By Charelle Evelyn on June 29 2015
Sure, plenty of people can claim their place of business is like a family.
But for Angel Stewart, it’s been proven beyond the cliché. For the past seven years, Stewart has been cultivating Angel’s Aerial Fitness (formerly Spinning Angels Pole Fitness) as not only a pole dance fitness studio, but also a place for herself and others to call home.
Stewart still gets emotional when she recalls the surprise she received in the form of a $4,000 donation from a student-organized bottle drive in November 2013.
In and of itself, that doesn’t sound like anything tear-worthy, but the money had been raised within a week to help Stewart save her business after a fire destroyed her studio. On Nov. 11, 2013, a mere handful of days before the much anticipated annual competition
at the Prince George Playhouse, a fire sparked inside the studio, taking with it the past three years worth of investment Stewart had placed in her business. A fitness buff for years, Stewart originally read about pole dancing as a means of exercise in Shape magazine. Before long, she had tried it, loved it and in 2007 had pinched enough pennies to install her own pole at home.
It didn’t take much more time for word to spread among friends about this unique outlet and the following year Stewart had her teaching certification and was giving lessons out of her home. By 2010, it had become more than a side project and Spinning Angels moved to an outside studio, eventually growing to offering up to 50 classes per week.
“I’m sitting in my friend’s truck, staring at my burning studio thinking ‘I’ve got to turn this show into a fundraiser or I’m never going to open my doors again,’” Stewart recalled of that fateful Monday morning.
By the time doors opened on the sixth annual competition that weekend, Stewart had been overwhelmed by the support had poured in from the Prince George community as well as pole dance studios worldwide. The final straw was after the winners had been announced and Stewart and her boyfriend were pulled on stage to receive the students’ donation, which they had organized without her knowledge.
Spinning Angels reopened in its current 2173 Ogilvie St. location nearly two weeks to the day the flames struck.
The workout at Angel’s Aerial Fitness is for anyone between the ages of 16 and 65. And they mean anyone.
Stewart said the most common misconception is that people need to already be fit before they walk through her doors. Not true, she said, with pole classes ranging from beginner to advanced along with weightlifting and stretching sessions.
“It’s for all walks of life, all shapes and sizes,” said Stewart, adding that students learn at their own pace with the drop-in format. With no more than six to eight people per class, students benefit from their instructor’s attention as well as the camaraderie of their fellow classmates. “People look and see the advanced moves and think ‘I could never do that,’” said Stewart, who has become a popular performer around the city. “Neither could I, when I started.”
Find Angel’s Aerial Fitness on Facebook or visit www.spinningangels.com for full class information.
REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.