Studies show that immersion is the most effective way to learn a new language. (1) Something about diving straight into the deep end—rather than learning in a formal classroom—helps your brain process the information better.
That’s why attending well-organized conventions can be so beneficial. It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to an activity. Gathering with like-minded people and experts will still be hugely impactful. Not to mention you’ll have a blast while learning and networking.
For almost a decade, dancers from across the globe have flocked to the annual PoleCon. This convention is a can’t-miss if you’re interested in pole dancing, no matter your skill level.
You’ll get the most out of your experience if you have an idea of what to expect. Keep reading to learn what PoleCon is, what to expect, and the many benefits of attending!
What is PoleCon?
PoleCon, short for the International Pole Convention, is essentially a celebration of pole dancing. It unites dancers of all ages, ethnicities, fitness levels, genders, and shapes. At the convention, you can:
- Connect with other members of the pole community
- Watch loads of performances
- Take pole workshops led by experts
- Shop your favorite pole brands and discover new ones
- Soak up as much pole culture and knowledge as possible
Colleen Jolly took over running the PoleCon event in 2014. She’s still the sole owner and CEO today. Her business and fitness background mean she has the skills to pull off a great event, year after year.
It’s no surprise considering she’s an AFAA-certified personal trainer, pole dance competitor, and marketing expert!
The pandemic caused indefinite delays to concerts, conventions, and so much more. The International Pole Convention was no exception.
Starting in 2020, Colleen announced that PoleCon would be hosted virtually. In 2021 and 2022, there were both in-person and virtual events. Attendees could choose between traveling or staying home and avoiding the crowds.
As of this moment, no virtual PoleCon dates have been announced for 2023. PolePedia will post updates here if that changes!
PoleCon: Intensive is an offshoot of PoleCon. It’s essentially a mini version jam-packed with education and goodies.
The intensive version includes 4-hour workshops in one day. (PoleCon, on the other hand, offers many hour-long classes across an entire weekend.)
As a whole, intensive allows you to get laser-focused on intense pole work. Known pole stars lead the workshops, so you know you’ll get your money’s worth.
A 4-hour workshop gives your body more time to warm up and allows you to improve your overall technique, instead of learning a couple specific tricks. The PoleCon: Intensive classes happen a bit more sporadically than PoleCon. At the time of writing, there are no upcoming dates for Intensive.
Where is PoleCon Held?
In 2023, PoleCon will be held at Live Casino & Hotel Maryland, 7002 Arundel Mills Cir Ste 7777, Hanover, MD 21076. The dates are June 15 – 18, 2023.
The location for PoleCon changes every year, so it most likely won’t happen in the same spot for 2024. But there are some particularly useful features at this venue, like:
- Wood floors in all workshop rooms, which is preferable to concrete
- Workshop rooms and the main stage are on the same floor, making it easier to get around
- Free parking
- Very close to the airport—less than a 15-minute drive (2)
- Venue attaches to a mall with tons of food options and activities
- The main stage has a dressing room, so prepping for performances is stress-free
Basically, this hotel should be perfect for PoleCon. Whether you’re a vendor, performer, or attendee, this year’s convention will be one to remember!
What You Can Learn at PoleCon
All weekend long at PoleCon, you can take part in workshops and watch showcases. These are fantastic opportunities to learn about pole dancing and related topics.
Some workshops cover a specific trick or technique. But you’ll also see seminars about things like owning a pole studio, social media for dancers, and avoiding injuries.
Basically, it doesn’t matter how new or experienced you are with pole. There are free and paid workshops to teach you a slew of tricks, skills, and more. In past years, educators included nutritionists, doctors, business owners, and pole stars.
PoleCon is the best place for you to learn from reliable, knowledgeable experts.
Then there’s the showcases. In 2023, PoleCon will have 20 different showcases. Each one highlights a different aspect of the pole community. No matter what you’re interested in, watching the showcases is an amazing chance to absorb new ideas and information.
What You Can Do at PoleCon
How you spend each day at PoleCon is completely up to you. The official schedule for 2023 hasn’t been released yet, but here’s a general list of what you can do each day:
- Attend paid or free workshops to improve your pole skills and grow your knowledge
- View performances and showcases of pole dancing and aerial routines
- Take part in these performances and showcases yourself (requires applying in advance)
- Network with other pole dancers and enthusiasts during lunch (included with your PoleCon admission!)
- Shop the exhibitor booths for pole-related gear, apparel, and so much more
- Connect deeply with the loving and positive spirit of the global pole community!
Did you know there are proven psychological benefits of meeting like-minded people? (3) Basically, getting social support leads to feelings of empowerment and positive emotions.
No matter how you spend your time at PoleCon, you’ll leave feeling energized, loved, and more confident.
How Do I Get Involved?
You can get involved with PoleCon by:
- Performing in showcases
- Teaching a free or paid workshop
- Sponsoring PoleCon
- Hosting an exhibitor/vendor booth
- Volunteering your time
- Purchasing a ticket, checking out the workshops and supporting vendors as a patron
Performing in Showcases
One of the best things about the International Pole Convention is its accessibility. Colleen and her team understand that pole dancers come from all walks of life. Most importantly, they strive to host an event that’s accessible to everybody.
You can apply to participate in the showcases held at PoleCon no matter who you are. New categories are added every year to better represent the wonderfully diverse pole community.
Teaching a Workshop
When it comes to teaching workshops, there are 2 options: free and paid. The deadline for applying to both is January 15, 2023. Paid workshops focus on pole dancing, like specific tricks and techniques. Applying doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be chosen.
Here’s the thing. PoleCon wants to celebrate all the voices of the pole community. The more unique and interesting your workshop is, the more likely you are to be selected. This process ensures that attendees get fantastic value for their money.
If you want to host a free workshop, the topic may be less pole-related. Acro yoga, injury prevention, and chair choreography are examples of past free workshops. Hosting a workshop will also get you a 10% savings on your own PoleCon weekend pass.
Sponsoring PoleCon can take many forms. Colleen and her team know that businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Having less time or money than a bigger company shouldn’t shut you out from sponsorship and marketing opportunities.
That’s why PoleCon offers loads of sponsorship options. You can chip in towards goodie bags for attendees and spread the word about your brand that way, for example. Colleen will be releasing more info about how to become a 2023 sponsor in December 2022.
Businesses of any size are welcome to buy exhibitor booths. In past years, businesses with booths have included:
- Pole apparel, accessories, jewelry, and shoes
- Aerial gear and equipment
- Grip aid products
- Hosts of other pole events
- Pole training organizations
- Studio owner tools like legal services and advertising
- Affinity groups
Basically, if pole dancers are your demographic, it’s worth buying a booth. There are several different sizes and price points to choose from!
Can I Volunteer at PoleCon?
Yes, you can volunteer at PoleCon. Volunteers handle cleaning poles, checking in attendees, and everything in between.
Starting in 2020, PoleCon changed their volunteer policies a bit. The convention now only accepts past PoleCon volunteers and pre-approved groups.
So, how do you become a pre-approved group? You commit to bringing yourself and at least 3 other volunteers. You’ll apply by emailing PoleCon directly. And not all applicants are accepted.
But there’s a good reason: so many people volunteer at the convention every year. At this point, they rarely need more hands on deck.
So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t approved for volunteering. Just attend the convention knowing the organizers have all the help they need.
Can Anyone Perform at PoleCon?
Yes, absolutely anyone can perform at PoleCon. But you’ll need to apply and get accepted. And you should know the deadline to apply is December 2, 2022.
You apply online through the PoleCon website. There, you’ll find a link to their application form and general information. If you’re on the fence about performing, PolePedia encourages you to go for it!
A recent study found that performing in front of an audience can actually be beneficial. (4) Doing so activates the part of your brain which improve your motor skills and general movement.
And who could be a better audience than a crowd full of supportive pole dancers? PoleCon’s official recommendation is that you don’t perform solo for the very first time at the convention. But performing with a troupe at PoleCon is a fabulous and safe way to make your debut.
You can apply for more than one showcase. For 2023, there are 20 different options representing a diverse range of styles, skill levels, and cultures. And don’t forget, the stage this year has dressing rooms (and quite a few other performer-friendly details). There’s never been a better time to strut your stuff on stage!
How Much Does It Cost to Attend PoleCon?
It’ll cost you somewhere between $65 and $225 to attend PoleCon. It all depends on which tickets you buy:
- Weekend passes (which include the opening events Thursday night) cost $225
- A Friday or Saturday day pass costs $125
- A Sunday day pass costs $65
And remember, you get a 10% discount on your weekend pass if you host a workshop.
You’ll also want to factor in your travel expenses. The most common added expenses are overnight lodging, gas or airline tickets, and food.
If possible, give yourself a budget for the exhibitor booths too. You never know what must-haves you’ll stumble across—and many booths offer discounts exclusive to PoleCon.
And with that, you now know everything about attending PoleCon. But it’s impossible to put into words just how transformative attending can be. Book your tickets and start counting the days to June 15, 2023!
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1. The New York Times, How Immersion Helps to Learn a Language
2. Google Maps, Directions from Live! Casino and Hotel to BWI Airport
3. The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Mass Gatherings, Health, and Well-Being: From Risk Mitigation to Health Promotion
4. Johns Hopkins University, Having an Audience Might Make You Perform Better, Study Finds