Monday, November 7, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Dance 411!

I've been chatting with Melanie, general manager of Dance 411 Studio in Atlanta, Georgia.  The studio offers a range of classes for both children and adults.  Welcome Dance 411 to our circle!

What is your fitness background?

I started out as a competitive gymnast when I was 8 and started taking ballet when I was about 10.  I started doing competitive figure skating after all of that for some years and I still skate and tumble for fun.  In high school I rode horses, ran track, played basketball, and played lacrosse.  I also danced heavily throughout (modern, ballet, jazz).  I was recruited to play lacrosse in college.  About 10 years ago I got into Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) and I still do that also.  I’ve tinkered with kickboxing even!  Then I got into Pole Dance (my most recent fitness pickup) about 4 years ago.

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

For pole, I take as many classes as I can.  At our studio, I take Pole Fitness, Disco Pole, and a few others.  We also have a Go-go Stiletto class and a Lap Dance class which I love!  And I like to get down in Shake it Up!  We learn to shake it and make the booty clap!  J  Super Fun!  Off the pole and outside of the Ladies Liberation classes at the studio, I run, still tumble at a local gymnastics studio, and dance on my own (mostly lyrical and modern with some hip hop mixed in).  When it’s warm outside, of COURSE I love to hit the pool and the beach!

What kind of diet do you follow?

I have always been a pretty healthy eater.  I eat A LOT of fruit.  People in the studio make fun of me, but it’s just the way I am.  I have always preferred fruit over candy…even as a child.  I also try to eat out as little as possible and make most of my own meals.  If I do eat out, it’s usually sushi which is still pretty healthy.  I like to eat a lot of green veggies like kale and spinach.  And, I drink a lot of water.  I hardly ever drink sodas or even juice.  Again, I have been like that since I was a kid.  My one forbidden fruit, so to speak, is definitely French fries.  Those are my guilty pleasure!  
Do you have a dance background?

Yes, definitely.  I started in ballet at about 10 years old to help me with gymnastics.  I kept up with ballet and started some leisurely hip hop classes while in junior high school.  In high school I was in various dance groups.  Once I went to college, I did mostly recreational dance and dance classes and got out of performing for a while since I was so heavy into lacrosse and busy with various activities.  I have always taken classes here or there, but started back consistently about 4 or 5 years ago when I started doing belly dance.  Then I found pole dancing shortly afterward and stayed with that.  It got me back into dance with a vengeance!

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

No, but who knows…maybe one day.  Those women are amazing, aren’t they?

What interested you about pole dancing?

It was something different.  As you can see in my fitness background, I have tried nearly everything at least once to stay in shape.  I felt like pole was something that interested me because it added a little something extra and wasn’t just another dance class.  I like that pole dancing includes upper body work since most dance forms do not do this.  And, who doesn’t love learning all those amazing tricks?! 

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

I think I really like both equally.  I love being able to take pole fitness and pole dancing classes back to back.  I can get my cardio workout in the fitness class and dance in sneakers if I want to.  Then I can strap on my stilettos and really work the moves in a pole dancing class.  It’s a good balance.

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

I like to use DryHands.  It seems to work the best for me.  And, it helps when I remember to NOT put on lotion before class!  LOL!

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

Sometimes I forget and put lotion on, and that is no good.  Talk about a slippery slope!  But, I just wear pants and go about my business.  I might put lotion on my hands, though, because I really can’t stand dry hands.  I just make sure to wash my hands thoroughly a couple times before I go into class to get all the lotion off.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

I like to buy them at Ross and TJ Maxx honestly.  I can find really good deals and really sexy clothing (and shoes!).  But, if I’m looking for something special I will go into a “Ladies” shop or browse some online shops.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

I feel more comfortable dancing in general barefoot.  But, for the pole I like dancing in heels because it really gets me in the mood for pole.  I don’t know, there is just something that changes in me when I put on a pair of really hot shoes! 

What did you do before opening your pole studio?

I didn’t actually open this studio, Sindy did.  But ironically both of us were in corporate America before doing this.

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

It just seemed to fit.  Dance 411 started out as a newsletter to give Atlanta a good overview of dance that was available in the area.  It literally gave people the 4-1-1.  Then the newsletter was expanded to actually offering  classes with top instructors wherever space could be found.  It has grown and grown into the Dance 411 Studios you see today.

What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?

I love to learn something new and I really, REALLY love to spin.  That is my favorite thing to do, even in figure skating.  I just love also that I can spin while looking really good.

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

I really like Motivation by Kelly Rowland (featuring Little Wayne) right now, but honestly Blow The Whistle By Too Short is always a favorite.

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

We [had] our Pole Show #20 [on] Sunday, October 23rd, 2011.  It’s held about every 2 months, so check our website for the next one!  If you can’t make it to that, we also have a fundraiser coming up on October 29th called When the Boss is Away, The Boys will play.  For the first time, we are opening up our normal ladies liberation classes and ladies pole classes up for men for one day only to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We will offer Go-go Stiletto, Majorette and pole classes for men, but women are welcome also!  And, on November 5th we are hosting Diddi’s Playhouse.  It is a Master Class taught by the amazing Diddi and ladies will learn to strut their sexiness and learn how to communicate without words.  Please check out our website at for more information!
What else would you like people to know about you or your studio?

Our studio rocks!  I know I might be biased, but if you don’t believe me, then you should come check it out for yourself!   We offer so much to any type of dancer.  We have pole classes, lap dance, Go-go Stiletto, Shake It up, Hip hop classes, ballet, tap, jazz, even Breakdancing!  Whatever you are looking for as a dancer, I am sure you can find it at Dance 411 Studios.  We are a community, not just a dance studio, and we make an effort to enrich the lives of the people that come through these doors.  We do A LOT of community outreach and donate a lot of time, money and other resources to various organizations.  We really love to support the community around us any way we can!  Check us out!

I'm so sorry I didn't get this post up before the fundraiser.  Please check out their website to see if you can still donate and, if you're in the area, check out the studio!

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