The Body & Pole Work-Study Program is a one-year professional development program designed to nurture, train and mentor those looking to expand their professional development in the Pole & Aerial Arts industry. We have bi-annual terms, and bring on new groups of Work-Studies in January and June of each year. With our January 2020 term coming up — we are already accepting applications! — we wanted to share a more personal experience from Fernanda Ades, who graduated from our Work-Study Program in 2018. Keep reading for more about Fernanda’s experience — why she decided to apply, what she learned, and where it brought her in her career. For more information about the program, or to apply for the January 2020 term, please visit us here.

How did you discover our Work-Study program?
I had a membership before being a work-study. I loved taking classes all the time and the studio was a second home for me already. Being from another country, I wasn’t settled in NY yet, so it was a huge help to get me comfortable with the new city, new friends, etc. I used to talk to the team at the desk, or when we would take classes together, and they would tell me about the program.

What prompted you to apply?
I had just quit my 10 years (boring) office job to find a new purpose in life. I would have to cut some costs, so the membership wouldn’t be an option anymore. I heard about the work-study applications literally on the last days. Recorded a super quick video and prayed to hear back from you guys!

What are you hoping to learn/achieve from the program?
To be honest, at the beginning, I just wanted to take a sabbatical year. Take classes, get stronger, progress in my aerial skills and make new friendships. Then later, when the program turned into something bigger and reformulated (with mentorships, workshops, etc) I realized how much potential for experience and knowledge I had there.

What surprised you the most about it?
It surprised me how much I would enjoy being a work-study. I thought it could just be a “side job” thing to pay for my classes, but the community is just amazing and I felt in love! I met really wonderful, interesting and talented people that I love and respect. Body & Pole was my home for a whole year… I was there every weekday taking classes, seeing my friends, coming to meetings and learning. I was happy that my work experience in the past and love for the space helped me do a good job, where I felt I really made a difference (or at least tried). While it is definitely a challenge, for me, it was exactly what I needed at that moment in life and I decided to enjoy it to the fullest with an open heart.

What was the biggest challenge?
To be honest I was very lucky… I was in an amazing group and my shift colleagues were always great, so even the harder tasks like cleaning (no one likes cleaning, let’s be real!) weren’t that bad. We had a great system, we had fun and it worked! Sometimes a difficult and busy day could be stressful and my body was so tired after rigging I couldn’t even move or take a class after my shift, but to know when to rest and balance the program with other things in your life, it’s the key to avoid burnout.

What will you do next, after you graduate?
Now it’s been one year since I graduated (time flies!). Because of my good connections and friends at Body & Pole I was able to find a job as a manager, in a renowned Circus School in NY. I am glad I can keep learning and maybe open my own studio one day!

Do you have any advice for those thinking about applying?
So many! First and most important, make sure you have the time to enjoy the program to the fullest – Time to do your shifts, time to rest and time to train. If you don’t have one of those, then it couldn’t become harder than it looks. Make sure to just commit if you have this figured out first.
Second, open your heart, make friends, be nice and gentle with your co-workers and communicate. You will be spending a lot of time with this people! You can make really good friends for life and have a great work environment if you have the right mindset and attitude. It’s never competition, it’s team work!
Third, listen, respect and learn a lot from these amazing professionals that run the studio! They have so much to teach (from studio operations to emotional intelligence), you will be surprised!
And last but not least, jump into every opportunity, gig, experience you can acquire in the program! You will learn a lot and maybe even find a new passion like producing, teaching, performing, etc…