With the New Year underway, more people are trying to stay healthy, and finding time to exercise is more important than ever. But hitting the gym isn’t the only way to get healthy and get in shape. Stilettos and Steel Fitness offers a unique setting for women to exercise and have fun; from pole dancing to aerial classes, no other studio in the Lansing area is as specialized in the forms of fitness that Stilettos and Steel has to offer. Candice Tess, owner of Stilettos and Steel, has always been passionate about fitness. She is the only Level 2 certified aerial fabric pole instructor in Michigan, and has earned degrees in kinesiology and business. Tess dreamed of starting a business that benefited women and focused on fitness, and about one year ago, that dream became a reality when she opened Stilettos and Steel. Because she had never owned a business before, running Stilettos and Steel has been a learning experience for Tess. Now with her first year behind her, she has focused on her goals for the business and has figured out how to market it efficiently. With the help of her friends and support from her family, Tess is now looking to expand her business into a larger studio to accommodate more classes. “I’d like to expand to a larger studio in order to hold multiple classes simultaneously, and to have a larger ceiling for the aerial hammock classes,” Tess said. One of the classes taught at Stilettos and Steel is pole dancing, which is split up into beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes. Each class is 75 minutes long, and each level will test students’ strength and skills and builds on fundamentals. Burlesque is also taught at the studio, and starts with a dance and strength warm up, then moves into dancing, combining elements of jazz, belly dance, musical theater and sensual movement into routines that build confidence while also providing students with a fantastic workout. Other classes offered at Stilettos and Steel include belly dancing and silk suspension, among others. But no matter what class a student decides to take, the goal of Stilettos and Steel is to teach women dances and exercise, and to empower them as well. Stilettos and Steel gives women a great new way to work out and learn a new skill together in a fun and safe space. They hold open classes that any woman can join and have fun with, no matter your age, background or fitness. “We have mothers, students, doctors, PhD students and grandparents that are part of our classes,” said Tess. “We are a studio unlike any other in our area, and proud to offer such unique classes while also providing certified, experienced instructors.” At the moment, Stilettos and Steel is operating out of a one-room studio with class sizes of no more than 12 women per class. This means that each student gets a lot of attention from the certified instructors for each course. In the future, Tess hopes to expand Stilettos and Steel into other regions so that people have other locations to visit. Until then, women who are looking for a new and exciting way to get in shape can explore all of the fitness classes offered at Stilettos and Steel’s studio in Lansing.