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Pole Play

Sensual aerobics with Chelsea Celotto

Several months ago filmed a wildly popular burlesque show by a troupe named Eye Candy at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. The video was downloaded hundreds of times the first day it was posted and it continues to garner views. We later learned that the person behind the burlesque team was Chelsea Celotto, owner of Pole Play Dance Studio on Hertel Avenue. For this health and fitness issue, Artvoice thought it would be a good idea to visit the studio and speak with Chelsea.

AV: Your studio teaches pole dancing?

CC: Yes, I teach pole dancing for fitness and for fun. I opened my studio five years ago and I teach a variety of other classes here, too, such as cardio hula-hooping, strip tease, chair dancing, burlesque, and lap dancing.

AV: Why did you decide to teach pole dancing?

CC: My interest in pole dancing started about five years ago when I saw it shown on an Oprah Winfrey show as a fitness practice. Being a former gymnast, and a New York State certified teacher, I thought it would be fun to start my own business and teach pole dancing and other fitness routines. I just thought Buffalo needed something like this. So I opened up a pole-dancing studio here, and as far as I know, I’m the only one teaching these classes in Western New York. I teach Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

AV: Watching pole dancing on Oprah Winfrey is one thing. I imagine doing it is a lot more difficult.

CC: Right away I realized the benefits of pole dancing. I lost a ton of weight without even dieting; my body just transformed. I started to get very toned and muscular. I got my old gymnast body back.

It’s a great strength training and cardiovascular exercise that increases flexibility, balance, coordination, all kinds of things involved with dance. It’s a head-to-toe workout.

AV: How long are the classes?

CC: All classes are one hour long and meet once a week on different days, and we run eight week sessions. I usually have about a hundred girls enrolled during those eight weeks.

AV: What’s the average age of your students?

CC: I teach women of all ages. I’ve had students as young as 18 all the way up to 64 years old. I’ve even had men take my classes, although, I do modify the classes for men and focus on strength training as opposed to the sexy dancing; it’s just a great workout no matter what your age or your sex.

AV: Tell us about the burlesque troupe Eye Candy.

CC: Some of the students that have taken my classes expressed interest in actually performing, so about four years ago I started a burlesque dance troupe called Eye Candy. I had a bunch of students audition for five coveted spots. And now we perform monthly at the Rivera Theater in North Tonawanda, and every month we try to do different themed shows and mix it up a little bit. We do a lot of holiday themes and we are now currently performing with a live band.

AV: Is there anyone who you would turn away from your classes?

CC: Well, I don’t have professional strippers in my classes. I tried it a couple of times and they just didn’t mix well with the other students. Sometimes their language was a little too rough, and they were in some ways intimidating to the other women. I will teach strippers if they sign up for private lessons but not in the classes.

The classes are just for everyday women that want a great work out and want to increase their self-esteem and confidence and transform their bodies. Mostly they just have fun with other women. There’s just such a wide range of women that take the classes here. A lot of them are college students; a lot of them are mothers, wives, and grandmothers. I have a lot of professional women; I have doctors; I have lawyers. I have two teachers and a doctor in the Eye Candy burlesque dance troupe. In fact, most of the women who dance with me in my burlesque troupe have masters degrees in different fields. They’re all professional women. Basically, everybody who takes classes here is just looking for something different to do and something fun.”

—Interview for Artvoice by J.M.

Pole Play Dance Studio is located at 1444 Hertel Ave, and on the web at

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