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This information is from our chat with Jeannie “The Pole Digger” during her webinar November 15, 2023.
Age really is just a number, or is it?
Pole dancing continues to grow in popularity not just with the 20-something crowd but with all people, of all ages, genders, and all backgrounds around the world.
How should studio owners support existing instructors, polers, and competitors as they age increase their longevity with pole while also being seen as welcoming for people trying pole for the first time in their “golden years”?
Keep reading for our tips!
Don’t make presumptions
Just because someone starts poling later in life doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of excelling at it. Conversely, just because someone started poling earlier in life and has aged (like we all do!), don’t presume they can or want to be doing the same things they did 10 or 20 years ago.
Don’t make presumptions about what your new student—or new instructor—can or can’t do. Ask questions, offer suggestions and options, and find better ways to ask about relevant pre-existing conditions that could impact their poling before class starts.
Provide class options that promote mobility, improve joint range of motion through active flexibility, and challenge balance. These are all things that will help your students as they age, regardless of what age they start at!
Do provide inclusive spaces
Stepping into a pole studio for the first time can be very intimidating. Often people come with a preconceived notion of what pole dancing is and what a pole dancer should look like. To attract an over 50 clientele, consider creating a special workshop or night that is just for them. (Jeannie recommends a “Gen X night”!)
Curate the playlist with songs that they want to rock out to or slow jam to. Have the class or workshop taught by someone who is in their age range. Representation is a powerful thing and seeing someone who looks like you and maybe who has had similar experiences excel (or even just be present) in a space you want to be in, is powerful.
Do offer support
Our bodies and our brains change as we age. We may want different things, we may have different and potentially deeper perspectives on our experience, and we may want more or less help in specific areas of our lives.
Physical changes like menopause and life changes like divorce, career changes, kids leaving home and other things that often happen in our “middle age” can have lasting impacts on how we interact with the world. Those times can be really challenging, and a pole studio can be a place to find community and support, or a place where our insecurities are literally on display.
Make sure to offer support in a kind and private way—not shouting in the middle of class “try some dry hands Sally for your hot flashes!” A little kindness, and discretion, can go a long way.
Promote your over 40, over 50, and over 60 polers and instructors on your social media and in your other marketing to show them they are welcome. Just make sure you’ve got consent!
Ultimately, “pole masters” (over 40 polers) and “pole grand masters” (over 50 polers), like the rainbow of other affinity groups present in pole, want to enjoy pole in their own unique way which may or may not be tied closely to their age. Offer support, provide inclusive spaces in your words and actions, and never presume!