Monday, October 10, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Empowerment Through Exotic Dance!

I first started hearing whispers about Mary Ellyn and Empowerment Through Exotic Dance as the Grande Dames (pole dancers over 40) were getting excited about The Midwest Pole Dance Competition earlier this year.  I wanted to include her in our circle of pole sisters, so here she is!

What is your fitness background?

I have a group exercise certification through AFAA.

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?

Off the pole I work out 5-7 days per week...about 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training and 45 minutes of stretching each session. On the pole I teach 12 hours a week plus choreograph and practice outside of classes.

What kind of diet do you follow?

Mostly low carb dieting.

Do you have a dance background?

Never took any serious dance lessons. Started at Fred Astaire once and dropped out after a couple of weeks.

Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?

I don't compete but this year we launched the Midwest Pole Dance Competition in August.

What interested you about pole dancing?

The fun mixed with the fabulous support among the women (and now men) in classes.

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"

Not really though I tend to personally lean toward using the term pole dancing. Even the fitness aspect has a dance element to it and all dance is a form of fitness.

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?

I think it's ridiculous. There is no denying that at least a portion of our pole moves are rooted in the stripper industry and there is no shame in a woman's sensuality. I don't endorse the side of the industry which exploits women but I also support a woman's choice to work in any field she wishes. While I understand that pole dancing in it's earliest form was Mallakhamb and Chinese pole, I don't believe that the modern pole dance school started up because of Mallakhamb! I was around when pole dancing burst into mainstream and we had never even heard of Mallakhamb at that time!

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?

Grrrip...and yes that is spelled correctly. I prefer the spray but they have a lotion for sweaty hands too. The spray helps with mild sweating and adds just a touch of grip but you can still spin without sticking too much.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days)?

I love Pole Physics!  Plus I exfoliate daily!


Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

I love Mika Yoga Wear and AMB shorts.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

Mostly in bare feet as I teach in bare feet so that is what I'm use to. However if I'm dressed up and out dancing I prefer 6-inch heels.

What did you do before opening your pole studio?

I was a registered nurse in ER/Trauma

How did you come up with the name for your studio?

Brainstorming with my husband...though I never really cared for how long it is!

What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?

Beautiful spins can take my breath away.

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?

Simple Man by Deftones.

Do you have any other upcoming events you'd like people to know about?

The Great Midwest Pole Dance Competition and Convention 2012 due to be held in August. More information will be available soon at

What else would you like people to know about you or your studio?

We offer online teacher training and live instructor certification courses sanctioned by the Pole Fitness Association and The Pole Dance Community as well as approved for CEUs by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Check for more information.


Please catch up with Mary Ellyn and ETED on their Website!


  1. It's great to hear from other pole dancers and I have to agree that the 'fun' element is what first drew me to pole dancing, followed shortly by the great exercise.

  2. Yes -- I agree that the fun needs to be in there too. That's what keeps us coming back, right?!