Start up of the Month: Studio S Fitness
Traverse City-area Realtor Sherry White always has been passionate about three things: dancing, teaching and fitness. With her new business venture, Studio S, White's about to indulge those passions in a one-of-a-kind way-offering a variety of all-women workouts that center around sexy. Think: classes in pole dancing, chair dancing, burlesque and more. Described as "flirty, fun fitness," Studio S classes are intended to inspire women of all ages and sizes to step outside of their box of fear-based inhibitions and improve their physical strength and self-confidence while embracing their true beauty.
Dance and theater were my original loves, so much so that after college I packed up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. But before anything got cooking there I become homesick for Traverse City and decided to move back to start over in real estate.
Studio S Impetus:
Even though I loved my new career, I felt that something was missing. I started doing plays at the Old Town Playhouse and teaching some dance classes. Around this time, I noticed that there was a local interest in some more alternative dance classes, like belly dancing, and it got me thinking. When a few of my friends and I took a girl's weekend in Chicago I found a class that taught pole dancing, and I signed us all up. It was a blast! But the main thing I noticed was even though the women were all shapes and sizes, everyone seemed happy, free and self-confident. It was so empowering.
I talked to the staff, and I learned that the pole-dancing studio could be franchised. Although intrigued, I just wasn't ready to take such a big step. But it stuck in my mind. I went back home and told my husband about my weekend, and he was sweet enough to install a pole for me to practice on. I just fell in love with it, and soon I had another pole installed and started teaching a few friends. After doing a ton of research I earned my instructor certificate. With the help of the SCORE program I put together a business plan. I have to say that the highlight of the program was presenting my idea to the SCORE counselors. They were, for the most part, older men, and my concept was a little out there. I must say, though, they liked it.
I had the good fortune to meet Kandace Chapple from Grand Traverse Woman. Their 2008 Expo had featured a woman who presented a pole-dancing exhibition and was scheduled to be at this year's Expo as well. When she dropped out, I jumped at the chance and purchased a booth. I decided to tie into Breast Cancer Awareness, and I used the slogan "Spin for the Twins." At first people didn't know what to make of it, but before long I had a few brave souls give it a try, and soon there were a few enthusiastic converts. The best thing was that I was able to really communicate how effective pole dancing could be physically and how empowering it could be.
I offer a variety of classes: Balance Ball Babes, Burlesque, Le Femme Fight Club, Chair Dance, Yoga, Tush and Tummy, Vertical Balance Bar and, of course, Pole Dancing. I also offer a class for pregnant women called Hot Mama. I also offer private parties if ladies would like to get a group together and have a class at home-it's great for bridal showers or girls' weekends.
Above all, I want people to see pole dancing in a new light. It is fun. It is flirty. And it definitely is about fitness. Beyond that, it's a way for women-all women-to find their inner and outer strength, to develop self-confidence, to try something new and take a risk. It's about seeing your unique beauty and using the experience to empower yourself.
Studio S is slated to open in the downtown Traverse City's Warehouse District-207 Grandview Parkway, Suite 105-in the first week of December. Check out classes, schedule and pricing at studiosfitness.com. BN