Michelle Dueck, pole dancing student by day, pole dancing teacher by night.

teachpoleAs she drives in her sleek gray car, Michelle Dueck reflects on her journey into the art of pole dancing.

"I've always danced, you know? And the gym's okay, I do go, but I can only do so much in a gym. I did Baton, and I loved it. I wanted to do something as different as that," says Dueck.

She frequents strip clubs often, watching the way the dancers move and twist around their poles.

She admires them. Every time a dancer would do something different she'd look at the strength it would take to do the task and wanted to do something similar.

So she mentioned to a friend who told her about Pole Junkies, a pole dancing studio in Calgary, and after doing some research she signed up for the first class.

A year later and she still attends classes and recently started teaching part time classes.

Dueck's day starts off at her full time job as an administrative assistant. On Thursdays after work she heads over to Pole Junkies, which is near Mount Royal, to attend her own classes.upsidedownDueck shows off what she learned in her pole dancing class. She frequently visits strip clubs to check out the different techniques that dancers use to move and twist around their poles.

Photo by Mary Yohannes

On Wednesdays after work she teaches her own introduction to pole dancing class, as well as Sundays. She's very busy, but loves every moment of it.

"It's one of those things where you learn something and then can't wait to learn the next thing. Like oh cool I can't wait to figure out the next."

She recognizes that there is a prevalent stigma that comes with pole dancing. Various friends and family often tease her calling the course "pole stripping."

She emphasizes that pole dancing is a serious fitness workout.

"I used to hesitate to tell people I was in pole dancing...but as I got further into it I have something I can show people. Like I can hold myself upside down vertically, can you do that?"

Pole dancing didn't start in strip clubs, it's been around for centuries, Dueck hopes in the coming years more people acknowledge that and look at pole dancers with an open mind.

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