Pole dancing is for more than just strippers. No, really. “People don’t know until they’ve tried it,” says Fawnia Dietrich, who owns Las Vegas’ Pole Fitness Studio. “If you’ve only been to the Spearmint Rhino, I don’t blame you for thinking that way.” But as the organizer of the first Pole Expo, which comes to the Palms on Sept. 6-9, Dietrich is trying to change the perception of the pole.
She calls the pole a “vertical ballet bar”—a prop for fitness, art, even sport. “When people try it, they think it sounds kinda fun, kinda naughty, because it does come from the strip club,” she says. “But there are three types of pole dancing: There’s what you see at the strip club; there’s pole fitness, where people go to a studio to work out; and then there’s pole sport, where the person is training like an elite athlete.” Dietrich is even hoping to see pole sport accepted for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. For now, though, seeing the best of the best means hitting the expo, which includes workshops, seminars, a vendor expo and, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8, an elite competition featuring male and female athletes. In a nod to the sport’s sexy heritage, the competition won’t be in some musty gym, but at Rain Nightclub.