Discovering Sensuality One Woman At A Time

Beyond The Pole

The traditional image of pole dancing involves scantily clad women, dollar bills and sleazy bars. But there is another view; committed groups of pole and sensual dance enthusiasts are changing that image and reclaiming the rightful place of empowered feminine sexuality in motion one woman at a time. By turning to pole dancing for fitness, practitioners are discovering an intense workout that allows them to gain upper body strength, flexibility and core strength, as well as inspiring an inner feminine confidence. Women are indeed doing it for themselves, moving without judgment or the prying eyes of spectators and inspiring each other to embrace their body’s sensuality.

“We are dressed in clothes, there aren’t people throwing money at us,” enlightened April Talsma of Stagelight Studios in Ventura. “We’re just here getting sweaty and laughing and it’s a fun class.” Fun is just one aspect of the experience that women take away with them from a pole dancing fitness class. Another is that the experience is both centering and cathartic. “Part of what it does is that it brings you back into your body,” explained Caroline Netzorg of Sheila Kelley’s S Factor in Encino. “Through the breath, the movement, and the music, you’re really connecting and letting go of everything. The most important part is the movement, the connection, the sensuality. It’s solely for you – it’s not about the pole.”

Taking a pole dancing class is often a transformative experience. Many women experience an inner hidden feminine sexuality and discover a newfound confidence in their bodies and with their curves. These transformations are often witnessed in the studio. “I think it helps her inner goddess come out” said Talsma, “ I’ve seen a lot of girls when they start the class they won’t watch themselves in the mirror; after they’ve been here a couple of classes I think it makes them more comfortable with being sexy.”

The “S Factor” philosophy is to focus on sensual movement, incorporating Pilates and Yoga moves, and differs from many studios by providing no mirrors and featuring hushed lighting. They focus on women taking ownership of their own bodies and femininity while avoiding self-criticism. “It’s solely about the expression of self with no judgment,” confided Netzorg. “Mirrors make you self-conscious. If I saw myself dance with those mirrors, I probably wouldn’t dance.”

The overall consensus is that participants take this nonjudgmental inner sensual confidence with them into their everyday lives along with an increased level of support for all women. During classes in her Ventura studio Talsma has witnessed regulars give instruction to her new students. “They let go a little and instead of women being women and competing they’re now helping each other feel better about themselves,” offered Talsma. “I see it all the time.”

Encouraging women to share a sexy workout and move their bodies in both sensual and strenuous ways seems to instill within us a newfound camaraderie. “All you have is that respect for women – the way it was meant to be,” Netzorg explains, “I believe that’s a huge huge part of this movement. The respect for women, the respect for our bodies.”

What was once the secret domain of exhibitionism and a symbol of exploitation of feminine sexuality is fast becoming an empowering, shared, sensual workout for all women. It is a practice that these enthusiasts want to now share on a wider scale. “I want every woman in the world to experience this and to introduce this to the entire world,” enthused Netzorg. “I think it’s a journey we’re on – one woman at a time.”

Sensual Dance Classes:
Sheila Kelley’s S Factor
Encino, Los Angeles,
Costa Mesa/Orange County,
San Francisco, Houston,
NYC, Chicago

Shelia Kelley’s S Factor
DVD Series:
StageLight Studios
1987 E. Main St, #B
Ventura CA. 93001
(805) 652 – 1930

Studio U
1027 Abbott Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 452 – 1717

Sacred and Sensual Dance
Classes and Retreats:
Sacred Dance: A Journey of Self-Awakening for Women
With Hemalayaa
DVDs by Acacia:
Hollywood Booty,
Beautiful Belly,
Dance of the Kama Sutra

Natalie D-Napoleon is a novice sensual dancer who is also a writer and an award-winning singer-songwriter.

By Natalie D-Napoleon