Archives >

Instructor Spotlight – Elyse Q

elyse quail 1 When did you start Pole Dancing? 
E: I just had my two year pole-iversary at the start of January!

Why did you decide to start Pole Dancing?
E: After experiencing a trauma while living overseas, I needed something to help me heal. I wanted something that would allow me to develop an appreciation for my body, but also become a part of a social community and make new friends in my new country. The opportunity came to me at the perfect time. I loved my first class so much, I signed up for another class that same night! I was hooked.

What kept your interest in pole dancing? Why did you want to continue to the next level?
E: It wasn’t hard for me to stay interested! Living in a foreign country was lonely, and as a result of my trauma I was often really sad. Pole became a place for me where I could feel safe and supported by my classmates. My instructor Kylie was so encouraging and always made me feel like I could succeed. Every class I came in carrying the weight of my week, and I left feeling like I could do absolutely anything I set my mind do. I started taking classes with a group a few levels above me, and everytime I saw the amazing things they could do, I knew I wanted to one day be that graceful! Pole made me feel so good, so I just kept coming back.

How do you find the pole community differs from Canada to the UK?
The wonderful truth of that question is that I believe the pole community is GLOBAL! I’ve found especially from making connections online that wherever you are in the world, your pole family is all around you. The difference for me was that while living in the U.K., I just hadn’t discovered that yet. I attended a small studio in a town just outside of London, and the community there was always encouraging and amazing. It wasn’t until I came to Aradia that I realized how large the pole community really is! Now I am happy to say that my pole family is all over the world. Here in Edmonton, across North America, and overseas in the U.K, where it all started for me.

What would you say that, besides strength building, pole has help you with the most?

Pole has really changed the way that I view myself – physically and emotionally. My entire life I remember struggling with my body image, at some points to devastating extremes. Pole has brought me to a place where I now view my body for what it can DO instead of how it looks. Emotionally, pole allows me to see myself as strong and capable of overcoming hardship. Pole gives me an outlet for whatever I am going through. There are very few things in my life that can’t be made better by a good freestyle session!

Do you ever face any struggles with pole? What are they, and how do you overcome them?

My biggest struggle with pole is definitely comparing myself to others. In this amazing pole community, we have so many incredible athletes! Sometimes I look at them and feel defeated about my own progress. Thankfully one of my besties does pole too and she often reminds me that the people I admire on Instagram spend HOURS a day training, and that my progress is perfect considering the amount of time I put in. As for the amazing students and instructors here at Aradia, I trust to remember that we all start our pole journey with different strengths. Some of us come as dancers or gymnasts, some of us come having never worked out a day in our lives! Every pole journey is unique, and I know the way for us to all be our best is by loving and celebrating each other AND ourselves.


Elyse quail 2

What do you find challenges your students the most about pole?

I fully believe that the most challenging thing about pole dancing is the mental side of it. The moves are physically challenging, but with consistency, our muscles adapt to what we are asking of them. Mental strength can be much more challenging to build and maintain. When we come to our first pole class we bring with us an entire lifetime of beliefs forced upon us by others or sometimes ourselves. If we’ve spent our entire lives believing we aren’t capable, then suddenly come into a pole class, it can be really restricting. The hardest part for many of my students is breaking through the barriers and limiting beliefs. That’s why I celebrate my students with such enthusiasm… I see that they are amazing and I want them to understand that they are ALREADY incredible and capable before they have the move. Nailing the move is just showing all of that in physical form. My students laugh at me for jumping up and  down and screaming praise at them just for TRYING a move, but I see them taking on positive beliefs about themselves, I see the smiles on their faces, and I see them coming back each week. It’s hard to break through the mental barriers, and I love helping my students experience and then overcome that challenge, because the reward is so incredible.

When you tell people that you’re a pole instructor, what do you find the most common response is?
I’m happy to say that people are usually excited, and impressed! Often I have people commending me for my strength, and then telling me that THEY want to come try a class! I always try to encourage those people to step outside of their comfort zones and try it out. It could be the best decision they’ve ever made.

Do you have any upcoming goals related to pole? Tricks you’d like to achieve, etc? Why have you chosen those goals?
I have a naughty habit of learning new tricks, doing them once, uploading a picture to instagram and move on to the next thing. So this year I’m focusing on filling the gaps and conditioning and building my fundamental skills. I’m not worried about getting the big tricks this year. Instead, I want to have flawless aerial inverts and a shoulder mount that I can nail every time! This way, when I’m ready to go back to learning the big tricks, I have the strength to do it, because I’m allowing myself to work on the little things. I can’t wait to get stronger and see where my pole journey takes me next!

What do you mean my fitness instructor doesn’t have rippling abs?


Chantelle’s pre-baby bod!

Chizzled body, toned arms, big booty cause she “clearly squats all day long!” – that’s what you pictured your group fitness instructor to look like, right? But, what if you came in to find that your instructor in fact didn’t look this way? You come to find that opposite of having a 6-pack, she had a 6-month postpartum mummy tummy!

That my friends, describes me – the owner of Aradia Fitness Edmonton. The owner of four fitness athletic facilities that promote total core and upperbody engagement, calisthenics, and aerobic workouts! I love fitness, I love strength building, but I’m also a huuuuuge foodie. And I’m not talking the cutesy “oh, I love cheesecake too!” – exclaimed by the portion controlled, only needing once slice a year, individuals. I’m talking… “please provide me with the largest piece of birthday cake possible, and I’ll dibs seconds while we’re at it.”  It’s been a roaring joke in my family, even – don’t worry, Chantelle will always eat it.

The reason I write the blog today stems from a recent incident that happened on a Facebook Moms’ Group. (The worst kind of group, I know). A close friend of mine had told me about some incredible results that her mom had achieved from a  particular diet. The diet certainly did seem extreme – guaranteeing that I would lose 20 pounds within a single month. Being a fitness instructor, I asked this soon-to-be vicious group of moms if anybody had any experience with it, and if so – would it be appropriate for a fitness instructor, or would I be losing muscle instead of fat on this diet?

(And let me add, I don’t like the word diet. I’m not trying to deny myself essential foods just to lose weight. Admittedly however, I do have terrible eating habits that I am looking to control – I am looking for a lifestyle change!)

To my surprise, the moms’ dived in full force. These were the comments that I received:

Mom A: I creeped your profile and noticed that you were the owner of Aradia. Does that mean that Aradia doesn’t work? That’s what it sounds like you’re saying

Well Mom A – I am not an expert in nutrition, but I do know that weight management is 70% what you eat, and 30% exercise. Aradia works to build muscle. If you continue to consume a large amount of calories each day, as I do, you won’t lose weight. Trust me, I have lots of strong muscle, but I also have a layer of insulation over top of that muscle!

Mom B: I creeped your profile, and I see you made a post telling your clients to love themselves. You need to practice what you preach:

Thank you for your honest input Mom B. I do have to ask however, how does me wanting to lose unnecessary body fat insinuate that I hate myself? Quite the opposite, I have lots of confidence and love for myself, and because of that, I realize that I need to put down the cheeseburger and invest in some leefy greens to properly fuel my body.

In this new “Body Positive” era, we are so terrified to talk about things that make us uncomfortable about our ownselves. I almost tend to think that denying it altogether actually makes it more difficult for us to admit it, and therefore work on it. I absolutely love my body – unlike when I was a teenaged girl, I no longer stand in front of the mirror and think “ugh. Nobody could love me like this.”
Just as sometimes my husband makes decisions that I’m not fond of, doesn’t mean that I would love him any less. As goes for my eating, I have made decisions for my body that I am not fond of – but I do not love it any less.

But I have to say that the worst comment came from Mom C: “Don’t do that diet. On the simple fact that your clients will find out, and think you are a farce, and a lot may leave. You may potentially lose your business. Like other’s said, be the example you want your clients to be.”

Lose my business? I don’t think that my clients are half as shallow as that, thankfully! The Aradia Family is an incredible community, and we all


Myself now – being an everyday woman!

support each other through the good times and the bad. I want my clients to know that I am a human! I am not the face full of make-up, and long curled hair that flips so well in a poleflow. I am a woman who mainly spends my day running my business behind my computer – in my PJ’s because I am too tired to get dressed, as I also have an 11 month child. Sometimes I can’t remember the last time I did my hair, or washed my face.

So there you have it – I am a fitness instructor who knows and has a lot to offer the pole fitness community and industry. I am confident in what I teach. Thankfully for you, I do not offer nutritional advice. Although it might seem related, they are completely two different worlds of knowledge, and I do not have the education, nor expertise in it – but this does not make me any less of a group fitness instructor.

I am strong. I am fit. I am confident – and nothing will change that.


Pole Instructor Spotlight – Betty L

changes-to-masters-2How long have you been Pole Dancing for? 
B: I got a taste of it in 2010 and started with classes in 2012! I think my poleversary (It’s a thing.) is in March.

What got you started in pole fitness?
B: A good college friend worked at my New Brunswick studio! At the time I was working in an office and was looking for a fun way to get into shape. I was too shy to join the studio at first. It took a few months to get me in!

What kept you interested in the sport?
B: Definitely the pole community! I have met some of my closest friends at my studios.

Why did you decide to become a pole fitness instructor?
B: My New Brunswick studio needed staff, so I was offered the job. I was so nervous! It only took one class for me to realize that teaching and coaching was something I was passionate about. I completely changed careers after that!

What is one of the most challenging things you find about being an instructor?
B: I love every minute I spend at the studio, and find myself spending my home time planning cool lessons and choreographing routines. I guess my biggest challenge is making myself step away from instructing to focus on my amazing life outside the studio!

What do you find rewarding about pole dancing?
B: I love hitting strength goals! I never knew what I was capable of doing before I started pole. It changed me both physically and mentally! A good strength trick can make me as happy as a full pizza.

Tell us more about your competitive spirit. What made you decide to start competing? What do you enjoy about it? Is there anything you dislike about it?
B: I am addicted to competing. I’ve had years that I question myself- but then with every new song I listen to, I find myself closing my eyes and beginning the choreography for my next piece. My first competition was in the doubles category- I had only been doing pole for a few months. I was asked to fill in last minute for a partner who had backed out! That was in 2012. I have since competed in several regional and national competitions, in the semi-pro and professional divisions. I love the crazy months of preparation, the bruises, and the rush of being obetty-photonstage knowing that I finally made it.

As for what I dislike- the 10 seconds before your music starts onstage are the WORST. I am lucky to have a fiancé who supports me through every step and pushes me to always be better!

If someone is interested in competing, do you have any tips you could provide them with?
B: I have a million! Most importantly though- put in the work. Listen to your song a million times, get a coach, cross-train, eat well, stretch a lot… do something every day for your piece. The people who win competitions are the people who are 200% committed for the full duration of their training season. Even if they don’t walk off stage with a medal, they walk off with pride.

Betty Leblanc – Aradia Fitness Edmonton/Sherwood Park/St. Albert Pole and Aerial Hoop Instructor

Next Page »