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Meet Our Unicorns: Featured Instructor Ellie

Ellie has danced for as long as she can remember.  Bored with gym workouts, she tried a pole fitness class in October 2012–and it was love at first spin!  She found that pole dance fitness is challenging and ever changing.

Ellie competed in the Southern Pole Championships in 2015 & 2016, placing first in the Dramatic divisions of her level both years.  She has also performer in local productions, including HAIR (Theatre in the Park) and Metal Pole Mayhem.  When she isn’t spinning around the pole, Ellie teaches Creative Movement and Ballet at a local dance studio.  On occasion, you can find her on stage in those productions as well.

Ellie graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in History and a Minor in Dance.  She is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and a POUNDFit POUND Pro.  Ellie is excited to be a part of the Aradia Fitness team and to share her love of dance & movement with her classes.

She recently sat down with fellow Aradia Fitness Cary instructor, Emma Reyn, for an up close and personal look into her pole life.  Check out the full video interview here.


Aradia Fitness Cary Instructor, Ellie dances with her ballet-inspired moves and grace. Photo by Scott Chmelar.


What kind of obstacles have you faced in your pole journey?

“I started pole when I was 39, and so I’d say I’m a little risk adverse when it comes to something that may be slightly more head first to the ground.  I’m just hyper aware of my recovery time, that it would be a lot longer.” 



What is your dance background?

“I started with a lot of dance…Since the age of three, my mom put me in dance lessons, so ballet, tap, a little bit of tumbling until about ten, and then all ballet from age twelve.” 



Do you do any training outside of pole?

“I’ll do some of the cardio classes typically, MixxedFit is fun.  I teach Pound, so that’s kind of my other one and I sub some classes for that around the area, and I like to take classes too when I can.” 



Do you prefer to dance in shoes or bare feet?

“I’m a bare foot kind of girl, but I like my heels, it’s kind of fun.” 



Do you use pole grip? What kind?

“I can’t say that I have a lot of tips for sweaty [hands], I don’t have sweaty hands.  I’m, I guess fortunate that way. And I tend to not use grip a whole lot.  I try to kind of avoid it in class because I don’t want to rely on it… [My] go-to is probably Dew Point and I use that more in the summer when my legs are just so dry… I feel like I’m so dry that… my shins just slide, but I usually only use it on my shins.  Competition’s a little different, I’m not afraid of the iTac – in the elbows – I might not even be doing an elbow hold but I’ll put it there just in case.” 



What is your favorite class to teach?

“[Pole] Fluidity, because stringing all the stuff together, I find that I’m more tired after a choreo class than I am after… a level class.  Because sometimes when you start stringing all those things together, you’re going and you’re going and then you do it again and again and you’re just tired – but you’re moving and having fun.” 



What is your favorite pole move?

“Cupid.  Cupid is my jam.  Once I figured it out, I was just like ‘this is so cool’ because you’re basically just holding on by your knee pit, and then you have a foot for a kickstand.  You can just get in the shape and play with your arms too and that makes it kind of cool.  Just breathe, like ‘Here’s my picture! Joe and Iris get my picture!’


What is Aradia Fitness for you?

“It’s like a family. It really is, because everybody here, regardless of whether you personally click with somebody, everybody has the same goal. They’re all here to work out, they’re all here to have fun, and just… you know, be together, so it’s kind of like a nice little family.


What advice do you have for other pole dancers?

“[Pole dance] is very much your own journey but… nobody’s pressuring you like ‘Oh you need to go do this’… Try it, if it doesn’t work that’s okay, because there’s fifty other moves you can work on. Not everything is for every body type. There’s a move that somebody gives you and you’re like “I’m not gonna get this”, come back to it in three months, because in three months you may be stronger, you may be more flexible, you may be a little more balls-y and willing to try it, so if you revisit it it doesn’t mean you have to perfect it, doesn’t mean it has to go in a performance piece, but try it again. You never know, it may work that time. I’ve had stuff like that that didn’t make sense, then six months later it’s like ‘Whoa! Wait a minute, how’d this happen?’ It just clicks and then you’re like ‘What… why was I so confused? I can’t believe I was stumped by that.’ But don’t worry! There’s something else that’s going to stump you!”


For the full video and more of Ellie’s interview with Emma Reyn, please visit here.


Article Written by Emma Reyn, Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina.

June 25, 2017

10 Benefits of Dance

Dance classes have long been a favorite for people looking to get into shape and increase their overall health and well-being.  Many gyms across America are offering and beginning to provide their clients with dance-related classes.  There are many different styles of dance, each with a unique culture and style.  No matter what style you choose, there are several proven benefits to picking up dance as a hobby.



Perhaps the most obvious benefit of dancing is increased physical strength.  Dancing can be an enjoyable way to get your body moving and keep your heart racing.  Dancing is one of the few activities that offers a full body workout.  Dancing allows you to work your legs, core, and arms all at the same time.  Dancing provides a high-intensity, low-impact workout without the monotony of counting reps or doing sets.



Aradia Fitness offers Flexibility classes 5 days a week. Photo by Alloy Images.



Another great physical benefit of dance is improved flexibility.  Dance enables you to move your body in ways that may not be typical in your day to day life.  This allows you to build your range of motion and give your muscles a good stretch.  Even if your dance program doesn’t start with a warm up stretch, you’ll most likely find that after a few classes you’re a little more limber than you were before.



Dance also improves your heart health and lung capacity.  Your heart rate and breathing rate both increase while dancing.  There are many long term health benefits to getting an extra cardiovascular workout.  Keeping your body active can help to keep yourself young and fight the aging process.



Improved balance and spacial awareness can also be a byproduct of dancing.  Dancing requires a bodily awareness that helps to improve these skills.  Being more aware of our bodies can make us more aware of the ways our bodies move within a space.  The focus on good posture and core strengthening in dance can improve your balance.


Liz dance

Aradia Fitness offers a variety of dance and movement classes. Photo by Steve Clarke.



Dancing is one of the best ways you can prevent and even treat osteoporosis.  Weight bearing exercises, or forms of exercise that force your body to fight against gravity, have been shown to be effective ways of strengthening your bones.  The increase in strength and balance can also help to prevent falls and broken bones.



The benefits of dance aren’t just physical.  Dancers also get a mental workout.  Remembering dance steps and patterns gives dancers a memory boost.  Focusing on different parts of the body simultaneously also gives dancers a mental challenge.  This mental workout helps the mind to stay sharp.



One of the biggest benefits of dance is increased confidence.  Learning and mastering a new skill, in general, is great for your confidence.  It can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.  Dance also has the added bonus of learning to move your body in beautiful new ways ways.



Dancing can be a great stress reliever.  It reduces the levels of cortisol, also known as  the stress hormone, in your body while giving you an endorphin boost.  Many people leave dance class feeling almost elated.  Attending an evening dance class can be a great creative outlet and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for work the next day.



Another wonderful benefit of dance is an increased social connection.  Both solo and partner dance can be a great way to meet new people.  It can establish connections if you just moved or relocated.  Even if you’ve lived in the same place a while, dance can be a great way to meet people outside of your social circle.



Aradia Fitness offers all levels and types of pole dance classes. Photo by Christopher Donald.



Many people who join a dance class with the intent of getting in shape find that they have higher success rates than those who just hit the gym.  Part of this may be the network of other dancers you connect with when you dance, and another part could just be pure fun.



Aradia Fitness in Cary, North Carolina offers several different dance classes including pole and aerial classes, Zumba, cardio boot camps, and much more.  To view the full class schedule online, please visit


Article written by Alessa Isabella, Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina

January 18, 2017