I believe pole dancing has gotten a bad reputation over the years as being something dirty and taboo. It has become a common misconception that you will only find it at strip clubs and has been widely associated with bachelorette parties as a way to sexualize women. What you might not know is that it is actually a great way to lose weight, build mobility and endurance, and stay fit!

Over the past 20 years, pole fitness has grown so widely that it now occupies its own branch of the fitness industry. You will definitely find many markets that will sell equipment, wardrobe, and gear, as well as many certified trainers, and competitions taking place all over the world.

It might not be a widely known fact, but pole dancing actually requires the same strength, skill, and work as any other dance form. At the end of the day, it becomes a full body workout, where one does resistance training, cardio, and flexibility, all in one. Best part yet, you do not have to be super flexible to take a pole dancing class! Yes, there are some tricks and moves that may requires you to be flexible, but it is not a requirement. The more you practice, the more flexible you will become naturally.

If you would like to learn more about the Health Benefits of Pole Dancing, check out this article here!

Fitness in front of Sunset. Photo by: Mor Shani
The Topmost Mallakhamb Players by the Sangam Institute of Indian Martial Arts

So how did pole dancing come to be? According to “Pole Fit Freedom”, this form of dance can be traced back 800 to 900 years, all the way to the 12th century. The usage of poles in acrobatic entertainment can be said to have originated in India, seen in both Mallakhamb and the Chinese Pole. Later on, pole dancing started making an appearance in travelling side shows, which people would visit to experience exotic dancing from around the world. By the 1920s, and due to the sexual nature of the dancer’s movements, pole dancing and burlesque shows were often combined, and made a natural move from circus tents into bars. Finally, in the 1990s, pole dancing started being taught as a form of performance art or a form of fitness, promoting women femininity.  

Now, as a woman, whenever I see someone promoting the inspiration, empowerment, and motivation of other women, where they can thrive in a safe and inclusive environment and be able to express their femininity, I am always intrigued to know more. This is why, the Brass Belles Studio caught my eye, mostly tailored towards adult women, they provide classes for girls and women of all ages to try something new.

Perhaps you are tired of going to the gym or trying those new in-home workouts. Well, if that’s the case, why not give this studio a try! It is a great way to meet new people, who will encourage and support you, and perhaps even become a family.

It does not matter if you have previous dance experience, or not and want to try something new, Brass Belles Studio has a class for everyone. For those who are over 18, the Studio offers pole dancing, burlesque, chair dancing, and sensual classes. All these classes have introductory level classes to advanced level classes, and if you feel like joining a team, the Brass Belles Studio also has specific Dance Troupes. The Troupes practice weekly to put on a show for their Showcases! They also provide fun aerial classes for girls and women of all ages and experience level, which include both aerial skills, and the usage of the lyra hoop. The Brass Belles Studio also has sessions to improve your flexibility and conditioning. What a fun way to work out and have fun along the way!

To ensure the safety of their participants, each class at the Brass Belles Studio has a maximum number of students per class to make sure they are supervised efficiently. The Pole Fitness Classes have a limit of 10 students, one per pole. Their Signature Fitness Classes have a varied capacity, ranging from 12 to 15 students and their Aerial classes have smaller numbers and usually range from 6 to 8 students. All of the classes offered are 1 hour in length, except for the express classes which are 30 minute long.

The Studio has two private washrooms and an open changing area. They also provide lockers for all of their participants, where you are free to bring a lock if you would like, or open style cubbies for any personal belongings.  

Student participating in Aerial Class. Photo by Brass Belles Studio

Although most exotic dances make it look easy, pole dancing is actually a lot of hard work, and should not be done without proper training or supervision. At Brass Belles Studio, their Level 1 Pole Intro/Essentials Mixed class covers all the basics and teaches you technique and form. This class is designed to help develop upper body and core strength, improve flexibility and coordination through the process of conditioning moves, dance, and spins on the pole. They know that every person is starting out from their own unique point of entry and physical capabilities, so this will be a fun, and safe class to start your pole journey.

The Team

The Brass Belles Studio was founded by Cassandra Thompson, a wife and mother of two. Having a science education background and working in the finance industry for over 17 years really left very little time for extracurricular activities. Fortunately, Cassandra was able to find time to try out a new hobby this being pole fitness, where she fell in love! She was not overly fit to begin with, but with time, and a lot of hard work, she was able improve and accomplish something she did not think she could, proving that anyone can become an artist. She then started her own company, and is now an instructor at Brass Belles Studio, encouraging and inspiring other fellow women. What started out as a hobby, ended up being a whole career change, and Cassandra could not be happier. Cassandra is not alone though! At her side you can find Laura Griffin and Gabriela Moreno Ruiz.

If you are interested in reading about how your passion could become your job, take a look at this article!

Laura is a graduate from the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Fine Arts (Dance) Department of York University, where she sought an education in movement by studying dance. Laura has been a professional performer since 2005, touring across Canada, the United States, Mediterranean, Philippines and Europe with companies like Disney Cruise Lines and many more. At the Brass Belles Studio, you can find her teaching the Aerial and Lyra Hoop Classes, where she takes her passion up in the air to make beautiful art with her body.

Gabriela has been dancing since the age of 4, trying all styles of dance from tap to jazz, to belly dancing. She found her passion for pole dancing in her early 30’s when she decided to give her local pole studio a try. There she was taught by “Miss Pole Canada”, who opened her eyes to a new style of dance that brought a lot of joy to Gabriela’s life. She hopes to be able to help others achieve body confidence, which pole fitness has given her.

If you would like to know more about these amazing women teaching at the Brass Belles Studio, feel free to visit their website at http://www.brassbelles.ca/about/our-team/

For Those Interested in Trying a Pole Fitness Class, Here are Some Tips For Your First Pole Class:

Woman on Pole. Photo by Lululemon Athletica
  • Bring shorts, a sports bra, and a tank top. Leg warmers or knee pads might also help!
  • Try to stay away from wearing any lotion, as this will prevent your skin from sticking to the pole.
  • Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water!
  • If you have sweaty hand like myself, you might want to consider purchasing a gripping lotion like Dry Hands to help grip the pole, otherwise this can be purchased at the Studio itself.
  • Leave your jewelry at home!
  • You may experience some muscle soreness after your first class, as well as a few “pole burns.” When your skin makes contact with the pole during sits and climbs, it can leave a temporary reddish mark or a bruise. Consider yourself warned.
  • Be prepared for special kind of “pain in muscles that you didn’t know you had” feeling, but also a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
  • Remember to have fun!

Want to Get Better at Pole Fitness?

Here Are Some Recommended In-Home Exercises That You Could Try!

  • Planks
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Dips

Or why not take the Flex-Ability All Levels Class at the Brass Belles Studio!

Photo by Jonathan Borba

There is a unique closeness that can transpire by dancing a style of dance that is considered taboo by many others. It can ultimately stimulate the growth of real friendships and you get to be part of a close-knit dance community. This is something that we truly need now, since the feeling of loneliness and seclusion has affected everyone in these past two, almost three years. A lot of people have been lacking social interaction, as a result of Covid, and they started staying at home and going out less often. The performing industry and the arts have taken a huge toll as a result of this. In time like these is when we start to understand the importance of community, the function and importance of art and creativity in our society, and the need for the feeling of belonging. There is no better way to bring people together than by dancing, if you don’t believe me, check out this research article! It is a great way to socialize and will give you a sense of togetherness within a group. So come join some amazing women at the Brass Belles Studio. Can’t wait to see you there!

Interested in finding out how you can be a part of your community? Be sure to check out any of the upcoming events that will be happening in Mississauga here.


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