Alone in the studio at FM Aerial & Movement Arts, Yvette Reyes’ body takes shape in swirling movements up and down a polished pole.
She has a funny way of making every wicked move seem easy. Beyond her crazy skills, Reyes just knows how to set a mood. There’s a quiet courage about her that can take her dance skills anywhere, including some unexpected places, like coffee shops and taprooms.
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Repost• @y_etti Always a student ❤️ With so many things on my plate, I’ve come to really enjoy how my body FEELS when I move. It may not always look the best but if you work on the things you like over and over, they’ll slowly polish up into something lovely. 🥰 #fmama #fargopoledance #downtownfargo #pdeagle #pdscorpio
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As I write this account of my brief dabble in the aerial arts, I’m happy to report that I made it through. Yes, I took a pole dancing class and loved every minute!
On a cold weekend evening, I gathered a group of friends to do something outside the box. Starting with a walk, we move round and round the pole to find a pace.
Reyes encourages us to open up and show some flare. Then it starts to heat up with spins and pirouettes.
“The worst person I ever taught was my best friend,” jokes Reyes, encouraging us with a laugh. But, she says, “It is easy enough for everybody to start.”
Rewinding a bit, it’s worth noting how the business, 508 Oak St. N., got its start. Facing permanent closure after Total Woman Studio shut down, Reyes made the last-minute decision to take over the studio. The new name is just one signal of how she plans to embrace the community.
“I want it (the studio) to be something that is a part of the community,” says Reyes, who is a dancer by craft and full-time welder by trade. “I have a space and want to use it. Aerial dance is so new in Fargo and I want to create more inclusive classes in the future.”
Outside the studio, the aerial arts have found their way into some unexpected places around Fargo-Moorhead. Together with her dance partner Kati Rose Hicks, she led an early-morning class inside Thunder Coffee’s new location, 300 Sheyenne St., West Fargo, at the start of this year. The space’s soaring ceiling height is paired with delicious coffee for a unique experience among a small group of dancers.
Taking the series to the next level, they are offering an upcoming afternoon aerial silks class for all experience levels at the coffee shop at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, led by Emily Stratton and FM Aerial.
In addition to utilizing local hangouts to teach classes, FM Aerial is expanding into the public performance side, too. You may have seen Reyes team up with Hicks at the Christkindlmarkt holiday markets inside Drekker Brewing Co. earlier this winter for a jaw-dropping performance.
Seeing potential in the space as a performance venue from the start, Reyes explains, “It had been one of Kati’s dreams since she went into Drekker.”
“We practiced our routine over and over and had to cut some things out because we planned for floor-acro and then I ended up falling on Kati’s face,” Reyes says, looking back at the process behind prepping for Christkindlmarkt.
Just like everyone else, Reyes started on the ground before she mastered the acrobatics seen at Drekker. That’s where pole comes in as an entry point to the rest of the aerial world.
“Pole is a whole different thing,” Reyes says. “Some people say that it is not aerial because it’s done on the ground, but other movements start on the ground, too. It’s not until you are stronger that you can start to go upside down and things.”
Intro classes are laid-back and open for men and women 18 and older. In addition to the entry pole classes, FM Aerial has recently announced a class that challenges men to put their best bench press to the test with a four-week pole training.
I may stick to writing from now on, but this class sure has me interested in how aerial arts can build muscle while having a blast.
What: 4-Week Pole Training: Pilot Men’s Class
When: 8-9 p.m. Sundays starting March 1 and continuing through March 22
Where: FM Aerial & Movement Arts, 508 Oak St. N., Fargo
Info: Tickets are $80 on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/2SJPzDl (use promo code “whutwhut” for $20 off). Classes are focused on climbing, inverts, and spin combinations, and specifically geared toward establishing a base level of core and upper body strength. Call 701-203-3448 for more information.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared in print on Monday February 24, 2019.