Pole dancers headed for World Championships

[Donna Collins | New Era]

Namibian acrobatic pole dancers, Sonja Keil and Charlie de Bortoli, have elevated their extreme pole dancing routine to international status.

They have been chosen as the only act of its kind to participate in the World Performing Arts Championships in Los Angeles [LA] , United States of America [USA] on July 2. The duo first made their debut at the 2016 Carnival of Flames Extravaganza in Swakopmund, when in skimpy costumes mesmerised a large audience with their graceful and acrobatic double dance routine using a metal pole as support. Since then these two incredibly talented artists, have gone from strength to strength performing shows around the country, amongst others at the WIKA Carnival.

They are also the first Namibian Pole Dance Doubles to compete in the [USA] Pole Dance Competition, coming first in the doubles category. They then went on to compete in the Namibian Championship of Performing Arts last year, winning an invitation to [LA] this July, as the only represented pole dancers from hundreds of different acts around the world.

Their 13-day trip will include boot camps, workshops, modeling and shows and because they are the only pole dancers chosen to participate, Sonja and Charlie will be teamed up with invited acrobatic circus acts, which is the first time this category has been opened. Preparation and practice is high up on their agenda, with costumes and routines being perfected. They will be performing in six acts with Sonja doing three solos, as well as a duo performances. But performing aside, both girls have an impressive CV and are unique artists and professionals in their own right. Sonja studied drama and dancing, group fitness training, personal training and yoga for six years in Cape Town, and started with pole dancing in her second year to “try something new and exciting”.

“I want every woman to try pole dancing at least once in their lives, just for them to find out how absolutely beautiful and strong we can be.”

— Sonja Keil

“I fell in love with pole dancing immediately and it was really amazing performing at different events and showing people the beauty of pole dancing,” says Sonja. “I want every woman to try pole dancing at least once in their lives, just for them to find out how absolutely beautiful and strong we can be.” Sonja also worked as an instructor for five years in a Cape Town pole dance studio, then spread her wings to Australia, to further embark on more pole dance training, which resulted in her opening up her own Pole Dance Fitness Studio in Swakopmund.

Charlie is one of the few Namibian women with a black-belt in Karate. She also takes part in regular fire spinning shows, performing for international tourists in exotic desert locations, as well as corporate events. She is a mom, and put herself through accounting studies, which is her day job.


Kennel Club bans vet's Pink Panther pole dancing routine with her border collie

[Jessica Green | Daily Mail]


  • Dog banned by the Kennel Club from taking part in a pole dancing routine 
  • Rebecca Kennedy, of Glasgow, was planning to perform at a fundraising gala
  • But now the 25-year-old vet has been warned that she could face a £300 fine


A vet’s Pink Panther pole dancing routine with her border collie has been banned by the Kennel Club because it ‘isn’t suitable for a family audience’.

Rebecca Kennedy, of Glasgow, was planning to perform a new sequence involving her border collie, Izzy, at a fundraising gala to help Scotland’s dog-training ‘Heelwork to Music’ team get to the European Championships.

The pair, dressed as burglars, synchronise their moves to the Pink Panther theme tune as Rebecca performs on the pole and Izzy jumps through her outstretched arms.

"During the communist time there was no pole dancing in Hanoi. Now it's seen as an art form."

— Vernanda Hart

Rebecca and Izzy competed in their first show in June last year.

They performed a Lion King routine at the Bearded Collie Heelwork to Music competition in Lanark.

A relatively new type of competition, Heelwork to Music involves participants performing routines timed to music with their dog.

Speaking about her 2017 performance, Rebecca said: ‘After the performance a judge came up to me and told me there were some banned moves but that there was not a problem with me using the pole.’

Yet the pole dancer then received an email from the Kennel Club which told her she was prohibited from taking part in the fundraising gala as her routine was ‘merely a circus act and not a serious canine activity’.

They also deemed pole dancing as ‘not suitable for a family audience’.

But Rebecca said: ‘There is nothing sexual about my routine. I was wearing modest clothing and I’m very aware of my angles and what part of my body I’m showing to the audience.

‘I make sure I manoeuvre myself in a tasteful way. The sport is not just from strip clubs – it’s also known as Chinese pole.

‘The event was a fundraiser to help Team Scotland go to the championships.

‘It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and they’re hoping for it to become an Olympic sport.

‘I told the Kennel Club this but I have had no response.’

A Kennel Club spokesman confirmed Rebecca had been contacted about a ‘regulation breach’ but declined to comment further.


Cork scientist representing Ireland in the World Pole Dance Championships

[Sarah Horgan | Evening Echo]

A CORK microbiologist is shedding her lab coat in favour of something a little more risqué after being selected to compete in the World Pole Dance Championships.

Jenny Schmiedel is busy balancing lab duties with practising her routine for the contest which takes place in Tianjin, China, next Monday.

The performer took up pole fitness while still a teenager and teaches classes regularly at her studio, EM Fitness and Nutrition, on Model Farm Road.

“I was around 15 or 16 when I decided I wanted to do this.”

“I grew up in the middle of nowhere so I’m not sure exactly how I got it into my head. The only sport I had taken an interest in before that was horse riding,” said Jenny. There was something about the strength and grace of the women involved in pole fitness that I really admired. I come from a very open family so my parents were nothing but supportive.

“I always find that people have expectations of you depending on your age... everyone works at their own pace. In order to be happy you have to do what’s right for you.”

— Jenny Schmiedel

“They were just happy that I’d found something I was interested in and was passionate about taking it to the next level.”

Jenny is keen to inspire others to follow their own path.

“I always find that people have expectations of you depending on your age. It’s unrealistic to think that we should have ‘the man’, house and kids by the age of thirty when everyone works at their own pace. In order to be happy you have to do what’s right for you.”

Jenny’s colleagues have also expressed interest in her exploits.

“It was actually announced that I was heading to the championships at a lab meeting. My boss is super excited about the whole thing.

“Everyone at work is really happy for me. One of my colleagues is even taking one of my classes.”

Pole fitness has been more than just a sport for Jenny.


Tucson pole athletes prepare for regional competition

[Jeff Gardner | Tucson Local Media]

Katrina Wyckoff danced ever since she was a kid. In 2006, she became director of the Centre Stage Dance Studio in Oro Valley, and continued formal dancing. But in 2013, when she stumbled upon a pole sport and dancing class, everything changed.

“I saw the good that pole brought out as people discovered their own strengths and styles,” Wyckoff said. “People don’t realize there’s a whole athletic side to it.”

Now, Wyckoff if helping to host the regional competitions for the US Pole Sports Federation and is part of a committee that is drafting the codebook for what may someday be an Olympic event.

“I saw the good that pole brought out as people discovered their own strengths and styles. People don’t realize there’s a whole athletic side to it.”

— Katrina Wyckoff

Once Wyckoff started working with poles in her dancing, she implemented them at Centre Stage. But soon, the dancers of Oro Valley became interested, and even more than that, passionate. Before long, the dance studio was filled with poles, so Centre Stage founded a second location to keep up with the demand.

“What started as a few poles in the corner of the dance studio grew into a whole sport of its own,” she said. “It has come so naturally. There’s a need for people to have a place to go to, and to fall in love with their work out at.”

Poling generally starts as fitness with most people, but as time goes on and their strength improves, it becomes a sport and contains a life and artistry of its own, much like gymnastics. For a set, the athletes choose 10 moves to perform from five categories. Professional pole sport sets are based on three A’s: artistry, athleticism and adventure.

Of course, exercising in and around a pole holds a stigma. Although poles have been used in fitness across the world for centuries, in the modern day, they are undoubtedly associated with erotic dancing.

“Of course there’s a stigma, but we’re not on some big mission to change people’s minds,” she said. “As people see the athletic passion, the stigma will be removed.”

When skeptics see a pole athlete 6 feet in the air, holding themselves at a 180-degree angle with just their forearm strength, and then doing a backflip from that pose onto the ground below, they’ll probably be convinced it’s a form of fitness, if not a perfectly legitimate sport.


Pole Dancing comes to Boston University

[Megan Woolhouse | BU Today]

For most people, pole dancing conjures up unsavory images fit for a Sopranos episode, so let’s get a few things out of the way.

BU’s Pole Dancing Circuit class was not intended to train a new generation of exotic dancers. This FitRec class was about fitness, and fun.

Micki Taylor-Pinney, BU dance program director, says the three-session not for credit class was created to introduce students to an increasingly popular form of exercise and self-expression, one that demands muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.

“Pole dancing has had a certain image,” Taylor-Pinney acknowledges. “But more recently, it’s had a rebirth for fitness. So what we’re offering is a mix of dance and exercise, really not unlike aerial dance.”

It’s a workout whose popularity is growing both in the United States and abroad. Studios dedicated to pole dancing have cropped up in nearly every major American city, and international competitions abound. There’s even a nascent effort to make it an Olympic sport.

“Pole dancing has had a certain image, but more recently, it’s had a rebirth for fitness. So what we’re offering is a mix of dance and exercise, really not unlike aerial dance.”

— Taylor-Pinney

Taylor-Pinney says that students had requested a pole dancing class, so FitRec rolled out a pilot class this spring. The class was deemed so successful that Taylor-Pinney has scheduled four more sections during the summer. The four- or five-week-long classes will meet once a week and will be taught by modern and contemporary dancer and dance instructor Liz Roncka (Sargent’95,’97), who taught the pilot class.

Roncka says she became interested in aerial movement performed using ropes in the late 1990s as a professional dancer. She began studying pole dancing about four years ago as a means of fitness and artistic expression and eventually became certified to teach it.

Performing exotic moves in a safe place surrounded by supportive people is often part of pole’s appeal, and Roncka occasionally wowed observers during class with her aerial splits and other gravity-defying poses.

“Students are choosing pole for a reason,” she says. “Yes, they’re curious and it’s different because it’s aerial, but you also want to experience a more free and empowered version of yourself.”


Spiral pole dancer Kristel de Catalina wins 'PGT 6'

[ABS-CBN News]

A spiral pole dancer took home the crown during the grand finals of the sixth season of “Pilipinas Got Talent” held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on Sunday.

Kristel de Catalina was named the grand winner, garnering an average of 99.67 percent of votes from viewers and judges.

For her grand finals performance, De Catalina set her spiral pole dance routine to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.”

"Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat... Anak, para sa 'yo 'to."

— Kristel de Catalina

“Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat… Anak, para sa ‘yo ‘to,” she said.

“Thank you sa inyong lahat na bumoto at nagtiwala sa akin,” De Catalina added.

She took home P2 million as this season’s winner.

De Catalina caught the attention of both the judges and viewers as early as the auditions, when she received the “Golden Buzzer” for her performance.

In the semifinals, she blew away the competition when she dedicated her to her son.


Pole Fitness at Scarlet Studio in Brockton

[Joe Pelletier | Brockton Wicked Local]

Wendy Dayle, owner of Scarlet Studio in Brockton, says pole sports goes beyond strip-club stigmas.

BROCKTON — Pole sports will be an Olympic event someday.

You can count on it, says Wendy Dayle.

“It’ll happen,” she said, toweling off after a grueling pole workout at her Brockton studio. “Absolutely. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the world — it’s huge in Europe.”

And for years, it has been gaining popularity in Massachusetts. The sport (also known as pole fitness or pole dancing) is a little bit gymnastics and a little bit acrobatics, with touches of contemporary dance and circus flair.

“We, as a culture, oversexualize anything that the female body does. I can’t tell you how many girls don’t know how to simply move their hips from side to side. They’re taught not to move that way — that it’s vulgar.”

- Wendy Dayle

Dayle, who runs Scarlet Studio in Brockton, has been teaching pole fitness for about 10 years. Or pole dancing, she says — yeah, you can call it that.

She understands the stigma behind pole dancing: the strip-club connotations, the oversexualization of it all. And she embraces that stigma — the name Scarlet Studio is a nod to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Her classes, she said, are more than that stigma.

“I felt like Hester (Prynne, the protagonist) kind of lived outside societal norms,” Dayle said last week. “And she was forced to wear that awful scarlet letter, and she embraced it. So I’m embracing the rebel that Hester was.”


These Epic Pole-Dancing Photos Are The Fitspiration You Didn’t Know You Needed

"Pole surfing" is apparently a thing.

[ | Women’s Health]

Pole dancing is no easy feat—it takes an intense amount of physical power to pull, slide, and swivel around that pole. Not only do you need to have a strong upper body to ace pole dancing, but also a lot of leg power and stamina (and a rock-solid core).

Have you ever carried a surfboard? Those things are heavy AF—and @lunalila is holding one upside down while dangling from one leg.

Now, the company Power Pole Sports is asking pole enthusiasts to take their fitness abilities to the next level: They’ve challenged followers to take photos of themselves doing things they do every day, but on the pole. And the results are mind-blowing, to say the least:


Allison Sipes continues to pole dance through her pregnancy

[Rebecca Reid | Metro]

A woman from Orlando, Florida, is proving that pregnancy is no reason to give up on something you love.

(Unless what you love is doing vodka shots & smoking cigars, in which case I’m so sorry but you are probably going to need to learn to compromise.)

Allison Sipes is a professional pole dancer, and she’s amazed fans by continuing with pole through her pregnancy. Allison, 35, has been pole dancing since 2005. She teaches pole and also manages the US Pole Sports Federation, so it’s fair to say that pole is a big part of her life.

‘They [doctors] think what I do is pretty cool!  They all encouraged me to continue exercise as long as I wanted to. I have fortunately had a very healthy pregnancy with zero complications, so keeping up with what I love to do – pole and aerial – has been a blessing.’

— Allison Sipes

Discussing the challenges of pregnant pole dancing, Allison said: ‘Pole dancing was business as usual until about 6 months, then the extra weight gain/weight displacement began to make it challenging strength wise, and with regards to what I was able to do safely with my growing belly.’

As her body changed Allison adjusted her routine in order to keep going. She said: ‘I’m still going strong at almost 38 weeks, and plan to continue until labour.’
Given that women who are fitter before and during pregnancy tend to have faster and easier labours, Allison’s activity should stand her in good stead when she gives birth to her daughter, due in April.

Of course, because when you get pregnant everyone suddenly has opinions about your body, people have asked Allison about the safety of what she’s doing. She explains: ‘I have spoken with my doctors about my form of fitness, and they all agreed that as long as I felt good, keep doing it, because it will make delivery and recovery after much easier.


South Windsor's Lisa Ebrahim wins Arnold Sports Festival pole dancing bronze medal

[Conor Hickey | Hawkesbury Gazette]

South Windsor woman Lisa Ebrahim’s pole dancing interpretation of the movie Predator saw her win a bronze medal at the Arnold Sports Festival in Melbourne earlier this month.

Ebrahim attended the three-day festival, which is run annually, and claimed a bronze medal in the amateur pole dancing category, which had 14 competitors in it.

The festival, started by Arnold Schwarzenegger, features a number of sports such as pole dancing, body building and cross fit to name a few.

The bronze medal in the Pole Championship Series was a big deal to 39-year-old Ebrahim, who finished in fourth place the year before, and was disappointed to miss out on a podium finish.

“I was visualizing what it would be like to get the medal all week... It was a great feeling. I was pretty shocked when my name was called out.”

— Lisa Ebrahim

The mother of two has participated in pole dancing for about four-and-a-half years, and became an instructor at Poletique in Richmond two-and-a-half years ago.

“I just loved how strong the women were and how acrobatic and dynamic and how graceful it is,” she said of the sport.

In Melbourne, Ebrahim decided she needed an eye-catching act to break into the medal category, after just missing out on one in 2017.

She opted to honour the man who started the festival, and created a routine based around Predator, the creature which Schwarzenegger hunts in the movie of the same name.

“I was Predator, my movements were quite animalistic,’ she said.

“Arnold was in the original predator, I thought it would be good. I am not a dancer by trade, so I thought what could I do.

“I remember in the movie he hung bodies up from trees. I got into a ball shape at the top of the pole and let my arms go like on a roller coaster. Everything went well luckily.”

She said she loved the entire experience of the competition.

She said there were Sydney based pole dancing competitions that she attended, but they did not have nearly the same crowds as were at the festival in Melbourne.

“It was exhilarating. Normally in pole competitions you are in front of your own community, but there were thousands of people there watching,” she said.


Her Poles Have a Particular Magnetism

A nun, a Charedi housewife and a U.N. official walk into a pole-dancing studio…

[Deborah Danan | Jewish Journal]

No, that’s not the beginning of a joke with a Middle Eastern twist, it’s just a random Monday at JPole, an exercise studio in Jerusalem owned by —  and the plot thickens — a religious settler.

Originally from Bet El, a Jewish community a stone’s throw from Ramallah, Ayelet Finkelstein opened her studio in the city center six years ago with strong ideals and a weak business plan. “I’m not a business person at all,” Finkelstein admitted. “I just wanted women to feel good about themselves.”

“In here, you strip your clothes and your preconceived notions.”

— Ayelet Finkelstein

From that perspective, at least, the studio flourished. Women suffering from anorexia joined those battling obesity and with each spin of the pole their confidence bloomed.

But maintaining 1,600-square-feet of prime real estate in the Holy City was no easy task, and in August Finkelstein was forced to close her studio.

“You get to the point where you gave your soul and your heart and then you have nothing left on your plate to give,” she said.

But after the liens, the municipal fines, and the heart-gripping anxiety attacks, that’s when the yeshua — or divine redemption — steps in, she said. In her case, it came in the form of a loyal student who helped Finkelstein reopen her studio at an existing gym, saving her overhead costs.

Finkelstein views pole dancing as a form of exercise like any other but she doesn’t dismiss the sexy side to it. She runs the gamut of pole classes — from a focus on the sport’s athletic, acrobatic side to classes that combine the pole with contemporary dance.


Pole fitness @ Taos Body Shop

A new fitness class in Taos has students spinning with excitement.

[Jessie Moya | The Taos News]

Adding to the growing list of classes at the Taos Body Shop, owner Julia Fernandez de Maez has introduced X-pole Xpress Southwest classes to teach community members about pole fitness.

Classes will be offered for the first time in Taos, making the Body Shop the first Northern New Mexico fitness studio to offer the experience, according to Fernandez de Maez. Through the classes, students will be offered a full body workout experience that takes dancing, fitness and gravity to new heights.

"When people think of pole dancing, they think of stripping. That's not what we're doing here. We take a very athletic approach to this."

— Fernandez de Maez

Fernandez de Maez said she is taking the taboo out of pole fitness and is encouraging others to try out her classes. The shop has been offering classes for the past two weeks, and Fernandez de Maez said classes are filling up and growing.

Pole fitness is a growing trend across the U.S. and incorporates a full-body workout for students participating. The hourlong classes at the Body Shop focus on several different areas of the body including arms, core and legs while working on the dance routines. Learners are encouraged to start at the basics and build their confidence through the routines and workouts provided by Fernandez de Maez.


Pole dancing helped a mother-of-three recover from breast cancer and PTSD

Emilia Mazza | Daily Mail]

A mother-of-three has revealed how becoming a pole dancing instructor after a series of traumatic events has given her the strength to always battle on – no matter what life sends her way.

Northern Territory-based Kerryn Luby is currently in recovery from early stage two breast cancer, after she lost her son in 2010 and was once threatened by someone wanting to kill her children.

But since taking part in and teaching pole dancing, she has built a stronger body and mind, and it’s also helped her to focus on her needs, according to the 49-year-old.

‘It’s not a sexual activity, it’s a way of looking after yourself in a nurturing environment,’ Ms Luby told FEMAIL.

"It's a way of looking after yourself."

— Kerryn Luby

Ms Luby was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2016 and has since undergone surgery, chemo and radiation – her cancer is currently in remission.

And while this has meant less time teaching, every week she shows up to her studio, Champagne Fitness, which she opened in 2009, to help women practice their pole dancing moves.

She said she came to the activity, one that’s more aligned with sport than stripping these days, after a traumatic event had left her struggling with ongoing issues from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Touching on details, Ms Luby revealed she had received a letter at work one day, that was sent anonymously, in which the writer had threatened to kill her three children.

She was alone at the time as her husband, who she is now divorced from, was overseas working with the RAAF.

The upbeat music helped relax my mind and gave me energy at the same time. It was also very supportive because it was all women.

The letter left her so badly affected that all she wanted to do for the next year was stay at home and protect her kids. She was also placed under the care of a psychologist.

The turning point came when one night some girlfriends invited her to a pole dancing class – something she credits with changing her life.


Meet twerking queen and pole dancing extraordinaire Kelechi Okafor

[Miranda Larbi | Metro]

Ever gone to the club and wished that you could take over the dance floor with some jaw-dropping butt moves?

Sure, we might think we’re Nicki Minaj after our fourth shot of tequila but most of the time, we look and feel like idiots.

But if you really do want to learn to twerk like the dancehall queen you know you could be, then you need to head down to Kelechi Okafor’s studio in Peckham.

Kelechi teaches twerking and pole dancing lessons and when we tried out her twerk class, we left not only feeling ready to take on the Trini float at Carnival, but also drenched in sweat.

Gyms are really missing a trick not teaching this kind of dance which sees you working through a whole range of motions – digging down into muscles that rarely get used so intensely (here’s looking at you, glutes and hip flexes!).

These classes attract a whole roster of women of all races, ages, backgrounds. If you think you’re ‘too white’ or ‘too rigid’ to twerk, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Kelechi probably the most impressive person I’ve met in a long time.

A supreme athlete, she’s also an incredibly powerful personality – working to empower women via dance.

"My work is all about reclaiming... Reclaiming history and reclaiming self."

— Kelechi Okafor

‘My work is all about reclaiming,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Reclaiming history and reclaiming self. Society dictates to us whether we deserve to love our bodies based on skin colour and body shape. we have to reject these narratives and love ourselves because of our sexiness and power.’

Because let’s not forget – pole and twerk are inexorably linked to sexiness. And unlike some instructors who try to remove that aspect from their classes, Kelechi embraces it.

‘Pole dance and twerk are ways in which women can connect or reconnect with their sensuality. There is so much power in embracing your humanity, your femininity and your sensuality,’ she explains. ‘You increase confidence because of the exploration of self and you become more physicality fit. It’s a win-win.


Pole-Dancing Senior Greta Pontarelli Is Still Wowing Onlookers at 67


Greta Pontarelli looks like she’s found the fountain of youth as she proudly shows off her washboard abs in a crop top and bikini briefs while she pole dances.

Several years ago, she was researching ways to strengthen her body and stumbled upon pole dancing

“I researched it on the internet,” she told Inside Edition. “It said you could lift weights or lift your body.”

She then got to work, and hasn’t looked back since.

“It was not easy for at first. I think the teacher thought the first class I went to, ‘She’s not going to be back,’ because I couldn’t get up the pole.”

— Greta Pontarelli

“It was not easy for at first,” she admitted. “I think the teacher thought the first class I went to, ‘She’s not going to be back,’ because I couldn’t get up the pole.”

Pontarelli works out on the pole for two hours every other day.


Pole dancing focused on fun and inclusivity

[Erin PetrowSaskatoon StarPhoenix]

Sarah Longpre has been a dancer since elementary school. It didn’t take long after that for her to realize her dream of opening a dance studio of her own.

But once she started practicing fitness pole dancing five years ago, she knew she wanted to focus on it.

“It really changed my life. It’s been something I’ve always looked forward to,” she said. “When I got to start teaching, it was just something that was amazing to share with other people and to see how it could change their lives as well.”

“It really changed my life... When I got to start teaching, it was just something that was amazing to share with other people and to see how it could change their lives as well.”

— Sarah Longpre

Though she is very aware of the stigma attached to pole dancing, she says there are so many different styles, from lyrical to strength based, that it really offers something for “everybody and for every body.”

Her studio has 10 instructors, all practising different styles. It also offers a lot more than simply pole dancing classes to its students aged 18 and older, with options for both drop in and enrolment.


Escaping Conservative Istanbul: Women Find Freedom in Pole Dancing

[Umit Bektas | U.S. News]

In Istanbul’s busy Kadikoy district, a group of women attend a pole dancing class, working out in a gym which many see as a refuge in an increasingly conservative Muslim city.

The WOW studio is one of three in Istanbul which, starting in 2013 with just eight dancers, now runs courses for more than 1,000 women.

Its popularity is part of a global fitness trend, but in a country ruled by President Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party, the pole dancing classes also help women escape social or religious constraints, instructor Ozge Uraz says.

The dancers “are seeking a secure and secluded atmosphere where they can display their female energies,” Uraz said, adding that her dance studio was a “freedom zone… decontaminated from male existence”.

Thirty-year-old social media consultant Zeynep said pole dancing made her feel free. She said its popularity was partly a reaction to changes in Turkish society.

"On one side conservatism is rising but on the other side a new generation is rising, living for herself not for others."

— Ozge Uraz

“On one side conservatism is rising but on the other side a new generation is rising, living for herself not for others,” she told Reuters.

College graduate Tugba, 27, who wears a Muslim headscarf, has told only her husband and a few close friends that she does pole dancing.

Despite its links to burlesque shows and strip clubs, Tugba says pole dancing does not contradict her religious beliefs “because no man sees me when I’m dancing, and I’m doing this only for myself”.


Pole dancing studio moves to downtown Springfield

[Elizabeth Roman | Mass Live]

It may seem like pole dancing would require a lot of upper body strength, coordination and flexibility, but the most important thing is the will to try.

“Guts are also key, will and guts,” said Holly Woods, the owner of the Academy of Aerial Arts, Pole Control Studios in Springfield.

Woods started the business in Hartford nine years ago, but decided to make the switch to Springfield this year.

The studio offers 90-minute pole dancing fitness workshops several days a week.

“I found that about 75 percent of our clientele was coming from this area, and they were willing to travel all the way to Hartford to take the classes and give it a try,” Woods said. “Here I have the space, and I feel like Springfield is an exciting place to be right now.”

With the larger space, Woods also will offer classes in other aerial arts including silks and hoops.

“Silks are also known as fabrics. The fabric may be hung as two pieces, or a single piece, folded to make a loop, to create hammock silks,” Woods explained. “Performers climb the suspended fabric and use it to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, fly and spiral their bodies into and out of various drops, spins and positions.”

The steel hoops, which resemble hula hoops, are suspended from the ceiling and performers can do aerial tricks on them like they would with the silks.

"The aerial art form is always evolving, and as popular as pole dancing for fitness has become, silks seem to be the next step."

— Holly Woods

“The aerial art form is always evolving, and as popular as pole dancing for fitness has become, silks seem to be the next step,” she said.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno stopped by the studio last month before it officially opened to meet Woods and check out the new location on Hillman Street in the city’s downtown.

“I think it’s an eclectic, innovative business, and I appreciate the fact that she is investing in the city,” he said.

Woods said over the past nine years she has worked with more than 20,000 women and some men who have tried pole dancing fitness at her studio in Hartford or at pole dancing conventions and workshops.

For those skeptical about taking a class, Woods said it’s for anyone who’s just willing to try.

“Funny enough, I have not had any adult entertainers take the class, it’s always moms, teachers, doctors, lawyers,” she said. “It’s something different, especially if you’re bored with the gym.”

Introductory classes are $19.99, and drop-in classes range between $25 to $50 depending on the class.

“We offer pole, hoops, silks, yoga, barre, cardio dance and sensual dance workshops,” she said.


Defiant care home promises more pole dancing after outcry over 'inappropriate' display

The residents “thoroughly enjoyed the performance”.

[Chris Baynes | Independent]

A care home which invited pole dancers to perform for its elderly residents has said it may host more displays, rejecting claims the entertainment was “completely inappropriate”.

Local councillors were “staggered” to learn dance school students had performed for residents at Fairmile Grange in Christchurch, Dorset.

But the home’s managers said residents and their relatives had asked for a pole-dancing company to perform after requesting “more modern-style activities”.

Students from Dorset schools Pole Crazy and Pole Dance Factory performed to classic songs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s in the grounds of the 80-bed home, which cares for the elderly and people with dementia.

Some councillors objected to the display, which included music by Abba and Frank Sinatra.

“My view is that it is completely inappropriate for a care home,” Dorset county councillor Peter Hall told the Bournemouth Echo. “It’s not really the sort of entertainment I would have thought that the residents wanted or would have encouraged.”

“We are proud to challenge stereotypes and will continually offer our residents the choice to experience appropriate, new and progressive activities.”

— Izzy Nicholls

Christchurch councillor Denise Jones said: “I’m a bit staggered about it. While I’m always delighted to see the horizons of older people widened, I’m not sure that includes pole dancing.”

The home’s operator, Encore Care Homes, said dancers wore gymnastics clothing during the “artistic display of musicality and gymnastic ability”.

It said residents could choose whether to attend and those who did “thoroughly enjoyed the performance”.

zzy Nicholls, the company’s director of operations, said: “Relatives and residents requested more modern-style activities. Residents were given several choices of activity and specifically chose for a local pole dancing company to perform.

“This performance sport combines dance and acrobatics, requiring great physical strength and endurance.

“Dementia residents and non-dementia residents all thoroughly enjoyed this artistic display of musicality and gymnastic ability – and the showcase received overwhelming positive feedback from relatives.

“We are proud to challenge stereotypes and will continually offer our residents the choice to experience appropriate, new and progressive activities.”

Pole Crazy said residents “by all accounts had a wonderful time” and said critics misunderstood performers.

In a statement on Facebook, the dance school added:  ”Sadly, as always with our sport, there are some who want to tarnish that, to diminish our strength, ability and self-worth.


'Kalyug' actress Smilie Suri's new profession is 'poles apart' from acting

[India Today]

In 2005, Smilie Suri won hearts with her innocent charm in her Mohit Suri’s Kalyug. Although she made a promising debut opposite Kunal Kemmu, the actress disappeared from the Bollywood scene.

Smilie, who is the niece of Mahesh Bhatt, is now a professional pole dancer, reports DNA. Her Instagram profile is flooded with pictures and videos of her performing the dance form.

The actress was at an all-time low and was battling health issues and depression, which made her put on a lot of weight. At this point, she was introduced to pole dancing, which helped her to pick herself up. Pole dancing helped her so much that she underwent professional training and decided to teach it herself.

"I was battling depression when I found pole dance, and it has brought me a lot of emotional stability."

— Smilie Suri

In an interview with Bombay Times last year, Smilie revealed, “I was battling depression when I found pole dance, and it has brought me a lot of emotional stability. I don’t feel the need for anyone to back me up anymore. Of course, I still have days when I cry myself to sleep, but all that it takes to wipe away my blues is one student sharing how confident and independent she feels after learning it.”