Ascendance

Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts is a nonprofit studio coming soon to the downtown Renton, WA area.

Meet our Instructors | Vera Kim

We are excited to have our team grow as we start off 2019. As we catch up on our Meet our Instructors series, we’d like to start if off by introducing you to one of our newest instructors, Vera Kim! Get to know more about her below!

Vera.jpg

What drew you to teach at Ascendance?

I was drawn to teach at Ascendance to join a team of individuals who are dedicated, passionate, and encouraging. I love the diverse, yet inclusive, community and that the focus is student-centric. Most importantly, I appreciate the safe environment provided for students to grow inside and outside the studio.

What would your advice be for students who want to find their own style in dance?

Spend lots of time freestyling! Notice your nuances and explore them further. Take classes from many different instructors and in many different styles. Take a non-pole dance class (ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, social, etc.) to gather inspiration. Find what feels good and listen to how your body wants to move naturally. You don't have to be 100% in line with one particular style. Don't be afraid to be different!

What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping?

I think it's important to recognize that the roots of pole dance are in exotic dancing/stripping. There are different styles of pole dance being developed and defined and sub-categorized each day -- all should be respected equally. 

What has made you stick with pole dancing?

For me, pole dancing is therapy! I get something new out of it artistically, physically, mentally, or emotionally on a regular basis. It never gets old; it's always exciting and challenging. Plus, I've met some of my best friends through pole dance. 

What is your proudest moment in your career?

Winning Exotic Generation Poland, Old School, 2018. It was an incredible experience from start to finish and it will go down as one of my proudest achievements. 

What is your favorite pole workout wear?

Flow Movement apparel by Marlo Fisken makes THE greatest pants to get your dance on. I feel like they're magical and they bring out some of my best pole flows. American Apparel bodysuits are great for slinking and sliding. Rad Polewear, Artista, Cleo the Hurricane, random stuff on Etsy, Yandy, and Dolls Kill. And of course, Pleasers. 

Check out Vera on our schedule and be sure to give her a warm welcome when you see her!

#AscendanceHasMyHeart | 2019 Valentine's Day Photo Challenge

ascendancehasmyheart

This year for Valentine's Day, we'll be holding a photo contest with V-day inspired moves and poses! We have poses for every skill level, plus there will be a bonus opportunity!

Rules: Photos and/or videos of your pose must be tagged with @ascendancestudios and #AscendanceHasMyHeart. Only posts with both tags will be considered for the drawing. Only one entry per pose (with exception to the bonus entry). If your account is private, we won't be able to see your post, so please be sure to send us a DM with a screenshot of your post so we can add it to the drawing! There will be a total of 3 winners selected by a random drawing. If you are in a photo with a doubles partner or larger group, note the entry will only count under the username it has been posted under.

Each pose is worth one entry. There is an opportunity to gain up to 6 entries, including the bonus entry below.

Poses include:

1. Cupid

2. Sit & heart hands (pole/lyra/aerial hammocks)

3. Doubles heart pose/embrace

4. Bow & Arrow

5. BONUS: Group of 3 or more in a heart shape (If you complete this with 3 or more people, you will get a total of two entries for this post).

Prizes include:

Prize 1: Room Rental for you, logo sticker, and a free class for your "Sweetie"

Prize 2: Three free Open Pole, logo sticker, and a free class for your sweetie

Prize 3: Grip aid, logo sticker, and a free class for your sweetie

a free single class to give to a friend - can be any class

This contest will end end on 2/14/19 at 12PM. Winners will be selected at 3PM the same day.

Good luck and have fun! We can’t wait to see your posts!

Reflecting on 2018

As 2018 comes to a close and we enter the New Year, we’d like to reflect on how grateful and thankful we are for our journey this past year at Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts. From our inception, to our grand opening, it has been such an incredible experience for all of us. We’d also like to share a few reflections below from our very own Board members.

“As we enter 2019, I am both thankful and excited. I am grateful for the commitment and hard work of Team Ascendance in launching our studio. We would not be here were without the sheer dedication of Ascendance's staff, Board, and volunteers. We are happy to have launched successfully in Renton, and thankful for the warm welcome from the City and the community as they drop by to take our classes. In 2019, I hope to see more of YOU - the community of Renton and beyond - as you consider taking up pole and aerial arts with us. We look forward to expanding our classes and making them more accessible by offering scholarships and pursuing partnerships with community-based organizations. “

- Cynthia T.

Coming together and building this studio has reinforced to me the power of the journey our students go through when they come through our doors.  It has been a while since I was a beginner, but I felt all of those first day nerves and growing pains all over again during our construction. We got outside of our comfort zone, learned new skills, progressed, laughed together, cried together, and came out the other end with a sense of accomplishment and achievement.  I’ve genuinely never worked so hard for anything in my entire life. There were days I wanted to give up and stay in bed and cry, but we got through it together.

At the end of the year, I look around at all we have accomplished and the love we have surrounded ourselves with, and I feel so happy and lucky.  I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be, or a group of people I’d rather work with. The new year brings new friends; new instructors like Yael and Vera, new students, new members of our community.  I can’t wait to get started!

- Maggie N.

It's been amazing to be a part of Ascendance growing from an idea into the incredible space it is today.  As I reflect back on 2018, I am still humbled by the amount of hard work and dedication it has taken to make this lofty goal a reality.  The day that the first students came through the doors made it all real, and every single one that has joined us since then has made every long night and build-out headache worth it.  As I look forward into 2019, I'm ready to blaze a trail into the great unknown of what a nonprofit pole studio can be!  We have lofty goals and aspirations, but with this amazing, dedicated team, I know our hard work will bring them to fruition!  My goals for 2019 are to build an outstanding daytime program that offers new and prospective students a variety of classes, and to develop an even stronger Aerial Yoga program for those looking to advance their cross training options. It's all so exciting!  I can't wait for 2019 to mark our first full year in business!

- Candace V.

Thank you all for your support during 2018! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has to offer. Also going into the new year, we have a few studio updates including a new schedule, new instructors, and a few updates to our policy (class minimums will now be at 2). Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates!

Meet our Instructors | Annalisa

Next up we have Annalisa, another member of our board. Get to know her better with our interview questions below!

Annalisa_Vegas

How long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?

My pole journey started in April 2015. Prior to pole, I have tried all types of fitness programs but quickly lost interest. One day, I decided to take a pole class and got hooked! 

What made you try Pole Dancing?

I saw a pole dance performance on YouTube and thought it was the coolest thing ever. The pole dancer executed her moves with such strength and grace. I was intrigued and told myself I need to find a pole studio! 

Why did you start teaching?

I have gained so much self-confidence and strength from pole, and I wanted to help others who also want to achieve the same.  

What advice do you give beginning pole dancers? Advanced students?

Beginning pole dancers - Allow yourself to be vulnerable and believe in yourself. You can master any move your heart desire if you train for it. Look to your pole sisters and brothers for inspiration. They will be your biggest fans! Fun fact - my intro pole class instructor is now one of my besties.  

Advance students - Pole is an addiction and it's common to feel pressured to master every move and compare yourself to other people. This will hurt your morale! When you're feeling this way, bring the focus back to your training. Revisit the moves you've mastered and be creative with it. Maybe find a different transition in and out of it. Always remember, this is for you and no one else! 

What do you do in your free time off the pole?

When I'm not in the studio training, I like to hike, practice photography, find good eats, and hang out with my two daughters and friends. Sometimes, I get to do enjoy them all at once :)

Meet our Instructors | Catherine

We hope everyone had a great long weekend. We're starting this week with another board member and our CPA, Catherine. This will be her first time in an instructor role and we are excited to be a part of this next step in her journey.

Catherine_Pole_sit

What drew you to teach at Ascendance?

Our mission speaks so closely to my experiences with pole - I've met so many different types of people, gained confidence, strength, and feel when I'm in the pole studio - I can truly be myself.  I am really excited we have the opportunity to make this experience more accessible to people in the Renton and surrounding area.

How long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?

I've been pole dancing a little over two years.  I was close friends with Tara Steed and had seen her posts for years and years, but never found the right timing & bravery to try.  Two years ago I mentioned to Tara I might try it out after my busy time at work, and she helped coordinate the timing of me attending an introductory course to take it along with a mutual friend that was also interested in trying it out.

What made you try Pole Dancing?

Boredom of the standard gym routine and sitting at a desk for over 12 hours a day.  I needed to move and was moderately unhappy.

What advice do you give beginning pole dancers?

Remember that everyone starts at the beginning, so enjoy the process.  Make friends with your classmates.  HAVE FUN!  Advanced students? I think patience with yourself and having an open mind is really important in this community.  We generally don't become advanced students in everything - so give yourself some grace when things don't go your way.  

Why did you start teaching? 

I have always enjoyed helping others succeed or break down moves in class.  It is really fun to see someone do something for the first time, and have a glow of confidence around them.  

What is different about your teaching style that you think students are drawn to?

I will be teaching Pole Orientation starting this fall and it will be my first teaching experience!  However, as I am planning on continuing to be a student as I teach, I am hoping people are drawn to having an instructor they will see in class along side them as they gain more knowledge.

What would you say is the biggest struggle or obstacle among pole dance students that you come across? 

I've recently had a lot of discussions with people that have an interest in trying but are struggling to commit.  What I've noticed is that the large majority are hesitant to feel vulnerable around others because they feel they are awkward or imperfect.  

What would be your advice to them? 

Do it anyway. It is that easy and that difficult, but honestly, there is so much beauty and confidence in letting yourself be vulnerable in a safe and supportive environment.  If you can allow yourself to be brave enough to give it a shot, you will be so proud! 

What would your advice be for students who want to find their own style in dance? 

Music has always been important to me, so I think a lot of it can stem from what music you enjoy the most.  When you're sitting in your car in traffic and the right song comes on, how does your body react?  Next time you're in studio or dancing at home even, put that song on and just lose yourself to the music.  The biggest hurdle here, in my experience, is to stop thinking and just move.

What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping? 

Pole dancing for fitness IS associated with exotic dancing/stripping!  I don't know how we could separate the two.  The real question here, for me, is that why is it an issue? Why, as a society, have we demoralized this industry so much?  There absolutely are issues and real people being hurt within the industry, but we cannot sweep that under a rug.  Instead, we need to continue to build up the community, bring confidence and self-worth to more people.  Maybe if the lens becomes more positive, changing the issues and harmful things that happen will become the focus.

What are your thoughts about pole dancing being included in the Olympics as a sport? 

This would be so cool!

What is your teaching philosophy? 

I'm still building this, but my plan is to build a class where people feel safe, have fun, and give themselves a chance to try something new.

Where do you see Pole Dancing ten years from now? 

I look forward to seeing the community grow.

What is special in pole dance for you in your opinion? 

One in which I lose myself in the movement instead of thinking about what to do next or who is watching me.

What has been your biggest challenge in your pole journey? 

Body awareness - like understanding how to move certain muscles to achieve a lift or move.  

How did you overcome the difficulty/challenge? 

Listening to as many people as I can explain a move to me.  Then forcing myself to practice the move and not succeed as long as it takes until I finally get it.

What has been the most challenging move/trick to learn? 

I have more difficulty with moves that require strength (as opposed to flexibility).  Inverting into a chopper on pole, and basket hang are probably the moves that are proving to take the longest for me to acheive.

What is your favorite pole dancing move? 

Ballerina on spin.

What is your greatest achievement so far in pole dance?

I am most proud of the confidence and the self-worth I have found.  Pole helped me realize the level of unhappiness I was in, and gave me peace in times of stress.  It also gave me the confidence to change my life to be happier.

What are you currently working on?

I really enjoy gaining more flexibility, so am pushing myself to train more in this area. 

What are your goals for this year? 

My goals for the year were: inverting into a chopper, gain both side splits, have a basket hang on the lyra, and do ONE pull-up unassisted.

Besides Pole Dancing, are you involved in any other activities?  

I enjoy taking lyra and am excited to try aerial yoga.  My dream is to someday learn silks.

What is your proudest moment in your career? 

I can't remember a time I was more excited than the first time I inverted into a chopper

What has made you stick with Pole Dancing? 

The way I feel after leaving the studio from taking class or being around the friends I've met while pole dancing.
 

How did people around you react when they learned that you were doing pole dance? 

It has changed over the time I've been dancing.  I honestly think a lot of it comes from the way I have presented it.  If I'm shy and afraid of their opinion on it, I've had negative and disappointed reactions.  If I am confident, unapologetic and excited about it, most people respond the same way.  

Do you perform regularly? 

Not yet.

What is the most important in a pole dance performance in your opinion? 
 

That it makes the dancer happy.

What is your favorite pole workout wear? 

I don't think I have a favorite brand yet, but I enjoy building an outfit I feel cute and confident in..

What are your other hobbies? 

I enjoy learning how to take landscape photography photos, strategy board games and watching TV.

What do you do in your free time? Off the pole? 

Usually I am lazing on the couch watching TV. 

What is your all-time favorite song to pole to? 

I don't think I have one yet.  I do enjoy dancing to a slower tempo best.

Give us a sexy floorwork song. 

PILLOWTALK by Zayn

Do you have any pole idols? 


@tututara, @kpbueno, @kittenscratch, @dirtybirdy, @titojane, and @jordankensley ...to name a few :) Anyone in the pole community who inspires you? I think almost everyone in the pole community inspires me.