Photos provided by Infinity Aerial
When college seems especially hard and you feel like you can’t go on, a lot of us find ourselves pondering why we don’t just drop out and become a stripper. Well, we at 1870 are here to tell you that it might not be as easy as you think. If you’ve ever considered taking up pole-dancing, taking up a fun new workout, or upping your confidence in a unique way, you may want to consider taking a class at Infinity Aerial. The teachers specialize in pole-dancing and aerial exercise. We caught up with the founder of Infinity Aerial, Val, to ask her some questions about her business and how it impacts her clientele.
How did you get into pole-dancing and teaching it?
I have danced most of my life. When I was 18, I worked in gentlemen’s clubs and that is where I started learning pole. It was a very interesting experience because while it wasn’t the most empowering environment, I loved the dance aspect of it. I quit after I had my daughter in order to take care of her, but I still kept teaching dance and fitness classes.
What does opening an aerial and pole-dancing studio mean to you? Biggest reason that I opened and what I strive to do: this is a place of empowerment. Pole and aerial are just a medium to do this. [It] allows a lot of women to tap into their sensuality and confidence. Many people do it as a workout, but it helps you tap into how you feel about yourself and how you carry yourself.
Reflecting on your personal experience and upon hearing testimonials of girls who have taken your classes before, how do you think pole-dancing affects a woman’s sense of confidence?
[I’ve heard] a lot of success stories with boosting a woman’s confidence. A student had gone through some severe childhood sexual trauma and looked for classes to feel comfortable in her body. She shared this after having multiple classes, and she said she finally felt okay being feminine and sexual.
Generally, how has the public perception of pole- dancing changed over your lifetime?
When I first opened – especially in the Midwest – this was not something that was well-received at first. In American culture we obviously have a Puritanical mindset still, so there were definitely some attitudes about it. Other parents would judge me for having a pole in my house and not want their kids coming over. In 13 years, we’ve gone from people seeing it as dirty and taboo to seeing it as a workout with the strength and physical ability it takes. Now people are finally understanding that this can do something incredible for the female psyche as we are becoming more open to self-development practices.
What are some common misconceptions women have about pole-dancing coming into their first class?
On a physical end, I can tell you [that] if I had a dime for every person that says it looks cool, but they don’t have the strength for that, I’d be rich. The strength aspect keeps a lot of women from doing this, but this studio starts with the basics. Yes, it is going to challenge you, but it’s not too big of a challenge that you can’t overcome. Mentally, there are still so many women that are afraid to express that power and side of themselves. This is common in younger groups of women, but as you get older it gets better. A lot of women are afraid to be judged as slutty or dirty, and many feel uncomfortable confronting that side of themselves. It can be very eye-opening.
How can college-aged women benefit from attending a class?
To me, the earlier you start in this world as a woman learning to truly appreciate your body and self, and being able to walk out into this world with confidence, you’re set up for a much more successful future. A lot of graduates come in ready to start their adult work life and feel more confident coming out going into their interviews and romantic lives. What they want and what they feel about themselves matters. They can take that and apply it to their decisions and they just feel so much more confident about the changing aspects of their lives.
Don’t just take Val’s word for it. Regan Moran, a biology student at Ohio State, attended a pole-dancing class with friends as a sisterhood event for her sorority.
What was your first impression going into the class?
I thought it was a really nice place! The teacher was incredibly enthusiastic and fun as well.
What was your biggest takeaway from the class?
How physically demanding pole- dancing is. I was covered in bruises and was sore for days, while the instructor made it look effortless.
How strongly would you recommend this class to others?
I definitely highly recommend this class to others! It was extremely empowering and fun, and it was such a good workout. It was especially a lot of fun to do with a group of friends, and is a huge confidence booster.