Instructor, modifications specialist, person who believes in you
Molly Meru (she/her) is back from quarantine and back on her bullshit. This multicolored maven with moxxi is the mistress of modifications. Get ready for decending inverts and alternate entrances, exits and variations of all of your favorite weird shapes. A nerd and a scientist at heart she likes to teach with an ecclectic mix of physics breakdowns and geeky references.
Instructor, Keeper of Artistic Visions
A Chicago burlesque performer, teacher and model, Shimmy LaRoux is your bad girl with good home training. Bringing a combination of quirky charm and infectious energy, Shimmy is able to channel classic Hollywood, be playfully cheeky or serve fierce diva realness.
Shimmy hold awards and titles internationally, and producer of Shimmy's House Party in Chicago!
Instructor of regular classes, Instructor for Spanish Language Program
Mateo has been a dancer for 7 years. Mateo’s passion for dance started in Colombia with hip/hop. There, he had the opportunity to dance, choreograph, compete, and teach for 4 years. he discovered a new way to create movement after finding pole 2 years ago. Mateo combines the fire and movement of hip/hop with the control of pole dance creating a unique movement style. He has also recently been developing a traditionally lyrical style, and has enjoyed the possibilities of exploring self-expression through pole. He draws from a degree in psychology to strive to connect with people of all backgrounds and experiences with an open mind. He believes strongly that this is the root for creating a safe space for everyone to experience the joys of dance.
Mateo ha sido un bailarín por 7 años. Su comienzo en danza fue en Colombia con hip/hop, aquí tuvo la oportunidad de bailar, crear coreografías, competir y enseñar por 3 años. Mateo descubrió pole dance hace 2 años y ha tenido la oportunidad de explorar una nueva manera de crear movimiento. Mateo ha competido y bailado como pole dancer intentado combinar la energía del hip/hop con el control del pole dance creando un estilo único. También tienes un título en psicología lo que le permite tener una mente abierta y crear un lugar seguro para todos.
Instructor for Spanish Language Program
Lorna has been poling since 2012 and teaching pole since 2014. She has trained in various studios around the country and around the world - highlights include learning from and teaching under Sarah Jade, teaching in Peru, Mexico, and Brasil, and completing Marlo Fisken’s floor flow teacher training. She’s not big into competitions but she once won the pole contest at Roscoe’s Chili Challenge, an old school biker party in the middle of the Florida swamp. Her routine involved one long and delicious sexy crawl across a muddy stage (the stage was outside and it had rained!). She is all about finding mental and physical health in movement, and emphasizes mindful engagement and creative flow in her teaching. Lorna is the kind of person who likes to dance-walk her way home from work, and she enjoys helping her students find that same comfort and freedom in their bodies. A fun tidbit about her is that she once had a pet sloth while doing anthropological research in the Amazon.
Lorna comenzó a practicar pole dance en el 2012 y enseña desde el 2014. Se ha capacitado en varios estudios en todo el país y en el mundo. Entre los puntos destacados se incluyen aprender y enseñar con Sarah Jade, enseñar en Perú, México y Brasil, y completar una formación docente de floor flow con Marlo Fisken. No le gustan mucho las competiciones, pero una vez ganó la competición de pole en el Roscoe’s Chili Challenge, una fiesta de motociclistas en medio del pantano de Florida. Su rutina implicó un largo y delicioso arrastre sexy a través de un escenario embarrado (¡el escenario estaba afuera y había llovido!). Ella se enfoca en encontrar una salud mental y física en el movimiento, y enfatiza el movimiento consciente y el flujo creativo en su enseñanza. Lorna es el tipo de persona a la que le gusta bailar-caminar desde el trabajo hasta su casa, y le gusta ayudar a sus estudiantes a encontrar la misma comodidad y libertad en sus cuerpos. Un dato gracioso de ella es que una vez tuvo un perezoso como mascota mientras hacía una investigación antropológica en la Amazonía Peruana.
Sunny has low-key been everyone's pole crush around here for years and is endearingly oblivious to the fact. We all know and love Sunny for her musicality, fluid movement, and her iconic pizza onsie performance: https://vimeo.com/402048482
With a professional background in social research, Sunny is compassionate soul who can effortlessly see the grey area of the other side of things. With that type of mind also comes some fearless creativity. Sunny's classes will bring you the former through exploring the latter.
Camille Leon is here to bring us some sass and straight-up ferocity. Those who have seen her perform are familiar with her captivating stage presence, choreography, and artistry.
Camille Leon is the headmistress of the Chicago Academy of Burlesque. A member of the Chicago burlesque scene since 2013, she has performed with many troupes throughout the Midwest. She was a company member at The Kiss Kiss Cabaret, as well as featured performer with Original Tease, Jeezy’s Juke Joint, and the Vertical Sideshow. She headlined the Wisconsin Burlesque Festival in 2017, and performed in the 2016 Movers and Shakers Showcase at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. She is the owner of Hello Titties pasties, where she makes bespoke burlesque pasties and tassels, as well as other costume accessories. She is incredibly excited to share her knowledge and exper-tease with students new and old!
Party Coordinator, Instructor, Administrative Superhero
Auriel Davis excels because she identifies her strengths and examines how to use them constructively. She has the palpable ability to "get shit done" and used that to carry a non-profit youth music school through the covid crisis. If you know anything about the classical music world, you know it is shockingly non-inclusive and Auriel has chosen to use her powers to expand inclusivity for youth in the arts.
It has been a long-standing joke that Auriel would be the Administrative Coordinator of our zombie apocalypse team, until one day it was serious. She is joining us to bring her signature flow, solid technique, inviting energy, heel work, and administrative skills. This is one heck of a solid human and we are very lucky to have her on our zombie apocalypse team.
Originally from the south side of Chicago, IL, April’s dance education has carried her across the country. Joel Hall Dance Center Chicago, Howard University, Ballethnic Atlanta, Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School New York, and many other dance institutions have contributed towards shaping her dance education, skills, and style. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Dance from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan), she returned to Chicago where she made guests appearances with several local dance companies. April also performed and taught with Joel Hall Dancers: Dance is a Language, an outreach company serving communities throughout the greater Chicagoland area. April has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a Stott Pilates trained instructor at the intermediate level on all apparatus. April shared her knowledge of dance and movement sciences with students throughout the city and its surrounding areas for over 20 years. She was most recently on staff at Chicago High School for the Arts where she taught ballet, pointe, and Dance Injury and Prevention for over 6 years. April now serves as a resource for University of Chicago Board of Trustees schedules, planning, and other information at the University of Chicago.
Dahlia Fatale (she/her) is an award winning, internationally traveling contortionist and burlesque performer. As an instructor, Dahlia brings a unique perspective built on years of movement study, as well as circus training and anatomy education (yes, she's touched muscles from the inside too!). Dahlia strives to teach techniques that are fun, interesting, and sustainable as bodies change over time. She loves helping students do the things they "never thought they could do."
Mara Goldfine combines her long-standing yoga practice with her knowledge of pole-specific flexibility to bring us a new range of flexibility classes! Mara has worked very hard to not only study and learn about, but also travel and connect with people who represent the roots of yoga. She has taken the time to become educated and promotes real allyship through her own teacher trainings by helping trainees gain insight into how to avoid appropriation.
Mara began yoga her freshman year of college, coinciding with her metal sculpture practice. The two practices complemented each other physically, while resonating deeply intellectually. Mara earned her 200 hours teacher certification at Frog Lotus yoga in Ubud, Bali, finding the beauty of Indonesia a wonderful accompaniment to the intellectual stimulation of a traditional yoga education. Additionally, Mara recently completed a 500 hour teacher training with Andrey Lappa, the founder of Universal Yoga. She has gone on to further her yoga knowledge, expanding it to the therapeutic practices of Thai massage and to the more active practices of AcroYoga. She is excited to expand the American conception of yoga to more exciting and experimental practices.
Christine "Little Snipper"
Instructor, Resident Badass in Chief
Resident pole champion, full-time ER Nurse, and impressively competent human Little Snipper is a non-stop force of badassery. If you are unconvinced, please enjoy this one-hour freestyle marathon: https://vimeo.com/422461233
We are unable to list all of her awards and titles as we lost track some time ago. Suffice it to say there are numerous. Little Snipper is known for combining exotic flow with dynamic strength moves and having fun in the process. She flawlessly balances hard work and lightheartedness to keep students sweating and laughing at the same time.
Karma is a single mom who has been pole dancing for 4 years and hasn't looked back. Starting as a student, she soon became a certified instructor, performer and competitor.
She focuses on exploring movement and flow, and has a passion for her students to grow in confidence of their own bodies. Karma continues to perform in the Chicagoland area and has even had the honor of sharing the stage with Snoop Dogg!
Karma is also on track to become an LMT and will officially join the PoleStrong Bodyworks team upon completion.
Instructor, In-house photographer
In-house photographer, social activist, and tiny ball of fire Ellen Beard is joining the team to prove that you can be a badass and stay low at the same time. Ellen will be bringing us her signature low flow and base tricks repertoire with the unofficial motto of "climbing is for chumps."
Ellen is known for her dynamic and powerful style of pole, exhibiting multitudes of strength, grace, and humor along the way. When not competing or performing, you can also find her behind the camera at shows or for PSO, making us all feel our most glamorous!
Liora is the poler who has it all: strength, flexibility, grace, versatility, and the on-stage ability to rip your heart out, keep it sexy, or make it totally weird. Liora lives her life as a pole dancer who pushes the boundaries of both creative expression, and what one should realistically be able to accomplish with an elbow grip. Liora is here to bring you ab conditioning, limits pushing, and an enlightening history of the Jewish people you never knew you were missing.
Megan's previous athletic experience was as a runner, so when she showed up one day and became a powerhouse with perfect lines in a matter of months, no one quite knew what to make of it. Megan is a compassionate, thoughtful, highly creative human with a work ethic to be revered. Megan strikes an impressive balance of being a simultaneous free spirit and adult with her shit together, and is here to bring us light, laughter, and POWER MOVES.
Sugar Cane Westie, PhD
Instructor, Dismantler of the Patriarchy
Sugar is a Level 1 and 2 ElevatED Pole Dance Fitness and Flexibility Training Certified Instructor specializing in fitness and dance classes that emphasize health, joyful movement, and body acceptance. She is the former owner, operator, and instructor trainer of Defy Gravity in Champaign-Urbana, IL, and the former advisor and president of the student pole fitness and dance organization, Illini Pole Fitness (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). As a performer, Sugar emphasizes performance as a space of activism, thinking through the complexities of visibility for femmes living in larger bodies. She has performed with Carnivale Debauche and in numerous shows throughout central Illinois. As a choreographer, Sugar creates interesting, playful, and dynamic numbers that draw on the traditions of burlesque, striptease, exotic flow and stage story-telling. Her classes incorporate her background in Latin Dance and emphasize flow, flexibility, fierceness, and strength. She has over 15 years experience as professional educator and instructor. Además, Sugar es completamente bilingüe y ofrece clases en español.
Jinghan Liu is a quiet one but you can feel her heart of gold when she walks in the room. She will be bringing us kindness, technique, emotionally connected dancing, and will subtly kick your ass in class.
Jinghan found her love for dance as an adult and is excited to share her passion with you. She is a pole nerd, a ballet nerd, a podcast junkie and an occasional boardgamer. She believes in the healing power and storytelling magic of dance. She looks forward to training, learning and growing with all of you. And whether you like it or not, she will make you train both sides.
Willy LaQueue is a dashing dandy and sultry starlet twinkling in the Windy City, where he’s the Headmister of the Chicago Academy of Burlesque. He's been performing as a hip hop dancer, teacher, and choreographer for 2 decades, venturing into burlesque in 2012, and he has twirled on stages and bar floors across the US, Canada, and Europe. Willy has opened for musicians Lizzo and Sandra Bernhard, appeared in the Showtime comedy series “Work In Progress,” been featured in burlesque festivals across the country, and performed at the historic birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, the Stonewall Inn. He's a flamboyant fop who shimmies in the spaces between drag, burlesque, and dance theatre. He's light in his loafers, a dear friend of Dorothy, and the Limpest Wrist in Burlesque!