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Pole Dancing Fitness

Massapequa studio offers unique workout

Pole dancing as a fun and effective workout? Forget your preconceived notions, folks...it’s a fact.

Diva Fit Studio, which opened in Massapequa in June of 2006, has taken the art of pole dancing and turned it into an effective and exciting means to tone up, build strength, lose weight, and, as owner Cheanna Millar says, “put some sexy into it.”

“I used to do home parties and bridal expos, and I met someone that was doing pole dance home parties,” she said. “I fell in love with the idea, because I’ve always been intrigued with pole dancing, so I bought a pole and some videos and basically taught myself. I had no experience up to that point at all...everyone thinks I used to be a stripper, but no. That’s an easy mistake a lot of people make.”

Discovering that pole dancing afforded practitioners with a great workout, Millar’s mastery of the art progressed to the point where she felt that she could start sharing the physical benefits with others. Millar procured a group fitness instructor certificate and certification to teach pole dancing and started conducting classes out of her home.

“It distracts you away from the fact that you’re working out, because it’s entertaining at the same time,” she said. “You’re working out upper body and core, and you’re using a lot of coordination and balance...at the end of every workout, you’ll have mastered something new, such as a pretty spin. It’s a multi-faceted workout, and any woman can do it- any shape, size, or fitness ability.”

Adding non-pole workouts and parties to her repertoire, Millar’s business soon grew to the point where she felt a change to a larger venue was clearly in order to take it to the next level. Looking at several properties in the Massapequa area, Millar settled on her current location at 516 Broadway when she got a load of the ceilings, bringing Long Island it’s first-ever pole dancing studio at the time.

“I saw the ‘For Rent by Owner’ sign, looked in the window and saw the ceilings, and that’s why I’m here,” she said. “They had 12-foot ceilings, and that’s hard to find. 12-foot ceilings mean 12-foot poles...other places are usually only eight feet high.”

However, like many small business owners, Millar has felt the sting of the nation’s current economic crisis in recent years.

“At my peak I had about 150 students on my roster...I was doing three classes a night to accommodate them,” she said. “But when the recession hit, I lost over 100 students...it was really bad.”

But Millar did her best to roll with the punches and has managed to keep her doors open with some intelligent and adaptive business savvy.

“To stay relevant and keep my head above water, I had to adjust my pricing, classes, and my whole structure of teaching so that people who wanted to come in and try this, could,” she said. “That took off, but the recession’s just getting worse, and business took another dive. But it’s coming back slowly...there are peaks and valleys.”

Christine Smith has been a regular at Dive Fit Studio for the past five years, and she credits the unique and varied nature of the workouts here as the driving force behind her dedication to it.

“In working with Cheanna, she always breaks down everything really well, because I’m very uncoordinated,” she said. “Honestly, this is the only thing I stick with...I also have a gym membership elsewhere, and I never go, but I keep coming back here because it’s fun and I can feel myself working out...I always hurt when I leave.”

Amy Grasso has four years of pole dancing under her belt, and said that Diva Fit Studio is a fantastic way to get into the best shape of your life.

“It’s a different type of workout,” she said. “It’s not like going to the gym and lifting the weights and doing the machines....it’s fun, it’s exciting, and you’re learning something different all the time. It keeps you more interested than sitting on a treadmill or riding a bike. It’s a great workout, and it makes changes in your body.”

For more info about Diva Fit Studio, visit their website at www.divafitstudio.com.