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High-flying fitness

Katie Savage, owner of Counter Culture, said the courses they offer are a fun workout and inspire confidence. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Counter Culture offers unique, wide variety of workout classes

ASHLAND, Ky. — An excited and happy shriek comes from the next room.

“I think she just pulled off a trick for the first time,” Katie Savage says upon hearing it from a class participant.

A group is practicing in the adjacent space at Counter Culture, which features an aerial cube, mounted from the ceiling, upon which participants perform aerobics on the rigging.

Savage, who opened the business in May on Roberts Drive, said it had a delayed start, following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She began work on constructing the space, located in the rear of the building, which also hosts BloodMoon Goddesses Apothecary & Spiritual Services, shortly after Valentine’s Day.

“We are a pole and circus fitness studio,” she said, stating they offer classes in “anything and everything” having to do with what she calls “strange fitness.”

A unique business and studio for the region, Counter Culture offers courses in aerial silks, in which aerobics are performed from a hanging fabric, aerial yoga, aerial hoop, pole dancing and regular dance, as well as conditioning and strength building.

Katie Savage, owner of Counter Culture, says she has been taking part in circus arts and fitness since she first took a class in Lexington, Kentucky when she was 18. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

This fall, they also offered five-week courses in burlesque. Savage is a member of Cosmadolls, a local burlesque troupe, founded in 2013, which has performed at events such as Ironton Wizardfest and the Road Hawk Magazine Tattoo Show at the Ro-Na Theater.

She said she first got into circus arts when she was taking a pole fitness classes at age 18 in Lexington, Kentucky.

“I took a class and fell in love and bought one and trained,” Savage said.

Savage said, from there, she shadowed her instructor and taught her self through videos.

“It was kind of a combination of both,” she said of her learning.

Katie Savage is the owner of Counter Culture. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

She said business has been strong and most classes are booked.

They are offered in six-week sessions, with about 3-4 people each, so that each person has access to one of the space’s devices. Altogether, she says they teach about 10 classes a week.

She said the classes are open to those ages 18 and up and that they are body-positive and open to all types and skills levels, from beginners to advanced. Those wanting to sign up can do so online at https://bookwhen.com/counterculture.

Savage said, in addition to learning “really cool tricks,” one of the biggest benefits of aerial fitness is a full body workout that engages all the muscles.

“It is a really fun workout, but it doesn’t feel like a workout,” she said.

She said one of her favorite things to see is the confidence it builds in those who enroll in the classes.

“People come in and, at first, they don’t feel so good,” she said. “But then you see their face light up when they try it.”

Counter Culture is located at 5405 Roberts Dr., Suite 5 in Ashland. More information can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/countercultureashland/.