Holding Space: a place for you
"What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control." -Heather Plett
As a nonprofit, our mission statement is: “Ascendance Pole and Aerial Arts serves a diverse community, builds self-esteem, and empowers artistic expression in a supportive and safe environment.” In order to serve a diverse community, we must build one with intention. Just existing in space is not enough to reach the people who might benefit from joining us. We must accept that many people are not ready to jump into a class filled with strangers of different backgrounds, ages, and levels of experience. In addition, many marginalized groups have reported being made to feel unwelcome in pole studios and are unlikely to expose themselves to another rejection. In order to reach these people and welcome them into our community, it is necessary to create a space that is specifically labelled as just for them. It is not enough to say, “Our studio welcomes everyone.” We must seek out their participation and show clearly that we would welcome their presence in our studio and our community. This is where the idea of the beginning of Holding Space came to fruition.
Holding Space is still a fledgling program that will grow and change over time, but at its core it is simply what it says it is: we are holding space for you. We will strive to ensure that the events are led by instructors who are members of the community that we are reaching out to, so that they can see that not only do we welcome their group as students, but also as instructors. From time to time that may not be possible, or we may have to work harder to make it happen, but we recognize that this is important enough to put in the work.
We have hosted two events to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community and have an upcoming event (Black Pole Experience with Tinkk Holt) that focuses on welcoming the black community into our studio. These have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response so far (in fact, our BPE event filled completely within 48 hours) and we look forward to adding more.
Whereas we hope that the people who attend Holding Space events will join our community and continue to attend classes in the future, we understand that this may not be possible or comfortable for everyone. In fact, often by coming to our event, the person has stepped so far outside their comfort zone that they may need a while to process the experience and may decide not to return, or may need to attend a few events in order to feel comfortable enough to attend a regular class. We honor this as a success as well; stepping outside of your comfort zone is an achievement in and of itself. We hope that whether or not attendees decide to join us again in the future, they know that we recognize and celebrate them just for coming through the door. We hope they enjoyed the experience and time we shared with them and thank them for sharing our space and trying something new.
If you would like to learn more about us, or be notified about future events, please sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media. We look forward to welcoming you into our studio!