Our Badass Belles

Cassandra Thompson (Boss Belle / Studio Pole Mama)

Just prior to my 42nd Birthday I took up a hobby (pole fitness) while I was on a sabbatical, that close friends call “midlife crisis”.

Mine, however, didn’t turn into a new car, but new ‘car’eer.

See, the thing is, I have a geeky science education, worked as a self-employed/entrepreneur in the finance industry for 17 years, have never been overly fit, or involved in any physical sports. Wife and Mother of two wonderful daughters, I’m certainly not the type of person you’d expect to find in the Sisterhood, and yet I am sooo typical. I’m one of the few that get such an adrenaline rush from being in a studio and around other polers that I even put up with my vertigo while I had to learn spins! People call me strong, but I look at all the great pole artists, aerial artists and I can only find fault in my imperfections and strive for more greatness. But I willingly admit to a strength of character to go after something I’m passionate about and try and make the world a better place by enthusiastically and genuinely trying to share it with others, so they can also experience or feel that same powerful connection to achievement, accomplishment, to unleashing and reconnecting with your sexy strong self. I am Loving every minute of this challenge.

Laura Griffin

Laura Griffin is the innovative founder of Griffin Aerial Arts. A professional performer since 2005, Laura has toured across Canada, the United States, Mediterranean, Philippines and Europe with companies like Illuminair Entertainment, Cirque Sublime and Disney Cruise Lines. She is a multidisciplinary professional circus artist coaching and performing over the past 15 years on aerial hoop, silks, Spanish web, mobile, net, straps, Chinese poles, dance trapeze, and partner balancing.

Taking her passion for movement, Laura chose to seek an education in movement by studying dance through the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Fine Arts (Dance) Department of York University. This afforded her the opportunity to study the science behind strength, flexibility and cognitive adaptation. Aerial arts blended the elements of dance and sport which she loved, developing a deep passion which burns strong in her heart. A passion she loves to share with students and colleagues. Her NCCP training and affiliation with the Coaching Association of Canada has added to her appeal as a competent instructor and coach. She recognizes that each student has unique challenges and strives to optimize the outcomes and satisfaction of all of her students.

In 2015 Laura became a Certified Personal Trainer with CPTN, she uses her training to optimize strength development for her students. This certification is a continuation of her study of the human body and its multitude of movement modalities. Through CPTN she was also introduced to Z-Health and applied neurology.

Laura currently coaches circus under Griffin Aerial Arts and the Flying Arts Collective Toronto, and now here at Brass Belles. She performs independently and in affiliation with Illuminair Entertainment. As an experienced performer, Laura brings a high quality of entertainment that has captivated audiences on more than four continents. Her love of the art form pushes her to continue innovating and creating, enjoying the challenge of a life of circus and aerial arts.

Gabriela

My name is Gabriela Moreno Ruiz and I’m a proud Mexican. Born with a dancer’s heart and manifested that to my life, I started dancing at age 4, which thrilled my mom, the perfect activity for her “tomboy”.

After years of bouncing from ballet to jazz, to tap, to gymnastics (short lived ~ as I was too tall!), to cheerleading, I found one of my passions; bellydancing. I started bellydancing at 16, and I was a big fan of Shakira. Bellydance brought me such joy, made me body proud and I found a beautiful community that encouraged me to become better. When I moved to Canada I was looking for a big change of life, wasn’t dancing anymore, was tired of being a lawyer and having to run my business, I was missing something. It took me 3 years, and starting pole dancing to realize just what I needed. I was early 30’s and upset and tired, with not many choices for adult FUN fitness, I chose to call up the local pole studio. I was so excited and nervous because the then “Miss Pole Canada” was the studio Owner. Shanyn Pollard turned out welcoming and asked me to join one open pole class so I could see if it was what I was looking for. I can remember going in, fully clothed, so just my hands and face could be seen. Now very self-aware of myself I enter to this beautiful place where everyone was super welcoming… the girls in the studio where all having fun and doing crazy tricks. And I received support, comfort and love, from the other students, Instructors and now friends. I immediately fall in love with this sport. The following years have been amazing -finding best friends – pole sisters — feeling encouraged — beautiful. I have found so much body confidence to the point of now helping others to achieve those things also. Pole has opened my eyes to wonderful styles of teaching and fitness like never before and I intend to keep it in my life until I die from old age… literally ?

In my “spare time” I do have a career in interior design which I love to practice, too.

Sharon Harvey

As a Dance Artist, movement coach and personal trainer Sharon Harvey has been sharing her knowledge for 15+ years and shows no sign of slowing down.

Introduced to Pilates as a part of her maintenance tool, to restore alignment imbalances, elevate endurance, and maintain her flexibility during long running performance concerns. This method since then has evolved and has developed as the base of Sharon’s conditioning vocabulary. Along with BalleCore, CI-training (Conditioning through imagery), yoga and the meticulous approach to her classical dance training from Traditional African to Contemporary Modern and everything in between.

Her love for the in studios to performance creative process has lead her to coach dance companies, facilitated anatomy and movement for teachers, choreography, has become a Dramaturge for dance companies, independent dance artists, gymnast, and actors, throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Sharon has developed an eye and a well guided vocabulary for intuitive mind and body awareness, that she continues to expand, share, and grow while keeping current in cross training and interdisciplinary arts.

Adele

Adele began pole dancing back in 2013 life-long looking to try something new as that’s who she is!

This new-found hobby quickly took her to the next level, obtaining her CPFA certifications to add to her existing fitness-related career as a full-time fitness professional. Certified through Humber College, CSEP-CPT, OFC, Eleiko and CANFIT PRO, teaching, training and education have always been a great way for her to connect with people. Adele hold certifications in Yoga, Pilates, Aerial Yoga, TRX, Pre-Post Natal, Nutrition and Wellness, Strength Training Coaching, and Pole Dance Beginner and Intermediate levels.

She’s managed corporate and commercial facilities over 20+ years, and her journey of self-discovery has led to accomplish triathlons, ½ marathons races, fitness competitions and more. She genuinely loves fitness, meeting new people, discovering their goals, and assisting in is truly rewarding. Health and happiness should always be the number one priority!

Ekat

As a passionate coach & performer, Ekat believes that having a consistent practice of any sort of enjoyable movement has profound positive effects on our mental and physical health. Movement promotes confidence, healthy habits, overall well-being, and surrounds you with a supportive, creative, and growth-minded community. This is what has driven her 13-year long coaching career working with students of all ages. Ekat’s commitment to helping others achieve their fitness goals is further reflected in her certifications as a Precision Nutrition coach, level 1 Exercise Therapist, and NASM certified Personal Trainer. 

Ekat began coaching taekwondo shortly after achieving her Kukkiwon certified 1st degree Black Belt at the age of 15.  These days she uses her martial arts background to instruct Kickboxing based fitness classes and offer private tutoring in the Olympic Style World TKD curriculum.  Having always had an admiration for dance, she welcomed the opportunity at Fred Astaire Dance Studios to instruct ballroom dance. During this time she was lucky enough to compete and place first in the amateur division, perform at summer music festivals, and participate as a choreographer and performer in the annual charity event "Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars", where dance instructors were partnered with a local "celebrity" to put together routines for a "Dancing with the Stars" style fundraiser.  Of course her endless curiosity eventually led her to try her first Aerial Silks class in January of 2017. Since then she has enjoyed being a part of many student showcases, meeting wonderful people, and occasionally switching out for another apparatus like pole, straps & aerial hoop. Aerial arts continue to positively challenge her mind/body awareness, strength, coordination, creativity, mental acuity and patience. Ekat is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential in our encouraging studio environment, as we build the foundations that allow them to train aerial arts safely and enjoyably for many years

Helen

Helen brings her passion in circus arts and artistic nature to our Pole Silks and Aerial Silks classes, makes them fun and challenging at every fitness level. When she is not busy training her circus skills, she enjoys her family and achieving big goals in her IT profession. Helen is a mother of a teenager and a school-ager and believes that impossible is only if you believe so but opening mind towards possibilities will get you beyond you’ve imagined, in fitness or else.

Victoria

Victoria started her pole journey in 2015. With a contemporary dance background, and known for her clean and fluid pole moves, her passion is to help students to build solid pole skills foundations by focusing on techniques of the fundamental moves, which is crucial in preparing students for higher level. She incorporates training that targets small muscle groups which is vital in pole fitness. Recognizing that each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, she provides tips and small tweaks that help students master tricky moves and smooth transitions.

Serena

Serena’s gentle, graceful approach to pole helps our Intermediate & Advanced level students to polish and push themselves.  Serena has many years not only with pole, but circus training and silks.   When she isn’t busy flying high, she has a Clark Kent alter ego professional life, and a loving family to keep her busy.

Jasmine

Jasmine started her pole journey in 2015 and was immediately enamoured by all things pole/pole silks. Seeing the total body transformation that ensued opened her eyes to the amazing things the human body is capable of if we let our minds set us free. She tried aerial silks and aerial hoop a couple years later and fell in love with those art forms too. Jasmine is now embracing a new phase of her fitness journey as an instructor, continuing to advance her pole/aerial skills, revelling in it all.

Madison

Madison started her pole journey with the Brass Belles Family in 2018. When she isn’t at the pole studio, she is also an artist, certified yoga instructor,  and a life-long dancer. Madison’s love for movement allows her to turn a pole move into an artistic flow. Her goal in every class is to show that every body is capable of moving in a way that feels good for them and will lift their spirits and confidence.

Dana

Dana's lifelong interest for the circus and aerial arts sparked in her youth. Although she tried her hand at gymnastics and various dance classes, none of them stuck. It wasn't until a friend of hers introduced her to pole dance when she was in university and insisted "Don't knock it til you try it!" From her first class in 2016, Dana was hooked. She has since expanded her skillset to include aerial hoop and hammock, enjoying the challenge of learning new forms. Dana is drawn to fluid, flexy movements, and as a teacher, she brings her contagious energy and silly sense of humour to every class. She firmly believes that with dedication and effort, anyone can achieve anything!

Yulia

Yulia is a dedicated instructor with a decade of experience in the world of pole dancing. Her journey began in 2010 with a focus on pole sports, where she competed in championships, placed in a few of them and had the honour of judging pole dancing championships. In 2019, driven by her passion for self-expression, she expanded her practice to include heel choreography, discovering the unique challenges it presents compared to dancing barefoot.As an instructor, she prioritizes the development of a strong and safe technique while integrating creative expression. 

Furthermore, Yulia  loves when the students are actively engaged so please feel free to reach out for any questions, clarifications, additional demonstrations or to share your ideas. She is looking forward to being a part of the Brass Belles family and taking this exciting pole dancing journey together!

Tiana

Tiana started pole dancing in 2018. Despite not having any previous dance experience she instantly fell in love. Initially she limited herself to learning tricks and conditioning as much as she could. With her diverse sports background tricks came naturally but in time she built enough confidence with the support of the pole community in which she grew to be quite fond of to branch out and experiment with dance. She's earned a reputation for her unique flow style and dynamic trick combos. She likes to remind her students that pole is for everyone so dance like no one is watching because you're your own harshest critic.