One of the reasons why I love promoting women-owned businesses is because actually sitting down and talking to the women behind them is an inspiration for me. Ladies who kill it at their career come in all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. They can be clean cut CEOs of tech businesses, camsite models, fashionistas, or just about anything else.
When I met Rebeca, she was acting as my instructor at Foxy Fitness workout studio. I was taking a pole dance class with her and we began to start talking about the cool things she did. As it turns out, Rebeca isn’t just a dance instructor—she herself is a dance guru who has worked with major celebrities, traveled the world, and helped show the beauty of pole dance to a new audience.
After hearing her story, I needed to bring it out to the world. Here’s what she had to say about her journey as a pole dancer and business owner…
So, let’s start with the most obvious questions. How’d you start out pole dancing?
Rebeca Sanchez: 10 years ago, I started to practice pole because it seemed so sensual and a great and totally different way to workout. But, after my first class, I understood that it was more than just being able to look pretty around the pole. I realized that it is literally doing gymnastics on a vertical pole.
I took it seriously and now others are doing so too! And it is now considered a sport discipline that you are gonna see sooner or later in the Olympic Games.
You know pole dance as a true artform. How’d you start on your flow? How did you start your pole business?
Yes, pole dance really is an art form. You can do it as a 100% sport discipline (barefoot), a sensual dance wearing heels, or mixing both acrobatic and sensual at the same time. It all depends on what you feel like you want to dance.
For me, my start was a challenge because I had the Latin flow and I dance because I like to dance and it looks good, not because I took any type of dance classes before. So, it was a lot of self-discovery.
I wanted to learn this amazing type of art so bad! I put so much effort on that. I took pole dance lessons for 11 months every week, after that I started to practice by myself. One year later, I opened my own pole dance studio in Venezuela named Pole Art Rebeca. Since then, it has been open for almost nine years.
I never stopped practicing! Also I had attained more than 32 certifications with the most recognized pole dancers from all over the world. I started pole dance as a hobby, and it soon became my passion and profession.
When we first met over at Foxy Fitness, I found out you’re a world famous dancer. Tell me about some of the more interesting acts you’ve done.
I have performed in a lot of different sets, starting with three national competitions. I finished 3rd place in Venezuela. Also I have worked in three music videos doing pole dance directed by one of the best directors recognized around the world, Nuno Gomes.
In one of the videos we shot, we had to film inside a cave with water so the production team set the pole on the water and I had to dance on it. It was a great experience. I performed in an important health event named Expo Vida in my country in 2013.
It was so much fun because I performed with a live music. I have participated in competitions in Professional division for the USA and love performing at the Foxy’s showcases every year.
Recently, I worked in a movie that it is gonna be released in September this year, but I can’t no talk too much about that until after that date. It has been one of the best experiences, ever, of my life. The audition was hard but finally I made it!
Tell me about one of your favorite performing moments.
I have loved and enjoyed every moment of any performance, but one of my favorite performing moments was when I participated in a competition dancing a cover of the Beauty and the Beast theme song.
When I changed my outfit to Belle’s classic yellow dress, I could hear everybody say, “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” Oh my God, I remember that I smiled so big, I LOVED that moment.
So, what were the hardest performances you’ve had to do so far?
One of the most challenging performances was the Beauty and the Beast piece, because it was my first competition in the Professional category for the USA and I really wanted to do a great job.
The day before the competition I was doing my last run through and I hit my head against the pole executing one flip backwards. In that moment I had a breakdown because I started to feel insecure about how my performance would be on stage. Also because I had three different props (a tail in my hair, the blue and white dress and the yellow dress). I had to handle everything in the right way.
I placed 2nd and it is the video with the most views on YouTube of that specific competition. I am so happy with my performance and I am sure that everybody liked it.
That sounds so magical. You helped me learn my first pole trick. How do you like your time at Foxy Fitness?
I remember that day, you were fantastic in class.
Foxy Fitness and Pole is the best pole studio in NY and NJ, and I don’t say that because I work there, I say that because all the instructors are excellent and we offer a personalized attention to our students. Something important to know is that our students feel to continue advancing their capabilities because we push them always to learn new tricks or transitions.
Also the instructors and students are constantly training for the different competitions that exist in USA placing well always in all of them.
I am so happy in Foxy. I remember the first day I met the owners and all the instructors staff, they treated me like family, even the students were so nice to me. I teach there six days a week: Bendy and Flexy, Low Flow Pole and Pole and Climbs. Some of the classes are 1 hour or 1:20h and we are open everyday offering different classes.
It was epic, but I often wonder if it’s easy to deal with newbies. Like, do you struggle teaching others the art?
I don’t find it challenging to teach newbies because I have an extensive experience teaching. So, I know which moves should they learn at the beginning if they haven’t done pole before. I start with the most basics moves like walking around the pole, spins and any trick on the pole but low. I teach from the basic level to advanced level.
Every class starts with a warm up, since we don’t want to get injured. Then I asked the students one by one what they want to do in that class or if this is they first class ever. After that, I work individually with each one on the tricks or transitions that they want to learn or review. At the end of the class, we do a cool down.
Going in, a lot of people have misconceptions about pole dance. What are some of the biggest ones you want to dispel?
Honestly, the stigma pole dancing has is fading way faster than you’d think. Every day, there are less people who have misconceptions about Pole because even the Cirque Du Soleil has pole dance in most of their shows. There also is the International Pole Sport Federation (IPSF) that is trying so hard to get the pole dance in the Olympics
This International Federation organizes the World Pole Sport Championship where the best athletes from all over the world (kids from 10 years old, women and men with no limits of age) participate in this competition. The fact that kids are now joining in shows how much acceptance it’s gotten.
Pole dance is a lot more codified than you’d expect. For example one of the rules of the WPSC event is that you have to compete barefoot because this is a 100 percent sport competition. Countries like the USA, Spain, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, México, and others all over the world each have their own Pole Dance Federation chapter.
There are so many competitions in so many different countries and each competition has their rules and categories.
Of course there will still be some people that associate pole dance with strip clubs and that is not gonna change. It is okay, because this is an extensive art form that, as I said before, you can do it with heels, barefoot, sexy, more like gymnastics depending on how you want to do it.
One of the biggest misconceptions that I want to dispel is that people think that why you practice pole dance you are a stripper. That is not necessarily true, I have students that they want to learn more about this because they are strippers, but I have so many students and I know a lot of people that they practice pole because of the amazing physical and psychological benefits.
Do you have male students at Foxy Fitness?
Yes, we have male students at Foxy. Actually I teach classes for men. Men and women can do almost most of the same tricks. The difference is how they move while they are executing the tricks and transitions, men should look masculine.
So, I guess we should talk about getting foxy for your fitness routines. Getting into “pole shape” probably requires a lot of diet alongside strength building. What are your tips for someone who wants to really up their pole dance skill?
You don’t have to be strong, flexible or skinny to start to practice pole dance, you just have to start. In each class you are gonna start to see the change in your body and emotional health. Whether you realize it or not, you are gonna build the strength that you need.
Every class is a challenge, it could be because you want to review something or learn something new, the point is that during the classes you are focus to do the moves and you are no realizing that you are working out and it is great because you are having a good time at the same time.
If you want to get into a better shape, start to eat healthy food. It isn’t necessary that you have a strict diet, just eat less sugar and fried food. Cook with almost no oil and incorporated fruits to your diet.
Also try to do regularly to classes, at least 3 times per week or more and combine the pole dance classes with flexibility classes. It is so important to stretch; if you only lift your body, you are gonna get a lot of strength but you are not gonna be flexible!
My last advice is don’t give up. Keep training and practice hard, every effort is gonna be worth it. You are gonna be capable to do things that you thought that they were impossible to do.