Pole fitness studios like the chain S Factor clearly cater to yuppie women and housewives trying to spice things up and “find their inner goddess” (GAG). On the surface, it seems that sexy pole dancing has gone mainstream, but it’s very different than the actual pole (and stage) work you see at strip clubs.
My clubs in NYC didn’t offer the best stage performance. There would usually be 2-3 girls with some cool moves, but the Russians just stood there scanning the crowd for guys with deep pockets. I can’t hate on that because pole dancing expends a lot of your energy that’s better used on hustling the floor. Plus it can make you sweaty and gross and fuck up your carefully styled hair.
In New Orleans, on the other hand, I believe guys expect more entertainment and the numerous French Quarter clubs all have high poles begging to be worked. Most New Orleans dancers put on a good show and the vast majority of traveling girls there do as well in my experience. It took me a little while after starting to feel comfortable climbing to the top of our 25″ pole, but now I’m a total climber; getting to the top never fails to impress guys.
I attended tons of classes at a Pole Fitness studio in my area during 2011, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I was a pole amateur during my first stripping stint in 2010 and the classes I took during my hiatus allowed me to come back swinging in 2012. New Orleans doesn’t require amazing stage skills, but working with girls who have so many killer moves compels you to step up your game.
While the pole fitness studio was very beneficial to me, I was baffled by the fact the teachers acted snobby, despite being current, albeit over-aged, strippers. One was such a good pole gymnast, clubs would make her a “featured dancer” which essentially means being paid a decent sum for appearing and drawing a crowd to the club. The pay for a feature dancer is not as high as porn starts making guest appearances, but enough to earn way better money on stage than depressing crumpled up ones from cheap-o’s who don’t appreciate a Jane Doe stripper’s hard stage work.
During one pole class, I mentioned a preference for Alethea Austin, a professional pole dancer who competes and has a sexy style, as opposed to a purely athletic style that is more gymnastic and pure athleticism than provocative. The pole instructor said, “I don’t like her, she’s sleazy. I like Oona, the Brazilian pole champ. In my humble opinion, the latter is not the least bit enticing, but undeniably skilled, with the flat-chested, overly muscular body of a gymnast. The stripper instructor’s opinion didn’t seem logical to me. Perhaps these pole fitness teachers put on a front and adopt a different persona during their fitness classes than at their club jobs. It seems like blatant pandering to a snobbier audience, even though, in speaking directly with me, the studio’s entire staff knew I’d worked as a stripper without picking up many pole tricks.
One day at pole class, I took a session with their most intimidating instructor (not a stripper) that was a bit advanced for my level. Therefore, the class attracted the most hardcore, perfectionist students who were more bent on maximizing their physical potential than having fun and making it sexy. For me, the fitness is a fringe benefit that felt more like fun than tedium, a la Zumba or hip hop dance classes at gyms. I was super put off when this uptight, Madonna arm-having type of about 31 tried to do a highly advanced trick and let out these exasperated sighs when she couldn’t execute it. I thought to myself, “chill girl, stop taking this so goddamn seriously you uptight yuppie!” When you actually strip, you realize certain girls have an impossible time with certain moves; even the best dancers might have trouble with a move that comes relatively easy and feels intermediate to me. There’s a relatively easy move that I can’t seem to do due to lack of flexibility in my back. My relatively short torso may also be a factor. But there are also moves I find easy that way better overall strippers can’t.
One thing you learn working at a strip club is certain girls can execute certain moves and not others, so everyone having to do the same coreography in class feels arbitrary and impractical. There was one dancer at my New Orleans club that seemed capable of everything, but even the best few dancers at my club would ask how to do a certain go-to trick of mine or say “hey, I can’t even do that!.” The best day shift dancer admitted jealousy when I did the sideways holding myself by the knees move, which I find super easy; unless my legs are sweaty and slippery, I can always do it.
I’ve played with the idea of teaching pole dancing down the road, though I admit I’m not the type who rapidly progresses and is especially qualified. I’d like to run a class specifically designed for actual strippers or women who like the idea of an authentic stripper-esque performance. Certain moves I’d wanna teach are the classic ass-jiggling ones (even chicks with very little meat on their bones can do them.) I think it’s cool when a girl does a shoulder mount or dismount (pictured below, while jiggling their ass. Then, there’s of course, the go-to jiggling on hands and knees with your bum facing the crowd. I’d also wanna teach moves like hanging upside down at the top of the pole and doing a suicide drop to the bottom, always a crowd pleaser and some cool lap dancing techniques that are sure to drive any boyfriend or husband crazy. Plus, in my experience, doing dirty lap dances with someone you’re fucking outside the club, is quite the novelty for myself and the guy; the freebie upgrade of a traditional lap dance is usually a success. I probably wouldn’t be able to let students actually take tops, let alone bottoms, off, but as with a cardio dance class I took ages ago not involving poles, girls would wear double layers of bras, so I could teach girls moves like how to take their tops off in a fun way, such as while hanging upside down and highly visible, or doing that move where they snap their G string by slipping their big stripper heels under it.
Maybe starting a class exclusively for strippers is a misguided business model. As I said, civilian women who want to do an authentic stage show reminiscent of a strip club would certainly be welcome. I just wouldn’t really want the Lulu Lemon crowd of Yogis obsessed with physical perfection, instead of just having fun with it, enhancing their earning potential as strippers, or giving a REAL stripper experience to their husbands more likely to keep him from philandering at clubs.
I take a certain amount of issue with actual strippers denying that side of themselves in order to appease uptight laywomen. It’s one thing not to emphasize a job that could make students uncomfortable, but I see no problem teaching a sexier version of pole dancing and related stage work off the pole. It’s not like you’re gonna discuss junky coworkers, guys cumming during dances, whipping it out in the champagne rooms, or biting your tit like a snapping turtle, leaving a bruise.