It seems, as the pole dance community grows and expands, so does the issue of public bashing on social media outlets (such as Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Ect.) between not only studios, but clothing lines, jewelry makers, and other dancers/instructors. This can lead non-polers into believing that our sport is a very catty like sport and prevent the sport from achieving true growth.
We should all take a deep breath. Now, let it out. I had the chance to talk to a few of pole’s super stars to ask their opinion about this issue, and this was their opinion of the issue at hand:
“I’ve seen enough pole drama in the past few days to fill an entire harlequin novel. Please ladies, act professionally, responsibly, be nice & DO NOT use visiting pole instructors as fuel for your insular arguments. We stake our careers on teaching as a living, where reputation means everything. ALL of the touring polers I’ve met are proud citizens of Switzerland. Our job is to spread goodwill & love for the sport – not cause divides! Also, what you say online lives forever. Think about it.” -Natasha Wang, 2011 USPDF Champion (quoted with permission from Facebook)
“Well, I don’t think that public bashing is ever a good thing and I think that the fighting among studios is petty and will never get anyone anywhere. Plus by bashing someone on Facebook you could actually be helping get them publicity from people who haven’t heard of them and it shows a lack of maturity. People should try to resolve their issues in private. However, I don’t think public bashing is a issue that will ever be [truly] resolved.” – Nicki Shaw, 2011 Miss Georgia Pole Dance Champion
“I think it’s a sad state of affairs but I see that type of bashing as mainly stemming from a person’s/studio’s/designers own insecurity. In an open market the weakest will be weeded out EVENTUALLY. In the meantime, will some good ones be defeated? Unfortunately yes they will. Do I think it’s right? No more than vicious gossip, but in today’s Internet world it goes viral quicker than we’ve ever seen before.” -Trixie Lovett, founder and CEO of Pole Nation
“There seem to be many reasons for the bashing and as best I can tell, they seem to centre around greed. While it is absolutely true that all pole dancers and all pole studios are not instructing or executing the same skills with the same degree of accuracy, this fact does not explain the amount of public hostility which often prevails in the pole dance community, nor does it explain the need to carry such hostilities into the public arena.
The vocabulary of pole fitness is sometimes a little bit backwards in that it has made a fashionable buzzword out of “supportive-ness” and publicly espouses this as a doctrine. This word has become less meaningful as a result of overuse in the pole dance and fitness industry by individuals who have sought to use this word to help portray themselves in a way which is at times, as seen by the savvy observer, inconsistent with the behavior demonstrated by said individuals. So while I still think that there is some authentic supportive-ness in the pole dance and fitness community, I also think it’s essential for us to lift an ear in discernment when we hear this word spouted off and to maintain some reluctance instead of swallowing it down like a pill. There is much camaraderie at this time in the pole community, but there is also much rivalry, in the same way that any situation which contains many women in close quarters can often facilitate. One friend of mine compares the modern pole fitness community to the boarding school she attended in her youth.
The conflict between studios and even between entities larger than studios is an infinitely more complex problem which seems to be rooted in greed. Many studios have policies of extreme covertness causing them to treat students and instructors visiting from other studios or other areas of the region negatively. Often such studios and their proprietors experience a high degree of paranoid anxiety that individuals whose income is also partially derived from pole fitness will use information from their classes for their own commercial gain and therefore become more likely to be competitive against said entity. This is an inherently pathological mentality based in love of money taking precedence over the love of the sport, for to desire the acceptance and ongoing advancement and progress of pole fitness above desiring funds would result in vast information sharing instead of covertness, intimidation, and threats of legal action. The slightest modicum of humility would enable the pole fitness guru possessing the slightest amount of intelligence that unless one has invented the physics which keep a person suspended on the pole, one hasn’t really discovered anything “new” at all, but merely found a way to manipulate the body efficiently around the apparatus. Perhaps someday we will see a descendant of the individual who invented the pirouette a couple dozen generations ago file a lawsuit against a handful of the ballet studios who teach this skill without said individual’s written consent. That would be just about as logical as the behavior of many modern pole studios who would like to fancy themselves privy to a secret knowledge. But this isn’t the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it’s a form of self-expression which doubles as an excellent exercise. But then again, didn’t the Hermetic Order simply swear its pledges to the most grave oaths of secrecy, only to bestow upon them the Hebrew alphabet? Perhaps the old Western mystical orders were the model for the modern pole dance studios with their demands of exclusivity, outrageous non-compete clause conditions, and hostile attitudes toward instructors and studio owners who are visiting and paying legitimate money for refreshed inspiration, new information, and the hope of the camaraderie promised by this industry which happily throws the word “supportive” around like a rag doll.” -David Owen, 2nd place APFC Men’s Division
So with all of this said, can we find a common ground? As a community, can polers come together and stop bashing one another in public formats? I have to agree with David Owen; the pole dance community needs to get back in touch with the love of the sport (or dance) and not worry as much about the greed it seems to have induced. So what if another studio has a similar curriculum, or another poler is doing a similar move or combination, or another company has a similar product. By bashing the other person or company in a public forum, you are only giving them more attention and making yourself look badly in the eyes of the public that you are trying to turn against said person(s). In order for the pole community to grow, and become more excepted, we need to help one another, not try to tear each other down.
Happy Poling all.