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April 2014 Print Issue

Calgary pole-dancer raises her own self-esteem as well as her students'

poledancing thumbnailAs Heather Halls lifts herself up a pole in time to the music, her students follow her movements enthusiastically.

Halls has been pole dancing for the last five years, and is now teaching with the PoleJunkies community in Calgary. She was hooked after her first pole-dancing class, despite the difficulties it presents.

"There's something about trying something that's hard at first, and then succeeding at it, that really kind of makes you feel that you can do anything you try," says Halls.

The physical requirements weren't the only challenges Halls faced in her pole-dancing journey. Not only does pole-dancing require a great amount of physical strength, but it also requires a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Produced by Arielle Berze

In order to pull off the higher level moves, dancers need to use "skin-grip," often around their stomach, arms and thighs. Most of the dancers only wear short shorts and a tank top or sports bra during classes.

At first, Halls was nervous about wearing so little clothing, saying she was embarrassed by the cellulite on her legs. Despite the initial embarrassment, she says she and her classmates bonded over the experience of wearing so little in public, and that after awhile, you're so focused on learning the moves you don't even notice anymore.

Pole-dancing enabled Halls to get over her own body image issues, and she hopes that by teaching, she'll help others do the same.

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