Jena Clough of DreamFyre Pole Fitness is what you get when you mix exotic pole dance, platform stilettos, self-proclaimed nerdiness, The Game of Thrones, a history of playing Dungeons and Dragons and wishes of being a magical being!
A self-taught pole dancer, pole dance studio owner, and now
competitor, this rising star caught my attention when she placed in the 2017
Dance Filthy competition - and I am always curious about a person’s pole dance journey.
Jena Clough, who has no dance background at all, used to teach surfing lessons and ride horses, tried pole fitness once and couldn’t stop thinking about it.
That was almost 10 years ago. When
she started, she was really just looking to learn to dance – hip hop maybe. There
just weren’t a lot of options where she lives in Cape Cod but at the time she
noticed there was a pole dance studio.
She ended up taking some classes but then realized that that particular studio was not for her – she felt she wasn’t being taught properly, ended up bruising her ribcage and even showed up for class with no instructor there at times. The place ended up closing, so Jena took that opportunity to buy her own pole.
She started teaching herself alone at home and turned to YouTube for pole instruction, learning through trial-and-error.
“I learned a ton from Karol Helm’s videos. I used to just sit on the couch for hours and slow down the videos to learn”, says Jena Clough. She also went to whatever workshops she could find that were going on in Boston – driving three hours just to learn some new material. Although she now teaches workshops in different states, she still takes video lessons herself.
Her passion for learning to pole dance even led her to subscribe to a pole dance magazine. She looked forward to every issue with anticipation and was so excited that when she received an issue she would, in her words, “Devour it!”
Jena says she’s a huge nerd. She grew up in a comic book store playing Dungeons and Dragons and loves the show “Game of Thrones” which is where she got the name inspiration for her studio “DreamFyre”; and when she is on her pole she truly feels like a magical being.
We all have that one video, that one performance, that one dancer – or maybe even more than one – who just lit a fire in us to try pole. I wanted to know: Who inspired her?
The list is long: Karol Helms, Allison Sipes, Sarah Jade,
Alethea Austin, Carmine Black, Brynn Route, Olga Koda and last but not least,
her instructor from Barre & Pole, Tekla Kostek, whom she loves.
“I look up to Allison Sipes and Sara Jade, the ‘old school’ pole dancers that put Dance Filthy together. I met her (Sarah Jade) at the first Dance Filthy; she just looked like she was having fun the whole time and she has been super inspirational to me."
Jena Clough has also been accepted into the 2018 Alethea Austin Exotic Day competition. "I’ve watched every Alethea Austin video too! I took a workshop once from her once and lived off a compliment that she gave me for the longest time! I also love Brynn Route whose energy and vibe are really cool and Olga Koda’s videos just make me want to dance! Carmine Black is amazing too and so many others,” she says.
Provence Town Banner did an article on her after she and her studio were in a local parade a few years back. But when the interviewer brought up the subject of “stripper” Jena didn’t want to hide what she was doing – she did dance sexy and she realized that the pole dance industry had been taken to the next level by people who used to be strippers.
“I used to be the person that said ‘Oh, we’re not strippers’” but then came to realize that “I think every girl has a little stripper in her.”
Her pole style is definitely exotic now. “I want to get more into the dance style that uses dubstep and trap music.” She is not afraid to figure out her style of dance anymore – and is not afraid of letting her emotions show when she is dancing.
What led her to compete the first time?
“I wanted to compete for a long time but I was scared and had a lot of self-doubt,” Jena says. “I had babies and was teaching too. But then I did a showcase at Barre & Pole and got close to the owner, Tekla, who is a certified pole dance instructor and a performing ballerina. I thank her for bringing out the style that I have going today. She helped me to tap into that. She was the one that encouraged me to apply for Dance Filthy.”
Jena saw the Dance Filthy competition opportunity and just went for it when her submission was accepted.
“I didn’t really ‘get it’ either, I was still figuring myself out.” she says of her 2016 performance. This was her first competition ever. She figured she would send in a submission video and just see what happened.
She looks back and thinks she shouldn’t have tried to be a character other than just being herself. “I didn’t go out in heels and had clothes on!” she says of the first competition but looks back and realized that she was still getting her confidence and did make good connections that year. Here’s the video of her performance in 2016:
For 2017 Jena Clough upped her game and was happy that her hard work paid off and felt it was “super cool” to be recognized for it. She wasn’t going to apply to compete in 2017 because she had PSO (Pole Sport Organization) where she placed 3rd in Level 4 Exoic and her first ever showcase for her studio so her scheduled was super-crammed. But she made the plans to compete, barely made it time because of the tightness of her schedule, performed and placed!
Pedi-Pleasers and Home Pole Studios sponsored and supported her this past year (2017). Jena feels her confidence has shot up and she has really stepped out making those needed connections in the pole community. It was complete fuel to her fire to hear them yelling her name at Dance Filthy. The first time around (2016) she felt so alone, but not this time.
This style of pole dance and this type of show resonated with her so much that she plans on applying to compete again in 2018.
Here’s the video of her 2017 winning performance:
She also recently took her exotic dance style to the Girl Next Door competition at Lucky's Cabaret in Connecticut and won first place twice!
Jena’s future plans include teaching “all over the place” including pole dance studios and pole dance events, going for USPDF (US Pole Dance Federation) again and receiving her Pro Card, create more events in her area, creating a website and blog called DreamFyre Pole Fitness, making tutorials, selling her branded merchandise, continuing to compete and perform and still teach in her home studio.
Jena is definitely full of passion for pole dancing - but her real passion is teaching pole dance and she wants to share that passion with the world.