SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Terri Murray opened the first pole dancing fitness studio in the area and local women are grabbing at the idea.

Studio Chrome, a pole dancing fitness studio, opened in April on Saratoga Avenue. Murray, 34, the instructor, put up a new sign Monday night that might draw more attention to her business.

But the studio isn’t only a place to increase flexibility and strength, Murray said, but a space to build confidence and self-esteem.

“It’s truly addicting … and it’s not what people think,” she said while sitting in her nine-pole studio Tuesday afternoon. “It’s harder and not as sexy.”

“Pole Sports” is an official performance sport that combines dance and acrobatics on a vertical pole, according to the Global Association of International Sports Federation. It requires great physical and mental exertion. Strength and endurance are required to lift, hold and spin the body. It is being considered as an official Olympic sport.

Reviews on the studio’s website from women who have taken the class include, “I’ll never forget my first class and how free I felt in my own body,” and, “I haven’t felt this great in a while ... I’m loving the new me!”

Murray makes hanging upside-down from an 8-foot-tall pole look easy, but she said when she started three years ago, she wasn’t nearly as strong as she is today.

She taught herself through Youtube videos and started teaching classes from her home. She decided she wanted an official space and made the leap to making it her full-time job.

Murray teaches classes five days a week, mostly focusing on beginner level spins and tricks, exotic flow dancing, hand-grip work, conditioning and flexibility. She has about 25 clients ranging from 20 to 55, at different fitness levels. All are women, although men could take the class if they chose.

“All of the women who come in here are so supportive and kind … I cannot say nicer things about the community that we have in here,” Murray said.

“Pole fitness can be for everyone! For women of all shapes and sizes,” she said.

Something that looks as easy as walking around the pole requires shoulder, back, arm and core strength.

“People think its ultra sexy dancing or think gymnastics, and it can be those things, but it doesn’t have to be either,” she said. “People are learning what it really is and it’s picking up speed.”

Classes can hold up to nine women at a time comfortably. Drop-ins are welcomed, but customers are urged to sign up or check out pole fitness classes online on the Studio Chrome Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/terrimurrayspolefitness/.

One class is $16, six is $80.

Other classes, including hip-hop, yoga and twerking, are also offered.

You can reach Callie Ginter at 742-3238 or cginter@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ callieginter_ps

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