Meet Our Instructors
Ellice Apostolos empowers every woman to connect to her body's innate wisdom and pleasure so she can move through the world in her fully expressed radiance. As a certified S Factor instructor and owner of Steel & Grace, Santa Cruz's Premier Pole Dance Studio, Ellice offers deeply transformative trainings where what begins as a personal erotic movement exploration can become a sustainable practice that enriches every area of life. Ellice also specializes in working with women entrepreneurs and professionals to build the life of their desires through her online programs and private coaching. She combines her knowledge of the body's wisdom with her refined feminine business approach to guide women on the path of their greatest success and joy. Learn more at https://www.elliceapostolos.com/
Ellice holds a degree in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis on performing arts from UC Santa Cruz. With an extensive background in dance and choreography Ellice has been performing for close to twenty year in the Santa Cruz area. She has choreographed and directed original pieces for many Santa Cruz performances, supporting dancers to hone their performance skills so they can to share their message with the community. One of Ellice's greatest delights is to support others to discover how they want to tell their story through their body, whether they want to perfect that for the stage or develop a personal practice for authentic expression. With years of exploration in the area of somatic healing and authentic expression she is excited to be specializing in the area of sensual movement for women now. In her classes, Ellice invites every woman to drop into her body's truth, eradicating shame and self judgement so she can unearth her pleasure, confidence and full emotional expression through dance. As a Board certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant Ellice adds a layer of body love and self-care through private and group nutrition education, guiding women to have a healthy thriving body so they can show up fully for all areas of their life.
As owner of Steel and Grace, Ellice offers a wide variety of weekly S Factor classes suitable for students with or without dance experience. Whether you want to pole dance, learn a fun wall routine, discover your flow with floor work, unearth your sexy, learn a lap dance or add a strip tease to your play, Ellice is excited to dance with you!
Jody has been training in circus arts since 2011. They specialize in pole dance, aerial hoop, and acrobatics. Jody performs around California at music festivals, events, variety and circus shows, including the Santa Cruz boardwalk, California's Great America, Northern Nights, and the SF Craft Spirits Festival. Jody enjoys choreographing dramatic acts that showcase their aerial and pole creations.
In 2015, Jody founded the performance group Pole Diversity (www.polediversity.com). They have directed, produced, and choreographed three hour-long shows as well as choreographing three sets for Santa Cruz's national dance week event. Pole Diversity's mission is to share pole dance in a circus setting and to dispel common misconceptions about pole dance.
They have taught pole dance and aerial hoop at various studios around California, including Santa Cruz Circus Arts. Jody greatly enjoys creating curriculum, training programs, and combos for their students. They are always creating new technique, strength, and mobility drills for their students or for their own personal training. Jody also creates new combos and tricks by starting with a question and seeing where it takes them. Jody shares their ideas and knowledge on IG (@polediversity) and on their blog (https://polediversity.wixsite.com/website)
Jody graduated with a master’s degree in pure mathematics from UCSC. They wrote the paper Torsion of Elliptic Curves over Quadratic Fields with their research. Jody currently teaches math at Foothill College and is also working on a series of articles on applications of mathematics to circus arts.
We are so grateful to have Jody has an instructor as well as our studio's Pole Fitness Program Manager.
Jeanette Bent is a 30-year seasoned dance and theatre performer, with over 12 years in aerial circus and pole acrobatics. She has trained and performed internationally in Mexico, France and the Caribbean. Stateside, Jeanette placed in five of seven aerial and pole competitions throughout California and Nevada. In 2013 she opened the at-the-time only aerial and pole studio in Santa Cruz, Aerial Arts Santa Cruz, where she cultivated a professional team of aerial and pole competitors, performers, housed two different U.S.-based competitions, and many live productions and events. Upon selling the studio in 2017, Jeanette continued to pursue aerial and pole theatre show production throughout Santa Cruz, as well as return to her roots abroad. Please see Stellaria. Company online for more information.
Ashley’s love for Circus Arts began in 2010. She was devoted to training aerial silks, hula hoop and hand balancing. Her passion led her to teaching and performing at festivals and in studios around the world. Pole Dance and Fitness caught Ashley’s attention a 5 years ago and she has been obsessed ever since. Her Pole Practice is acrobatic yet sensual.
Last summer Ashley led the Goddess Aerial Rising Retreat. The focus was on Aerial Silks, Rope, Lyra, Pole Dance/ Fitness, and Yoga. Her passion is to share her skills and help others tap into their physical strength and creativity. Ashley is a certified Yoga Instructor and Massage Therapist.
S Factor Licensed Instructor and Embodiment Coach
Alexandria invites women to embrace the fullness of who they are through embodiment, intuitive movement, and coaching. As a S Factor Licensed Instructor and Embodiment Coach, she’s passionate about supporting women to unlock, amplify, and celebrate the natural language of their body. S Factor transformed her life through its practice of unapologetic ownership and expression of sensuality and erotic identity through dance.
She draws on several wisdom traditions that guide her offerings and has received various credentials throughout her journey. A few highlights of her studies include: S Factor Licensed Teacher, Holistic Coaching (Journeys of Wisdom and CHEK Institute), and Eating Psychology Coaching (Institute for the Psychology of Eating). She also spent the last few years in her ancestral homeland of Greece connecting with village cultures, herds of mountain goats and feminine expressions of the divine. Her greatest teacher is life.
Jill's obsession with dance took hold in 2018 when she discovered contact improvisation and sensual pole dance. She's participated in countless classes, living room dance sessions, workshops, and performances since that spark was lit, and became a certified Floor Flow® teacher through Marlo Fisken's Flow Movement in 2022. Jill believes in dance as a way cultivating creativity and confidence that should be fun and accessible for everyone.
Simona’s love for all things acro and fitness began at the age of 10 when she discovered cheerleading and was instantly drawn to building human pyramids. Simona belonged to both varsity co-ed and all-girl stunt teams where she found great passion in being a “flyer”and in performing/competing at a National level, which she did through high school and the first part of college. It was during this time that Simona also became drawn to dance and gymnastics.
Simona started her pole fitness journey in 2012 and was instantly hooked! She has performed /competed in duet and small group pieces, as well as 5 solos, placing 1st in 2017 GGPC Entertainment L4, and 2nd in 2016 PPC Entertainment L3. Simona has since found great pleasure in sharing her passion by teaching others, which she started doing in 2018 when Steel & Grace Pole Studio first opened its doors. Simona excels at both static and spin pole, and is especially drawn to strength and acrobatic moves with a love for all things flips, tricks, tumbles, and drops. She also enjoys exploring other aerial arts such a trapeze and lyra.
When not at the studio, Simona enjoys hiking and beach time with her husband, relaxing at home with the kitties, and working on progressing her flexibility by stretching. She has a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy and is currently working full-time as a Clinical Liaison for an inpatient Acute Rehab program in a hospital setting.
Ana took her very first pole class the Summer of 2018 at Steel and Grace and immediately fell in love with pole. She especially enjoys the community that is created around pole. She prefers strength tricks and transitions and doesn't have a preference between static or spin pole. She is currently a Ph.D. student at UCSC.
We are so grateful to have Ana host our Open Pole hours.