Sometimes, the grass is not greener on the other side. Sometimes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. But it’s important to be a part of something you come to dislike, to realise what you can do to change it, and turn it into something you can love again! Starting a business is hard, but nurturing and growing a positive, supportive and kind community within that business, is harder... but definitely worth it!
Our goal was to create a space where everyone feels welcome, safe and valued. Where anything feels possible. Where you can feel free to express, free to feel, and free to make mistakes without judgement.
To create a community of like-minded individuals who cheer each other on, just for trying something new. A group of people who support each other inside and out of the studio. To create a community that feels like family.
We have created a space that has not only helped us find a love of pole dancing and the aerial arts, but a space that allows us to connect with others, feel pride in each others' achievements, and be a part of a community who encourages us to be proud of ourselves, and cheer ourselves on!
Jungle Studio began with a whiteboard, a supportive partner and a lost and disheartened individual who dreamed of sharing her love, passion and joy of pole dancing, the aerials arts and teaching with the world.
Like most small businesses, this dream took a giant leap of faith to get started!
To understand who we are now, you should understand where we came from, the hurdles we jumped over and those who inspired us.
You need you know where it all began...
After starting pole dancing in my little country town out west, I fell in love with my studio, my instructors, my fellow students and pole dancing! My home studio was so much more than a place I went to workout, it was a place I went to feel like me, to be proud of myself and my achievements, to create and share and laugh and be wholly happy. It was a place I felt accepted and was safe to try something new, even if I looked foolish.
I quickly became obsessed with all things pole dancing. I knew early on that I could do this forever, to be an instructor and live and breathe pole was my dream job!
I worked hard to get into the Instructor class. I thought if I could get my skills to their level, then I’d have a hope of achieving my new found dream! Within my first year of pole dancing, I became an instructor, a Twerk Instructor! It turned out I was gifted in other ways too haha!
After a taste of teaching, I knew this was right for me. I’d studied secondary teaching, psychology, community services but none of them felt right. My whole life I’ve wanted to help others become their best selves, help them find their way. For the first time, I felt as if I was actually helping to shape the lives of those who needed guidance. It was incredible!
After 6 more months, I was a fully fledged Instructor, teaching pole dance, twerk and everything else in between. I loved it! After 4 years of instructing at my home studio, I met this guy, he was amazing... but he was from Sydney!
Everything changed after that, everything except my love and passion for pole, twerk and instructing!
Within that first year, I moved to the Big Smoke, eager to learn from the legendary Gods and Goddesses of the big city Studios! I’d done so many workshops, camps, cruises, festivals, you name it, us country girl Instructors from back home had visited and tried it! So I had high hopes for what I would learn now I was here!
My first priority was to find a local studio I could teach at! It had only been a week and I already missed my students and friends back home. I needed to teach, it’s part of my identity, part of who I am!
After a month I finally got an interview, out of the 3 studios I emailed, only one was taking new instructors.
I got the job, starting at minimum wage and having to wait until the current term was over, but I was in, I could teach again, and I was so happy and eager to prove myself!
In ten short months, everything changed.
I was known as the ‘Energizer Bunny’ at my old studio and when I first started at the new one. I felt like a light that could brighten even the darkest of spaces. But over those ten months, my light diminished, my love and passion of pole and a new found love of silks was being slowly crushed and stamped out.
I met 3 wonderful fellow instructors when I started and so many beautiful and passionate students! They were the reason I held on as long as I did. They kept the sense of community I associated with pole alive. I worked for their happiness and their achievements and their joy, as I had lost mine.
My dreams of training with every studio and learning from as many people as I could was squashed by the rules associated with teaching at the new studio. The most advanced pole class they had were skills I had already covered and the general atmosphere behind the scenes and among the instructors was the polar opposite of my home studio.
I didn’t belong, I felt so lost, so deeply sad and so incredibly trapped.
My partner could see the shift in me and couldn’t understand why I stayed. Why I didn’t just find a normal job and be a student again instead. I thought about it, I even applied for mundane jobs, but it felt wrong. Deep down I felt as if I was giving up a piece of myself. Like I was closing a door I may never be able to open again. Dramatic I know, but this “job”, this was so much more than money or working. Being an instructor was like breathing. But being an instructor at this new studio, was like breathing poison.
One day, my partner and I started joking about opening our own studio so I could make it my own little oasis, a slice of what I left behind in my hometown. We could put it in the back yard and I could just run small classes and private lessons.
It was funny at first. And then, it wasn’t. It was a seed.
A little sprout of hope, a flicker of light that whispered to the deepest parts of my soul.
It could have been crushed so easily if he had been anyone else. If he didn’t look at me with honest eyes and say, we could do this. You can do this!
We took the whiteboard down from the wall and slowly started writing down words. Words that made up the love, passion and joy I once felt. Words that would shape the precious spark of life we were creating.
Everything our studio would be.
Everything our studio could become.
Words that would embody the community I left behind, and would create anew, for any and all who joined it.
Sometimes, all it takes is one person to believe in you and you can do the seemingly impossible.
You can grow a Jungle, from a seed.
Written by Natasha Hall
Founder of Jungle Studios Australia