I had the privilege of interviewing Jennifer Michelle, founder and owner of Pole Skivvies, shorts and tanks designed specifically for pole dancing.
Jennifer, how long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?
I've been pole dancing for about three and a half years. I got into it at a time when my usual workout, belly dancing, was feeling a little stale.
I wanted larger movements and a different kind of sex appeal. I had seen pole dancing once before, but never thought of trying it until a friend lent me the S Factor book. I was hooked - she wrote about pole the way I had felt, long, long ago, about belly dancing.
I started watching every pole video I could find on youtube, hanging out on all the forums, and within two weeks had ordered my first pole, a
I was hooked!
Do you have a website?
Yes! For PoleSkivvies, a line of workout clothing I design just for pole dancing - you can see it at www.poleskivvies.com
The site is also a blog- I add new posts every Monday and Thursday. I've been doing the blog for over two years now, so there's a TON of information on it for pole dancers!
Plus interviews with everybody from newbies to pole champions to mat and pole manufacturers!
How did you get started designing pole clothes?
Well, I live in Vermont where there are no pole studios and no pole instructors, which meant that, at the beginning, I was learning by making videos of my attempts to pole and uploading them to Youtube for feedback.
Well, when I saw how badly my shorts were gapping in the crotch - especially on full screen (yikes!) - I decided I had to get better shorts. I asked around for everyone's recommended brands, tried them all, and didn't find any that I liked.
So I decided to design my own, keeping the needs of pole dancers in mind from the start.
What advice do you give beginning pole dancers? Advanced students?
I'm not an instructor, but what I always want is for students to be safe.
That means emotionally as well as physically, which is important because dancing is such an expression of self. Your teacher should support your style of dance, even if it differs from her own, while making sure you learn in a progression, so your muscles are ready for new moves.
What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping?
Those are the roots of the style and I think that's a cool thing. I also think it requires us to have respect for the pole dancers who strip, since they created the art form we love.
As the style grows and becomes more mainstream, I think it will become more fitness-y, but I doubt it will ever completely lose its sexy edge.
Like belly dancing and hip-hop and a thousand other styles of dance, that heat will still be part of pole's allure.
Have you ever competed?
God, no. I will always be a student of pole, never a competitor. I just have fun dancing around and trying new moves, but I don't have any delusions about my skill level. :)
I used to perform belly dance, so I got that rush of being on stage then. Now, I just want the fun, the camaraderie, and the challenge I get with pole.
What has been your biggest challenge in your pole journey? How did you overcome the difficulty/challenge?
Finding good instruction. I tried teaching myself and was a mess of tendonitis for quite awhile, then learned online in a program that didn't pay attention to how a student should be taught to build strength before progressing to harder moves, so that messed me up for a bit.
Now I have found an online instructor that really works with me and I no longer have the injuries I was getting, which is why I'm finally making some progress.
Do you have a pole "hero"?
So many! I love Jenyne for her range - she has strength and always changes her style. Estee Zakar invariably makes my jaw drop.
is so emotive. And Felix just levitates!
Really, I could go on and on - there are so many pole dancers I admire.
What studio(s) have you trained at/instructor you have learned from?
Right now, I study regularly online with Yannori of
and get occasional coaching from Trixie Lovett of www.PoleNation.com.
Have you ever used any dvd's to learn from?
Yes, I originally started with one of
- one of her very early ones. That was more for showing the possibilities.
For learning the basics, I love Jamilla's Art of Pole series.
What has been the most challenging trick/move for you to learn?
Honestly, how to spin without ruining my shoulder. Once I figured that out, everything started falling into place.
Do you have a favorite grip product or trick that you use for pole work?
Yes, it's called summertime.
I live in Vermont and half the year I'm just too cold to grip at all. I just got some Mighty Grip gloves, but now that it's summer, I am not having grip issues. Come September or October again, though, I'll give 'em a test run.
You have pole clothing/products. Tell us about them!
PoleSkivvies came about, as I explained above, to keep my lady bits from falling out of my shorts.
All PoleSkivvies are made of breathable, sweat-wicking material, and none of the shorts gap in the crotch. They also don't give camel toe or muffin top, and the Gemini Pole Bra will keep your girls under wrap, even during an invert.
What is your favorite pole workout outfit?
I love my black and azure blue PoleSkivvies Gemini Bra and Butterfly Short. I look so sassy! ;)
Well, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, so lets see what your customers have to say!