Pole dancing 'does marvels for one's self-esteem'

Artemis Pole Academy founder Tharene Windsor
Artemis Pole Academy founder Tharene Windsor
Image: Annelisa Swana

When Artemis Pole Academy founder Tharene Windsor took up pole dancing, it was a choice fuelled mainly by her passion for fitness.

The craft, however, has brought far greater benefit to her and the women who have joined her dancing academy.

“Women have a lot of issues with  themselves and their bodies,” Windsor said.

“Some of my best  memories are watching how pole dancing has transformed some of them who joined Artemis struggling to pull off the moves and lacking confidence.”

Having previously struggled with low self-esteem herself, Windsor sees her academy as a space for the empowerment of women, young and old, despite the conservative misconceptions about pole dancing.

She said this was a form of exercise that should not automatically be associated with stripping.

“What I love about pole dancing is that it has many different styles, just like there is salsa, ballet and so forth.

“The sensual side is one aspect of it and there is nothing wrong with it, because it is a form of expressing yourself.

“But that’s not all there is to this world-recognised sport,” she said.

While Windsor initially began pole dancing purely from a fitness perspective, she recently also started embracing its more sensual aspect.

Speaking on the stigma that remained attached to the sport, Windsor said people needed to look at pole dancing from a broader perspective.

“Even the people who practise sensual pole dancing don’t  necessarily take their clothes off, so people must get with the 21st century,” she said.

Though she has been in the fitness industry for  20 years, Windsor started her pole-dancing academy seven years ago.

“It has taken me long to get the business running in Port Elizabeth as it’s a relatively conservative place.

“It took long to get people to understand that  what we are doing is a form of exercise, therapy and creativity,” Windsor said.

“My approach to pole dancing is women empowerment and the whole vibe in my  studio is that once you step over the threshold, it’s a no-judgement zone.

“You're not allowed  to judge yourself or the other women regardless of size or age,” she said.

Artemis Pole Academy will hold its seventh annual showcase at 6pm on Saturday at DF Malherbe High School in Walmer under the theme “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Tickets at R150 are available from Windsor on 081-596-0452.

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