The activity has gained a measure of popularity around the world. Regional, national and international competitions are now commonplace, and the International Pole Sport Federation even petitioned to make it an Olympic sport in 2012.
But Wagner also understands the endeavor is bound to raise some eyebrows. She emphasizes that her classes include no choreography and no stripping. Frestyl’s Facebook announces from the outset that it “discourages use of our bodies to gain power or as a means for financial gain.”
While Wagner said she’s a bit more relaxed than her first studio in Seattle — which prohibited male participants, mirrors and fluorescent lights — she admitted she’s struggled with how to steward the activity she enjoys so much.
“What the students do with (the classes) is up to them,” Wagner said, “but I want to introduce them to the idea that this is like yoga or meditation. ... I always tell my students that no one looks exactly like anyone else. I think I have to assume that the reasons for pursuing this art are just as diverse.”
Wagner opened her 1,100-square-foot Mankato studio little more than a month ago in the same building that houses Physique Boutique. Paying for the poles and equipment out of pocket, she began conducting classes on Thursday nights. Demand has now prompted her to add Sundays to the calendar.
Classes are $15 on a drop-in basis, and $12 when four or more classes are purchased. For more information, search “Frestyl Fitness” on Facebook or email frestylfitness@_gmail.com.