by Hani Yassine
The Lance – Arts Editor
Like many of those who attended, Paul Webster carried no expectations upon entering the Walkerville Brewery to see a pole fitness show, but he left pleasantly surprised.
“I’ve never been to a pole show before so I didn’t know what to expect. But it’s cool, I like it,” Webster said. “My biggest regret was not telling more of my buddies, and that’s my bad.”
Even with the show held at the same venue last February, pole fitness in Windsor still finds itself enshrouded in misconception and confusion by having it linked to exotic dancing. In an attempt to bring clarity to the discussion, another pole fitness show titled “Deliria” was held Oct. 17. But it also paired as an announcement for Windsor’s first dedicated pole studio: Vertika Pole Fitness, which is slated to open in November on Ottawa Street.
“That’s kind of the goal, to announce and show that this is what pole fitness is and there’s still a lot of confusion as to what you’re really going to expect,” said event organizer and Vertika co-owner Caita Clemerson. “So this is kind of letting Windsor know what pole is and where they can come learn it.”
With 10 students so far, Vertika aims to increase those numbers by having up to 20 classes per week with the majority dedicated to pole fitness. The Saturday night show adopted a Cirque du Soleil theme where performers were in masks, with some utilizing an aerial silk on top of the poles which were set on stage for both group and solo acts. While a great chunk of the show was performance art, it was also a demonstration of great core strength upon moving in, around and on top of the poles with the utmost control.
“It’s kind of a new way of working out,” said performer Jess Craymer, who took up pole fitness in May while living in Muskoka. “I’m a triathlete and a runner, but I need a bit of cross training to go with my running routine, so pole fitness is a way for me to cross train and still have fun.”