Instructors

Sarah Ritzman ~ Co-Owner, Pole and Aerial Instructor

I first discovered pole dancing after having my second child. I was a stay at home mom with two children under 2. I was in need of an activity that in the short period of ‘me’ time I was able to get could 1) get me out of the house and give me a much needed mental break, 2) was able to get me back in shape without being boring, feeling torturous and much like a chore, and 3) be fun and exciting and make me feel ‘alive’ again. Not that having a family and two wonderful children made me not feel alive, but as some of you can relate, it gets to be monotonous and sometimes we just need a creative outlet to express ourselves with.  Pole dancing was the answer for me! I started taking classes and became addicted, in a great way! Since childhood, I have always been drawn to activities that required me to be physically active like dance and gymnastics. So, pole dancing, which is a creative combination of the two, came naturally to me. Before long I was in the best shape of my life, making wonderful friends and coming home with a new found passion and vitality that made me an even better mother and wife. This discovery gave me, along with my wonderful friend Caroline, the passion and the drive to create Tiger Lily Vertical Fitness & Dance!

It truly is such a passion of ours that we just had to share it! Because of the multiple benefits our classes offer, there is something for every woman. So I invite you to try our classes and discover the benefits for yourself!

Certifications and Experience

  • 8+ years pole instructor experience
  • Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Pole Instructor Certification through the prestigious ETEDance.com program
  • Fly Gym Instructor Certified
  • Attends multiple workshops and industry related events annually
  • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • PiYo Certified Instructor
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Certification

Caroline Patel ~ Co-Owner, Pole and Aerial Instructor

As a child I took classical ballet and gymnastics. I enjoyed the beautiful fluid movements of both art forms. As an adult, I found that a gym setting wasn’t the proper fit for me. I wasn’t sure my technique on the equipment was correct, which made me feel self conscious. Classes were large and without a personal trainer, I didn’t get the attention I needed. My membership ended up seeming much more like a donation to a
club that I never went to. My first experience with pole dancing was in 2007 when a friend and I were searching for a fitness regimen that was different and had an emphasis on FUN! I found pole dancing exciting, with a hidden reward – an incredible workout! The setting was more my style too, a calming smaller group, with women much like me! I discovered that even though the horizontal ballet barre had been replaced with a vertical dance pole, the nostalgia of my youth came back in a more mature, sensual, empowering, and very beautiful way – I never expected anything like it! In 2008, I took a small break to have my 3rd child. Concerned about how the new baby weight would affect my ability to pole dance, I quickly discovered that with proper diet and pole dance fitness a few times a week, I am now in the best shape of my life!

Taking the step from student to instructor has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have made to date (along with motherhood and being a wife). Watching a student come in our doors for the first time, usually feeling unsure and a little nervous, it’s amazing to see how they blossom through each level. Pole dancing is my passion and as an instructor I am committed to being the best I can be. Together with my dear friend Sarah, we have transformed our passion into the reality of a fun, addictive, effective fitness and dance style for women just like ourselves by co-founding Tiger Lily Vertical Fitness & Dance. We know that our love for the movement was meant to be shared, so step inside and allow yourself to bloom with us.

Certifications and Experience

  • 8+ years Pole Instructor Experience
  • Basic, Intermediate, & Advanced Pole Instructor Certification through the prestigious ETEDance.com program
  • Fly Gym Instructor Certified
  • Attends multiple workshops and industry related events annually
  • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Certification

Alicia ~ Pole Instructor

I can honestly say that pole dancing has changed my life!  In 2008, after hearing about pole dancing from a friend, I decided to sign up for classes. Since none of my friends were able to join me, I took the plunge by myself and never looked back. As I arrived at my first class I felt both nervous and excited not knowing what to expect and by the time I left I was doing head whips and body waves in my car all the way home. I guess you could say I was hooked. I continued my pole journey for the next year while allowing myself to build strength, confidence and make many wonderful relationships with my fellow students.  My pole instructor at the time, who had been my inspiration,  had asked me if had ever thought about teaching. Of course, I was thrilled to be able to share my passion for pole with as many women as possible, so I began my training and taught my first class.  I have been blessed to teach so many wonderful women over the last 2-1/2 years. Teaching pole dancing, along with building women’s self confidence and strength, has made such a huge impact on my life. I love to encourage my students to do their best and am so proud of them when they accomplish a difficult trick they have been working on, a sexy accent move or even a goal in their personal life.  It has made me realize that every woman is beautiful in her own special way and as an instructor I hope to bring that feeling out in each and every one of my students.  Pole dancing has been such an amazing form of expression for me and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without it.

Certifications and Experience

  • 6+ years pole instructor experience
  • Beginning & Intermediate Pole Instructor Certification through Polemoves.org program
  • Fly Gym Instructor Certified
  • Attends multiple workshops and industry related events annually
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Certification

 

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Bobbi ~ Pole Instructor and Aerial Instructor

After I had my second daughter, I started looking for an “easy” way to workout, because I absolutely HATE doing it. I’ve never been good at sports and I am easily bored at the gym. A friend I had, who was having the same problem I was, mentioned that we should try pole dancing. While it wasn’t necessarily “easy”, poling was so much fun it didn’t even feel like I was working out! From the very first pole class, filled with spins and body waves, I was hooked! Not only does pole dancing give me a physical workout I love, but it gives me the mental workout I need. In my experience, the pole community is a very accepting, loving, non-judgmental group, and I have learned how to better love the body I am in and learned how to feel sexy (which in my opinion is something every woman needs to feel)! I have now been pole dancing for almost 3 years. I have competed in the Windy City Pole Competition (Essentials Division) and placed in the top 6. In the future, I look forward to helping women grow, helping them gain strength and confidence, and most importantly, accumulating more fabulous pole shoes!

Certifications and Experience

  • 3+ years pole instructor experience
  • AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
  • Attends multiple workshops and industry related events annually
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Certification

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Anna May ~ Pole Instructor

I started my pole dance journey in college, where my mind got plenty of chances to grow and be active but my body took a back seat. I found myself feeling strong and confident in the classroom, but very unsure of myself in my personal life. I battled with anxiety and extremely low self-esteem and waged war with my body in many ways. But under it all, I felt that there was a powerful creative force trapped inside me that was fighting to get out.

A decade later, I am a completely different person thanks to pole dancing. The girl who was once so ashamed of herself she struggled to hold eye contact in conversations is now an accomplished performer known for engaging audiences through confidence and intense eye contact. The girl who waged war with her body is now a body-positive woman who has learned to celebrate her assets and what her body can do and to teach others how to do the same. And the sensation of having a powerful creative force trapped inside is long gone thanks to the sisterhood of pole dancers who celebrate artistic expression.

By far though, the most rewarding thing pole dancing has done for me is to give me the chance to share the growth I’ve experienced with others. Spreading my passion for pole dance through teaching is a true calling for me, and I constantly work at improving as a teacher because of my steadfast commitment to helping students grow. I am a passionate advocate for pole dancers of all levels and styles, from the exotic dancers who created our industry, to the beginner student in the studio, to the new school of world-class athletes expanding the industry in exciting ways. And I am a firm believer that pole dance is for every body, and that every student of pole dance deserves to make progress and experience success.

Certifications and Experience

  • 7+ years pole experience
  • 5+ years pole performer experience
  • Traveling pole dance instructor and performer
  • Attends multiple workshops and industry-related events annually
  • Founder and Producer of The Wild Side~A Badass Pole Show, Chicago’s own monthly pole performance show