OUR TEAM

AILEEN CREAGH

Owner/Instructor

Aileen experienced the life-changing power of pole dancing and aerial arts in 2013. Since childhood through college and into her first pregnancy, Aileen was a gymnast and lifelong dancer. Though she holds a Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology, Aileen spent most of her adult life as a full-time mother to her five kids. In 2013, Aileen lost 75 pounds and discovered pole dancing on a whim when a friend invited her to a local class. To say it was not what she expected is a gross understatement. The confidence, strength, and friendship she found helped her maintain her health, confidence, peace, and happiness. By 2014, she was an elevatED and FlyGym certified instructor, and gold medal (levels 1 and 2) competitor.

 

Aileen finds amazing joy in both her own dancing and the strength and confidence she sees in her students and fellow pole athletes. In 2019, she started having conversations with fellow and former students, instructors, and studio owners about the idea of opening a brand new aerial studio in Stamford, CT. As of May 2020, the studio is leased, the staff is in place, the students are ready and Aileen is just eagerly awaiting construction to be done so she can dance dance dance with everyone! 

In addition to her elevatED Pole 1 and FlyGym certifications, Aileen is a certified and licensed Liquid Motion instructor and is seeking to add flexibility and aerial yoga certifications in 2020. 

Personally, Aileen's friends, students and fellow aerial athletes know her for her purple hair, her love of cupcakes, sparkly things and her 2 rescue dogs, and her eternal refusal to act her age. 

She is committed to a happy life for herself and her children, and as many hours in the studio with her friends and students as possible!

MILA BARTOVA

Instructor

Mila came to the US from a little town in Czech Republic over 20 years ago. Mila has been working in the fitness industry for over 20 years as a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and devoted her life to helping people become healthier and happier through fitness. She discovered pole dancing 10 years ago and was instantly hooked. Her life has never been the same.

Mila began teaching pole dancing when a studio owner her asked if she would like to teach. Mila was beside herself with joy, accepted the offer, and immediately got certified. Mila says “I feel an accomplishment every time I see that particular smile on my students’ faces that says ‘I did it, I did something I never thought I could do’. I live vicariously through my students’ achievements, from their little moments in class to their big moments on a stage. It gives me much pleasure to see them improve and thrive.”

Mila holds the following certifications: Climb & Spin, ElevatED, ACE Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor

ELIN WATERSTON

Instructor

 Elin grew up in the dance world, starting Ballet at age 3. She went on to study many styles of dance including, Jazz, Lyrical, Theater Dance, Highland Dance, Latin, Ballroom, and Bellydance. In 2008 Elin began practicing yoga and it became an important complement to her dancing - each discipline improving the other. The concept of combining elements of dance, yoga and aerial arts, led her to Aerial Yoga and Rope Wall Yoga.

Elin’s interest in movement, anatomy, alignment, and functional mobility is apparent in her classes. She believes it’s of the utmost importance to keep the body healthy and moving as it is designed to move. This belief led her to study Yin Yoga and Thai Yoga Bodywork and add therapeutic elements to her teaching skills.

Elin loves the feeling of freedom and joyfulness that all styles of movement provide, and movement’s ability to change and empower people. She is an avid student as well as a teacher and likes to find fresh, creative ways to approach her practice. She is happy to share her love of all things movement with her students.

Elin holds the following certifications: Om Factory Aerial Yoga, 200HR E-RYT® Vinyasa Yoga, YACEP®, Grounded Aerial™ Bungee Dance, Fly Gym Aerial Fitness, Climb&Spin® Pole Dance, LaBlast® Ballroom Fitness, Matt Phippen 30 Hour TT, Biff Mithoefer Yin TT, Shai Plonski Thai Yoga Bodywork TT

Additionally, she is the founder of Luna Aerial™ (aerial yoga teacher training program). And if all of this isn’t enough, she is a brand Ambassador for Altar Ego (15% discount code end1212) and Svelte Belle (20% discount code Elin).

 

PAULA DITIMI

Instructor

Paula has been involved in aerial arts for 11 years of pole fitness and 7 years of lyra. She walked through the doors of her first pole studio for fun and fell in love with the way it challenged her. Paula started teaching pole to pay for her own pole addiction. She was taking classes 6 days a week when she bought a pole for her home, but there was nothing like in-person instruction. That is when she was presented with an opportunity to teach that changed her. Paula enjoyed poling through both of her pregnancies, and says moving through her pregnancy was the only time her body felt good.

 

Paula is an Xpert Pole certified instructor. Her favorite aerial moment is watching a newbie fall in love with pole.

“Dance is my therapy, IF you catch me in my zone with my eyes closed. Whatever you see in that moment I won't be able to do again, so make sure you're recording!”

POLINA FRIDMAN

Instructor

Polina’s journey of movement started in 2005, when she discovered Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art combined with dance and gymnastics. Besides the physical benefits, her practice taught her that success comes not only with persistence and repetition, but also from analyzing, breaking down and isolating movement. She now uses this technique, that she developed for her own practice, to help her students succeed in theirs.


After over 10 years of practicing and teaching Capoeira, she decided that it was time to explore other disciplines, like pole dance and yoga. Polina discovered pole dancing when a coworker took her to an introductory class and she got hooked right away. She started teaching in a small studio in Rockland County, NY, when the studio owner was pregnant with twins and wasn't able to teach anymore, so Polina was asked to help out. Shortly thereafter she got her teacher certification from elevatED. Five years later, she has become a much loved instructor herself.

 

Looking at the movement possibilities pole offered, Polina realized that she needed to improve her flexibility, which is when yoga came into her life. Besides her job as a graphic designer, she spends most of her time practicing and teaching those disciplines. Polina teaches pole fitness and yoga because she loves teaching and all of her students. She is beyond happy to see them accomplish their goals and grateful to be part of their journey.

 

Polina holds the following certifications: elevatED pole fitness 1 & 2, elevatED Flexibility, and Vinyasa Yoga 500 hr (Yogamaya NYC).

PS: Polina’s current favorite aerial move is the Janeiro, which she is still working on!

ACCRO BRANDON

Instructor

Brandon started pole dancing in 2008 when he started dating a girl who happened to be a pole and aerial performer. Little did he know it would lead him deep down this path! In 2011, he started competing professionally.

Shortly after Brandon started doing competitions, he moved back to San Diego and started teaching at his local studio. As he started traveling for competitions, he would also hang around and do workshops at local studios or locations of friends in the community.

Some of Brandon’s best moments on stage have been with other individuals but also as he started to believe in himself, and started getting paying gigs, international contracts and working for Cirque style companies!

Brandon holds certifications from Acro Yoga Montreal, as well as being a Liquid Motion Master Trainer.

One of Brandon’s personal favorite aerial experiences was cruising the Caribbean with Norwegian Cruise Lines doing aerial and pole.

“I Hope to meet you all soon. I love to have fun, train hard, and learn new things and pass all of that along to my students!”

JENI JANOVER

Instructor

Jeni has been involved in pole, dancing, and the aerial arts for 10 years. She took a local class and that was the start of something that has informed and inspired dancers the world over. Jeni started teaching because she saw that there was a need for a good floor work modality and she wanted to help people understand movement. She is the owner and founder of Liquid Motion, which has literally changed the experience, confidence, and movement quality for countless dancers of all types and levels.

 

Empowered Aerial Fitness is beyond proud to both welcome Jeni as an instructor, and offer Liquid Motion classes with other certified instructors on our staff as well. There is really no way to overstate the impact of Liquid Motion on your movement and dancing.

 

Additionally, Jeni holds a pole instruction certification from Xpert. She is a veteran of countless performances and international events. Her favorite aerial moment is simply “teaching”, and we can speak from experience that her whole self goes into improving the movement and confidence of her students.


Besides all her dance accomplishments, Jeni would like to add the following tidbit: “I am the real FLASHDANCE. I was a welder and taught welding in college…mainly to men”.

MICHELLE NATOLI

Instructor

Michelle has been involved in poling/dancing/aerial arts for almost 14 years. She was introduced to pole in 2006 through some of her Pilates colleagues. They were teaching at a new studio in NYC and she was practically one of the first student sign-ups. Michelle started teaching Pilates in 2003 and opened a Pilates studio in Westchester in 2005. She loved pole but didn’t start teaching classes until 2013. Marlo Fisken was going on a workshop tour and needed coverage for her regular classes in NY. Needless to say, those were some very big shoes to fill!


Michelle was chosen as a Top 10 Finalist in the 2012 US Pole Dance Federation Amateur Championships and competed in the Female All Star Division of the National Aerial Pole Art Championship 2013. She placed 3rd in the Professional Level 4 Division of Pole Sport Organization's Atlantic Pole Championship 2013. A few months later Michelle placed 2nd at the Pole Classic at Pole Expo 2013. In April 2014 she represented the United States in the III Pole World Cup@ Arnold Classic Brasil. She is the first ever IDSA World Pole Dace Championship at Sport Standard Silver Medalist. In October 2014 she again represented the US in Paragon: An International Pole Dance Championship. She was a the Pole Department Head at Body & Pole in NYC from 2017-2019 and has been fortunate enough to spend the last 5 years teaching workshops, performing, and judging competitions all over the world.


Michelle’s certifications are ElevatED, Xpert, Floor Flow Level 1, Liquid Motion Heels, and Power Pilates Comprehensive Certification.

A favorite aerial moment of Michelle’s was in January 2012…her first Phoenix. It may not seem like a big deal now but she worked harder for that trick than any of the others.


Her background and first love as a performer is acting. When she was a child, gymnastics was a huge part of her life so discovering pole dance was basically the perfect marriage of these two passions. In terms of movement, she loves all things sexy, flexy, fluid, and sensual.

 

“I’d say I am probably most known as a teacher for my nerdy technical breakdowns and my love of trouble shooting. Methodical progression and accommodating various level simultaneously are the challenges I love most as an instructor.”

Michelle’s must-haves (in no particular order) are coffee, dark chocolate, Pinot Noir, mascara, SPF, and a great pair of shoes.

LIZ BOHAN

Instructor

In 2009, Liz took her first pole class at a bachelorette party & immediately bought a pole, but learning was slow. While still at her previous career, a friend had given her an article written about Jeni Janover, creator of Liquid Motion. Liz contacted Jeni and in 2012, Liz began classes and her obsession with dancing in the air.

In 2013, Liz became elevatED certified to teach pole, and a few months later, she found Lyra & aerial hammock, now engrossing herself in the aerial world. Liz is self-taught, and represents 4 dance, aerial & yoga studios throughout CT/NY.

Growing-up, Liz danced as much as possible with friends & had an 8yr go-go dancing career working for various DJs in the Tristate. "It was the best job ~ a true ambassador of fun". This solidified her love for moving, but pole and aerial helped elevate Liz to make the shapes with her body the way she imagines is possible.

Liz came to pole as a way to heal and express herself ~ dancing has always been her medium for expending excess energy, and giving her life. Liz is interested in the brain and body, the mechanics of massage therapy modalities, laughing, gardening, and has a goal to feed as many people as her yard allows.

"Teaching dance is one of the most rewarding careers. I most enjoy helping students do things they didn't think were possible, and that's encouraging. I'm honored to be a part of the amazing staff at Empowered AF".

DOMINIQUE URSO

Instructor

Dominique has been involved in pole fitness for 8 years. She was a competitive gymnast when she was younger, and after college she was looking for exercise other than just the gym, a place where she could make new friends that shared the same interest. Dominque started teaching in 2013. She felt teaching would help her excel in our industry, network with other successful women, and build her confidence. She claims she is actually really shy (introvert) even though she might not come off that way.

 

Dominque has many memorable moments in her aerial journey, but a standout memory happened at one of her competitions. She blanked out 3/4 way through her routine and had to freestyle the rest. It was the first time she really felt like she failed, and it happened again the following competition. After that, she learned that nothing goes the way it’s supposed to on stage, so success is how you recover and make it work in the moment. 


One of Dominique’s favorite aerial moments was her first competition at the Atlantic Pole Competition, by Pole Sport Organization. “I don’t know why, but I had the most confidence going in-maybe it was a beginner thing.”

Outside of the studio, Dominique is the owner of Aerial Dancewear, a designer/illustrator in the beauty and fashion industries, and a dog mom. Also those who know her know how much she loves to eat! Orchids are her favorite flower.

Dominique holds pole certifications from Xpert & elevatEd.

CORY MURPHY

Instructor

Cory has been a dancer for 17 years, and he has training in hip hop, contemporary, African, jazz and even pole and aerial hoop. He has danced on countless stages performing in shows such as La Cage aux Folles, Xanadu, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and more. What Cory loves to do even more than perform is teach dance.

“The expression of dance is healing, so let’s use it to heal ourselves, then the world.”

LAUREN BEEMAN

Instructor- In -Training

Lauren joins our team with 3 Years of experience in pole classes, and will be starting her journey to becoming an instructor. She found pole dancing by going to a friend’s bachelorette party and instantly fell in love with it. She realized she could get a workout and have fun with some amazing girls.

 

One of her favorite moments was watching a classmate attempt a pole move called “Superman”, and she found herself cheering and screaming, mentally flipping their hips in her head and then seeing her nail it! It was a great moment in class, and one of many just like it.

Lauren has competed in PSO’s Liberty 2018 and 2019 at level 2 (championship category), and PSO’s Northeast 2018 and 2019, where she competed Level 2 (championship category) and took 3rd place. She has also performed twice in Pole Play by AEDJ.

Her personal favorite aerial tricks are moves “Superman” and extended butterfly. It is her passion and enthusiasm for her sport and her classmates that tells me she will be a very dedicated instructor!

CONNIE SURACE

Work Study

Connie says: "In 2018 I saw a Groupon for pole dancing classes. I'm the type of person who can’t step foot into a regular gym and thought that this was a perfect class. I had been dancing since I was 5 and thought this was a fun new thing to try. I fully planned to stop after the Groupon expired, but instead it turned into a full-on addiction.


After being diagnosed with PCOS, I felt my body was not mine anymore. For some time I was ashamed, like most women. For our bodies, for our sensuality, for our strength, etc. Through pole fitness, I’ve felt so much more confident and in touch with my femininity, as well as the amazing people in the pole community. It has taught me so much and I’ve gained so much strength over the past few years. Pole opened the door to so many other amazing activities and workouts. There are so many elements that tie into the aerial arts: dance, flexibility, and creativity.

 

My favorite moment was the first time I nailed my first “chopper”. I was the least experienced in the class and super intimidated, but everyone was just cheering me on, spotting me and helping me through everything. Once I finally got up everyone cheered. It’s an amazing feeling to just stop and enjoy what you are doing and not worry if others are judging you. This is how every pole class I’ve attended felt. I am so grateful to start my work-study with Empowered Aerial Fitness and look forward to learning more about aerial arts!”

316 Courtland Avenue , Stamford CT 06906

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