Davisites can give pole dancing a whirl thanks to the newly opened Davis Pole Dance Studio.
Located in the alleyway behind Peet’s Coffee and Chipotle at 213 E St., Suite E, Davis Pole Dance Studio opened at the end of April.
The studio, run by Lisa Hellmann, mother of two and the owner of Sacramento Pole Dance Studio, holds private pole dance parties – usually bachelorette parties – and pole dance, lap dance and burlesque classes, in addition to private pole dance lessons.
Hellmann’s first studio opened in Vacaville in 2007 and her Sacramento location a year later. She decided to open the Davis location after her Vacaville studio closed in February. She’ll hold a competition for all of her students in August.
“I thought Davis would be perfect for the studio because this city seems very open to new experiences and [it’s] close to home for me,” Hellmann said. “I thought it would appeal to college girls.”
Taryn Zank, a junior marine biology major at UC Davis, is an instructor at the studio. She first started working with Hellmann six months ago when she began taking pole dance classes in Sacramento.
“I originally did it as a joke,” Zank said. “I ended up really liking it, then Lisa asked me to teach in Davis.”
Hellmann said she first became inspired to try pole dancing while on a trip to Las Vegas with other couples when she was a housewife.
“The men wanted to go to the strip club and we didn’t want them to go alone, so we went along,” Hellmann said. “I ended up wanting to learn and was impressed with how acrobatic it all was; it brought back this feeling I had when I used to dance ballet.”
“I literally learned on a pole in my garage watching YouTube videos,” Hellmann said. “I kept it under wraps for a while because I felt like it was taboo, but I ended up telling friends who wanted to learn and it turned into a big pile of people.”
Hellmann said the dress code is simple: wear what you are comfortable in.
“Honestly, the less clothes and lotions on your body the better,” Hellmann said. “It gets dangerous otherwise, because you can’t stick to the pole as easily.”
Though Hellmann said business has been good, there are still negative associations with pole dancing.
“People think we’re grinding on a pole, but a lot of it is really acrobatic,” Zank said. “It’s really not much more sensual than jazz dancing. Pole dancing is graceful and that’s what attracted me to it.
“Customers say it helps them with confidence. They also say it’s a stress reliever and that they feel better about their bodies. It’s a great workout and you don’t realize it until the next day.”
Other customers just like to pole dance.
“Half the customers just say this is fun!” Hellmann said. “Our motto is sexy, confident, beautiful.”
Hellmann said the studio welcomes men as well, but she asks that men dance exactly as they are taught.
“We want to keep the leers out,” Hellmann said. “If you’re just interested in watching, then they can’t be in the classes. I have found that men do learn a lot faster because they have abs.”
Drop-in classes are $5 Monday and Wednesday nights, with progressive classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Progressive classes are $75, with a 50 percent discount for students and $50 for non-students for the first three months.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.