CASSANDRA THOMSON Owner & Instructor
Just prior to my 42nd Birthday I took up a hobby (pole fitness) while I was on a sabbatical, that close friends call “midlife crisis”.
Mine, however, didn’t turn into a new car, but new ‘car’eer.
See, the thing is, I have a geeky science education, worked as a self-employed/entrepreneur in the finance industry for 17 years, have never been overly fit, or involved in any physical sports. Wife and Mother of two wonderful daughters, I’m certainly not the type of person you’d expect to find in the Sisterhood, and yet I am sooo typical. I’m one of the few that get such an adrenaline rush from being in a studio and around other polers that I even put up with my vertigo while I had to learn spins! People call me strong, but I look at all the great pole artists, aerial artists and I can only find fault in my imperfections and strive for more greatness. But I willingly admit to a strength of character to go after something I’m passionate about and try and make the world a better place by enthusiastically and genuinely trying to share it with others, so they can also experience or feel that same powerful connection to achievement, accomplishment, to unleashing and reconnecting with your sexy strong self. I am Loving every minute of this challenge.
Laura Griffin is the innovative founder of Griffin Aerial Arts. A professional performer since 2005, Laura has toured across Canada, the United States, Mediterranean, Philippines and Europe with companies like Illuminair Entertainment, Cirque Sublime and Disney Cruise Lines. She is a multidisciplinary professional circus artist coaching and performing over the past 15 years on aerial hoop, silks, Spanish web, mobile, net, straps, Chinese poles, dance trapeze, and partner balancing.
Taking her passion for movement, Laura chose to seek an education in movement by studying dance through the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Fine Arts (Dance) Department of York University. This afforded her the opportunity to study the science behind strength, flexibility and cognitive adaptation. Aerial arts blended the elements of dance and sport which she loved, developing a deep passion which burns strong in her heart. A passion she loves to share with students and colleagues. Her NCCP training and affiliation with the Coaching Association of Canada has added to her appeal as a competent instructor and coach. She recognizes that each student has unique challenges and strives to optimize the outcomes and satisfaction of all of her students.
In 2015 Laura became a Certified Personal Trainer with CPTN, she uses her training to optimize strength development for her students. This certification is a continuation of her study of the human body and its multitude of movement modalities. Through CPTN she was also introduced to Z-Health and applied neurology.
Laura currently coaches circus under Griffin Aerial Arts and the Flying Arts Collective Toronto, and now here at Brass Belles. She performs independently and in affiliation with Illuminair Entertainment. As an experienced performer, Laura brings a high quality of entertainment that has captivated audiences on more than four continents. Her love of the art form pushes her to continue innovating and creating, enjoying the challenge of a life of circus and aerial arts.
GABRIELA MORENO RUIZ
My name is Gabriela Moreno Ruiz and I’m a proud Mexican. Born with a dancer’s heart and manifested that to my life, I started dancing at age 4, which thrilled my mom, the perfect activity for her “tomboy”.
After years of bouncing from ballet to jazz, to tap, to gymnastics (short lived ~ as I was too tall!), to cheerleading, I found one of my passions; bellydancing. I started bellydancing at 16, and I was a big fan of Shakira. Bellydance brought me such joy, made me body proud and I found a beautiful community that encouraged me to become better. When I moved to Canada I was looking for a big change of life, wasn’t dancing anymore, was tired of being a lawyer and having to run my business, I was missing something. It took me 3 years, and starting pole dancing to realize just what I needed. I was early 30’s and upset and tired, with not many choices for adult FUN fitness, I chose to call up the local pole studio. I was so excited and nervous because the then “Miss Pole Canada” was the studio Owner. Shanyn Pollard turned out welcoming and asked me to join one open pole class so I could see if it was what I was looking for. I can remember going in, fully clothed, so just my hands and face could be seen. Now very self-aware of myself I enter to this beautiful place where everyone was super welcoming… the girls in the studio where all having fun and doing crazy tricks. And I received support, comfort and love, from the other students, Instructors and now friends. I immediately fall in love with this sport. The following years have been amazing -finding best friends – pole sisters — feeling encouraged — beautiful. I have found so much body confidence to the point of now helping others to achieve those things also. Pole has opened my eyes to wonderful styles of teaching and fitness like never before and I intend to keep it in my life until I die from old age… literally ?
In my “spare time” I do have a career in interior design which I love to practice, too.
Has years of experience as a pole dance, aerial hoop, Zumba instructor in studios and fitness clubs in Asia since 2011. She is highly decorated as a multi medal winner in numerous competitions, in North America, Europe and Asia. Her discipline and determination are inspirational and her smile and laugh is courageous!
It all started with a single Lyra class – and Danijela today is passing this gorgeous apparatus along to others and seeing them succeed. Danijela has been an instructor for a year, and each time she practices, she learns more about this apparatus. She loves teaching, and encourages everyone to give it a try at least once!
Serena’s gentle, graceful approach to pole helps our Intermediate & Advanced level students to polish and push themselves. Serena has many years not only with pole, but circus training and silks. When she isn’t busy flying high, she has a Clark Kent alter ego professional life, and a loving family to keep her busy.
Helen brings her passion in circus arts and artistic nature to our Pole Silks and Aerial Silks classes, makes them fun and challenging at every fitness level. When she is not busy training her circus skills, she enjoys her family and achieving big goals in her IT profession. Helen is a mother of a teenager and a school-ager and believes that impossible is only if you believe so but opening mind towards possibilities will get you beyond you’ve imagined, in fitness or else.
Anne Garcia is a thoroughly ecstatic person and Pole Instructor who has joined the Brass Belles Instructor family in 2019. Her pole fitness journey began three years ago, in 2016, and the now student-turned-instructor hopes her passion for dance, love of pole, and energetic teaching style inspires those around her. Anne’s objective every class is to ensure her students gain not only physical strength and flexibility but self confidence through pole dance.
As a Dance Artist, movement coach and personal trainer Sharon Harvey has been sharing her knowledge for 15+ years and shows no sign of slowing down.
Introduced to Pilates as a part of her maintenance tool, to restore alignment imbalances, elevate endurance, and maintain her flexibility during long running performance concerns. This method since then has evolved and has developed as the base of Sharon’s conditioning vocabulary. Along with BalleCore, CI-training (Conditioning through imagery), yoga and the meticulous approach to her classical dance training from Traditional African to Contemporary Modern and everything in between.
Her love for the in studios to performance creative process has lead her to coach dance companies, facilitated anatomy and movement for teachers, choreography, has become a Dramaturge for dance companies, independent dance artists, gymnast, and actors, throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Sharon has developed an eye and a well guided vocabulary for intuitive mind and body awareness, that she continues to expand, share, and grow while keeping current in cross training and interdisciplinary arts.
Victoria started her pole journey in 2015. Victoria has a contemporary dance background and enjoys learning from different dancers and exploring different pole shapes. Victoria is known for her clean and fluid pole moves. Her passion is to help students to build solid pole skills foundations by focusing on techniques of the fundamental moves, which is crucial in preparing students for higher level. She incorporates training that targets small muscle groups which is vital in pole fitness. She recognizes each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, she works with each student and provides tips and small tweaks that help students master tricky moves and smooth transitions.