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Ready to take your aerial career to the next level? Interested in becoming an instructor? Do you have a passion for performing? If so, you’re probably already thinking of applying for the Body & Pole Work-Study Program. As you’ll read below, this one year program requires some serious commitment, but offers so much in return! We spoke with some former Work-Studies to get real about their experience with the program, and provide some insight for those considering applying. Keep reading below for all about that #WorkStudyLife, and head here for more information on the program.

Butchie Gamble: 

What was your track? 

I was on both the Performer and Instructor Tracks.

What inspired you to apply for the program? 

I always wanted to do an intensive dance training program, but never had the financial resources. B&P made it possible for me to study pole dance intensively through work-study. 

What did you like the most about it? 

I loved the access to unlimited classes and the support given from all of the staff. The program allows you to train and gain as much possible as you are willing/able to commit. You train according to your goals and availability. Additionally, instructors and managers were invested in my success and helped foster my growth and success as a pole dancer and instructor. 

What was most challenging?

The most challenging aspect was pushing myself both physically and mentally enough to both redefine my self-image and expand my understanding of my body’s capabilities. 

What advice do you have for those interested in applying?

Be ready to commit yourself to what the program requires and has to offer. You really need to be passionate about taking advantage of the resources provided and structuring your daily life around being a work-study. You will gain as much as what you’re willing to invest into the experience. 

 

Michelle Proctor:

What was your track?  

I was on the Producer Track.

What inspired you to apply for the program?

There were two reasons why I applied for the program: 1) To learn how to run a pole studio business and 2) To gain experience in producing an aerial production.

What did you like the most about it?

Being a part of the “behind the scenes”. The collaborations, the community, the intensity of running an aerial business and the commitment of producing a production.

What was most challenging?

(Besides COVID-19???) getting the “creative souls”, participating in productions to commit to an idea/theme of their choreographic work until the show has been completed in its entirety.  Also getting performers to commit to a run-through of the show.

What advice do you have for those interested in applying?

If you desire something from the Work-Study program, make sure you have the time available in your life to commit to 1 year.  It’s worth it! But if you’re unsure of your availability, don’t do it!

 

Donna Carnow:

What was your track? 

I was on the Instructor, Performer AND Producer Tracks! It was wildly ambitious, but I wanted to get as much as I could out of the program and never had regrets about doing all three — it was one hell of a year!

What inspired you to apply for the program? 

I went to school at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and graduated in 2017 with my BFA in Dance. When I was in college I taught pole dancing from 2015-2017 at the local studio, Defy Gravity Pole Fitness and Aerial Arts Studio in the middle of the cornfields. We equated Body & Pole as this mythical promised land of pole dancing. It was a space where the best would go to train and learn, both in techniques, but also how to teach. It was the epitome of pole dance technique and curriculum and I had the wildest dreams of wanting to be a Work-Study there one day (and MAYBE teach in my next lifetime…lol). I would travel to NYC to do traincations and even got a grant from the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts to fund my research at Body & Pole for my BFA thesis (I created a 17 minute long site specific work integrating pole dance and experimental modern dance practices). I always knew I wanted to move to NYC to learn from this community — I had no idea it would become my home.

What did you like the most about it?

I did things I couldn’t even fathom would happen, let alone all in the same year — I made some of my closest friends in NYC from the program. I produced my first professional show in NYC. I performed in Vegas with AERA, I competed in my first pole competition, I choreographed an immersive group pole dance piece at the B&P Halloween Show. And I became a full-time instructor at B&P when I was still a Work-Study. It feels wild to think about what you can do when you put your mind to something and commit to your visions, your dreams, and your unique journey.

What was most challenging?

The NYC hustle is real and it was challenging to do it all – paying rent, taking class, attending my track workshops, and trying to sleep. I had 5 different part-time jobs at the same time at one point – I was nannying for Kyra, teaching yoga at CorePower, was a production intern at Movement Research, and worked at a bar as a server Friday nights (I was 22 and apparently had an unlimited amount of energy…I would work 12 hour days essentially 7 days a week).

What advice do you have for those interested in applying?

Be loud and bold about sharing your love and passion for your art, for your dreams, for this industry, for the things you are passionate about getting out of this opportunity. The sky is the limit.

Lara Netto: 

What was your track? 

I was on the Operations Track. 

What inspired you to apply for the program?

I heard about the program from an aerial instructor at a different studio and decided to apply, as I felt ready to take my aerial career to the next level.

What did you like the most about it?

I loved the opportunity to network and learn more about the industry as a whole. Being proactive in this program is definitely a must if you want to take full advantage of it. I’ve also learned how to use multiple apparatuses I never even dreamed of trying before starting the program!

What was most challenging?

The most challenging part of the program was the work itself, LOL. Sometimes you don’t want to show up for a weekend closing shift, but you have to give back to the studio that provides you with so many opportunities. It’s part of the deal!

What advice do you have for those interested in applying?

If I could give advice to anyone who is interested in applying, I would say to have your goals in check. What exactly do you want out of this? How will you achieve these goals you have in mind? Having a mental plan is crucial if you want to succeed. It is a one year commitment and many things can change throughout that year. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes you don’t want to show up to work and that’s okay. But if you know what you want out of the program, it is much easier to stay on track and have fun in the process.