Owner, Founder, and Lead Instructor
Tee started her pole journey in October of 2017 while she was serving in Peace Corps Ukraine. Even though she didn't have a formal dance or gymnastics background (and couldn't even touch her toes), she was hooked after just the first class. She returned to the US to pursue a master's degree, only to discover that pole studios are much fewer and further in between in the US. She decided to open Soma in order to share her love of pole with others.
She says, "Pole has been the focal point of transformation in my life. Through pole and the community that comes with it, I have discovered my strength, resilience, and power. I know that Soma will be a place for others to do the same."
Tee maintains that pole dance is a form of decolonial practice. Using her MA research as a reference, she integrates decolonial methodology, reflective practice, and trauma-informed instruction into the pedagogy and operation of the studio. She is also a certified pole instructor (levels 1-4) through Xpert Fitness, a PSO unicorn, and a professional level competitor.
Krista has lived in South Bend since 2000, and has been an active part of the art, music, and movement community in the area. She took her first pole dancing class at Soma in 2021 on the encouragement of a friend, and pole soon became a life-changer for her.
Krista didn’t have the strength or flexibility to fully execute any of the tricks in her Intro to Pole class, but the joyful, inclusive and supportive studio community hooked her right away. She knew she wanted the body awareness that pole dancing cultivates and she loves how pole defies her own limited expectations of herself, both in body and mind. And at 50 years of age, she thought her days of hanging upside down were over…but she thought wrong!
Krista has a reverence for the roots of pole dancing in exotic dancing/stripping, and her current artistic- and movement-based research is focused on the history of sex work and sex-worker activism in the United States. A former professor of sculpture and installation art, Krista is interested in how we can create momentum in our bodies in all types of spaces: the beautiful Soma Pole Studio, a small stage, or a club environment.
Krista loves performing and is a gold-medal winner at the PSO Central Competition 2022 (Freestyle/Lowflow Level 1). She is working towards both Xpert Fitness Certification (level 1 and 2) and Liquid Motion Certification. Krista teaches two beginner level courses: Honey Flow, a dance class that explores the freestyle and dance fundamentals; and Intro to Pole, your first pole class.
Chloe grew up in South Bend and has stayed in the area her whole life. Trying out an intro class in January of 2021, right when Soma opened, seemed like a fun and different activity to do. She hadn't seen anything like this being offered in the area before. Being shy, inflexible, and a little self-conscious, Chloe didn’t know what to expect.
It has turned out that pole is one of Chloe’s passions. She is amazed at the strength, flexibility, and body awareness that she has gained! She loves that pole allows her to make goals for herself that she knows she can achieve, even if it seems impossible at the start. She loves the encouraging community at Soma and finds pole to be an excellent stress-reliever. It has helped her build confidence and pushes her to continue trying things that take her out of her comfort zone (such as the Heelography classes!)
Chloe is a certified pole instructor (level 1 and 2) through Xpert Fitness and wants to share her passion for pole with others. She hopes she can accompany others on their pole journeys. Chloe currently teaches beginner classes (Trickster 1/2 and Spintacular 1/2).
Erica has lived in South Bend since she was 3. She started her pole journey at Soma in January 2021. Although she has a background in yoga and some experience with Middle Eastern dance, pole was unlike anything she had ever done before.
She stepped into her first intro class not knowing what to expect, but she hasn’t looked back since. The community she found at Soma is welcoming and encouraging. Paired with the sense of confidence and strength pole gives her, she feels right at home. And Soma has become just that: a second home and a place for healing. She hopes to share that same sense of community with everyone that she has the privilege of teaching or learning with in class.
Erica is a certified pole instructor (levels 1 and 2) through Xpert Fitness and has competed in a regional competition. She currently teaches Flexibility and Conditioning and a beginner/intermediate tricks class (Trickster 2/3).
Rebecca was born and raised in the Michiana region. She took her first pole class when Soma opened in January of 2021. She was a cheerleader in her youth, and she also loves yoga, pilates, and other types of dance. However, when she first touched the pole, she knew that this would be a life-long practice.
The dance aspect of pole captured Rebecca's heart and soul from the very beginning, and she loves sharing that aspect with her students. In addition to teaching dance classes at Soma, she is also the main party instructor and loves to show party goers a good time! She feels most alive when she is dancing and/or performing. She has competed at a regional pole competition and performed at numerous showcases.
Rebecca is a certified pole instructor (levels 1 and 2) through Xpert Fitness. She currently teaches a pole choreography class and a beginner tricks class (Trickster 1/2).