Jacqueline Valdez of Elegant Body Pilates
We first met Jacqueline Valdez of Elegant Body Pilates last summer. Now we get to catch up on all that’s been going on!
What has happened with your pole career since our last interview?
I professionally competed in the first ever Florida Pole Fitness Championship as one of the top ten in the professional division. I have been selected as one of the best pieces to perform in the Florida Pole and Ariel Arts Showcase. Most importantly, I have organized a huge event for Gainesville, Fl. I held a charity event for the Scleroderma Foundation at my studio.
It is the only studio of its kind in Gainesville, Fl. I am the only instructor at my studio and I only teach women. I am close friends with all my ladies and care deeply about their health and wellness. I teach Pilates, Yoga, Piloxing, Zumba, pole and burlesque. I also do personal training.
I have managed to get the community more aware about pole dance as I have been teaching many girls and selling many poles. I have been told when people think of pole dance in Gainesville they put my face with it!
What is Scleroderma and why did you decide to host a charity event to raise funds for Scleroderma Foundation?
Scleroderma is a systematic autoimmune disease that mostly affects the skin and internal organs. My mother, Angelina Maria Valdez, suffered from Diffuse Systematic Scleroderma for more than 40 years before she passed away in June 2011. Many of her organs were affected and she required frequent hospital visits. Unfortunately, the disease is not well known and there are not many fundraisers held for the Scleroderma Foundation. I want to help prevent others from suffering as my mother did.
My mother was a kindhearted, graceful, generous, selfless and loving woman. She was a talented piano player and tap dancer and she ran her own hair salon. She always encouraged me to embrace my talents and live life to the fullest. She was my biggest supporter.
At the fundraiser, I performed a piece I had been working on for the Florida Pole and Aerial Arts Showcase. Students from my classes performed pole, burlesque and Zumba pieces. We held a silent auction and a raffle. Prizes for these events were donated both from local businesses and national companies.
It was pretty exciting! We raised almost $1000 and our venue was packed. The audience was pleased with the show and pleasantly surprised to see how tasteful and artistic these dance styles can be. I hope that the funds raised form this event will help promote research about Scleroderma and educate those with the disease and their loved ones.
Do you plan on doing future events?
I am already thinking of doing another charity event. Next one will be for our local animal shelter or animal rescue. I am a huge animal lover. It feels great to help others in need and to educate the community on what pole fitness can be. It feels good to know that my studio is helping others around us. I plan on continuing helping others in any way I can.
What inspired you to start poling?
I started because a student wanted me to teach her. She felt I was inspirational. I had taken a pole class years ago at a fitness workshop and decided to pursue the art form.
What do you think makes you different as a teacher?
I am very personable and become friends with my students. I am especially attentive to each student’s progression and safety. My students have told me that they really benefit from my attention to detail and that they enjoy my graceful and fluid movements.
What is your dance background?
I used to dance professionally in Colorado doing modern and African dance with Cleo Parker Robinson. I also toured with Eden Theatrical Workshop. I have also professionally choreographed and performed for the Denver and Gainesville communities. I was on the Fox TV show Comfest: A Tribute to Teen Suicide.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am so blessed and thankful for all the opportunities I have received. I have been welcomed in the pole community with open arms. There are so many talented and kind individuals. I hope to keep making a difference in the world through my talents. I am looking forward to the journey ahead!
To learn more about classes, contact Jacqueline on Facebook at Elegant Body Pilates.