Instructors

The Fitness Hangout prides itself on top quality classes with trained instructors. The studio was set up by Jo Dandridge in 2011. Here are our fabulous instructors who are all Fully Qualified, Insured and First Aid trained. 

Pole fitness classes
JO DANDRIDGE

Jo is the owner and manager of The Fitness Hangout and has been in the fitness industry for nearly 21 years. Coming from a dance background, she is also a fully qualified Exercise to Music teacher and Personal Trainer. Jo is one of three Xpert Master Trainers in the UK and travels internationally delivering the Xpert Pole and Aerial Instructor Trainings. Xpert is something she is so passionate about, ensuring instructors know how to break moves down correctly and offer levels that will suit everyone in the class. "Its so important to follow correct progressions when learning, working on good technique and not rushing through moves just to get to the harder stuff, risking injury."

She works regularly with X-pole UK at exhibitions and events promoting Pole Fitness and Aerial. Jo believes that fitness should be fun as well as challenging, and that if you are enjoying yourself you are more likely to adhere to your regime. Jo has been Pole dancing for fitness for the last 12 years, she is well renowned in the Pole industry and is a judge in the UK Amateur Pole Performer competition, UK Professional Pole Championships, and Kent Pole Championships.

Her aim when opening The Fitness Hangout was to provide a space where people can have fun and learn new skills in a non-competitive and safe environment. The instructors and students are like a big extended family and time spent in the studio is a time to forget any worries and just enjoy life.

KARLA HARDY

Having stumbled across Pole Fitness in 2008 whilst looking for an exercise regime that wouldn’t lead to boredom or excuses not to go, it was soon apparent that this would be a love – love relationship! A love that has seen her performing with Jo and her students at Pole Unity, Guilfest 3 years in a row, and competing in Miss Pole Dance UK Semi-Pro Instructors 2013 winning 'Best Entertainer'. She also recently won 'Best Choreography' at The Kent Pole Championships 2017. She became a certified Xpert Pole Instructor in 2013 and is a 3 Star Approved Instructor with the Pole Dance Community. Karla enjoys working on fluid combinations and tricks on the pole and has a supportive and encouraging teaching style. She now competes in Doubles Pole in UK competitions with one of our students Nadine and they won the doubles category in the Solent Pole and Aerial Competition in 2015. Karla is also a qualified Level 3 personal Trainer and massage therapist with her own company - Kneads.

 Pole dancing Classes
Aerial Hoop
JEN MCGRATH

 

Jen first started pole dancing when she was in Australia travelling and fell in love with it instantly! When she returned home she continued classes with Jo Dandridge who later trained her to be an instructor after noticing her great technique and enthusiasm. Jen has been pole dancing for around 8 years and teaching for 5 years . She completed the Xpert Teacher Training in 2012 and is a registered instructor on the Pole Dance Community. Jen has a true passion for teaching and loves watching students fall in love with the sport! Jen competes in UK competitions at a professional level winning the Solent Pole and Aerial Competition 2015 and has also performed with us at Pole Unity and Once upon a Pole.  Jen also has a passion for flexibility after starting to seriously train her flexibility as an adult. She was never bendy as a child so loves to prove to people that it’s never too late to start working on it! She teaches Stretch and Strength at the studio.

GEMMA LOUISE RIX
 
Gemma found her love for Aerial Hoop in her final year at the Italia Conti Arts Centre for Performing Arts. It was there that she performed her first Aerial number in their centenary year show. She Continued her training in London, until Jo at The Fitness Hangout started up her Aerial hoop classes and she carried on her training with Jo from then on. Gemma has been teaching at The Fitness Hangout for nearly 3 years, teaching teens and adults as well as workshops for choreography and doubles hoop. Gemma has competed solo and doubles Hoop as well as Pole in many competitions around the UK, and also works professionally in the Aerial industry. As well as Aerial Hoop, Gemma specialises and performs in many genres of dance, contortion, dancing in a giant martini glass, and her latest apparatus the aerial lollipop, and she takes these skills around the UK and Internationally. For the last couple of years she has also appeared in the Spin City solo and doubles Hoop bibles as a model for the training guides. She likes to keep training hard and widening her apparatus knowledge and skills to broaden her prospects in this industry which she loves to share with her students at the fitness hangout.
 
Aerial Hoop Classes
Yoga Classes
CAROL FISHER

Carol has been an Aerial student for 7 years.   After attending the first classes in Aerial Yoga held at the Fitness Hangout she subsequently hardly missed a week; culminating in qualifying as an Aerial Hammock Teacher through X-Pert in 2018.   Carol has been a committed traditional Yogi herself for nearly 10 years, with a regular home practice as well as a studio based daily Hot Yoga practice.  In 2016 Carol passed her 200hr Yoga Teacher training with Christine Felix (predominantly Hatha Yoga Vinyasa style).  Carol teaches Hot and Cold Yoga as well as Yogalates.  Carol has her own 5 class workshop teaching new students the basics of Yoga although her passion has and always will be with the Aerial world.  Bringing Yoga Asana directly into the Hammock is her remit:   designing and building a unique style of Hammock focused Hatha Yoga that encourages participants to consider the Hammock as their Mat; to acknowledge what this can bring and also remove from a standard Yoga practice.   The willingness of an open mind to aerial experimentation and play; building strength and physical conditioning using Yogasanas is accentuated by consciously using the breath and developing drishti (or focus), adds subtle dimension to both experienced yogis and beginners.  Carol teaches in both Sanskrit and English – enabling the traditional and the new to dovetail as well as celebrate their differences.  Carol believes in a happy and open class vibe, where experiences of Freedom, Peace, Learning, Hard Work and Joy may occur throughout. 

SOPHIA HARWOOD

 

Sophia began her Aerial Training when she was in her final year at the University of Surrey, where she gained a Ba(Hons) degree in Dance and Culture. She specialised in Ballet and Contemporary as well as studying African and Kathak (Indian Dance). Having always had a love for hanging upside down from trees and climbing apparatus, Sophia then found The Fitness Hangout and began taking Hoop classes and has never looked back! She then went on to take classes in Aerial Yoga, Pole and Silks to increase her training and experience. In March 2018 she spent 1 month in Colombia on an intensive training course at a Circus School. Now she is back and enjoying sharing all her new skills and conditioning sequences with her students. Sophia teaches intermediate/advanced hoop, beginners and intermediate silks and aerial yoga classes at the studio. Alongside teaching, Sophia has competed in two competitions, one of which she placed 2nd in 2016. She has also performed aerial hoop and silks at festivals and with a touring circus, and features as a hoop model in the Spin City aerial hoop solo bible and doubles hoop bible with her doubles hoop partner, Gemma Rix.

Aerial Yoga Classes
Aerial Yoga - Vampire split
ALI BATE

 

Coming from a sporting (rugby/triathlons/adventure races) and busy advertising/marketing background, Ali totally understands and appreciates the benefits of yoga and the difference it can make physically, mentally and spiritually.  Having experienced many of the healing qualities of yoga, she started teaching yoga in 2009 studying Freestyle Fitness Yoga & CYQ/Level 3 Yoga then became one of the first UK Antigravity Aerial Yoga® instructors. She has also studied Unity Partner YogaTM as well as a 200 hr IYN Unity Yoga Diploma and Yoga Nidra foundation. She is now studying Reiki, regularly attends retreats and workshops and teaches a broad spectrum of yoga from deeply relaxing restorative/yin through to Aerial Yoga, Fitness/Flow yoga as well as Pilates and indoor cycling classes. She is inspired by many different teaching styles but loves organic flowing classes and often incorporates yoga nidra, poetry and Tai massage into her workshops. When time allows she also enjoys Acro Yoga.  Ali lives in her self-built house in a wood with 6 adopted rescue dogs and 15 chickens. Alongside her teaching she does marketing/design consultancy, is a canine massage therapist, competes in dog agility, and is heavily involved with voluntary work for animal charities and campaign groups.