Ann Arbor residents are head over heels for Polarity, a new pole fitness studio located on South University Avenue, which celebrated its grand opening by welcoming potential clients to a two-day open house this past weekend.

Polarity is the latest business venture by University alum Jessie Lipkowitz, who also owns the popular aUM Yoga studio located in the same building. The new studio consists of 14 poles, a professional sound system, a bathroom with full shower and a staff room that enables the studio to host catered events.

The open house welcomed potential attendees to meet instructors, explore the space and sign up for a free class anytime that month.

Polarity manager Stephanie MacDonald, who also works at aUM Yoga and is a University alum, was recently introduced to pole-fitness through Polarity and offered advice to potential clients by sharing her own experience.

“The first class I went to, I was so bad that I was so determined to come back and get better,” MacDonald said. “By the second class I was so much more comfortable and much less fearful.”

She assured beginners that they would be welcomed and comfortable despite having little experience.

“A lot of people are signing up with friends, which I think is great because it takes away a lot of fear and nervousness,” MacDonald said. “We have so many different classes on the schedule and instructors that are so welcoming that you don’t feel intimidated at all. Students will definitely feel right at home.”

Lipkowitz opened Polarity with the goal of removing the negative stigma surrounding pole fitness. She strives to create an accessible studio with a welcoming atmosphere that will make students feel comfortable exploring pole as both a fitness and mental health building activity. She added that Polarity is also the new official home of the Michigan Pole Dance Society, a student organization on campus.

“My whole goal is to demystify pole in the same way that I demystified yoga,” Lipkowitz said. “We’re starting out with a very beginner-friendly curriculum and are hoping to grow with our clients. As soon as we see that we’re experiencing growth and that people are coming back, we’ll add classes to the schedule accordingly.”

Instructors Sylvia Chen and Laura Marthey gave demonstrations and answered questions during the open house. Marthey agreed with Lipkowitz that beginners shouldn’t be afraid to come to the studio.

“The focus of the studio is from a fitness and wellness perspective and to demystify and desexualize pole,” she said.

As a new studio, Chen says Polarity anticipates most clients to be beginners, so all of the classes are designed to be beginner friendly, with the intention of expanding in the future.

Polarity offers several classes including Polega, Power Pole, Pole Technique, Contemporary Dance Pole and Beginner Pole. Polega in particular mixes aUM Yoga’s popular class F*** This is Hard with pole-fitness in order to improve balance, flexibility, strength and endurance, according to Lipkowitz.

Nursing freshman Caeli Lacroix was one of many University students who attended the Polarity open house. She signed up for a free class in January and was excited to try pole.

“The studio was really nice and everyone was very friendly,” Lacroix said. “I’m nervous but excited to give it a try and see if I like it.”

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