladies from the U.S. Pole Championships were super nice too, as we all discovered at the after party that night. And though the evening started off with attention on the competitors, it slowly moved away to all the pole dancing fans who started to get up on the pole provided for entertainment that night. That’s when I REALLY realized, there were no more excuses. Women in jeans, short women, tall women, curvy women, showing off what they had worked so hard to do, including most of the E-Fit ladies there that night. What an evening!
And as I lay my head down that night to sleep, still thinking about the competition, I couldn’t help but smile. I was inspired in more ways than one. I felt like I had started this trip with some of my classmates from E-Fit, and I was leaving three days later back to Charlottesville with new friends for life.
I could continue about those three days: Trixxxie and my fruitless adventures searching for ‘stripper shoes,’ Laci-Rose’s choreographing dance moves on the bus ride home to the amusement of other riders, tarot card readings, $17 eggs and toast, and seriously dirty martinis.
We all walked away that weekend richer. Richer in friends. Richer in inspiration. Richer in motivation. Richer in pole dreams. And every single one of us, felt like running straight to a pole. There was so much work to be done.
To make my final point I’ll say this past weekend, a short 2 weeks after that trip, I succeeded at doing my first cross-ankle invert. There’s nothing like a Pole Championship for motivation.
~Advanced Pole student.
Penny Bashlor: Dancing Her Way to Better Times
Sometimes life hands you surprising and wonderful new adventures (like pole and exotic dancing!). And, sometimes, it takes you where you never want to go.
Penny Bashlor, an E-Fit Dance student knows better than most people how life can change on a dime. “I used to be a real fitness nut – from lifting weights to running — but then I got breast cancer and I wasn’t able to anymore,” reports Penny. But, not to be outdone, she decided to try dance in order to keep her fitness up, and started with ballroom dancing.
“But, then my son’s fiancé, Maile, discovered the Shergold E-Fit Dance program (pole and exotic dancing), and she talked me into doing it with her.”
“We had a blast,” she continued, noting it was something “cool” the future mother-in-law could do with her future daughter-in-law.
And, the fitness aspects of the program did not disappoint, Penny says. Recently, she had to find a new primary care physician and when completing their form, including questions related to exercising, 50 year old Penny wrote “pole dancing.” She happily reports, “My new doctor thought it was the coolest thing she had ever heard!”
Regardless of the breast cancer, Penny says she is now feeling better about herself than when she ever did when younger. “I didn’t feel this feel good about myself when I was young and had the younger body,” she notes, reporting greater flexibility, strength, and self confidence as primary gains from learning various exotic and pole moves.
But, Penny (and the entire Shergold dance family) lost Maile to a tragic car accident last year, almost ending her E-Fit dancing. She says, “I had a hard time thinking about continuing to take classes after we lost Maile. But, everyone at the studio– especially the Shergold instructors – were so supportive of me, saying they understood if I needed to stop.”
Penny rejoined her class. “Their support was overwhelming,” noted Penny. “I felt I could honor Maile’s memory by continuing. And, I am so glad I did.”
As most women who take E-Fit Dance classes attest time and again, the fitness and self confidence benefits are wonderful. But, they also will tell you it is the women they meet in the program that makes the classes so special.
Penny adds, “I know the dancing has helped bring me through this hard time,” she says. “I can’t imagine NOT doing this now.”
I first heard about the pole dancing class through some friends who were taking it, and my first thought was I want to do that just so I can say “Yea I can pole dance.” Now I can say that, but it has become more to me than just a phrase. It is a great and unexpected work out that takes me out of the gym. And I never thought that I could feel sexy while working out. I am stronger in my core and upper body and my flexibility has greatly improved. I have never doubted my confidence in myself but the class has provided a whole new sense of confidence in me. I look forward to the classes and to trying something new and different each time.
~Alison Bowns - aka “Phoenix”
I first got into e-fit dance as a joke with my son’s fiancée. We thought it would be a hoot (and it was) to have 2 generations doing something thought of as “racey”. After the first class I wanted to quit because I didn’t have the strength in my core or arms to keep up with the younger crowd. Now a year later I can climb to the top of the pole easier & faster than some of the younger women. I’ve lost 10 pounds and I’m much more toned. I feel sexier and more confident. As I explain to my friends we’re not doing this to go out and get a second job; it’s just a fun, demanding workout that brings our group closer together. There’s no competition, just a lot of fun, hard work, comradery and support. It’s a great way to stay in shape for those who don’t enjoy the traditional work outs.
~ Penny, registered nurse working in an area hospital
Spinning Back Into Life: Carrie Hopwood, Certified Paralegal
Two and half years ago Carrie Hopwood was involved in a freak car accident, where a deer, struck by another car, crashed through her windshield. With severe head trauma, doctor’s prognosis for Carrie was not good that first day. But, Carrie not only regained herself after months of recovery, she found a new take on life.
“Life is short,” she says. “My accident was a wake-up call to get out-of-the-box a bit.” However, when she agreed to a friend’s offer of doing something “fun and different” and it turned out to be pole dancing classes, she wasn’t quite sure what she’d gotten herself into.
“I froze,” Carrie admits. “It was way out of my comfort zone. I was a nervous wreck the whole drive to the class.” But, her nerves dissipated quickly. “Halfway through that first class,” she says, “I fell in love with it.”
Carrie is not fond of the spotlight, she offers. “I am uncomfortable performing in front of people in any fashion. Even on my wedding day, I didn’t want people watching me,” she says. But, she says that the pole dancing classes that she’s taken are so “female-friendly, non-judgmental and extremely supportive,” that her confidence grew.
“I love that the class is all for me,” Carrie says. “Of course, my husband likes it. But, it isn’t about him. It’s for me.”
While she readily admits she “never, ever in my lifetime” thought she would learn to pole dance, she says she feels stronger, more powerful and more open to life because of it.
“If you can just get past walking in that first time,” she offers, “you will be hooked. It is nothing but positive. Because, it doesn’t matter how good you are or if you are the best, you will be supported and feel good.”
Mother-Daughter Teams to the Dance Floor!
If your mother asked you to take pole dancing lessons with you, would you? Would your mother even ask? Cool mom, Christine Brown, mother to college-student Candyce, did just that.
Christine first heard about the E-Fit Dance program through a co-worker. “I was scared to death in the beginning,” she admits, but was convinced by her friend it would be fun. “I loved it from the first class. I met such a nice bunch of ladies, all of different ages and sizes. I just started having fun.”
After completing her first beginner pole dancing class, she decided to ask daughter Candyce to join her. “I had so much fun, that I thought we could have that fun together,” said Christine. At that time, Candyce was attending Virginia College University (VCU) in Richmond, but began driving down I-64 every Thursday night to join her mother on the dance floor.
“We were already very close,” says Christine. “So, it was fun to do this class with her. She helped me because she’s more of a dancer.” In high school Candyce was on a dance team, was a cheerleader, and did gymnastics. “She helped with some of the practicing,” adds Christine. “And, she loved it so much she is looking for a class in Richmond.”
But, class wasn’t the only thing they shared.
“We did the video shoot together,” says Christine. “I, personally, took the beginner class three times. But, it wasn’t until the third time that I danced during the E-Fit video recital.” (At the end of each 10 week class, where choreography is taught, students have the option of having the dance they learned videotaped in a private, professional setting.) “I was scared to death because I felt silly. Normally I don’t walk around sexy. So, it was a stretch to dance before a camera that way. But, I did it for the fun of it, and it was great to have Candyce there doing it with me.”
Christine says she would tell any other mother that this is a fun, unique experience. “The classes attract all different sizes and ages – from college students to grandmothers. And, the women are just fun. If you are going to take that class, they are going to be fun people. [My daughter and I] had the best time together.”
She also adds that, even without the mother-daughter experience, she found she just felt great when she left each evening. “One time I had the worst day at work, and I went to class in a bad mood,” she admits. “When I finished class, I was so much better. It just takes you away. My daughter, too. I think everyone should try it. It does make you feel better about yourself.”