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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pole Dancing not just for Strippers

Pole dancing isn’t just for strippers anymore. People may be amazed at who they find climbing the poles at the local dance class.

“Some of the people I have taken classes with are in their 50s or 60s. The majority of people I take classes with are older than you might expect,” said Andrea Wardrop, co-founder and performer for Luscious Dance, a poledancing performance group. Wardrop, a former professional fighter, was searching for a way to stay fit when she discovered pole dancing.

“One day, I was watching TV and I saw, oddly enough, an episode of Oprah that was talking about pole dancing and I thought it looked like something fun that not a lot of people do,” remembered Wardrop.

While taking classes for pole dancing, Wardrop met Jodi Leigh and Karen Johnson. Together they founded Luscious Dance in Aug. 2006.

“I like to dance to Rob Zombie and things like that, so I just really focus on the beats,” Wardrop said. “Whereas Jodi is really good at putting together characters and Pink Rayne [Johnson]
is crazy strong and can do some killer moves on the pole.”

Wardrop described one of the dance moves she does. “I climb up to the top of the pole and
my partner puts her back to the pole and lifts her legs up above her head, grabs on to my torso with her legs and lets go of the pole,” she said.

“I’m sitting on the pole using my thighs to hold myself on the pole and her as well.” Luscious has been hired to perform at various venues, including business parties, and will be at the Vancouver
International Burlesque Fest in May. With all of their recent success, Wardrop notes that not all of the attention her pole dancing has received has been positive.

“It’s funny because I’m doing a masters degree in psychology and I’m using feminist methods for my research, and people are usually surprised. They ask ‘How can you be a feminist and a
pole dancer?’” Wardrop said. “There’s no nudity in any of our shows, poledancing evolved from stripping but it’s not the same thing, at all, anymore.”

According to Wardrop, pole-dancing classes don’t just offer participants a place to exercise, they also offer support and encouragement.

“It’s a great forum because you get to express yourself with dance,” she said.

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