A Day in the Life of a Pole Dancer
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because dangling upside down by your ankles 20 feet in the air is not nearly as sexy as it is death-defying.
By Eugene S. Robinson
In this occasional series, OZY takes to streets and neighborhoods across the globe to ask a simple question: “How was your day?”
Crazy. Like it is every month around this time. Scheduling, scheduling, payroll, managing, competitions, special guests and more scheduling. This weekend we have Evgeny Greshilov and Kira Noire coming to give a special seminar. They’ve won international titles and we’re really happy to have them. Pole dancing and aerial sports are getting huge almost every place but here. It’s biggest in Australia, then maybe the U.K. and then the U.S. I don’t know if the U.S. is third because of America’s connecting pole dancing to stripping and a sort of disapproval. I started Poletential 10 years ago, after years in e-commerce and product marketing at high-tech companies and a variety of startups.
I needed to take a break and I needed to do something to get in shape, and this is the only fitness thing that I wanted to do. At first it was mostly what the British call “hen parties,” or bachelorette parties, girls’ nights out, that kind of thing. But about three or four years after we opened, things started to change and people who came kept coming back and taking it seriously as a way to get in shape. We saw the first serious competitions start to happen in 2010, and we started pulling in instructors who were real dancers: ballet, jazz, all different styles. The client base changed as well, to where we are now, where we have all shapes, sizes, genders.
There are two camps of thinking on pole dancing. Some people still see it as something that strippers do, which some in the aerial arts want to distance themselves from. I think we should honor or pay homage to our past, though, and pole dancing’s evolution, and people who grasp that will be proud of the community we’ve built. Anyone else was never going to be part of what we’re doing anyway.
We have static trapezes, aerial hammocks, aerial slings, the long silks, and poles spread between two studios; 10 years in, I’m not just the owner, I’m an instructor, I perform and compete. And I’m not 25. [Laughs] No matter where you are on your journey, this is a cool way to spend your time, and if you care about this stuff, it’s everywhere now in terms of mainstream entertainment. We’ve had people go on to Cirque du Soleil; we’re seeing our stuff on TV, in commercials and movies, and there are lots of performance opportunities that don’t involve strip clubs.
We’re also seeing more kids doing it, coming over from gymnastics or doing both. And no, I don’t see myself ever going back to corporate.