A new fitness studio, Zeal Aerial Fitness, was welcomed into town on Nov. 9. Founded by Christina VanDam, the studio said it is the first all-inclusive aerial fitness facility to come to Grand Rapids.
“I have always wanted to be able to fly,” said VanDam. She was living in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013 when a friend invited her to try an aerial class for the first time and she fell in love. “In 2015 I moved back to Grand Rapids and soon discovered there wasn’t a place where I could do all of the things I loved to do under one roof. So I decided to make my own.”
With the help of the Small Business Development Center at Grand Valley State University, VanDam created her business plan in 2016. She also participated in the Spring GR program, won Grand Rapids Start Garden’s 5×5 night, and has been recognized as one of Detroit’s TiECon top 20, an elite group of early-stage startups from all around the country.
“Our mission is the main thing that sets us apart,” VanDam said. “To help change the stigma and stereotype around pole and aerial fitness, and to make it accessible to all people.”
Zeal Aerial will offer pole, silks, hoop, yoga, hammock and flexibility classes at a variety of levels from beginner to advanced. It will also host private events for birthdays, bachelorette parties and girl’s nights out.
In addition, VanDam is on a mission to incorporate local nonprofits into her business by holding performances and donating the proceeds to local missions. She is also making revolutionary efforts in creating a way for exercise to be accessible to everyone, including the deaf and disabled.
Beginning on Thursday, Nov. 29, Zeal will start holding “voice off” classes on Thursday evenings for individuals who communicate through signing. As the title indicates, there will be no voices used during the class and the instructor will be using sign language to teach.
“This is the first step in our initiative to make aerial fitness accessible to all people in a safe and secure community,” said VanDam.
Zeal will also offer classes unlike anything you can find at other local studios, including barre aerial fusion classes, unique dance workshops using scarves and silks, and acro-yoga workshops.
All Skill Levels Welcome
Zeal Aerial is open to anyone ages eight and up, and all levels of experience and physical capabilities are encouraged to come and try it out.
VanDam recognizes that everyone comes from different backgrounds and some individuals may need more or less time in a basic level class, so she strives to offer something for everyone. “Everyone is unique and we embrace that. We meet our members where they are at in their training.”
To check the studio or try out a drop in class, visit ZealAerialFitness.com or email: ZealAerialFitness@gmail.com. Zeal Aerial Fitness is located at 1111 Godfrey Ave. SW.
*Photos courtesy of Zeal Aerial Fitness