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Gripped: The Passion For Pole Dancing

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An illustration of a Black woman with shoulder-length locs and a matching set of sparkly purple bra and short shorts strikes a pose on a steel pole that runs from the top of the frame to the bottom. She also wears purple makeup, purple nail polish and purple “pleaser” heels. The background is pastel purple with fluffy clouds. Running down the right side of the frame is a panel with a light purple background and flowers with the word “Gripped” in light purple.
Charnel Hunter

Anita walked away from her first pole dancing class slightly bruised … but very intrigued. She talks with a veteran stripper about the history and politics of modern pole dancing and meets a pole sport athlete and studio owner who is trying to build an inclusive space for pole practitioners. Plus, a nonbinary pole dancer shares how their relationship with the pole has evolved alongside their gender identity.

Meet the Guests:

  • NatsHoney, a veteran stripper, pole artist, entrepreneur and mother talks about pole's roots in sex work and the ways pole fitness studios can appreciate rather than appropriate the work of strippers
  • Paige Gabert, a pole dancer and the co-owner of Midwest Movement Collective in Grand Rapids, Michigan, discusses why she wanted to start who own studio and how pole has influenced other aspects of her life like motherhood
  • Celeste Ziehl, a dancer and senior at Smith College, talks about coming out as nonbinary after starting pole dancing, and how they changed their relationship with pole to find gender euphoria in the movement

Dig Deeper:

Paige Gabert’s studio, Midwest Movement Collective

Advocacy organization Strippers United, where Nats is on the leadership board

Anita’s pole lesson studio,Aradia Fitness Triangle

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Paige Miranda is a producer for "Embodied". Previously, she served as WUNC’s 2023 AAAS Mass Media Fellow.
Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.