By Heidi Fallis Stone
Until recently, pole dancing had always been perceived as a private, hush-hush form of personal, seductive, physical expression generally taking place behind closed doors and performed mainly for an audience of reveling onlookers in smoky clubs. Well, truth be told, one form of pole dancing is helping to change that antiquated one-sided perception of this unique art form all across the country. There is one incredibly special place that the women of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel should seriously consider visiting not only for fun, but for fitness as well, all the while putting aside those old and biased notions.
At Rock “n” Body Pole Studio on W. Kennedy Blvd, between N. Hubert Ave. and N. Manhattan Ave., there’s a definitive air of confidence, empowerment, inner and outer beauty and lots of fun going on every day. The studio, owned and operated by April Soldano, is tastefully decorated in colors of soothing pink, with walls trimmed in black, flowing curtains dividing the entrance and a long wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, perfectly dimmed lighting and, of course, all adorned with 10 well-situated personal poles used in one of the hottest personal wellness movements for women today.
Soldano says, “Many women come here to find that sense of themselves in the presence of other encouraging, supportive women and friends. It’s like a safe-house for feeling positive about ‘us’ again, with the bonus of hidden fitness and getting back to being sexy.”
There are classes for women at all levels available for the taking, and special occasions, birthdays, and bachelorette parties can be celebrated at the studio as well.
A few years ago, after viewing a pole dancing segment on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” April, a former real estate professional, decided to look into opening up a dance studio when the local economy began to dip.
“I was immediately excited about the concept of pole dancing, and when I looked into it, there wasn’t a group or place to be found in the Tampa vicinity.” April recalls. She researched extensively, and located a company that promoted home parties for pole dancing, and eventually became the operator of that franchise for Tampa Bay.
“I began showing other women how to pole dance at home parties and the most amazing thing happened,” she says. “I just had the best time — it literally became the highlight of my week — to get together with a group of women and connect through the power of pole dancing. There’s definitely a novel level of empowerment when gathering with like-minded people having a blast, while learning something new and fun.”
Over time, with hard work, savings and supportive family encouragement, the home parties evolved into a full-time business, and Rock “n” Body Pole Studio opened in August of 2009.
April has always been active in physical training, whether it was professional cheerleading and dancing for the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football team, or weight training, aerobics and spinning. April says her passion for fitness and wellness is as much a part of her life as are her two young children.
In addition to her experience as a professional team dancer, April combines her obvious passion for her art and her clientele with outstanding professional training. She is trained and professionally certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and the American Academy of Exercise (ACE), as a personal fitness trainer and pole-dancing instructor. Additionally, all of the instructors at Rock “n” Body are certified fitness training professionals, so clients can be assured that they will be taught safely, as well as skillfully.
Most of the classes at Rock “n” Body are comprised of approximately 6-7 women and teach technique and safety, as well as form and movement. A compulsory 30-minute “Intro to Pole” class provides women with the necessary foundation and skills to become a” Rock N Body Pole Diva,” while teaching basic signature moves to get started feeling both comfortable and sexy with the pole, both of which, April says, are important aspects to learn. Additional classes incorporate learning level-based movement, strength and cardio conditioning, as well as the slinky, sexy moves, spins, climbs and inverts associated with pole dancing.
And, April promises pole dancing is a great way to work out. It’s a true aerobic exercise, and can help you build lung capacity and stamina. It also is great for strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility and, of course, it can be sensual, athletic, or both. Thanks to segments on “Oprah,” and other national TV shows, pole dancing has finally gained a better reputation as a legitimate workout routine that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of shape or size.
“There is no age limit either,” April says. “Pole dancing is about feeling sexy in your own skin. You can feel good about yourself at any age! All of our classes have a mix of women from their early 20s to their late 50s.”
April loves the fact that pole dancing enables women to free themselves of their bonds. As her website states, pole dancing does the following: It helps woman gain self-confidence by the sheer ability to learn how to move differently. It also helps to build a leaner, sexier body. And then, there is the added factor of just having fun trying something new.
How do her clients feel about their pole experience? Says one, “I had such a great time; I’m going to tell all of my friends. I can’t wait to do this again.”
For another, it was more than just fun. “I have seen changes in my body after just a few weeks and with no change in diet. I can’t wait to start the eating plan to make the results even more noticeable.”
The eating plan the happy client was referring to is Rock “n” Body Pole Studio’s 5-week nutrition program, called “Nutritionally Fit N’ Sexy,” that is combined with the strength-building, calorie-burning and confidence-building pole fitness beginners’ techniques that can propel them into the world of sustainable healthy and happy living.
Broadening the scope of health, wellness, fitness and fun at Rock “n” Body is the addition of “Aerial yoga,” a combination class of traditional yoga with the physical training of an aerialist.
So, if you’re looking for a fantastic place to have a blast, whether personally, or in a group, call up Rock “n” Body Pole Studios and book an appointment today!
Rock “n” Body Pole Studio is located at 4333 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa. For more information about class schedules and hours, and how to book events such as birthday, bachelorette, girls’-night-out parties and more, please call the studio at 280-2931 or visit PoleDancingTampa.com. You also can find “Rock N Body Pole Parties” on Facebook.