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Take a class
Violet Expressions Pole Dance and Fitness Studio offers classes as six-week sessions, as well as private tutorials and small group/party bookings. The next session begins Nov. 18. Go to or call 420-0557, ext. 202, for information and pricing.
Tips and tricks
Danielle Carroll says dance experience (ballet, jazz) is not a requirement for her classes, adding that many participants do not have any.
It’s a good thing, considering I am one to eschew rhythm and grace in favor of strength and form when it comes to working out.
I recently tried one of the pole dance fitness classes, and here are some of my novice tips:
Leveled out. Classes are taught at a beginner/intermediate level, with modifications available for even basic moves. While some women in classes were working on inversions, others were doing grounded moves or less demanding spins.
Don’t worry what others think. Trying something new is one thing. Trying it in front of others is a whole other story. It’s easy to feel awkward and self-conscious. What I discovered, though, is that no one was paying attention to me as I tried to do a spin. They were focused on what they were doing and mastering their own skill, just as a participant should.
More than tricks. While the program is based around the pole, the class also has a traditional warm-up, a core section and floor work.
Feel the burn. Leaving the class, I wasn’t so sure of the fitness aspect. I had fun, I learned some new things, I moved my body, but I didn’t sweat. Sweat, it seems, isn’t always a good measure of a workout. Be prepared to be sore and maybe even bruised depending on the skills learned in class.
– Kimberly Dupps Truesdell, The Journal Gazette
Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Danielle Carroll teaches a pole dancing spin trick at the Boudoir Noir store at 512 W. Superior St.
What’s Your Workout?

Pole dance instructor touts physical, mental challenge

Journal Gazette Assistant Features Editor Kimberly Dupps Truesdell learns a pole dancing routine.

As a former cheerleader, Danielle Carroll has always been pretty solid.

Traditional workouts, though, didn’t hold much appeal for the 26-year-old Fort Wayne woman. Lifting weights and lunges were repetitive. It wasn’t until a hobby-turned-profession took a turn for passion that she found herself running on the treadmill and doing bench presses.

“I just got a personal trainer,” she says. “I got far enough in pole that I felt it getting dangerous not to work out other areas.”

Carroll is the owner and instructor at Violet Expressions Pole Dance and Fitness Studio, 512 W. Superior St. She first started pole dancing a few years ago, watching videos online and getting a pole from Boudoir Noir to put in her bedroom.

Last year, she was twirling on a pole at the adult store and was later asked to be an instructor. She began teaching and has since become certified to teach pole dancing through Chicago-based Empowerment Through Exotic Dance.

“I like that my brain isn’t thinking that I’m working out. I’m distracted,” she says. “It’s like a complete workout from the fact that you are up on your toes, and you are working your feet. You are working your legs to your posture. … Every muscle in your body is engaged but you can’t even tell.”

Workout: Pole dancing

What is it: Students learn mini choreographed routines over a six-week session that includes tricks and floor work. Classes are 75 minutes long.

Safety first: Carroll is serious when it comes to the risks of pole dancing. “You can easily throw out a shoulder or twist an ankle if you are not paying attention to everything,” she says.

Cues for proper form are given during class and corrections are made to prevent injury.

Cross training: Carroll works with a trainer once a week and runs on the treadmill to improve her strength and cardiorespiratory fitness for pole dancing. She also takes dance classes to learn the more technical side of other genres, such as ballet.

Gear: The clothes become smaller and smaller as one becomes more advanced in pole, Carroll says with a laugh. Skin adds friction on the pole, allowing dancers to catch themselves.

For beginners, she recommends wearing bottoms that are above the knee or can be pulled up to expose the knee. Some also like to use knee pads for some tricks.

Rewards: According to, a woman can burn about 350 calories in an hourlong class. Carroll says many participants comment that they see muscle definition and weight loss after regular participation.

But it’s not just about the physical change, she says. It’s also the mental one.

“I want to take women who are not comfortable in themselves … comfortable in their skin and show them that I don’t care what you look like. I don’t care how short or tall or round you are,” she says. “You can feel comfortable in yourself and move your body in a different way.”

Goals: “I really want to get into competitive level pole,” Carroll says. “It’s a level of pole that people don’t really know exist.”