Illini Pole Fitness hosts third annual Halloween Showcase

On Sunday, Illini Pole Fitness will host its third annual Halloween Showcase. This event is not only meant to feature the various Illini Pole Fitness performers, but to also spread some Halloween spirit. The show will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Venue 51, located at 51 E. Green St. in Champaign. Tickets are $8 and will be sold at the door.

Sarah West, president of Illini Pole Fitness and graduate student in Spanish, said Illini Pole Fitness focuses mainly on dance and evolves into a great fitness activity. West got involved after she saw a video online of pole fitness and wanted to seek out her options on campus. Although this is only her second year as part of the club, West came into the club with a Latin dance background, allowing her to pick up pole dancing rather quickly. This past year, she became certified to teach basic level classes.

“Pole fitness is more attractive than going to the gym … when doing pole fitness you’re doing movements, but you’re involved in a very inclusive and safe community,” West said.

Sean Wilner, an Illini Pole Fitness regular and current Ph.D. student in Informatics, said his girlfriend first brought him to a class because they work out together regularly.

He had some experience with dance, but he had not pole danced before. Regardless of the unfamiliarity, Wilner said the environment is extremely welcoming.

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    “Sometimes some of the moves have to be modified, but as far as feeling out of place, I really don’t … it’s a very welcoming and opening environment,” he said.

    As far as the showcase, Wilner plans on helping backstage and with administrative tasks.

    Teresa Fornoff, senior in LAS who became involved this semester, will actually be performing in the upcoming showcase. She said she heard about Pole Fitness on Quad Day and found it appealing because it was only $10 per class. She started with a level one class, but has progressed since learning the basic techniques and moves.

    As far as preparing for the upcoming showcase, Fornoff explained they aren’t learning a collective routine, and much of what will be performed was individually choreographed by the students.

    “I’ve never choreographed anything before, but with some help from instructors, everything starts to come naturally,” Fornoff said.

    As far as incorporating Halloween aspects, the music will be Halloween-related, but the rest is a surprise.

    Lindsay Anderson, Illini Pole Fitness member and graduate student in Translation and Interpreting, claims there are sometimes negative connotations that come along with the idea of pole dancing.

    “It’s unrestricted expression … it’s a combination of emotion, strength, gymnastics and dance … this space is no place for judgment and as a close-knit community, we do our best to ensure that everyone is comfortable in the space and in their own skin,” Anderson said.

    Samantha can be reached at [email protected].