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Happy Independence Day!

Aimee Mathews of Pole Play Fitness and Smart Body Pilates of North Raleigh, with INDRA magazine, send our wishes to you to have a safe and happy 4th!
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My work has a heavy emphasis on fitness and dance photography. Through the fitness community, I met Aimee at Pole Play Fitness. We now have been working together for a year or so, and we continue to get such amazing photos, I had to ask her if I could do an article about her and her work. I asked Aimee to give us some back round to her incredible achievements.
SP-2Aimee:  “I’ve been in the fitness industry my whole life. I opened my Pilates studio, Smart Body Pilates in North Raleigh twelve years ago and fortunately moved through the transitions of being in a partnership to being the sole owner. Pilates is an outstanding way to educate the practitioner on how to improve their core strength for life!” SP-3Aimee: “The precision of the method and working with the specially designed apparatus allows the student to recognize their muscle strengths and imbalances they may have. I was able to completely rehab my replaced hip with the work I did in my studio! A Pilates workout leaves me feeling strong focused with a wonderful sense of body calm.”
SP-4Aimee: “As a fluke I tried a class in Pole Dancing, it became an instant interest as Pole embodied all that I was looking for in a sport and I never looked back! “
SP-5Aimee: “Pole Dancing Sport requires strength, flexibility and grace and that appealed to me, but dance movement and the sexiness of it all was an appeal to me also! Three years ago I opened my Pole studio, Pole Play Fitness in North Raleigh and again moved from a partnership to being the sole owner. Now I compete in Pole Sport which challenges me to elevate my skill level tremendously!”
SP-6Aimee: “A Pole training session is quite different from a Pilates workout. As you get into the more advanced skills of Pole there is definitely a fear factor involved! You have to be daring, confident and sometimes a little crazy to try some of the moves we do. I cannot tell you that Pole feels physically good like Pilates. We get bruises, skin abrasions, sore muscles, and the injury rate is a factor.”
SP-7Aimee:  “A major difference with Pole is in actual achievement. Every week you have the opportunity to add to your skill repertoire.”
SP-8Aimee: “The mental aspect of Pole is a battle of will, dedication and perseverance. Pole has made me stronger and more flexible than any other sport or workout I have done in my entire life.”
SP-9Aimee: “I have enjoyed my role as an instructor and studio owner watching my students succeed whether it’s learning how to train their bodies in relieving themselves of chronic pain or spotting a Pole student into their first invert!”
SP-10Please visit smartbodypilates.com and poleplayfitness.com and FB pages Smart Body Pilates and also Pole Play Fitness Raleigh for more information.
SP-11How I photographed this.
Generally I shoot Aerial with hot lights, reflectors and a lot of memory cards. I use a couple of 1000 watt Fresnels and 4 – 5 foot reflectors. Think of a typical studio situation as nice lighting from the head to the floor for full body, but with Aerial, you need that light even from the floor to twenty feet up, and when your on the floor you need it even at a 10 foot diameter around the pole for floor work. You don’t have time to make lighting adjustments..it just has to be there. Aerialists don’t actually pose…they fly through transitions using contact, friction, speed, centrifugal force and gravity as a few of their tools, not to mention mind blowing strength and flexibility.
SP-12Shooting Aerial work is similar to rock photography’s decisive moment, and it helps that I’ve shot a lot of Yoga as this gives me an idea when a pose is nearing its peak. As a Yoga photographer I analyzed working out a good composition with each asana and I’m finding pole has a large variety of poses similar to Yoga. Another Yoga/Pole analogy is that as in Yoga you have floor work, inversions, back bends and arm balances, this is also in pole, but in a very gravitational way!
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