Meet Alexandra Mata : Owner & Instructor at Urban Aerial Fitness

Alex’s smile pours out warmth to anyone in its path. This same smile can also convince you to step a little further away from your comfort zone, a handy trick her students appreciate because there’s no growth without a little friction. 

You can count on Alex to have an unlimited supply of patience and encouragement which pairs well with her natural ability to make anyone who walks through those doors at Urban Aerial Fitness feel welcomed.

The best part of Alex? Her fierceness, tenacity, and gumption. When she wants to do something she does it, no mediocrity allowed. What she has achieved within the last decade is impressive and inspirational, but before we get there…let’s start with her beginning.

The best part of Alex? Her fierceness, tenacity, and gumption. When she wants to do something she does it, no mediocrity allowed. What she has achieved within the last decade is impressive and inspirational, but before we get there…let’s start with her beginning.

Alex was born and raised in Salinas, Ecuador.

A popular tourist destination during the summer months and a sleepy beach city during the offseason with only about 1,500 regular residents. When Alex speaks about living in Salinas, that warm smile of hers is erupting. It’s obvious she has fond memories of growing up in a small town. The pitfalls of living in a small city, Alex explains, is her mother had to drive her two hours outside of the town to get her dance lessons.

“Dance has always been my thing, I danced Flamenco from age 7 to 20.”

For those of who you don’t know, Flamenco is a highly-expressive, Spanish dance form.

The flamenco is a solo dance characterized by hand clapping, percussive footwork, and intricate hand, arm, and body movements. The dance is usually accompanied by a singer and guitar player. An example of this art form has been placed on the right for you to view at your leisure.

Alex would tour and get paid to dance at festivals, bullfights, and other special events. From what we hear, she was pretty dang good at it.

Eventually, the cost to continue as a Flamenco dancer didn’t outweigh the benefits, so Alex looked into other opportunities. This shift in career led her to leave Ecuador and go to live with her Grandmother in Boston, Massachusetts. Her plan was to get her college education and then go back to Ecuador. Life had other ideas, shortly after moving to the states her mother passed away and her father received a cancer diagnosis. Alex put her dreams on hold and went to her father’s aide.

Alex then landed in Kansas City with one of her sisters and got a job as a receptionist in an office. After awhile she began to miss dancing and longed for dancing to be part of her world again…

And that’s when she found Ballroom Dance. A studio near her sister’s home had free lessons for beginners and she jumped on the opportunity to get dance back in her daily schedule. Alex spent 11 years in Ballroom Dance. She ended up teaching it and competing. 

"My dream was to one day own my own dance studio and teach children."

Fun fact: Alex and her husband, Rudy, used to teach at the same ballroom studio. 

After they got married and had their two daughters, the family of four landed in sunny California because it had better job opportunities. 

Alex spent the next handful of years raising her girls. It wasn’t until her youngest entered preschool did Alex ask herself again, “what can I do or be, now?” 

“Everyone would tell me I was a great cook and always raved about my food, so I thought why not become a chef?”

Alex attended the Art Institute of Culinary Arts and graduated with honors. She became a chef and worked in a couple of kitchens before deciding she no longer wanted to work for someone else and opened up her own successful catering company.

She breathed life into her catering company for nearly ten years while teaching young cooks how to become a chef, too! “In each of my careers, I’ve ended up teaching,” says Alex. “Eventually I understood running this catering company wouldn’t be my retirement plan, I couldn’t do it forever. So I took some time off to figure out what I wanted to do next…”

While on a bit of a career soul search, Alex had started to miss her dance shoes again and wanted to figure out another way to get back into because she was desperately missing the cardio. 

“I didn’t want a gym membership. I had tried it once before and it just wasn’t for me. I wanted a community and friendships, too.”

“I didn’t want a gym membership. I had tried it once before and it just wasn’t for me. I wanted a community and friendships, too.”

Her husband knew she was looking to get back into something dance-related so he bought her a gift certificate to do Pole Fitness classes at a local studio, hoping it might help her find what she was looking for. 

While taking pole classes she had noticed other students training on the silks and hoop in the other room, so after finishing up her gift certificate she looked into aerial gyms closer to her home. Enter finding Urban Aerial Fitness, conveniently located in Fountain Valley! She started out as a student, trained to become an instructor and now…she and her husband are the current owners.

And as the one year approaches for Alex and Rudy, they have added a number of classes to Urban’s schedule including…a kids & teens program.

Alex finally got her dance studio, and kids to teach.

What a lady, right?! Dancer to caretaker, receptionist to Ballroom Dance instructor and competitor, to a chef who owns her own catering company, and finally, to becoming a student one last time (for now *wink-wink) who flourished into an aerial instructor and now owner of said studio, teaching children, breathing more life into her dreams…yet again!

She’s a force to be reckoned with and we’re lucky to have her. Don’t tell it to her face though, she’s likely to blush! 

We love you, Alex!

 

Urban Aerial is a beginner-friendly zone and provides a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for all its students. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews on Facebook or Yelp. 

Come Fly with Alex. First Class Is $15. First Kids Class is Free