A penchant for creativity, and a craze for adventure is what defines Smita Rajagopal, a city-based graphic designer. Her studio has opened branches not only in this city, but also in others across the country. Luckily though, Smita likes pushing herself physically. Gyms don’t suit her lifestyle, so she decided to explore alternate fitness methods. On a trip to New York, she enrolled for classes at the New York Pole Dancing Academy, and it was love at first sight, or should we say ‘first slide’. She got a chance to discover an entirely new skillset, and went on to learn similar aerial arts using the Lyra (a hoop suspended in air) and silk.
Going for these classes thrice a week literally changed her life. “It felt like I was reliving my childhood all over again,” says Smita. “Most people often associate poles with strippers or hookers. Actually, it can be used for three purposes — in strip clubs, for athletics, and for dance and fitness,” she explains and adds, “I chose the last one.” Smitha felt that aerial arts are a way of expressing herself, so she decided to install a pole in her graphic design studio in Chennai!
“I always encourage my employees to take part in other activities. In fact, two women working with me are into African dance, and even use the studio as a space for practice, or to shoot videos. Similarly, I use the pole to exercise and dance during my free time. There are also classes in the city for Lyra and silk arts, but not for pole. So I turned my office into a playground!” Smita laughs.
Smita always knew she was creative — “My father is a doctor, so my two choices were either to study engineering or medicine. So I chose the former and then did my MBA. But I knew I had a flair for creating things — so I opened my first graphic design studio eight years ago,” she says.
Smita also engages in aerial arts sessions with her friends and other dancers. “I would like to open a new gateway for those who understand the psyche of pole dancing or aerial arts. I don’t necessarily train my friends, but guide them to doing it. Through this, I hope to break the stigma attached to pole dancing, and show that it has so much more to it than just sexual symbolism,” she sums up....