Sex, lies and strip teases

With the revival of burlesque dancing — as seen in newspaper articles and websites dedicated to the art, women’s fashion and the popularity of Dita Von Tease — pole dancing has also kicked off in popularity. Pole dancing, when offered as a dance class, is a fantastic workout, a great confidence-booster and a lot of fun.
The classes I attended were set up by Carolyne Braid and took place at Sir John Franklin community center off of Corydon. I first came across an ad for the classes on, of all places. Interested, I searched pole dancing and found the Pole Dancing Winnipeg website. I registered online and soon enough was attending my first pole dancing class.
The classes consist of women only, including the instructors, who really know their stuff. Carolyne Braid, the founder of the classes, is a level-four certified Pole Dancing instructor by the Pole Fitness Association (PFA). As found on their website, the PFA’s mission statement is to “represent and lead the pole fitness community worldwide by defining and promoting standards for training, safety, equipment, terminology and technical specifications to unite and empower pole fitness studio owners, professionals, and enthusiasts everywhere in celebrating the sport of pole fitness as a rigorous, tasteful, and athletic art.” Carolyne has also done training sessions in Las Vegas with some of the best instructors in pole dance. She has vigorously trained all the instructors at Pole Dancing Winnipeg.
As I found out, pole dancing is an activity for all ages. In my class there were three married women in their early 30s, a mother and daughter duo, and then myself. I was the youngest. The classes are for women of all ages and body types. They are held in a private room, no one is allowed to peep in and ogle while we dance. There is the chance of getting pole burn and the occasional bruises but the stronger you become the less likely that is. We did fill out a physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q), designed to make sure that if you suffer health problems you are aware that this class might not be right for you. But you don’t have to be extremely buff or have experience to take the class. They offer “test the water” classes — drop-in classes for those who would like to try the class, but aren’t sure they want to continue with them.
Regular class sessions run for five weeks and cost $75. There was no slinky lingerie or thigh-high leather boots; when signing up for the class I was advised to wear yoga clothes or comfortable workout clothing. There is a lot of emphasis on how you can be sexy without taking off your clothes.
The classes followed a routine. We would do a warm up to get loosened up. Then the instructor would show us some dance moves on and off the pole. We practiced things like how to walk sexily, how to approach the pole and safely spin, how to slide down the poll, roll over and get up without looking like an elephant. At the end of the class we would do crunches, planks and candles; exercises geared towards killer abs. We would also do pull ups on the pole, holding ourselves up for a couple seconds. Without arm strength you can’t effectively pole dance. We ended with stretching. After a class I was keenly aware of every muscle in my body having been put to good use.
For the last class of the session, everyone brought their favourite pair of heels — whether just kitten heels or four inch stilettos is up to the individual dancers — and we had a careful go at dancing in our shoes. It was hard to dance with everyone laughing and having such a great time.
I would definitely recommend these classes to all women. In fact, starting this Saturday I’ve signed up for a second session of pole dancing, this time with one of my friends. My boyfriend still calls it the striptease class. Amusingly enough, it was from him that I got the raised eyebrows when I told him I had signed up for a pole dancing class. My mom was excitedly supportive. This trend repeated itself when I told my friends about the class. The girls were really interested and wanted to know everything about it. The guys were put off by dirty images of pole humping and dances designed to stimulate men while the women shed their scanty clothing.
It’s probably a good thing that I’ve never been to a strip club before.
For more details about classes, registration information and even party planning you can visit Pole Dancing Winnipeg’s website at