Listening to Pole Parlour while I'm washing dishes or housecleaning is one of my favorite things to do - not the cleaning part, but being inspired by the stories of the creative, interesting and bold personalities in our pole dance community - what started them in pole dancing, what motivates them now, how they became inspired to persevere, what their lives are like, who influences them and my favorite part is hearing the passion in their voices as they talk.
Crimson Minx, host and founder of the Pole Parlour podcast, shares more about how she started this unique show.
I found pole dancing in 2013 after moving to Los Angeles from NYC. I didn't have many friends, so I was looking for new and interesting things to explore. Near my work, I always passed a building with big bold letters out front that read "SECRET POLE DANCE STUDIO".
I for real always thought it was a training space for strippers...I had never heard of pole dancing! But then I saw a deal for it on one of those Groupon sites and was intrigued, so I decided to check it out.
Lawdy, I was hooked immediately!
I showed up in yoga pants and an oversized tee and saw these women - of all different ages, shapes and backgrounds - wearing these tiny little outfits and doing this cool, sexy stuff on the pole, and I thought "I WANNA BE THAT!"
Fast forward, my journey has been life-changing. One thing I want to stress is that even after almost 5 years of poling, I'm still only what would be considered a level 2. I pushed myself with the tricks early on, and because of that injured my back and never really regained the strength to be able to lift myself as I could before.
But in retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise. I was lucky to be at a studio that offered so many other styles of pole and dance that did not involve tricks, so I never felt like I was stalling. Instead, I found that I actually really preferred the sexy swag and floorwork elements of pole and have stayed focused on that ever since!
But other than connecting with my own movement and sensuality, what has been truly valuable in my journey is connecting with other women in such a supportive, empowering manner. Female community is so important and I truly believe that when united, women can change the world!
This is not to say I haven't met some amazing men (whom I greatly treasure) along the way, but what was lacking in my life when I found pole was a strong bond to other ladies and this concept of women supporting women is fucking transformative.
I had started Pole Parlour as a blog, but after a year, it felt a bit futile. I was obsessed with podcasts and it occurred to me that there were no pole dance podcasts out there at the time, so I thought, what the hell, let me give it a go!
It was really important to me from the beginning to interview folks from all different pole experiences and backgrounds and not just the quote unquote "stars". I am so interested in people who are creative and interesting...that's what makes for good conversation! And we have so many folks in our community even if they aren't the most well-known.
It for real brings me great joy to share their stories on the Pole Parlour podcast and (hopefully) inspire others! I am also happy to say that so many of the pole stars have agreed to be on the show, but I've only ever reached out to people who I felt were positively contributing to the community and have a good tale to tell.
I want to serve as a platform for people to share the stories so we can see what goes on beyond the glamour of social media! I also want to be able to inspire other to be unique and think outside the box.
My favorite Pole Parlour episodes highlight people who do things their own way with no template to follow...we are still in the early days of pole, so there is so much opportunity to pave new paths and creatively introduce pole to the rest of the world. It's so punk rock in a way!
I am also very conscious of keeping things positive. That not only reflects my attitude as a person, but also - and not to belittle our community in any way - it's just pole! It's supposed to be fun! I never want to be responsible for influencing someone to feel shitty about themselves for something that for 99% of us is just a hobby!
In general, I think the pole community is so rad. Of course, as with anything, there is always going to be inside drama and buzzkills. But personally, I try not to get into it. I have no problem blocking or unfollowing people who I feel don't hold integrity for our community. I choose not to engage because I don't like the negativity to overshadow all of the powerful, uplifting things we have going for us.
I do not know of many other communities out there that offer such positive, life-changing experiences. On a daily basis, I see polers supporting, uplifting and inspiring each other...as well as just making each other laugh! We create such tight bonds with people we have just met at a studio or have never even met in "real" life.
I've travelled across the country to hang with polers I've only ever chatted with online and have had polers from the other side of the world stay with me in my home! I have contemplated this and think it may be because we get so vulnerable with each other when we dance and we share this bond of doing something still (sadly) seen as taboo in the mainstream. Maybe? I'm not sure, but seriously what we have is magic. And I encourage anyone who loses this feeling to try to remember what it felt like to become enamored by pole in the first place and do what it takes to get back to that space.
Without a doubt, my pole home for 3 and a half years, Secret Pole Dance Studio in Los Angeles. I don't know if I would have fallen in love with pole if I was introduced to it elsewhere.
When travelling in Europe about 6 months after starting pole, I took a class in London and this was before I knew anything about pole being a big thing so I truly had no idea where I was, but it was just this white room with awful fluorescent lights and unflattering mirrors and we just worked on training tricks and no one talked to each other and I thought, "This is like being in a gym!"
Not to dismiss pole fitness or this mystery studio, but I would have never returned if this was my introduction to pole. I just love being in a dark room with loud music and getting my freak on. At Secret, I was physically challenged but in a non-conventional way.
I have surprising headstand abilities because of my dancehall teacher, I have as-good-as-it's-gonna-get booty skills because of my twerk teacher, I learned I can do crazy twisty shit because of my Russian exotic teacher, I embrace being free and freaky because of my striptease teacher...and all of this contributed to me finding my personal pole style.
I feel so blessed to have been introduced to pole in a space that did not concern itself with pole celebrities or conventional competition. Instead, it was my sanctuary and safe space. I did not realize how unique this experience was until I began visiting other studios. Not to be corny, but I will always be nostalgic for this experience and it has greatly influenced me opening my own studio here in Austin, Texas.
(Read more about Crimson's studio Minx + Muse here!)
I personally find this to be such a ridiculous source of infighting. I respect and support that our industry was founded by strippers and I also honor the fact that it has evolved into something much larger and that some people legitimately practice pole just for fitness.
I don't see why this has to be a point of contention. To expand on this, some people love sexy pole dance who are not strippers, some people use pole for artistic expression, et cetera. I say bring on all the things and let's support each other and allow our industry to grow! And as this happens and pole becomes more mainstream, the public will become educated and eventually understand the difference between stripping and pole dance (and in an ideal world, respect both!)
I actually don't get offended when people don't understand that stripping and pole dance are not the same, since as I mentioned earlier, I was guilty of this ignorance myself!
I have a couple of videos on the topic, The Difference Between Stripping and Pole Dance (below) and Why We Need to Acknowledge the Real history of Contemporary Pole Dance.
Have fun! Go at your own pace and enjoy the journey. Experiment, find your own pole bliss and don't compare yourself to others. Remember to laugh and treat your body well.
Hmmm...if I could go back in time? I would tell past self Crimson to keep an open pole mind. In my early days, I admittedly was closed-minded about a lot of things pole (specifically, men in pole and pole fitness in the Olympics...I'm ashamed to admit it!)
But I have evolved to realize that someone doin' their own damn thing on the pole does not detract from me doin' my own damn thins on the pole, so let's just respect and support each other all doin' our own damn things and make this a big, beautiful, diverse community!
Keep going with yo' bad ass self! And same as the newbies, don't forget self-care and the value of cross-training...not just in terms of physical training, but also in different styles of dance and movement.
I do! I concept and design all Pole Parlour merchandise. So happy to hear you dig 'em!
The first year of the Pole Parlour podcast was weekly, then the second year we started bi-monthly. Right now I am on a hiatus as I get my studio up and running, and to be honest, I am not 100% clear on the future of the podcast...I am currently meditating on this exact question! I would love to return as a bi-monthly production if I can justify the time and effort needed to continue with the project, but it also may close to retirement.