Flirtease Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with Kristin Hubbard

Kristin Hubbard is the founder of Flirtease Dance and Fitness in Naperville, Illinois. She recently took some time to answer a few questions about herself and the philosophy behind Flirtease Dance and Fitness and pole dancing as fitness. 
Q. What is your fitness background? 
A. I am a certified fitness specialist through Cooper Fitness in Texas.  
I decided to become a personal trainer/fitness instructor shortly after having my third daughter.  I had always the results from working out (especially during and after all 3 pregnancies) however, I didn’t particularly like working out.  So my conundrum was how do I motivate others when I don’t really enjoy sit-ups and kickboxing that much? 
Q. How did you get started in pole dance fitness? 
A. My husband was heading to Los Angeles for a business trip.  I decided to tag along just to take several days of pole dancing lessons while he was working.  I had heard about it initially on a television show, and was amazed by what I saw.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was also pretty nervous.  I mean, I was working at our church at the time!  What would everyone think of me?  
But my first swing around the pole made me feel like the sexiest super-hero there ever was!  Watch out Wonder Woman…Here comes Pole Girl. 
Seriously, it feels like flying.  By the end of that long weekend I could barely move.  I couldn’t believe how effective this exercise was, especially because the entire time felt like “playtime” and certainly not a workout!   When we returned to Naperville, I immediately got online and looked for a school in our area.  Of course, there were none. I guess it takes time for hot new workouts to reach the Midwest.  
So I went to Naper Olympic Health club and told them I would like to start teaching the art of pole dancing there.  I turned their basement training room into a candle lit haven.  I only offered the class to women, however whenever we opened the door there were always a bunch of men hanging around outside just to get a peek into the “taboo workout” we were doing.
With all of our hooting and hollering I can’t blame them!
Soon after, unfortunately, the health club closed and so I did the next best thing.  Turned my basement into a studio!  Which we quickly outgrew just in time for the girls to begin learning to climb the poles.  We remodeled our garage into a studio, which turned out very nice, but we quickly outgrew that too.  So Flirtease Fitness now resides in our beautiful Studio in Naperville on the corner of Wehrli Road and Lisson Road.  
By the time we had moved there, we had learned what worked and what didn’t and developed what is known now as our “signature workout.”  It includes a sensual journey meditation, then our warm up and workout, pole tricks, and my favorite, putting it all together to dance!
Q. How long did it take for you to feel ready to be an instructor? 
A. I took pretty quickly to the pole, so after I was able to perform each trick and dance with confidence I was ready.  That probably took four weeks.  I put a pole up in my home, and voila!  Teaching came naturally to me and I enjoyed it so much that it became second nature.  I liked it when the girls followed my instruction because my kids never do!  
From there, I found stand-out students with fitness backgrounds who became the rest of our teaching staff.  They were all easy to train and they have become amazing, nurturing instructors.  I’m so proud of each of them! 
Q. What have been the common misconceptions you’ve heard about pole dancing fitness?  
A. The misconceptions about pole dancing are becoming fewer, as pole fitness becomes well-known.  But in the beginning there was a lot of taboo surrounding the movement. Mostly, people would ask me if I taught strippers or if I was a stripper.  Easily answered with “no, I’m a personal trainer with a background in classical dance.  Our students range from co-eds, to soccer moms to grandmothers!”
Q. What effects, other than physical, have you noticed about yourself since you started pole dancing? 
A. What we teach is more that just the pole.  The pole is a tool, just like the floor, the wall, and your body to express yourself through dance.  And yes, the dance is soooo sexy,  it makes you feel incredible!  Losing pounds and inches is a happy by-product that you notice one morning when you’re getting dressed and you can’t keep your pants up!
Personally, I have become more comfortable in my body and learned to truly love every part.  Even the “wobbly bits” (as Bridget Jones would say).  Physically, I have become longer and leaner (we take a lot of our moves from yoga and Pilates) as well as more flexible and strong.  I feel very proud that I can pull my body weight up, flip myself upside down and hang by my toes!
As far as the confidence, well, I’ve always been a pretty confident girl.  But I would be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t tell you about the bedroom aspect.  Being a married woman of 10 years, I remember years ago trying to do a strip tease for my husband and laughing nervously through the whole thing (not sexy).  Now I can prance and slink around our bedroom in a confident way that my husband finds incredibly sexy!  
Also, being intimate with my husband has been taken to a whole new level.  I’m sure this comes from having a loving relationship with my own body, and therefore more relaxed and comfortable in sharing it with my man.  (I hope that’s not too much info!)
I also now see other women in a different way.  I don’t have a critical eye when I look at them anymore.  Each woman is beautiful in her own right.  I’m able to see that all the time.  Now I notice more how she carries herself and I wonder if she knows how beautiful she is. You can tell a lot about a woman just by watching her walk.  The relationships I’ve built with my students (we really are close) has taught me so much about what it means to be a woman, and how we can take that down to it’s most basic level.  
At Flirtease we let our bodies move naturally, swinging our hips in round circles and arching our backs in an alluring way.  I believe that’s the way a woman’s body is supposed to move.  We weren’t built like men for a reason!  We play up the natural wavy lines of our bodies and it’s incredibly freeing (and easier on your back and joints) when you stop fighting your curves and begin to move into them.
Q. Any words of wisdom for someone contemplating taking classes?  
A. My advice for any woman who is contemplating taking a class is this: Stop contemplating and get to a class!  No matter your size, age, or anything other excuse you might think of, you are missing out on such a gift for yourself if you don’t at least try.  Go to a “teaser” introduction class.  It’s the best 90 minutes you’ll ever have…until you come to your next class of course 🙂
I have seen so many women who have stepped so far out of their comfort zone to attend their first class.  Those are always my favorite women to watch.  How brave they are to “just do it.”  They come in a little nervous, but they push themselves thinking “what do I have to lose?”  By the end of that first class they are walking taller and feeling sexier.  It’s that “a-ha!” moment when you can see that they understand why they were brought here and how it’s going to change their lives dramatically.  I mean, talk about rewarding for me and their instructor!  I am in awe of these women. 

First person: Why I decided to take pole dancing classes

 

Erin Erickson is a level 4 at Flirtease
Erin Erickson is a level 4 at Flirtease

Few people just decide to take pole dancing classes. Some do it for an emotional or physical release, some do it to get over a broken heart, some do it for the sake of physical fitness. 

A lot of people do it because they want to feel good about themselves. 

I was one of those people. 

It was Fall 2007. I’d just had a miscarriage and I was feeling extremely low personally and physically.  I needed a serious pick-me-up. 

Once the doctor cleared me for workouts, I was on the look-out for something that would stir up the excitement in me again. 

I’ve always loved dancing as a workout so I was hoping I could find something fun and local. 

My prayers were answered one morning on my way into work. I’d heard Melissa from The Mix talking about the pole dancing classes she was taking. I was so intrigued that I googled Pole Dancing, Naperville (the closest big town near me). I found an article in the Daily Herald that mentioned Tease Workout in Naperville. 

“You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s a pole dancing studio in Naperville? AWESOME!!!!” 

I called Kristin immediately after and signed up for a Teaser class. 

That Teaser class was in late September. I remember bragging about it to my friends at dinner the night before. “I’m taking a pole dancing class tomorrow!!! Isn’t that a hoot?” 

I’d heard a few weeks later that the friends of the friend I was out with thought I was so cool for having tried it. 

The first class felt good. I was little nervous that my size 18 behind wouldn’t be able to stay on the pole, but I did really well. And I loved it…..a lot. 

I called my husband, who was on a Vegas Boys’ weekend and told him I was signing up for pole dance classes right away and that I wanted a pole in the basement. He was the life of the weekend. 

I started out at Tease in October 2007 and made my way up to level 2 before I took time off to try to have another baby. 

When the fertility medicines I was on didn’t work, I needed that pick-me-up again and right away, I went back to pole dancing. 

I re-took Level 2 and have since moved up to Level 4 which I’ll start in January. The second go-round also helped me lose 25 pounds and several dress sizes which has made the tricks even more fun!

I couldn’t have made it through the past year without my pole dance classes. Aside from the mental and physical strength I’ve gained, I’ve also started amazing friendships with my classmates and with Kristin. My Flirtease Sisters have become an extended family that I almost couldn’t live without.