Alternative dancing studio thrives in Madison Heights

PoleFIT Revolution, a fitness studio in Madison Heights, celebrated its grand re-opening and expansion by throwing a “Girls Night Out” party on Nov. 6. The event, sponsored by Zumba Mexican Grille and Zodiac Vodka, featured dancing demonstrations, door prizes, raffle prizes, appetizers and refreshments.

The studio offers mainly pole dancing classes, but a recent addition of space means there will be aerial yoga classes offered as well.

Melanie Pagel, Owner of PoleFIT Revolution, has been in fitness and health for 13 years as a personal trainer, Pilates and yoga instructor.

“A lot of women need an outlet for fitness that also makes them feel sexy and sensual,” Pagel said. “Pole dancing ends up being everything in one, in terms of exercise.”

Charley, head instructor, has been with the studio since July 2010. She said pole dancing takes a lot work.

“If you don’t want to go a gym, this (pole dancing) is a great way to build your strength, stamina and flexibility,” Charley said.

Shadow, a competitive coach and instructor, is the newest employee at PoleFIT. She adds experience to the business, as she is No. 2 ranked pole dancer in the world.

“Pole dancing is almost better than the gym because with every move, you target almost every muscle in the body,” Shadow said.

Miranda Tully, a student, has been taking classes at PoleFIT Revolution for the past five months.

“The classes are really good,” Tully said. “They improve flexibility and strengthen the upper body as a whole. Plus, they encouraged me more. It’s a great way to meet other women.”

Cheryl Willard, professional photographer for the studio, started taking classes earlier this year and loved the atmosphere and exercise so much, she installed a pole in her own home.

“I leave a pole class feeling like I got a great workout,” Willard said. “At the gym, you have your headphones ionand you’re not interacting with each other. Here, you are interacting with everybody and feeding off their energy. Everyone is pushing you and being positive.”

To protect its students from injuries, the instructors teach exits first before moving onto the floor.

“We’re the only school that uses crash mats and spotters, as far as I’m concerned,” Charley said. “The first thing we say to new students is ‘this is going to hurt, but here’s what you do when you fall.'”

She said most beginners start off by walking and spinning around the pole and students are not allowed to perform until they work with instructors on exit strategies.

Apart from the exercise, PoleFIT prides itself on the environment that it creates for its students. A sign hanging above the front door reads:  “Leave your inhibitions at the door.” That phrase embodies the atmosphere in the studio.

Charley said the sign saying “leave your inhibitions at the door” is appropriate because they are all sisters there.

“Climbing up a pole and being able to suspend yourself by one thigh, wearing six-inch shoes is empowering,” Charley said. “It’s women supporting women, that’s the best part.”

While the standard attire for pole dancing is booty shorts and sports bras, new participants usually wear sweatpants and T-shirts, she said.

“For most women, it is very scary to get down to that little of clothing,” Shadow said. “I don’t care how big you are, small you are, strong you are, or how weak you are, you’re beautiful, and we’re going to work together to meet whatever goals you have.”

The instructors are very flexible with everyone’s skill level, said Willard.

“These classes are for the everyday person,” she said. “Pole dancing is something that I think almost every female has somewhat of an interest in trying”

In addition to the pole dancing classes, the studio also has an airbrush tanning studio, pilates classes and hosts pole dancing parties. Men may  also sign up for classes.

For more information on the classes and the studio, visit