October 5, 2012

Local exercise studio embraces pole

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Lisa Snow shows two students how she supports herself on her hips in the O-shaped hoop suspended from the ceiling. Gleaming poles and long strips of silk are reflected in the wall-to-wall mirror as they wait for the next student to perform incredible acts of flexibility, strength and self-confidence.

"Pole dancing is empowerment, Snow, owner of Polebody Studios, said.

Pole dancing provides a creative, physical way for women--and men--to express themselves.

"What we do is empower women to have a pep in their step, to feel good about being themselves in hopes that in turn they will feel like working out and caring about their health. In the meantime, classes at Polebody are targeted at using an alternative form of fitness in the name of 'dance' to inspire students to find themselves."

Snow was married and had a child when she discovered pole dancing. She felt weighed down with responsibilities and needed a form of self-expression.

"I was 23 and I felt 40," Snow said.

Pole dancing provided an outlet and release that Snow was looking for.

"Right away I could tell it was more than just fitness," Snow said.  

Snow received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma. She gave lessons at Bedtime Stories, an adult novelty store in Chickasha, in 2008 before the economy crashed and the business had to shut its doors. She had two poles and charged $10 a lesson while attending school. She taught at Teaze in Oklahoma City before bringing her passion for the pole back to Chickasha. Today, Snow is the only pole dance instructor certified in the state of Oklahoma and 2012-2013 United Sates Pole Dance Champion.

Polebody Studio, located at 210 S. 4th St, Suite K in Chickasha offers classes seven days a week.

While pole dancing is the core of Polebody Studio, pilates, kickboxing, chair dance, conditioning and cardio classes are also offered. Heather Schenk, certified massage therapist works at the studio, specializing in Swedish, neuromuscular and deep tissue massage as well as acupuncture.

There are four instructors at Polebody: Snow, Courtney Carter, Christine Moran and Jessica Stark.

Instructors at Polebody are carefully chosen and prepped to be a Polebody Instructor. The pole dance classes are broken down into seven levels, each one building upon the previous. They follow national guidelines for safety and stay current on safety issues. Snow said she is very proud of her staff.

As an alternative form of fitness, pole dancing offers fun and fast results.

"Dance has almost immediate results. In general. A new pole dance class will leave a student sore for tow days, in almost all areas of the body. I compare the results of pole dance to that of swimming or sprinting. Its not uncommon for a student to notice muscle definition after a week program of pole dancing," Snow said.

The studio manager, Stark--also Snow's first student--was a beginner in pole dancing and fitness. Stark could not climb the pole when she first started, but now she teaches a climbing class at Polebody Studio.

The studio has caught the attention of some well-known names within the pole dancing field.

Mary Rios, who performed a pole dance routine at the Miss Deaf America pageant where she was crowned, has given workshops at Polebody Studio. Felix Cane, world champion pole dancer and Este Zakar, national champion pole dancer, have also visited the studio as well as renowned pole instructor David Owens. Owens has held workshops for the co-ed class at Polebody.

October 2012 is a good month to start pole dancing at Polebody Studios. Customers get one week of classes for free when they buy a class package. There are discounts for students and workers in the health care field. Packages never expire. Snow said that she wanted to offer a week of free classes  for instead of one day so that patrons have more options to try for free.

The schedule of the studio varies, depending on the classes. Snow said the best way to find out about classes is to go to the website at To sign up, students create an account online and sign up for a class with just a click. The class description and instructor is listed. The class can be seen as soon as the studio schedules it.

The classes have had anywhere from two to twenty students.

"We'll be here even if there's just one student," Snow said.

While pole dancing's reputation may conjure up images of smokey bars, Snow said that the pole dancing classes are not necessarily sexual in nature, Snow said.

"It's more about expressing yourself as a strong, beautiful woman."

While skin is needed to grip the pole, Snow said that the performers always take their audience into account, showing less at family events such as the Rock Island Arts Festival in 2011 and saving more revealing outfits for bars and other adult establishments.

Snow said she has tried various materials, but clothing that covers areas of the body dancers use to grip the pole are more of a safety issue because they cause the dancer to slip.

Pole dancing is an art, and the environment of the studio reflects that. All the artwork which covers the walls behind the front desk was done by Chickasha artists. The silk performers at the Rock Island Festival last weekend were from Polebody Studio and Polebody donates dance packages to the Chickasha Area Arts Council silent auction.

Snow said that pole dancing is for women of all ages, sizes and lifestyles. There is a children's room for kids to play in and supervision can be requested.

"All you need is drive," Snow said.