Heather is the owner and founder of Awakenings Pole Dance Fitness studios in the Philadelphia area. Heather has been a certified fitness professional for over 25 years holding certifications in pole dance fitness, personal training, mat pilates, aqua aerobics, kick-boxing, Zumba, both primary and master group fitness certifications, Flow, Step and Sliderobics.
Prior to finding pole fitness, Heather had formal training in dance (jazz, tap, ballet) and was a competitive swimmer and gymnast throughout her childhood and through high school. As a teenager, Heather was spotted dancing at a local teen dance club and went on to dance as a regular on two TV dance shows including a nationally syndicated show that she co-hosted for two years.
Heather graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in Communications worked for MTV and several video production companies as well as landing a job as the lead instructor/choreographer for a fitness company that required her to travel to international fitness conventions and train other fitness professionals. She has starred in and choreographed numerous fitness videos and to this day, she continues to teach fitness classes and is an active personal trainer outside of Awakenings.
Heather found pole after having two children and wanting to try something different in the fitness world to lose her "baby weight"; After 18 months of instruction at a pole studio and self-training at home, Heather soon realized how passionate she was about sharing this unique and effective art form as a way of getting fit and empowering women so Heather started the first pole studio in Montgomery County in 2008 in King of Prussia. Heather has trained dozens of instructors and hundreds of women the art of pole dancing and she herself has trained with the most elite pole instructors/competitors in the world.
Jillian is the owner and founder of Awakenings NOLA. She is a former model and beauty blogger who took an interest in pole dance fitness in 2004 when frequent back pain issues started making her concerned for her overall health. Never one for the gym or typical forms of exercise, she scoured the internet hoping to find something that would push her to get into shape but appeal to her sense of creativity. She eventually found some information online about pole dancing and purchased an X-Pole to set up in her home. She was entirely self-taught for several years before hitting a plateau with her skills. Frustrated, she reached out to a few studios in the area to help hone her technique and learn more about proper fitness before finding her home with Awakenings Studio.
At Awakenings she developed the skills and dance knowledge to go on to compete in several pole and aerial dance competitions. She took 1st place in the Nationally recognized Delilah’s Diamond G Entertainer competition in 2013 and again in 2015. She has been a guest judge for the Northeast Queen of the Pole competition in 2014 and was a featured guest performer for the 2015 Queen of the Pole competition. Jill has trained and choreographed over a dozen 1st place winning entertainers and competitors in various pole and aerial competitions and beauty pageants. She has performed aerials and pole for countless nightclubs, conventions, and events.
In late 2011 she began developing the aerial program at Awakenings Manayunk location bringing aerial hoop, hammock, and silks to the pole fitness studio. Jill is ACE certified in Group Fitness and studied as a Flexibility Training Specialist through ACE, has a pole certification through Discoveries Dance, and is Aerial Hoop certified with Spin City. She has also studied rigging extensively having taken a number of workshops with Fight or Flight, Ent.. and with Sapsis Rigging.
Sara (without an H) has been teaching with Awakenings since 2010 and is the Director of our King of Prussia studio. As an ACE certified group fitness instructor and Certified Pole Dance Instructor, she loves sharing her passion for pole through teaching all levels from beginner to advanced, and performing. Known for her long dreadlocks and height of 5'11, her leg span may go for miles but so does her grace and fluidity. She started dancing at the age of 5, studying tap and jazz, then added ballet and modern dance. After trying mixed martial arts, she found pole artistry and aerials and has been passionate about it ever since. Whether choreographing, performing, strutting in heels, or spotting, Sara loves to share her knowledge and technique of pole. In addition, she also enjoys Burlesque and performs this sensual art form throughout the greater Philadelphia area.
Dianne is a native of the Main Line and a certified Pole Dance Instructor through Discoveries Dance. She has been in the cosmetology & fashion industry for over 25 years and a freelance and agency model. In addition to the beauty and fashion industry, she has been in the fitness industry as a certified personal trainer and weight management coach for 15 years.
She started studying different forms of dance 8 years ago to broaden her fitness horizons. She trained under some of the top Latin dance instructors in the Philadelphia area and became a Latin dance instructor and performer.
Continuing on her dance path, Dianne tried a pole class at Awakenings and has been hooked ever since. She quickly discovered how pole art dance combines dance, grace, strength, flexibility, movement, sensuality and self-expression all into one package.
Dianne says that she feels honored to be at Awakenings, from her first day as a student all the way up to joining the team of instructors.
She also enjoys performing Burlesque, Aerial Hoop, Rope Pole and Silk Pole with and for Awakenings.
Her motto is “All forms of dance are an expression of beauty”
When Dianne is not dancing, instructing or performing, which are her greatest passions, she enjoys yoga, Cirque De Soleil shows, concerts, traveling and fun times with family and friends.
Jackie has been coaching aerials and contortion for years, mainly in the general Philly area. She started as a professional dancer based out of NYC until she discovered circus and since that moment has never looked back. She performs all over the MidAtlantic area as an aerialist at everything from corporate events to nightclubs to shows of all kinds. She is very happy to be joining the crew at Awakenings and getting to work with more talented Philly people.
Besides teaching Acrobatics at Awakenings, Tom is also the father of a teenage girl and full time husband. Additionally, he is a Statistician and works full time in that field and in his spare time he is a Graduate Teaching assistant at UPENN and PCOM. His research typically centers on medical outcomes and instrumentation as well as educational testing.
He has always been active in different types of physical activity, things like baseball, martial arts and weightlifting. He did not get involved with circus style arts until 2008, at let’s just say a later age. He has studied the following circus apparatus (Tight-wire, Silks, Chinese pole, Rope, Lyra, Straps, Trapeze), but always seems to comes back to partner Acrobatics. Furthermore, he has started taking pole classes here at Awakenings, so don't be surprised if you see him in class.