MASTER INSTRUCTORS

Jennifer Gruen

Jennifer Gruen

Owner

Jennifer Gruen was born and raised in southern California. At a very young age she started swimming for the Nadadors, a local competitive team. She loved swimming and going to all the competitions. She swam competitively with them until she was nine years old. That’s when she move to Costa Rica with her family and she competitively swam on a team there all throughout middle school and high school. When she moved back from Costa Rica and went to Saddleback College she decided to get her cosmetology license and has been working as a hairdresser since 2005. She is currently working at a salon in Mission Viejo called Illusions Unlimited Salon. In 2010, Jennifer found her love for aerial arts and fitness. She started taking pole fitness classes every day and as her passion for aerial fitness grew she began teaching at a few pole studios. Jennifer has also participated in Pacific Pole Championships, California Pole Dance Championships, and National Pole Dance Championships. Her true passion was not to perform or compete, but was to share her passion and love for aerial fitness with others and help them find their personal journey and experience. As the owner of Rok Your Assetz Fitness, her purpose is to provide and create an environment at RYA that empowers and strengthens you in your every day life. RYA is a dance studio that opens the doors to amazing friendships and an atmosphere that is considered to be like a second home. 

Alexa Nunes

Alexa Nunes

Hoop Instructor

Alexa has always been drawn to the performing arts. She began by taking ballet classes at a very young age, and went on to become involved with theatre and music as well. While earning her BA in Theatre at the University of Southern California, Alexa studied acting, was involved with the Shakespeare club on campus, and dabbled in film, but mostly focused on dance. At one point she was a part of the Repertory Dance Company, Chamber Ballet Company, and Sokamba Performing Arts Company simultaneously as a dancer and choreographer, and performed in many shows with these groups. Alexa stepped away from performing after graduation to sail tall ships full time for a while, but is now back on land and has since discovered aerial arts. She has taken classes in silks, straps, and hoop (her favorite apparatus so far), as well as dance, contortion, and a little bit of pole, and aims to continue expanding her skills. Alexa is very excited to focus her talents on teaching dance and can’t wait to share her knowledge and love of creative movement with her students.

Ariel

Ariel

Silks and Hoop Instructor

Ariel has loved performing since a very young age, through high school she spent her time with the performing arts department participating both on stage and behind the scenes. After her schooling she moved to Orange County to build her career in the beauty industry, which put performing on the back burner. About 5 years ago she stumbled upon the OC/LA burlesque scene and found a new passion for the stage! Wanting to explore new avenues, she ended up finding the aerial arts and falling in love with its strength, grace and beauty. As someone who also sees fitness as a priority, aerial arts seemed to be the best of both worlds. Focusing on Lyra and silks, Ariel saw an immediate change in her body, endurance and flexibility. She quickly became obsessed. As her passion grew so did her strength and confidence, it only seem natural for her to want to inspire the same in others. Ariel hopes to help her students improve their capability and stamina on the silks as well as add grace and flow to their practice. Regardless if you’re just looking for a fun work out or wanting to reach an advanced performance level, Ariel wants to help her students achieve each goal.

Ashlie Jade

Ashlie Jade

Pole Instructor

Ashlie started dancing at the age of 3 and grew up training in ballet and competing as a jazz competition dancer. She danced with an intensive dance program in high school and attended California State University Dominguez Hills on dance scholarship. She danced with Funderburk Dance Artists, a professional modern company, after college. Ashlie first discovered Pole at OC Pole fitness in 2015. She taught Flow and Dance there and competed in PSOs Central Pole Championships under their direction and placed first in Level 1 Championships. Ashlie also placed first in Level 2 dramatic at PSO Northwest in 2017. And third at PSOs Nationals in 2017 and third at Northwest for level 2 Low Flow. Ashlie just competed at the 2018 Pacific Pole Championships and took home her fifth medal placing second.  Ashlie is also a 200 hour yoga alliance certified yoga instructor and has completed several fitness certifications.

Kim Retardo

Kim Retardo

Silks Instructor

Kim was born with a love for dancing. She especially enjoys Polynesian dancing, which she danced and competed for 23 years. She embraces and loves performing, experiencing all forms of art dancing and hot yoga. Kim was first introduced to Cardio and Sculpt Barre in 2012 and immediately fell in love with it because she witnessed first-hand the changes in her body, posture, form and strength despite suffering from lower back scoliosis. Shortly thereafter, she started doing aerial silks and hoop which captivated her with its art and beauty while being suspended in the air. It was out of deep love and appreciation to the barre and aerial classes that inspired her to help others recognize their strength and ability to challenge themselves despite of any limitations or disabilities a person may have.

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Amanda Rose

Amanda Rose

Pole Instructor

Amanda has been teaching for seven years. She has traveled the world teaching, performing, and doing workshops for numerous events. She holds multiple international and national title. As of 2017 she decided to be at home and become a mother. She has calmed down her busy schedule touring and gets to enjoy her passion teaching at home. Amanda loves what pole has given her in life. It’s an emotional outlet that also lets her stay in shape. She loves Combining acrobatics and dance together. Her signature style has been sought after all over the world. Her goals are to give others the same joy in life that pole has given her. She shares her technique and knowledge in hopes that others can follow their dreams in the pole industry. Whether it’s mastering their favorite move or winning a competition.

Mariah Mermaid

Mariah Mermaid

Silks and Hoop Instructor

Hi, my name is Mariah Cook. I am originally from Columbia, MO and received my BS in Biology, from Truman State University. I moved to Belize and then California, where I was introduced to pole, silks and lyra! I moved to Florida a year later, where I continued my aerial practice both individually and within a few different studios throughout the Florida Keys and Miami. Officially I am a Marine Biologist and a teacher. Through teaching Marine Biology I am allowed the opportunity to teach our future generations about the importance of the world around them, how they can enjoy all the amazing wonders this earth has to offer, and how to protect it for years to come. I love my job!! In total I have been practicing aerial for almost 5 years now and I am ecstatic for the opportunity to be teaching it! I have
been strong, flexible, and athletic my entire life, but was never a dancer, so I am continuously working hard on my graceful transitions. My aerial goals for 2018, however, are pretty much all about different versions of handstands!! I am excited for the opportunity to learn what your strengths, weaknesses, and goals are so we can work on them together!!! I look forward to meeting you in my class!!!
Kristina Helms

Kristina Helms

Pole Instructor

Kristina first discovered pole dancing about 7 years ago through a Living Social deal and she’s been hooked ever since. Because of her background in traditional dance, Kristina’s pole style focuses on pointed toes, clean lines, and graceful shapes. Her favorite pole moves are not the most difficult, but are visually interesting and unique. Kristina loves pole not only because it serves as a creative outlet, but because of its ability to empower women (and men) of different ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles.

Tina Ilea

Tina Ilea

Hammock Instructor

Tina Ilea is an aerial performer, costume designer and dancer who accredits her affinity of performing arts to her hometown, Las Vegas, NV. When her parents realized that she would never stop climbing on the furniture, she was enrolled in everything from fencing to aikido in order to keep her occupied. Her mother took her to her very first Cirque du Soleil show when it debuted at the Mirage in Las Vegas and remembers very fondly that as an aerialist climbed to the ceiling and performed her breathtaking mov es, Tina turned to her and said, “I can do that.” She has been in love with the show ever since and had the honor of working backstage for the show, Zumanity.

As a well – versed creative, she takes all that she has learned from each craft and applies it to h er unique aerial style. Tina enjoys watching her students grow and the wonderful “Aha” moment when something clicks. You will find her performing all over California and Nevada and taking classes in order to continuously develop her skills. She believes th at even as an instructor, “you are always a student” and is ready to assist her peers with any skills she can.