Dancing in Air

When Anita DeCastro, BA’09, MA’14, is on the pole, she says she feels invincible and powerful. You can see the strength in her arms and legs as she positions herself on the shiny, slender vertical bar, where she often hangs hands free.

“I love the artistry and different skill levels of pole. It allows you to explore your sensuality and acrobatic skills,” explains DeCastro.

Pole is considered an aerial art but also aerial fitness—due to its intensity. However, DeCastro stresses, you don’t have to be Superwoman to take part in aerial arts.

“[Aerial arts] isn’t designed for a particular body type. That is a big misconception,” she says. “Aerial arts do require upper body strength, but you build it over time. If you commit, you will succeed.”

When she was in her early 20s, DeCastro took a high-flying trapeze workshop in Bloomington. While exploring other aerial options, she learned about pole. And she was hooked.

“Pole is my favorite of the aerials,” says DeCastro, who grew up with dance being a big part of her life. “I love how it integrates floor-based movement and dance with the aerial aspects.”

A certified instructor, DeCastro teaches pole at her Bloomington studio, Wild Orchid Aerial Fitness and Dance, which also features classes for silks and lyra. She says the business is a great fit for her skills and degrees—combining her undergrad studies in sociology and her master’s degree in arts administration with her interests in healthy living and movement.

Pole and other types of aerial fitness, she says, help create a positive relationship with your body. “You’ll find the focus is less on what your body looks like and more about what your body can do.”

Anita DeCastro and her dancing appeared in the Original section of the Summer 2017 issue of the IU Alumni Magazine, a magazine for members of the IU Alumni Association. To view the current and past issues of the IUAM, visit MyIU.org.


Original shines a spotlight on the works, talents, and interests of IU alumni across the globe. Have something unique worth sharing? Let us know at iueditor@iu.edu

Written By
Amanda Zuicens-Williams
Amanda Zuicens-Williams, BA’01, is former associate editor of the IU Alumni Magazine. She enjoys meeting IU alumni and sharing their unique stories.