Who can join?

Defy Gravity welcomes all gender identities, adult ages, and sizes to enjoy our classes. For information on young adult participation in drop in classes, see our policies.

Do I need dance experience?

No dance experience is required. We teach everyone from the beginner to the expert.

What should I wear to pole class?

Fitted short-sleeved shirt or tank top

A mask

Athletic shorts that end above the knee

No jewelry

No hand or body lotion; it will cause you to slip off the pole

As you advance, more skin is exposed for grip. We dance without shoes and socks, excepting Embrace Your Sexy. Body piercings should be taken out or taped.

What should I wear to aerial class?

Wear leggings or tights

a mask

Snug fitting short-sleeved shirt or a looser-fitting top that can be tucked in

No jewelry

Be sure to dress in a way that protects your knees, armpits, and waist. No clothing with zippers, hooks or anything that may catch and tear the fabric or your skin. Body piercings should be taken out or taped.

How do I know which pole class to take?

Students with zero pole experience are required to take 6 to 8 Pole Fundamentals classes.

This class is the foundation for all of the classes we offer. After you've completed Intro and/or with the consent of your instructor, you are allowed to enter Level 1. Students will contact their instructors when they feel they're ready to increase in level. Most specialty classes are open-level and beginner friendly. If you have prior pole experience, please email us to set up an assessment.

How do I know which aerial class to take?

Students with zero aerial experience are required to take a minimum of 3 Aerial Fundamentals classes and instructor approval.

After completing Fundamentals and/or have instructor approval, you are cleared for Trapeze I, Silks I, Lyra I, or Aerial Hangout. If you have prior aerial experience, please contact us to set up an assessment. If you are ready to advance further from Trapeze I, Silks I, or Lyra I you must “test out of” Aerial Fundamentals and take 8 weeks of the level 1 class.

What should I bring to class?

For all classes: Bring yourself, a water bottle, and an open mind. If you are taking a longer class or back-to-back classes, you may want to bring a small snack. Warmup clothes like leg warmers, long socks, leggings, or a sweatshirt are great for winter months.

Can I take pictures or video in class?

Only when the instructor gives you permission to do so. DO NOT post video to social media if others appear in your video background without their consent.

Where are the lessons held?

Lessons are near UIUC campus. We're located inside Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. Enter the mall, head towards the food court, and we are on the right side of the Aikido gym. Our address is 158 Lincoln Square, Urbana 61801.

Where can I park?

Our studio is inside the Lincoln Square Mall which provides 2-hour free parking. You may also park for free inside the parking garage on Main Street after 6 p.m.

Is there a weight limit for your pole and aerial equipment?


Are you all strippers?

Defy Gravity exists because workers in the sex industry passed their pole knowledge and expertise to the general public. Any derogatory language about sex workers, strippers, and/or sex work erasure is grounds for disciplinary action up to expulsion. We facilitate a sex-positive, no-judgement environment.

What is Fluffy Kitty™ Pole and Aerial?

In the summer of 2015, instructors Jamie and Sugar launched the first-ever Fluffy Kitty Pole, a 5-week series of pole fitness specifically for plus size individuals. And from that first series, the Fluffy Kitty classes at Defy Gravity continues to grow. We now offer two Fluffy Kitty Pole classes per week and one Fluffy Kitty Aerial class.

Is Fluffy Kitty Pole and Aerial right for me?

Fluffy Kitty is designed to be a safer space for those who self identify as plus size to experience and experiment with pole and aerial fitness. No matter your current levels of strength or your prior history with fitness, if you identify as plus, then Fluffy Kitty classes are for you.

Am I considered plus size for pole and aerial?

Here are some questions to help you decide. Have you:

Had to purchase clothing from plus size shops to fit a certain part of your body? Or, do you dance the line of plus size clothing and traditional size clothing, yet never seem to find clothing that truly fits?

Dealt with bias or harassment from medical professionals because of your heavier weight or larger size?

Been told “You’re not fat, you’re pretty!” when describing yourself as fat, as if your fat negates your beauty or worthiness?

Been unable to travel without extreme discomfort due small size of seats, seat belts, etc. on transportation?

Dealt with remarks, looks, etc. from passengers on public transit in regards to your heavier weight or larger size?

Retreated from social situations or communities due to fear of fatphobia within that situation or community?

If the following bullet points describe your experience, then Fluffy Kitty classes are for you.

I am struggling in class. What should I do?

​If you do not fall within the bullet points listed above but have been unable to access instruction because you have:

Been unable to grip the pole or complete any pole fundamentals moves

Not received enough time with your instructor during class

Experienced feelings of embarrassment, shame, or isolation during class

Been unable to mount an aerial apparatus because of body size or shape

Been unable to access smaller aerial equipment due to weight or size

Please see or email the studio manager at [email protected] so we can ensure our classes are meeting the needs of all of our students. We appreciate your understanding in this matter. This allows us to keep our studio inclusive of bodies of all sizes.