The Secret Life of a Pole Dancer

The Secret Life of a Pole Dancer

The Secret Life of a Pole Dancer

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Maybe it’s an eye roll. Maybe it’s a dismissive chuckle. It may even be outright disgust. Rarely though, when you tell someone that you’re a pole dancer, will you receive a reaction that isn’t judgmental one way or another.

I went through several phases in my process of immersion into the world of pole dancing. At first I hid it from co-workers and family. As it became a bigger part of my life, it also became more difficult to conceal. Soon I realized, “Hey, I’m not doing anything wrong. Why should I hide this?” So I came out of the pole closet completely. Ever since, I’ve been an unabashed promoter of the sport and art form.

Professional Pole Dancer Oona Kivela

Some people are not as fortunate to be so vocal though. Many of my fellow pole dancers work in industries where such activities are severely frowned upon so they cannot be as open about what they do. This was the case for Marina, a school teacher who felt forced to resign over her pole dancing hobby.

This pains me. This angers me. Why should something that is done in one’s personal life affect his or her professional career? What’s more, why should something that is so obviously harmless be so controversial? As Marina put it best, “I’m not doing anything illicit, immoral, not illegal.” We know that strippers (some, not all) pole dance. Strippers also strip though and that is not something that is done in fitness classes, performances or competitions. How is that distinction repeatedly lost?

And yes, of course there is the dichotomy of pole dancing having this naughty allure making people curious enough to try it….yet once participants see it isn’t as “dirty” as they had initially thought they want that part to disappear. I have a proposal. Why can’t we be okay with pole dancing having this history that is tied up with sexuality and being an activity that can be completely athletic or artistic?

Anna Grundstrom of The Pulse Project

The point I want to make is that it is just a piece of metal and that is what is so beautiful about it. You can make it into anything you want it to be. It is up to the dancer to decide the meaning. And as an audience member, you can interpret that however you want. When I get reactions now, I make sure to keep class cards handy to pass on so inquisitors can try it and see for themselves.



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