[Kristina Lloyd | PWN]

In 2012, when Amanda Leigh decided to take a field trip after pole class with a few girlfriends to watch the pole dancers at The World Famous Cheetah’s, a historic Hollywood bikini bar, little did she know that it would be the beginning of an extraordinary life change.

That night Amanda convinced the owner to let one of her friends get up onstage and dance. It inspired an idea to create an amateur night where any woman who takes pole classes for fun and personal empowerment can share their joy of dancing and liberate themselves as a means of personal transformation. Amanda approached the owners about continuing to gather her friends for some public pole play, and the Amateur Pole Art Showcase was born.

With an opportunity to dance nearly every month since, ladies from all over southern California, the US, and even international dancers have graced the stage, strutting their stuff for an appreciative audience of friends and family. Packed houses scream for their favorite dancers and money flies onto the stage, raining onto the women. Some women perform publicly for the first time.

As the showcase continues to grow in popularity, it has become a well-known outlet for performance that does not require any competition, which for many women is a factor. Women earn money dancing – some making upwards of $600 in under ten minutes. There is no need for advanced technical skill on the pole, although many of the women are quite proficient, and connecting with the audience is the major draw.

Leigh did get pushback from the pole community when the show first started. She says, “Some dancers and instructors were publicly critical of my decision to hold my event at a bikini bar because it represented something to them that it does not represent to me. I do not want to engage in any kind of back and forth with people who criticize my event or me personally. I think the success of the Showcase speaks for itself.”

There is a deeper goal behind the performance element for Amanda. Having healed from a severe eating disorder, her personal struggle has given her a mission to allow women to authentically claim who they are. Leigh says, “I am grateful that all my years of suffering have now been put to good use. It just goes to show that your greatest challenges may be your greatest rewards later on.”

Amanda knows that women who pole dance for fun and exercise are everyday women that want to feel sexy, and has given them the chance to reveal this to the world, and it has been life-changing for many of the women who have performed by moving them out of their comfort zone and into the limelight. Leigh says, “Every time a woman dances in my Showcase, she becomes a better version of herself.”

For more information and upcoming performance opportunities, contact Amanda on Facebook or email

[Above: Photo of Axelle Stone by Kristina Lloyd]