If you had to make a list of the essential things to know for all things pole dance, what would that list include?
This month, the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association is exploring the theme of “Back to School” and it inspired me to think about the essentials, …..the basics….The ABC’s of Pole Dance. If you’re intrigued by this topic, read the intro post here for ideas, inspiration and instructions.
To create a fun blog challenge and to play on the blog hop theme, I have decided to share my ABC’s of Pole Dance. These are the things, people, products, ideas and attitudes I think are ESSENTIALS when it comes to having an awesome pole dance life.
Please know my list is subjective. I initially discovered pole dancing through GROUPON while looking for alternatives to the gym. After my first class I began to google “pole dance” and from those search results my pole life expanded and lead me on so many adventures…including the creation of this blog on SheenaLaShay.com. (Did you know there are five separate blogs here. My pole one is called, “The North Pole.”) So whether you are a beginner or advanced pole dancer, I hope my list gives you some things to consider in your pole life. I also have a fun little graphic that you can print or share on pinterest. (There are larger versions at the end of the post. I may even need to make some Pole Dance Flash Cards!)
A – Aerial Amy
My pole life is what it is today because of Aerial Amy and I believe your pole life isn’t complete without some Aerial Amy in it. (AerialAmy.com) If you’re in New York, sign up for her classes, perform in her showcases or go to Flight Nights when they are offered. Not in New York? Read her blog. It was one of the first things I discovered when googling pole dance. It is, in my opinion, one of the best pole blogs out there. Or if you’re not local to NY you can take her workshops when she travels or sign up for her retreats when they are offered. From her teaching technique to her personality, she’s a poler to know. She’s hands down one of the best pole dancers in the industry with her infusion of freestyle, choreographed, sexiness and sportiness infused in her movement. She just gets it, whatever IT is. Not only is she my pole idol, she’s actually one of my good friends.
Also See: H – High Heeled Hotties Night
B – Bodybinds
If you’re into the kind of pole dance that includes fun outfits beyond functional yoga wear, you need costumes, outfits and more. The cure: BODYBINDS. You pole life is not complete without a set of Bodybinds? (Bodybinds.com) I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m addicted to Bodybinds. Years ago, I saw every other girl in my pole classes wearing Bodybinds. I even was participating in Flight Nights and High Heeled Hotties Nights with the owner, Jackie and was friends with her and still did not even own a pair. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I purchased my first set. It wasn’t until Bodybinds became a client of #PDBloggers and I became Editor of the Bodybinds blog. After all that, then I purchased my first set. Now I have over six pair. My goal. To own them all. Another goal. To get her to make a special “Sheena” Bodybinds. Her products are worth it. I’ve seen knock offs but they do not compare to the quality of her products. You put them on and you are instantly transformed. TRUST ME!
Also See: P – Pole Dancing Bloggers Association
C – Chrome Bar, The / Alethea Austin
Aerial Amy already took the letter A, so I give you, “The Chrome Bar” A.K.A. The Magical Land of the Magical Sexy Siren Alethea Austin. As a beginner poler, when I began googling pole, there were a handful of pole dancers who came up and who influenced my growing interest in the industry. A few of them make this ABC list. Alethea Ausin is a staple. You know what, …..she’s the “Dita Von Tease” of the pole industry. To me, pole dancing is meant to be sexy and fun and sassy. Otherwise you’re a gymnast that go bored and needed a new apparatus. Pole for me is a blend of burlesque and theater and dance and strength and SEXY! Alethea Austin fulfills all of that and more. And now she has her own studio called The Chrome Bar. (TheChromeBar.com) There are classes, live girls dancing and more! Oh it should also be known that I own every single Alethea Austin DVD.
Also See: Aerial Amy, Zoraya Judd
D – Do Not Dismiss Men
I think men should be allowed to take pole classes with women and I also think men should watch women pole dancing in their natural element. I can’t sum it up nicely. Please see the referenced article below and read it in its entirety. Pole will never reach its full potential if we are sexist, exclusive mean girls who poo poo the men.
References: “We Never Let The Men In”
E – Experiment with Pole
If you’re like me, WE often believe that our pole studio is the premiere studio in the world. Or we feel our pole teacher is the best in the world. Or sexy pole is way better than sporty pole. Or sporty pole is better than artsy pole. Well, unless we have tried every single pole class and pole studio and pole genre, we are wrong and being willfully ignorant of the scope of our industry and we’re being silly. So…when you have the time…try one class at all the pole studios in your city. When you travel, try a new pole class. At your studio, try all the different pole teachers. If you always go to Lap Dance 301, try Pole Technique 201. Try it at least once. If you hate everything else except your own favorite one, after trying other things, that’s fine. I, however believe you will be surprised to pick up a new trick or different perspective that goes on to inform your pole life! I’ve gone to almost every pole studio in NY and have learned something new and unique at each one.
References: “Lyra: Aerial Hoop,”
F – Freestyle
I started poling at S Factor where majority of the work they do is freestyle movement. It wasn’t until I took classes elsewhere did I learn most pole classes teach you a routine or a trick and that’s it. A few studios leave time at the end of class for a 1 minute freestyle infusing what you learned in class. If your studio offers freestyle dance classes, please take it. Its a different way of poling and I believe it is essential. Everyone has their various techniques for teaching freestyle movement. Me? I recommend the S Factor Immersion for learning their techniques for freestyle movement. I don’t know the next time they will offer it or where they will teach it next. I paid almost $2,000 for a two week program. Was it worth the $2,000? Eh, part of me says no but when I reflect on the essentials I learned regarding freestyle movement…part of me says yes. Again, I take pole classes and watch pole videos and look at the various challenges and such. I’ve even blogged about some of my experiences and at one point was even a member of Pole Speak. Considering all of that, I feel that you will get the MOST understanding of freestyle movement from the S Factor Immersion program. Or simply take their various levels of class. I recently taught a long private session to a teenager. It was so fun. After teaching her every move I could think of and choreographing a dance on spin and static pole…I realized the missing part of her performance was freestyle. So we took time to go over essential lessons towards developing your free style. Where did I get my knowledge from? The 8 points S Factor taught me in immersion. They are fail proof and I haven’t seen anyone else teach them.
G – Get a Grip aka Grip Aid
I wish someone had told me about grip aid. Simply put. I didn’t discover grip aid until my third year of poling. WTF? If you are a pole dancer, find the right grip aid for you. For me, I like to use Dew Point on my thighs and arms. Then I like to use dry hands on my hands. The chart below is via Aerial Amy and I hear she’s updating it to include all the latest grip aids. Oh also, I once tried Gorilla Grip and loved it.
References: “Grip Aid,”
H – High Heeled Hotties
Spearheaded and originally created by Aerial Amy, this is a MUST HAVE in your life. After people saw our 2nd HHHN video, other studios and groups of friends started doing them too!!! There are chapters in other states now, ya’ll. How awesome is that!!?!? Anyone can host a high heeled hottie night and I wrote a post on how to do it below. There is only one mission…to be high heeled hotties…meaning have fun, feel good, dance however you want.
I – Ilov Grate
One of the most profound pole teachers I ever had was/is Ilov Grate. She’s the one who told me to get a spiked collar and riding crop. These are things I’ve written about her before such as –> “I am grateful for Ilov because she pushes me pass my comfort levels….She gets me, sees me and then urges me to try more and to experiment more. She gently insist that we all try something new. I value that in my experiences with others. All in all, Ilov has taught me to explore every crevice of my self. She insist that I shed light on the dark corners of my mind and bring them to surface. She suggest that I let go just a bit more. ” My advice, find teachers that inspire you and push you like Ilov. If in NY, just take a class with Ilov.
References: “Ilov Grate – Birthday Thanks,”
J – Just Breathe
When all else fails, just breathe. And don’t forget to breathe. And use your breath to help you in your movement. It really makes a difference.
K – Kicking Kills the Vibe
Don’t kick into your inverts. That’s how I first learned to invert. Then I took an Aerial Amy class and my entire pole life changed. Kicking,……. using unnecessary momentum EQUALS half assing that shit…to me at least. Be a better person and a phenomenal dancer/athlete. Slowly build up your core muscles and strength to use proper technique when doing these dangerous yet awesome things. Plus it looks prettier when you breathe and flow into an invert versus being sloppy and kicking into it.
Also See: Aerial Amy
L – Leave It On the Floor
Whatever it is, ……whatever you came into that room feelings,……. whatever is going on……leave it on the floor.
M – Music
Music is essential to pole. When dancing…if you’re at a studio that lets you pick your music, then play with different music genres. And when you pick your music, learn to dance to the beat, above the beat and under the beat. Learn to play with the pacing of your movement. Explore what different music does to different sides of you. Dance to songs you wouldn’t even think possible to dance to.
N – Negative Nancy is a NO NO
Go to class with a positive attitude. Simply put. Try. Try. and Try again. And if its too hard ask your teacher to show you a modified version. Then Practice. Practice. Practice. And during all of that…keep a positive attitude. If you don’t have anything nice to say about yourself…. don’t say anything at all. I don’t want to hear you saying nasty things about your body or lack of flexibility. Its belittling. You do yourself a disservice. Its cruel. Its mean. So love yourself. Smile through it. Try again. Take a break. Then try again. No negative talk in class. NO. NO. NO.
References: “Negative Talk and Pole Dance,”
O – Olympic Dreams
Whether pole ever gets included into the Olympics…which probably won’t be in the performance life time of any poler that I currently know…there is something you should know, POLE DANCING and POLE FITNESS is a legitimate sport, an art form, a hobby and fitness option. You don’t need public approve to know that for yourself. You don’t need the world’s permission or blessing. Me personally, I give zero fucks.
P – Pole Dancing Bloggers Association
If you want to get an inside glimpse into the lives of every day polers from teachers to students to designers and more. If you want to learn about classes and just how pole is empowering and why its so addictive. If you want to see fun playlist, battle scars and comics. If you want to know the different genres or how to cross train or why a freestyle session made a girl cry…… read the stories of over 100 independent pole dancing bloggers. You can learn about them individually and collectively via our group, the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. The bloggers associated with the PDBloggers will probably give you one of the most accurate, honest and wholistic views of the industry of pole.
Q – Question EVERYTHING
Never mind intimatation or feeling stupid or silly or pretending you know or assuming or wondering. Whether you’re in class, trying a new workshop, shopping for pole wear, not sure what to work on next….just ask QUESTIONS. The pole community is inclusive. We love sharing with one another. We love helping. We all have opinions and experiences. So ask questions. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, never stop asking questions. Never stop exploring. When you question things, it stops you from becoming complacent. It helps you get through the “Pole Plateau”. It helps keep you from “Pole Cult Group Think”. It keeps you on top of your game and make it all worth while.
R – Record Your Progress
One thing that has made my pole journey so sweet is that I have blogged about it since the very beginning. Immediately after my first pole class, I put up a review post and shared my experiences. Its great to look back and see the journey. Whether you are blogging, writing in a journal, taking pictures of every move you learn or creating videos of everything….record your journey and the progress. Get sufficient gear that will help you do this. You will love it later when you can see the story of your pole journey. Besides if you track your progress when they write the history books about pole and they do the museum exhibits about pole…maybe your pictures and journal pages will be featured. (I always think that. That all my life archives are going to be featured in some kind of special exhibit. Yup, narcissistic much?)
S – Stretch
I see this asked a lot. “How do I get more flexible?” You know the secret? You gotta stretch. And you have to stay in the stretch for more than 3 seconds. And you gotta do it consistently. And over time you will begin to get more and more flexible. Here’s another secret, there is no magic pill or potion. Stretch your body for longer periods of time consistently over and over again. Take yoga and pilates classes. If you can’t afford stretch classes, find free stretching videos online. There are plenty!
References: “SpringTONE Class at Real Pilates,”
T – Transitions are Gold
One of my pet peeves with polers in their choreography, freestyles, competition pieces and more is when they walk from one pole to the next one in between their passes or series of “on the pole” tricks. I find the most juicy parts of a dance to be the transitions. I also don’t understand when someone starts a performance just standing next to the pole holding it. USE EVERY SINGLE MOMENT TO DANCE. The video below shows how in every moment…every crawl…every thing is a dance. Dance your transitions. There is no passive time in pole. All of it should be intentional, engaging and yummy! The women below are dancing in every moment…even when they are not on a pole. DO THAT!
Also See: Freestyle
U – Upper Body Strength
I have been asked this question 1 million times, “Do I need to have upper body strength to begin pole dance?” The answer is NO. As a beginner pole dancer, you do not need to have upper body strength. You gain that over time. That’s like asking if you need to know how to dance on pointe for your VERY FIRST BALLET CLASS EVER! The answer to that is …NO.
Also See: Workout
V – Videoshoot
Almost every poler has experienced a professional pole dance photo shoot. I’ve done it. HOWEVER, I highly recommend that you also have a professional pole dance video shoot. A picture only shows a pose, a transition or a trick. A video shows your body in motion…which is what pole is all about. Only seeing your life in pole pictures is like being served the best meal but you can’t smell it or taste it. An essential part of feasting is the experience and sense of smell and taste. Same with pole. Static pictures only do so much. Have a professional video shoot and watch it change your life. Two years later and I still absolutely adore both of the videos I had produced.
References: “10 Reasons Your Pole Videos Suck,”
W – Work that Body Out
Its the only way to get stronger. Push ups. Yoga. Salsa. Cross Fit. Whatever it is you do, you have to work out. One thing I appreciated about S Factor is that every 2 hour class began with about a 45 minute warm up. It appears to be a sensual version of pilates and yoga mixed with sexy versions of every day things like push ups. As sexy and sensual as it was, it was also intentional. 45 minutes at the beginning of every class was dedicated to stretching and using our body weight to work out. While S Factor is not known for teaching advanced pole dance tricks…what I did gain from them aside from a freestyle aesthetic was the STRENGTH to then go to other studios and quickly learn new tricks. If you already have the strength in place from a dedicated practice of working out…learning new tricks is easy. I’ve gone to pole classes where the warm up is 10 minutes and its not that great. Yes, working the pole itself is a great workout, but its not enough. You have to workout … OFF THE POLE…in order to have the strength to do the work on the pole. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone I said that.
Also See: Stretch, Upper Body Strength
X – X Pole or Platinum Stages
At some point, you will probably buy your own pole to install at home. Studio classes can get expensive and even if you can afford them, having a pole at home just gives you more practice time. Or its great for having private parties such as the one seen below. There are two main pole manufacturers. X-Pole and Platinum Stages. Every poler has their preference. I myself do not have one. I have owned poles from both companies and loved them. Do your research and go with who you think best for your needs. However, don’t skimp and get cheap, silly poles that can put your life at risk. Get the real deal!
Y – Youtube & Vimeo are Your Friend
Just spend some time exploring youtube and vimeo using various search terms for pole dance and pole fitness and aerial arts and more. Enjoy all the new moves, songs and dancers you discover. There are videos for all types, no matter what genre or style you love. Just watch them. I have found so many awesome things on both. Also on vimeo…I have even found tons of pole dance documentaries and creative features where pole plays a starring role!
Z – Zoroya Judd
Zoroya Judd was one of the few pole dancers I originally discovered on youtube when trying to learn about pole dancing. Alethea Austin showed me the sexy side of it. Aerial Amy showed me how an every day girl could transform into a powerhouse. And Zoroya Judd showed me the sheer athletic sport of pole dance. She showed me that pole is so many things and most people who judge pole have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Later, she would even go one to pole dance with a snake. Britney’s “Slave For You” performance with a snake has nothing on a pole dancer with a snake…just saying.
Also See: Aerial Amy, The Chrome Bar
For shits and giggles, you can pin, print, practice and share the ABC’s of Pole Dance. I made individual sheets. Click each image for a LARGER VERSION!
Remember to Click each image for a LARGER VERSION!
ABOUT the BLOG HOP & the #PDBLOGGERS
The #PDBloggers “blog hop” is a monthly blogging event that unites the global network of pole dance bloggers, pole fitness bloggers and aerial art bloggers around a common theme. (If your blog deals with other topics, its okay. Join our conversation too!)
The goal is for each participant to write about the group topic with their own unique perspective on their independent blogs.
The Pole Dancing Bloggers Association (#PDBloggers) is a community for pole artists to share, connect, create and report engaging content about the ever growing and evolving world of pole dance. Currently the #PDBloggers consist of over 150+ pole dance/fitness bloggers from 20 countries who create fun, sizzling content on a consistent basis while sharing their personal journeys.