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Draper Journal

The Moxy Movement: Building self-confidence one body at a time

Mar 21, 2019 03:49PM ● By Katherine Weinstein

Moxy Movement cofounder Angela Nelson practices a back bend. (Photo courtesy Angela Nelson/The Moxy Movement)

By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]

The word "moxie" means “a force of character, determination or nerve,” “the ability to be active.” At the Moxy Movement, a dance and yoga studio in Draper, cofounders Angela Nelson and Sarah Child set out to create a community for adults to explore their physical potential and build self-confidence through creative movement — in unconventional ways. 

The Moxy Movement offers classes in pole dancing and aerial acrobatics using a suspended steel ring called a “lyra,” as well as yoga and several different styles of dance. “It’s fitness — you’re getting stronger but it’s essentially an art form,” Nelson said. “People can find a unique voice through creative movement.” 

It is no secret that many people struggle with poor self-image. "Some women are detached from themselves," said Nelson. Rather than focusing on appearance or weight loss, she explained that the Moxy Movement seeks to be an empowering place. “We change the conversation to ask, ‘What can my body do?’ We want to change feelings about shame or guilt about bodies.”  

On March 8, International Women’s Day, the studio held a discussion on body image with a guest speaker, followed by exercises demonstrating how to build strength and flexibility.

Child explained that all of the classes at the Moxy Movement are for both women and men and "accessible to everybody." When people complain that they are too old, out of shape or not strong enough to do a class, "I remind them that I was barely walking when I started."

Child, who has a background in theater and dance, started learning aerial acrobatics on the lyra after a paragliding accident left her barely able to walk, let alone dance. The aerial hoop provided her with a way to dance using her upper body. For Child, the lyra represents "freedom, a new way to move. When you take your body off the ground there is more possibility, it allows for more creativity. It's the most magical thing — dancing — but it's in the air."  

The Moxy Movement offers classes in lyra for beginners in which the hoops are lowered to the ground. "We love being a place for beginners," said Nelson. "It's never too late."

Nelson's background is in gymnastics. She took a class in pole dancing 10 years ago and loved it from the start. Pole dancing is often associated with striptease and exotic dance, which is where it first became popular in the US back in the 1980s. Over the years pole dancing has evolved into a creative exercise for fitness. The Moxy Movement offers classes in pole dancing ranging from exotic types of movement to more gymnastic, athletic exercise.

Sandy resident Kimberlee Hummel started taking pole classes two years ago at age 52. "It's been very therapeutic for me to express myself through movement,” she said. "I love the sense of community and support here. I love to compete and perform." Hummel took first place in pole dancing at the Aerialympics, the largest aerial and pole competition in the US, last January in Portland.

Twice a year, the Moxy Movement rents a theater space and puts on a themed showcase presentation in which students and teachers as well as anyone from the community can demonstrate their talents in creative movement. The next showcase will be in June with the theme of mythology.  

The Moxy Movement studio is located at in the historic Draper Park School building at 12441 South 900 East in Draper. For more information visit their website at