Caprice Burrell is the owner of Alter Ego Pole Fitness in Newark, NJ. She took her first pole class in January 2008 and says she was hooked at first twirl. She’s also an actress, wife and mother who seems to juggle all of her titles fiercely. I caught up with the savvy businesswoman to chat about how tragedy encouraged her to launch her business, and how she makes her respective passions for family, pole dancing and business work.
Tell me about Alter Ego Pole Fitness, and explain when you had the epiphany that you should create that space.
Alter Ego Pole Fitness opened it’s doors in 2011 and has catered to thousands of women seeking pole training and pole parties in a comfortable setting while discovering their “Alter Ego’s.” Ninety-five percent of our students have no background in dance or gymnastics but yet we have turned them into beautiful pole dancers.
As a former pole instructor, the push to open the studio happened in 2010 after the sudden death of my former employer of the studio I was teaching in. I had established a relationship with my students and when the studio we poled at shut down, no one had anywhere else to go that was close by. It took us one year to set up Alter Ego and continue where we left off.
What steps did you have to take in order to see it through from business plan to reality?
The biggest steps taken was staying focused. I gave up my entire social life for a period of time while we were setting up. It was a lot of hard work. I owe a lot of thanks to my husband who is also my business partner for keeping me on task. I think every owner needs that one person who is going to be that voice of wisdom and keep them focused.
What sets Alter Ego apart from other pole dancing schools?
What sets Alter Ego apart is that aside from giving great pole classes (beg, int and adv) and being a very nurturing environment for our students, we converted our studio into a pole lounge that hosts a free after work pole party for anyone to attend on 1st Thursdays of every month and we give the best pole parties in NJ. We hosted over 400 since we’ve opened.
Describe your personal pole dancing style.
I consider my pole style sexy, sassy and artistic all at the same time. I like body rolls and sexy spins as well as tricks that accentuate my strengths. Not every trick is for everybody. Spinning pole is my favorite.
How do you balance your personal fitness life with being a mom, wife and business woman?
I don’t have a formula on how I do it, but teaching pole classes often does help because it’s helps me to stay active while I’m at the business. I also attend a gym with babysitting so that helps as well. As long as I’m staying active overall I’m able to do a lil’ each day to maintain.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself as a business women in the years since launching Alter Ego?
I’ve learned that I have a lot more patience than I thought, I’ve learned that you cant make everyone happy all of the time, and I’ve learned, that as long as you continue to be professional and reliable your business will thrive.
What advice do you have for women who are considering pole dancing but may be apprehensive?
I would tell them to give it a try but make sure they go to a studio that makes them feel comfortable.
Do pole instructors ever stop learning?
No they don’t….the real ones are always trying to learn new ways of teaching as well as new tricks. That’s why workshops are very important to take and I try to have as many as I can at my studio. If I can’t get out to train, then I will bring the instructors to me lol. Right now, I still consider myself a student even tho I’ve accomplished so much. (Editor’s Note: Caprice gets really fun people in for workshops. I haven’t been yet but it’s on my to do list!)
Caprice plans to enter her first pole competition this year. She is currently training.
A second Alter Ego Pole Fitness location is in the works for the near future.
Caprice appeared in The Best Man (first movie) as a bridesmaid.