What I learned in pole dancing class is...

How we learned some of what goes into being a pole dancer


We’ve all heard someone say it.

“I’m just gonna drop out and become a stripper.”

If you think stripping is an easy alternative to college, we’ve got news for you. 

It hurts. 

On Saturday, we took “Pole Dance Fundamentals” at Electric Daisy Fitness and have the bruises to prove it. The owner of the studio and certified poleates instructor, Kelsey, was very patient with us as we butchered her dance moves and cheered on each other’s attempts at squatting around the pole.

The class started as most sports practices do, warmups and conditioning. We learned how to grip the pole properly in order to lift our bodies to execute more difficult dance moves, such as fan kicks and the fireman spin. 

From there, we were taught spins, dips and lifts.

Piece by piece, we added each move to build an entire routine over the course of the hour that we were there. After learning the proper form, we were able to freestyle at the end of the session.

Kelsey told us how most beginners, including herself, want to “go crazy” on the pole and do whatever comes to mind rather than learn the moves and focus on technique.

Doing all of these exercises didn’t feel too bad in the moment, but we realized what we had gotten ourselves into the following morning. 

Trying to sit up in bed after waking up took seven minutes because our abs, torso, back, arms, shoulders and butt were so sore. We were quickly reminded of everything we did the day prior, holding our body weight in the air and constantly being on our toes while standing. 

When complaining to each other about the pain we were in, we landed on an interesting conversation. 

If people understood what goes into pole dancing, would they be so quick to make a joke of it?

From its origin to now, the common perception of pole dancing has changed from athleticism to an easy – and highly seductive – way to make money. People don’t see how much work really goes into pole dancing, and that it should be respected like any other career.

They are entertainers and performers, not hypersexual dancers who want to go home with everyone in the audience. They are in this profession because they like what they do and are sharing their art for others to see and not because they “failed out of school” or have “daddy issues.”

It’s a trade that people have worked to excel at. 

And very few people recognize this.

After nearly a century, pole dancing is slowly becoming recognized as the sport it initially was. It has recently gained popularity as a form of fitness with professional competitions held worldwide.

The act first appeared in the 1890s as a circus skill in the form of gymnastics. It has been adopted into more modern acts that are seen in gentlemen’s clubs, but the skill and strength are the same. Just because it has progressed into a more eccentric form of art and training does not mean that it should be criticized. 

It only took one class to fully realize that, but it shouldn’t have to.

The next time you think about tweeting that you’re going to drop out of college and become a stripper, think about what it really takes.

Cassiana Enderle and Savanna Caldwell are copy editors and can be reached at opinion@ubspectrum.com.