“Any body, any age, any gender can do this…Pole dancing is for everybody.”

If the instruction “Wear booty shorts and don’t use lotion” makes you nervous, you’re not alone. When I hung up the phone with Jena Clough of DreamFyre Pole Fitness, I had to wonder what I’d gotten myself into. Clough had been gregarious and encouraging, insisting that I had nothing to worry about.

“Any body, any age, any gender can do this,” she told me firmly. “Pole dancing is for everybody.” Still, her instructions on what to bring for my first foray into the art left me a bit concerned.

What exactly were booty shorts? How much would I have to shave? Would I sweat all over everything? Was I really going to climb a pole in my skivvies in the company of complete strangers? I was haunted by scenes from “Mean Girls” and memories of a disastrous run-in with childhood ballet. I was pretty sure I’d be the lone 30-something, galumphing my way through a bevy of tiny tanned babes grooving, gyrating and tossing their perfectly fluffed hair. And would there be mirrors? Wall-length, floor-to-ceiling, mercilessly lit mirrors?

I was right about the mirrors. But about everything else, I was totally wrong.

When I arrived at Body Strong in Orleans, I met Clough and her assistant teacher, Jesse Carns, who were setting up for the evening’s class. Clough, whose retro lipstick and eyeliner set off her rockabilly tank and shorts set, sat down with me to answer some questions while Carns finished securing the portable poles to bolts in the studio’s ceiling and floor.

Clough cleared one thing up for me right away: yes, pole dancing comes from sex workers, and yes, that’s great. “I’m all about the underground roots,” she said. “I look up to the women who founded this, who were doing it in bars and then really made it into an art form. It can be as sexy or not sexy as you want, but I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t have anything to do with strippers.”

Of course, she assured me quickly, nowadays people get into pole dancing for all kinds of reasons, primarily for the exercise. “I was more sporty when I started,” she remembered. “I wanted to take a dance class to get fit after having babies. But everything I found was for kids. So when I found a pole class in Yarmouth, I just went for it. Then I got totally obsessed. I started watching YouTube videos and I was just in love. Not to mention, it’s an amazing workout. It’s like lifting weights for four hours, but way more fun.”

The mom of two soon moved on to classes in Boston and regional workshops. Before long, she began teaching on the Cape, and for the past year, has been competing nationally, as well as training a team of dancers for competition. She currently teaches at Body Strong and out of her home studio in Eastham.

“It’s great to teach in a house,” she said, “because women can bring their kids and feel safe.” Clough said she danced all the way through her second pregnancy, and added that both children enjoy dancing pole routines with her, though “my daughter’s a bit bolder at it. She’s got the real guts.” Clough also doubles as a pole saleswoman, installing home equipment for serious practitioners.

The excitement around pole dancing seems contagious, and devotees come from wildly divergent backgrounds. The night I joined, the class included Jesse the assistant, a 20-something male tree climber, a nonprofit administrator and a high school girl. Although I couldn’t avoid the dance studio’s wall of mirrors, I felt surprisingly at ease with the other students, who were as warm and encouraging as Clough.

“Don’t be nervous,” Lily Anderson, 14, told me. “You’re going to do great!”

Stephanie Ellis of Orleans also pitched in, showing me how to clean and sanitize my pole. (You do sweat — a lot.) She also lent me her legwarmers, which she said would offer some buffer against the inevitable bruises, known in the business as “pole kisses.” Ellis has been taking Clough’s class for about five months, and says it’s completely changed her relationship to her body. “When I started I couldn’t even lift my feet off the ground,” she told me. “I felt so self-conscious, but being here made me shed my insecurities. Now when I look in the mirror, I’m starting to love the person I see.”