The pole community is growing, with new studios popping up all over the country and all around the world. One of the great things that most pole dance studios have in common is an ability to foster community and a sense of pride and delight in the exploration of the things that our bodies are capable of. The following are three studios that do those things but also create an atmosphere and mood that are unique in their style and different in the way that they think about building their class curriculum and spaces that are crafted purposefully and intentionally in a way that feels different and fresh.
This dark and mysterious space, owned by the host of the Pole Parlour podcast, Crimson Minx, opened in 2017 in Austin, TX. Minx and Muse define themselves as
“A fiercely feminine playhouse that cultivates self-discovery and empowerment through classes, workshops, and events centered around esoerotic dance, transformative movement, and mystical exploration.”
The space’s mood feels dark, brooding, the kind of place a Modern Day Sabrina The Teenage Witch would go to get her pole dance on if she were so inclined.
The interior decor is cloaked in velvet, skulls, deep burgundies and candles. They host Halloween film nights showing movies like Hocus Pocus, workshops like Esoerotic Polecraft and even have a studio book club where they recently discussed Erin Gibson’s “Feminasty”. For their one year anniversary, they ran an Empress Bazaar with reiki healers, tinytype portrait sittings and oracle readings with local vendors.
One thing that I admire about this studio is the intentionality around how they run their branding. Events and workshops are meticulously coordinated to create a private and magical mood for all the witchy dancers who visit. They refer to their instructor team as a coven through which they celebrate their community. There is no doubt that the sisterhood is alive and well at this pole coven for witchy pole dancers and sensual movers everywhere.
Kiska, which means kitten or pussy in Russian, is owned and run by lead instructor and dancer, Lauren Lukrich. This studio is all things Russian Exotic style. I first visited this babelicious studio in 2016 and quite frankly, was shocked that an entire pole studio could be dedicated to what, at the time, was an emerging style of pole dance. But Lauren was certainly on to something and it seems Kiska may be the first US studio to have built curriculum and professional level heels development work focused on Russian Exotic style. Since 2016, the popularity of Russian Exotic style has exploded, and so have the variations of it.
With the hashtag, #trainlikearussian, Lauren practices what she preaches, pilgriming annually to Russian to train with Koda studio owner, Olga Koda and countless other Russian pole dancers. Everything from pricing (paid in credits not dollar amounts) to class names – including Strip Plastic, Russian Exotic Choreography (defined as either Hard or Flow style), and Exotic Styling is unique.
Additionally, Kiska provides opportunities for traveling instructors to make a mark, regularly hosting International Russian Exotic style dancers such as Kasia Meow, Daria Che, Eva Bembo and LA native and leader of the American Modern Exotic style, Drusilla Ray. Located in Portland’s Northwest Pearl district, this is my go-to spot for all things Russian Exotic in the Pacific Northwest.
What makes Haven unique is that it is an open air loft space where dancers, artists and photographers can book by the hour for any use. This makes perfect sense in a place like Los Angeles, where one of the biggest pole communities train and teach and is home to many of the pole communities traveling artists.
In LA, the entertainment capital of the world, Haven meets an unmet need for a space, focused not on classes, but on open studio time where performers can craft new acts for their latest gigs. In this sense, Haven checks all the boxes – an easy to book rental system through MBO, gorgeous space with clean aesthetic and gorgeous lighting perfect for filming tutorials and videos. From the exposed wood in this airy loft style space to the gold finish on the metal structured logo, Haven is sure to become a go-to spot for privates, photoshoots and practice time, quickly.
Which studios do you love? What makes them stand out from all the rest? Post in comments! Can’t wait to hear from you all!