Butter & Filth Pole and Aerial
4840 Waller Road, No. 310
Second Place: The Hot Yoga Barre (Hall of Fame Winner)
Third Place: iLoveKickboxing
Honorable Mention: Burn Boot Camp
If you want a hard workout full of sweat and tricks, first place winner Butter & Filth Pole and Aerial is probably not the best choice. Owner and Creative Visionary Nia Burks makes it clear that their member-only programming is geared towards embracing your body right where it is, with the knowledge that possibility resides in us all.
“Butter & Filth is different from other boutique fitness studios in Richmond because our main focus is being fit in our creativity, our pursuit of pleasure and inner purpose through pole dance,” she explains of the studio’s emphasis on uniqueness, possibility and growth. “These core values create a foundation for all of Butter & Filth’s clients to fall in love with themselves. No one can stop someone who loves themselves and who would want to?”
She says pole dancing is offered to people who want to connect with their deepest desire to be large and in charge of their lives, bodies and minds. Classes are designed to incorporate professional audio-visual elements with stellar playlists and beautiful lighting so that members can forget about the world and spend time learning to know themselves through dance. Since 2018, Butter & Filth has also been popular as Richmond’s pole dance party headquarters, often booked ahead with birthday and bachelorette parties.
Because Burks has studied various subjects including art history, video, performance and sound, she sees the studio as the ultimate melding of her love of art, guts, movement and radical self-love. Her studio attracts people looking for a hobby, physical fitness, a connection to themselves, a sober activity after work, an hour away from their kids or a space to explore who they could be.
“Unique instruction brings unique people and my life’s work is to be a passion alchemist, providing people with time and space so they can explore what they need, desire and can become,” she says. “The best part is witnessing transformation.”