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Pole dancer executes a shoulder mount straddle.

Op Ed: Everybody wants to be a Pole Star

A few months ago a friend came to me and said she couldn’t find anyone to perform in her pole show for free; everyone wanted to be paid. She lamented: “I can’t afford to pay everyone. I don’t know what I’m going to do! Nobody performs for free anymore.”  I felt bad for her and didn’t know what to say. I just agreed most people want to be paid for shows outside of the studio since everyone wants to be the next “pole star.”

In the last past few years, a lot of pole dancers have been entering competitions hoping to become the next pole star. Everyone wants to become the next Felix Cane, Alethea Austin, Natasha Wang, Pantera Blacksmith,  Jamilla DeVille, Nicole the Pole and Heidi Coker—even the men want to be pole stars too!  Pole is becoming a more mainstream sport which has pros and cons. Sometimes it seems the fun has been “sucked” out of pole with it being so competitive.  Nobody wants to perform for free anymore! A lot of pole dancers don’t realize a lot of the pole stars performed for free in the beginning and that’s how many gained exposure. You have to start from the bottom to get to the top. Becoming a pole star now is almost like becoming an NBA player or NFL player—you have to work hard to get exposure and hope to get drafted!

The only time I charge to perform is when it’s not a pole-focused event and there are other types of performers who also may charge a fee. It is important to be paid for your art, your effort and your time. However you also should balance that with supporting your community—it’s not easy (or cheap!) to put on pole events.

If you want to become the next big, pole star you must work all angles and consider things like:

  • Trying to be a brand ambassador for a few pole companies
  • Enter mainstream competitions
  • Be super active on Social Media
  • Find your own flow
  • Be creative/unique
  • and of course — PERFORM!

Do you have what it takes to be a pole star??


(photo by Lakin Jones Photography of Pantera Blacksmith performing at PoleCon 2016)

Mica Saunders
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