Nikki Craven grabs a metal pole dancing pole, and to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” lifts herself up on it, flips her legs over her head, does a twirl and slides down, hands first, onto the light-up tile floor.
Her students, on a Saturday afternoon at Inferno in downtown Greensboro, break into applause.
The News & Record of Greensboro reported that the 26-year-old Craven is a pole exercise instructor. She is not, however, a stripper. And though she has had some students who were exotic dancers, most are just women wanting to spice things up in their relationships or looking for a unique way to get into shape.
“Some people, when I tell them I teach pole dancing, they instantly shut down,” Craven said. “They hear the words ‘pole dancing’ and then they just associate it with something unseemly. But this is more about getting women to come out of their shells, to be confident in their bodies.”
The classes are part of a growing national trend that’s drawing a wide variety of people. Craven’s students range in age from 18 to early 50s and include college students, a pastor’s wife and even a former body builder, Jody Luman.