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Pole Dancing: Not Just for Strippers. DivaFit provides stronger abs and healthy spirit

4 April 2012 One Comment

Instructor Tara Leigh Moore helps student Kay Beyers perfect a move called the Gemini. Photo by Traci Brooks

Traci J. Brooks
Photography Director

Look at the contents of an average gym bag. Sweat towel, check. Workout clothes, check. But five-inch platform, rhinestone-studded high heels?

But to the ladies at DivaFit, a pole fitness studio with four locations in the Northern Virginia area, it’s just as essential as water bottles when they head to their weekly workout.

Pole dancing has become an increasingly popular form of exercise. What was once limited to strip clubs is now a workout that is a combination of gymnastics, acrobatics and dance, with studios popping up in most major cities. Women of all ages and body shapes own the sport as their own, finding a sense of achievement and self in the unique dance form.

While there are now several pole fitness studios to choose from in the D.C. metro area, DivaFit was the first and is currently the largest studio in the area.

Lisa Adams, who holds a B.S. in Exercise Science, founded DivaFit in 2006. She started pole and exotic dance about seven years ago, and it “lit a spark” in her.

“I started DivaFit because I felt passionate about what a great workout pole was,” Adams said. “I felt like women needed a place where they could not just get a good workout but feel sexy and alive.”

Women who take pole dancing rave about how fun and challenging the experience is. One such convert is Tara Leigh Moore, who celebrated five years with DivaFit this month.

Moore, who holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature, a minor in Theater, and a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology, began at DivaFit because her friend signed her up for the class.

“I walked in thinking, ‘this should be very interesting,’” Moore remembered. “And I fell in love with it within an hour and never missed a class after that.”

Moore’s love for the arts began at an early age. She began singing professionally at 8 years old and since then has been performing in musicals and plays all over Virginia. She’s even performed at the Waddell Theater on Loudoun campus.

However, she found while her musical theater, jazz and tap experience made pole dancing an easy transition, it was still a change from the world of time steps and jazz hands.

“I figured, this was something different,” she remembered. “And boy, it really was.”

Moore, who is now a master instructor at DivaFit, began there as a student. Moore accelerated through the pole dancing curriculum, learning spins, climbs and inverts. After only four months of taking lessons, Adams asked her to audition to become an instructor.

“My first response was ‘no!’” Moore laughed. “And then, after speaking to my mom, I realized ‘of course, I can do that.’ And since I’m a teacher during the day, it really was a natural step, and it was the best decision I ever made.”

The most rewarding part of being a teacher, Moore explained, was seeing how students changed as they went through the program.

“There is noticeable, tangible growth in confidence, in strength, in poise and in spirit,” Moore said. “And that is why I’m a pole dancing instructor.”

Moore has also seen bonds grow between classmates, as they find a sense of empowerment together in their weekly classes. They support each other, Moore noted, and improve how they feel about themselves. She lauded the sense of community as something unique to pole dancing, adding that she’s seen more best friends come out of DivaFit than anywhere else.”

Instructor Tara Leigh Moore spots student Kay Beyers as she practices an inverted handstand against the pole. Photo by Traci Brooks

But pole dancing classes are not just a time of feel-good bonding. In the hour of dance class, students warm up, using their own body weight for strength training, work core muscles and do cardio to burn calories.

Moore called pole dancing “addicting,” adding that it has nothing but positive benefits. “Pole dancing tones from top to bottom,” she said. “It builds an overall healthier body: stronger abs, toned arms and shoulders, and it targets core muscles.”

Students agree with Moore’s assessment about the results of pole dancing.

One of Moore’s students, Kay Beyers, 42, of Leesburg, said she started dancing at DivaFit as an alternative way to get in shape.

“I love the workout you get at DivaFit because not only do you work out your muscles… you meet wonderful people,” Beyers said. “It’s a sexy workout, if you want it to be. If not, you can definitely insert the sportiness into it. It tones your body like nothing else!”

“It right away becomes the favorite night of your week,” she added.

“I love the feeling of your cares flying out the door with the first spin of the day,” Adams said. “I love to let the music move me and find what form the movement takes. I love to feel sexy, and I love my arm muscles!”

“You can be any age, any ethnicity, any religion, and you’ll fit in taking a pole dancing class,” Moore said. “As long as you come with an open mind, a willingness to learn and get strong.”

By: Traci J. Brooks

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One Comment »

  • abdominal exercise said:

    Abdominal exercise it is easy to guess why crunches were so popular at one time. Given the amount of bi-directional strain you employ on your abdominal muscles, they work on the stomach flabs like no other exercise does. But the degree of difficulty increases if you are using a bench in comparison to workouts on floor.

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