Is Pole Dancing worth learning?

Honestly, I get this question so often, and it is so difficult for me to verbally explain, how worth it I sincerley believe it is that I asked Dottie if I could write this article and post it here for all readers and also give me a website link I can refer people to when they ask me, Is taking a pole dancing class worth it?

“I’ve been hesitating to try a pole dance class, worried about what other people would think of me,” she wrote in her email. “But I’ve been worried about what people think about me for too long and now, I’d like to sign up.”

We receive emails, phone calls, and have one-on-one conversations like this at our studio every single week. In the past you may have one or two converastions like this a month. Now it seems we have one or two conversations like this daily.

Many of these women are in their teens but the vast majority of new pole dancers are baby boomers. Many first timers order a dance pole and practice at home. They then take an online dance pole class. They finally work up the confidence and the nerve to contact our studio.

Many times, I suggest that their first class be a private class, with just the instructor and themsleves, if the large private class fee of $200 is in their budget. Sometime I have the opportunity to conduct theses first time, private, one-on-one pole dance classes myself, and I love it!

Let me tell you about Mrs. Blackwell

In the studio, she takes three small steps and lifts off the floor. Her silver hair sweeps wide, suspended in the air.

When her toes touch back down on the floor, she laughs. Her laugh ecos throughout the empty studio, it is eight o’clock in the morning and we are the only two there for her first private class.

I jump up and down in my secy unicorn shorts, reaching my arm out to her for a high-five. Our palms slap, and then Mrs. Blackwell pulls me in for a hug.

“We did it!?” she exclaims.

“We did.” I said with a full heart that is about to burst.

This is my work, a business I dreamed of building for 5 years after becoming a coroporate purchasing agent for startups in the Booming Austin Texas tech scene.

As a competitive professional pole dancer, instructor, and studio owner, I meet dozens of people each month who have made up their minds, they are going to learn to pole dance.

There are countless number of reasons people decide they are going to give pole dancng a try. Some beacuse they know it is a great workout. Many more because an adventurous friend drug them along.

Others it is just that they are at a place in their life where they are curious and want to explore. Yet many others come in to learn a routine for their husbands birthday or last week we had a lady who wanted to learn a routine for her 30th wedding anniversery celebration.

Others try because they’ve heard that pole dance is empowering. And they have heard right. In fact I know of no other activity that is more empowering than learning to pole dance.

For me and thousands of other people who love this weird and wonderfully wacky sport where we throw ourselves around a 45 millimeter-piece of stainless steel, the pole dance is an exhilarating and magical experience.

Is pole dancing for feminist?

Many people believe that recreational pole dance is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with sex positivity.

Critics say it’s objectifying, they don’t have the mental mindset to get past the pole’s history of stripping to be consider is an art or sport. At least in the pole world, I thought we had evolved beyond these criticisms, even coming to honor the strippers who endured hardship and paved the way for our sport and competitions.

Then when J.Lo pole danced in her 2020 Super Bowl halftime show. The debate about whether pole dance empowers suddenly came back into the limelight.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP/Shutterstock (10546401fs) Jennifer Lopez performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, in Miami Gardens, Fla 49ers Chiefs Super Bowl Football, Miami Gardens, USA – 02 Feb 2020

Some critics say that to engage in sensual movement is to be subjugated and disempowered by it. I 100% disagree.

Pole dance has helped me and many of my students redefine on our own terms what sexuality means to us. We get to decide what feels good to us, what makes us feel alive, excited, and accomplished.

It’s a movement style that helps many people amplify our own internal strength. Pole dance and flexibility student Melinda Ray says, “For me, the physical activity has been a channel for self-discovery and growth.”

Sport, fitness, movement, dance: All of these things have historically helped people find strength in themselves that they didn’t know they had.

Often, that strength spills out to other areas of life. I’ve seen students find the courage to try a risky pole move, only to translate that courage into asking for a raise or sadly a divorce. Some have even got the courage to start their own business.

Once students find that strength within themselves, it doesn’t leave. It helps you see yourself differently and start programming your mind with empowering thoughts instead of telling yourself what is wrong with yourself all the time.

What sets pole dancing apart from other sports and competitions?

One big difference between pole dance and other sports is fairly obvious: Dancers usually aren’t wearing much.

Pole Dancing requires that polers look at themselves in the mirror while they practice. As they build body strength imporve their tricks and fluidity in their dance moves, they often go from criticizing their bodies to “OMG, look at what my body can do!”

The “wow” happens to pole dance students  of all shapes and sizes. The emphasis of the “wow” is on the ability to master technical movements and look awesome while doing it. Accomplished pole dancers come in all sizes.


Pole dancing instructor Dee Johnson says, “One thing that makes pole different is how quickly you can notice and feel a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s an outside leg hang or an Iron X, the movements all looks like things a human body shouldn’t be able to do! Many other sports don’t have that wow factor.” like pole dancing.

You can see constant improvement day by day as you practice on your home dance pole, and each week in class. Those who practice progress and that is the truth of this sport, and probably with most life skills. The thrill really is in the journey.

Pole dance student Debra says, “For me, pole dancing has been deeply healing for the PTSD I have in relation to sexual trauma I experienced in my late teens.. It’s not that I came to the class with no power, but that I was seeking permission from myself, not someone else, to reclaim my power, and I did, very quickly.

Ultimately what pole dancing and pole dance studios do is provide the structure for you to find your own power inside yourself. Many students find personal power they never knew existed before.

Debra is not alone.

I’ve heard countless number of stories from people who have experienced sexual violence in their lives speak about how the sensual physicality of pole dancing has helped them reclaim a part of themselves that had previously been lost.

In this sense, recreational pole dance can be a vessel that helps people find their own strength and self-love, a thing perhaps buried but very much alive deep inside all of us waiting to be released.

Our Austin class if full of professinals, doctors, lawyers and corporate executives who discover something in them through our classes that they sincerely never knew existed. I cannot tell you how many class memeber over the years have come up to me in private with tears in their eyes needing to express what the class had released, inside of them.

It’s about the Pole Dance Community

While many see pole dance as something to try once when their drunk at a bachelorette party, ( I know our studio host many private parties) many commit years of their lives to training weekly, even daily, to the sport.

Some stay with pole because they’re training for a pole dance competition. Some stay to master new tricks. Many stay because, like it does for me, the pole studio feels like home.

I grew up in a church where members saw each other every week, and the pole community fills my heart the way church did when I was a child. These are my people, those who delight in dangling their bodies upside down in the air who enjoy laughing, and having fun while pushing themselves harder than they every have physically.

One of the most important aspects of pole dance, beyond the joy of the movement, is that it’s a community of people who share a love for a sport that’s still far from culturally accepted.

This is going to sound strange but pole dancing helps us grow as people in ways we never imagined. Pole dancing acutally got me back in church. It helped me understand the power of being involved in like minded communities and why pole dancing has helped my physical body grow stronger I need work spirtitually. My husband and I found a wonderful group of people at the Austin Community Church and we love our time with them.

There is no question there are negative groups of people everywhere that are trying to suck us into lives of little accomplishment. The older I become the more I realize the importance of finding positive peer groups to spend time with.

Shout out to our friends at Austin Community Church

Many recreational competitive pole dancers avoid mentioning it. They don’t post videos or pictures of themselves pole dancing or talk about pole dance very openly. And I have to admit the majority of my church friends dont know YET that I am a competitive pole dancer, but that day is coming.

Instead, of saying I am going to my pole dance class they say I am going to gymnastics or tap dance class when people ask. Which works find until someone ask you what are the best tap dance shoes, or for you to show them a gymnastics routine.

The community of polers is tight-knit because they’re trusting each other to hold pace, often quietly or in privacy, in a world that lives out loud and very publicly. To pole with others is to trust them with something intimate & private.

To work with a pole dance instructor is to trust them to literally lift you in the air and protect you from falling on your head.

The lifting, the spotting, and the trusting, consensual touch is a big part of what makes pole communities so tight-knit and special.

Still, pole dance and the pole dance community teach me new things every day. Just as my Sunday school class does.

Ben Franklin said “Most people die at age 25, but they aren’t burried unitl age 65”, what was he really saying. We stop learning, we stop dreaming, we stop striving to become all we can be. In the process we start seeing ourselves as victims.

We start blaming others for the bad decisons we have made.

I am so thankful that my husband encouraged me to leave my six figure job and persue my dream of opening a dance studio. The amount of joy that has brought me is worth more than all the money in the world.

Today we have political pundants constantly yelling at us telling us how somebody else controls our destiny, our life, our emotions, and what we can and cannot accomplish. In out heart and sould, we know that is not true, however it is easier to blame others than take responsiblity for our own growth and development. We have to teach our children that life does not end at 25 and the starts by setting the right example for them.

Our college and universites are teaching peopel the world is made up of the powerful and the weak. That is not true, no one and I mean no one can take your power unless you allow them.

Pole dancing helps brings some of these realities into a different kind of light and understanding. We all have a choice to see ourselves as victims, or victorieous! OK enough of my rant, but I so believe this. Sorry I cant stop. ( I warned Dottie :} ) Anyone else tired of the Jessie Jackson’s & David Dukes of the world tryint to keep those that see themselves as victims stirred up?

I believe in the greatness inside my students, and every person on the planet for that matter. I am sick and tired of pundants screaming at people and telling them how somebody screwed them so they are worthless. All you are capable of doing is tearing down statues. I don’t believe that I believe we need to encourage peopel to rise up and judge people only by their chracter as Martin Luther King said, not encourage tearing down public property.

You can live victorious and that is the truth, but choosing to play the victim and blame others is the easy way, and unfortunabely most people choose easy over responsibility and self-discipline.

Ok, now I will stop my rant and wrap this up.

Give a Dance Pole a Spin

If you’re feeling nervous about trying pole dancing we all did in the beginning. Here are some tips and tricks that have worked for many of our students.

  • Recruit a friend. Many students take their first class with a friend, a co-worker… some even bring a parent!
  • Buy a Dance Pole for Home Use first before you register for a class.
  • Try taking a private lesson. Most studios offer private pole dance classes bookable online or via email.
  • Take an online course before join a class, this is the one we suggest:
  • Remember, most new students are nervous. You’re not alone if you’re feeling shy. It helps to remember that folks are usually so focused on trying to learn that they’re usually not watching you. In most classes, we’re all in it together! Here is a quote from my favorite motivational speaker Dale Calvert, Dale says (read this slowly)

    “When you walk into a new enviroment for the first time, most people are worried about what other people are thinking about them. THEY AREN’T THINKING ABOUT YOU …. they are too worried wondering what YOU are thinking about THEM”

    How is that for a mind tweark? Dale is full of those!

Nearly everyone is a little nervous their first time. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing what this unique sport has to offer. More than that it may change your life and give a strength and power you never knew you had. Keep on Dancing! And of course, learning to Pole Dance is worth it!

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