Hi Pole Peeps,
I know that, save for one article about performing, you have not heard from me, and so, for a variety of reasons, I felt it was about time to reach out to you all.
As many of you have recently read, I will be taking up the role of IPDFA President of Americas. I am both extremely excited and humbled by this opportunity and what it means for all of us, but before I dive into that, I want to chat about how this came to be.
Let’s start with Polepedia.com:
Polepedia came about after I had several bad experiences with the pole studios where I lived at the time. Each experience was degrees worse than the last.
The final breaking point was when I cracked a rib during a class where, despite there being a number of new students in the room (as far as she knew, this was my first class ever), the studio owner was teaching inverts.
It was around that time that I looked online and realized the pole space was lax – not only in safety guidelines – but also a commonality of vernacular, terms, and agreed upon techniques. Further, what pieces of advice about safety that I could find where often conflicting, and in some cases, equally wrong!
Finally, many of the training programs that could have helped save me from several pain-filled weeks were locked behind paywalls.
I was not happy.
Let me step back for a moment: I’m very excited to see the growth and recognition that pole is getting worldwide. That momentum is ever-increasing, with more age groups expressing interest in the sport.
It does, however, make me wonder how many more polers we would have worldwide if there was a solid, consistently safe path to growth, or a resource where everyone could have their questions answered.
How many students have given up on their pole journeys due to similar experiences to mine?
How many cracked ribs, hurt shoulders, and pulled muscles could have been avoided?
I always tell myself, “Do something about it, or stop complaining.”
Thus, with the help of my partners, Polepedia was born.
Granted, the journey from the point of ideation to now has not been easy. We initially had planned to have MANY different facets to Polepedia that we either haven’t been able to execute on – such as a multi-vendor service – initiatives that petered out due to lack of participation and technical issues, such as a community-driven wiki to help further the pole discussion (The original -Pedia part of PolePedia).
Needless to say, this labor of love has been quite a ride.
So, we are left with the obvious questions: Where do we go from here, and how will we be able to get there?
First and foremost, my goal is to have a continued focus on safety:
Safety for trainers.
Safety for studios.
Safety for students.
I want my rib to be the final one that is cracked from poor training habits and teaching methods.
Secondly, I want to focus on growth through overall awareness.
I have an extensive background in branding and online marketing. I plan on using this skillset to draw attention, not to PolePedia, but to the very places where the pole journey began for most of us: Local Studios.
As I have done with other initiatives in the past, I want to move to recognize and interview studios of all sizes. Big studios, small studios, competitive studios, and even tiny studios that exist in what are essentially one horse towns.
By doing this, I hope to shine more light into both the trials and triumphs of running these pole dance studios.
What has worked for them, what hasn’t?
What are we as dancers, athletes, hobbyists, people not seeing behind the scenes?
Where do studios need the most help, and how can we, as a community move to help them?
The ultimate goal will be many-fold:
- To spread information and awareness of pole to different regions of the world
- To help attract potential students to the local studios in their area by allowing them to learn the who’s who of their area
- To help demystify and directly confront people who are curious about pole, but don’t know the right questions to ask.
History has shown that nothing alleviates anxiety than good detailed information.
These studio interviews will allow potential students – people who are interested but are on the fence – to meet and explore the people, space, and personalities that they would meet before they even walk in the door.
Not only that, but it would set Pole Studios apart from any other non-pole competition for dance studio searches.
Through these actions I hope to increase the aggregate number of students worldwide, and by doing so, help the continued legitimization of pole as a sport.
So, let’s talk a bit about what those paths forward look like, and the challenges I see to each:
In one path, we (PolePedia) find and reach out to studios ourselves. I personally don’t like this as this method runs into the issues of existing visibility.
Said another way: The easiest studios to find are those that are already known and are easy to find. If we try to avoid doing this, then our methodology would be the digital equivalent of throwing a dart at a map on the wall and seeing who it hits.
Obviously not ideal.
The much better path forward, and the one I am hoping works, is for all of you students, teachers, coaches, studio owners reading this to reach out to us.
We want to chat with people who are vested and passionate about their pole journeys and what experiences they offer their students.
This leads to the path forward I prefer: You let me know who we should talk to.
Who should we interview?
Who are the superstars that we don’t know about that we should?
Everything, absolutely everything, starts from a grassroots perspective. None of us can make this happen all by ourselves, so I am calling out to each of you to help us all grow.
Pole Peep Out,