Vixen Charmaine Stephens aka Charonce (with an accent like Beyonce!)
Lady Kori: What work do you do?
Charoncé: I'm a licensed esthetician, pampering women and men all day with spa treatments!
LK: How did you first discover pole dancing?
Charoncé: I discovered pole dancing when my mother in-law told me about her friend's daughter who had started pole dancing in Nova Scotia. There were videos of her on YouTube so I looked her to up and was amazed to see this shy girl climb a pole and perform gravity defying tricks! I thought to myself: Why can't I do that? This was on a Sunday and by Monday I was registered for my first pole class!
LK: Do you have any previous dance, fitness or sports experience?
Charoncé: I have an extensive dance background. I trained in ballet, jazz and tap at Marie Ann Longlade School of Dance for most of my childhood. I further pursued my passion for dance at Ryerson and graduated with a Bachelor of fine Arts degree. Later on I was honoured to be chosen to be a part of the original cast of Lion King, Toronto.
LK: What made you feel pole dancing could be for you and decide to try it?
Charoncé: I stopped dancing throughout my thirties due the many obstacles that life threw in my path. I was turning 39 and felt I needed to have dance back in my life before turning the big 40 or I was going to self destruct. When I discovered pole dancing and saw how it encompassed a tough workout hidden in sexy dance movements, I thought THIS IS FOR MEEEEEEEE!!! I've been at it for over 2 years now and I can't get enough!
LK: How did you come to be a member at Brass Vixens?
Charoncé: I was pole dancing at another studio for about a month before I started at Brass Vixens. I wanted a studio that offered more classes per week in a professional environment and through Google search found Brass Vixens. I was so impressed that there was an app I could use for buying my membership and registering for classes without having to go through a complicated email process.
LK: What were your first impressions?
Charoncé: My first impressions were how friendly everyone was and how there was an effective class structure for beginners. All the teachers were so confident, sexy, fierce and super friggin' strong! ...and during most of my beginner classes they were playing Beyoncé! Lets just say I was hooked!
LK: What keeps you committed to Brass Vixens and pole dancing?
Charoncé: Brass Vixens has a supportive and family atmosphere which is hard to find in any other sport with lots of women! LOL! The combination of dance and strength training is another reason I'm committed to Brass Vixens. The pole choreography classes and performance troupes. The incorporation of traditional dance movements I grew up doing combined with the insanely creative pole dance moves has really brought the joy of dance back into my life and has kept me committed. Also, it's the many other classes like chair dance, lyra, twerk, African dance and flexibility training that has kept me grounded at Brass Vixens.
LK: How do you feel pole dancing and the community differ from your previous dance experiences?
Charoncé: The pole dance community is way more body positive towards all shapes and sizes than some other dance communities I've been a part of. Whether you have curves or a sleek and slender frame, it's all celebrated and embraced.
LK: What do you feel is a crucial element for a successful class experience?
Charonce: To have a successful class experience it's important to come with an open mind and put trust in the process and to remember that you will progress at your own pace. Most importantly.....have fun!
LK: What has been an exciting moment for you on your pole journey?
Charonce: There have been many exciting moments on my pole journey but if I had to choose one, it would be competing in my first pole competition in Chicago at the age of 41!
LK: Do you have any pole goals?
Charoncé: I have many pole goals, like mastering all kinds of Ayeshas, mastering the art of dead lifting into various pole moves and continuing to create entertaining performances.
LK: How has pole dancing and taking classes at Brass Vixens effected the rest of your life and sense of self?
Charoncé: Pole dancing classes have empowered me in ways I never thought possible! Nailing certain tricks that I've been working on for months is such a confidence booster and it reminds me in my everyday life to believe in myself and never give up. Success is always just around the corner ...could be way, way around the corner but none the less, it's there waiting for me to finish the process to get there.
LK: What has surprised you the most?
Charonce: Every time I pole I'm always surprised I'm able to do half of the tricks and moves I can do. It's amazing what your body can achieve with hard work. I watch videos of myself and think, is that really me hanging upside down with one leg?!
LK: What are you favourite classes and why?
Charoncé: My favourite classes are the choreographic ones like Pole Choreo and Chair Dance because I love losing myself in the music and the art of dance.
LK: What are your top 3 reasons to attend classes at Brass Vixens?
Charoncé: I attend classes at Brass Vixens because of the dance based classes, the convenience of the studio locations on the subway lines and the opportunity to have a platform to perform for family and friends every other month!
LK: ...and finally, heels or no heels?!
Charoncé: HEELS ...Whenever you can ...HEELS!!!!! LOL!
Thank you Charoncé for being such an awesome Vixen!