[ | The Advisor]

“It’s really a come-as-you-are space… We harp ‘no mirrors, no judgement.'”

Do it for the hot chocolate.

Trying something new — for me, anyway — is always nerve-wracking. So having an end goal, i.e. hot chocolate, can help fuel my bravery.

Such was the case walking into Vertical Barre on a recent blustery Monday. In shorts. And a trench coat. I made my colleague pinky promise we could get hot chocolate if I didn’t phone-in the session.

When owner Laci Lopez, 29, tried a pole dancing class in Chicago some years ago, the then-investment banker saw possibility.

And luckily for me, she shares that vision when she instructs.

“It’s really a come-as-you-are space,” she said. “We harp ‘no mirrors, no judgement.'”

We ran through a super quick round of crunches, bicep curls, spins and even climbs. Even when I was fumbling or executing more of a sideways fall than a controlled spin, Lopez was cheering me on.