Is Pole Dancing a Lucrative Career?

by Monica
(NYC)

Your story is so inspiring! I am fairly new to pole dance, I have a pole installed in my garage, but am not really advanced...haven't done inversions yet, but am working on getting there. I'm very determined, I envy all these great pole dancers out there with their videos online. ; )


Anyway, my question is:
Do you think teaching pole dance (after becoming advanced enough) is lucrative? Even in today's economy? I'd love to work at a pole school, take classes, work really hard at it, then take a certification course. I live in NYC.
Just curious as to your thoughts, since you sort of stumbled upon it as a career.

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And the answer is....it depends!
by: Susan from PDFF

I know, not a very helpful answer! The problem is, there are a lot of variables.

For example, I live in a small city and my studio is the only one for a hundred miles around, so competition is non-existent.

However, it's a small town, and a cheap one at that, as in people don't like to spend a lot of money. So it took me quite a while to figure out what the market would bear and how to package that in a way that people would find value in it.

Keep in mind that if you plan to be a business owner and open a commercial location, your overhead will be significant, and this may eat up a lot of your profit.

Then again, in a larger city where things cost more, jobs pay more, and people are not averse to paying for something they want, a good studio with good instructors can do quite well.

Teaching rates vary widely as well, typically ranging from $20 - $50 per hour depending on the location (big city or small town) the demand for classes, and the experience and skill of the instructor.

I'm not sure if you're thinking of working as an instructor, or of opening your own studio though.

If you one day want to open your own place, my best advice is to work as an instructor first, for as long as it takes to get the skills you'll need. These skills include not only pole dancing, but also teaching and facilitation skills, business and administration skills, marketing, etc.

When you're ready to open your business, start as small as you can and build from there. Trust me, it sucks to go too big and then try to keep up with a runaway train! Better to start small and grow.

If you aspire simply to teach, then I'd suggest the following:

1) Make sure you really LOVE pole dancing and also that you LOVE teaching.

I mentor and coach a lot of fitness instructors and the biggest thing I find is that they may be good at dancing or aerobics or whatever, have great rhythm and cool moves, but put them in front of a room full of people and they don't have a clue how to really teach.

What I mean is going beyond the basics of imparting information, and connecting with the students. Adults need to be entertained while they're learning, and teaching is a high-energy output occupation. You need to be able to flip the switch and be "on" when you get in front of a class.

To do this, you have to really like being a teacher, enough to want to learn and practice this skill as much as pole dancing.

It depends....continued
by: Susan from PDFF

2) Apprentice yourself to great teachers and learn from them.

Offer to assist in their classes, wipe the poles, wash the floor, anything you can do to help them out and make their life easier. In return, you'll get to learn from a master.

Watch what they do, how they do it, and find out why. Ask them questions, try to figure out what makes their classes so popular. Ask their students what they like best about that instructor. Then work on these skills yourself.

Of course you don't want to use a teaching style that's just not you, but there are certain common qualities that tend to show up over and over in really good teachers. These are the skills that will make YOU a fabulous and sought after instructor yourself. And that will increase your value.

If people request you as an instructor, tell their friends about how great you are, and sign up specifically because you're teaching, you'll know you've made it!

3) Always stay open to learning.

Great teachers are great learners. While you don't really need to be advanced at pole dancing to start teaching (I taught myself the basics on a tether ball pole!) as you can always teach beginners to start with, you do need to have good teaching skills.

Once you feel comfortable in your role as a teacher, it's a breeze to teach just about anything! All you have to do is learn it yourself, and you'll find that teaching it will come naturally

is what happened in my case. I had over 20 years of teaching experience in dance and fitness when pole dancing started to break onto the scene. So I found myself a tether ball pole then started to teach others what I'd figured out. Then I kept on learning and studying to stay one step ahead of my students!

I should also point out that most dance and fitness instructors don't make a full time career of it, as the amount of physical activity you'd have to pack into a week to make a living wage is just not sustainable.

Unless you own a successful studio and have other instructors working for you, or you become a minor celebrity who can demand higher rates, it's probably not realistic to plan to give up your day job.

But if you love it and are going to do it anyway, then teaching can be a great way to continue doing something you love and get paid for it too.

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