Debra Drucker called Cathy Wagner “the Michael Jackson of pole dancing” Saturday morning at Rhythm & Soul Dance Studio in Levittown, and Wagner’s other students just laughed in agreement.
Drucker, a 53-year-old from Plainview, took up the class after enduring four different types of cancer. Her various surgeries have left her unable to work out with free weights.
“[Wagner] was so compassionate.” Drucker said. “She pushed me, and I can do things that I was never even able to do after my first surgery.”
Wagner, 46, has students from different backgrounds in her pole dancing classes, which she also offers at Two Worlds Dance & Fitness Center in Greenvale and Variations: A Dancer's Studio in Huntington.
She founded her fitness organization, Catwalk Fitness, after her enthusiasm for working out led her to pole dancing.
“I just started teaching myself some spins and tricks, and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is an amazing workout, and I’d love to share this with other girls,’” she said.
The Floral Park native is now a resident of Cold Spring Harbor, where she is married with two sons. She said when she first brought her pole home everyone -- including her husband -- was apprehensive.
“He said, ‘You have a son in high school. What are you doing?’” she said, laughing.
But it’s all about mental and physical happiness for Wagner. Using only the pole and their bodies, the women in Wagner’s class said they have increased their upper body strength, made strides toward having the body they want, and one of them even cooed with empowerment.
“I feel like superwoman,” said Maryann Stevens, 28, of Baldwin. “I could carry 13 bags of groceries up a flight of stairs right now.”
Above, Cathy Wagner, left, leads a pole dance workout class at Rhythm & Soul Dance Studio in Levittown on Saturday morning.