There is no doubt that the art of the pole, in general, is fighting an uphill battle of shaking off some of the unfair connotations, but what is it like to be a pole dancer in a very traditional society? We asked an Iranian pole enthusiast to share her experience. She is a doctor working at the A&E ward. Sleepless nights and stress are constant, but what does she do in her own time? Practise pole! To protect her identity, we will call her Miss Mashhad for the following blog post and also only use first names for other featured pole dancers. Safety first.
When did you first get in touch with pole dance? How did you start pole dancing?
I first got familiar with pole dancing in my city Mashhad from one of my teachers. She came to Tehran and held some classes. Then, she came back to Mashhad and started teaching here. However, after some time I realized that those basic moves she taught me were not correct, so I decided to travel to Tehran and took two other lessons to learn some basic moves. I didn't even know how to do the warm-up for pole dancing.
Are there any studios or teachers in your area and how do you connect/interact with them? Did you enroll in a studio or are you self taught?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any good teachers to instruct pole dancing in my city so I have to learn it from other pole dancers on Instagram or Youtube. This was very hard for me at the beginning because I had to put my whole energy, effort and time to learn the tricks. I even broke my leg trying to do the suicide spin. Long story short, It seems that I am the best in my city. I wish I could have a good teacher close to me so that I could book private classes with her. After a few months of searching, I decided to travel to Tehran because I found a very famous pole dancer, Tina, who is an expert and even better than many foreign pole dancers. After taking 6 sessions I learned a lot but I still need to book classes with her.
I would love to enroll in any pole dance studio, but in my city there is none. In Iran, we only have 2 pole dance studios, and both of them are located in Tehran (the capital). So every time I need to learn something new, I have to travel there. It’s a difficult situation for me as the travel includes booking a flight, a hotel room, and expensive private classes, but for me, it’s worth it.
What is the pole community like in Iran? What are the characteristics of the pole world in Iran?
Well, there is virtually no pole community in Iran. I only have good online friends who are pole dancers. They helped me a lot with buying a pole and learning new moves. So, sometimes I try their combos and tag them.
As you know Iran is an Islamic country and pole dance is considered taboo. The majority of people believe that pole dancing only belongs to clubs and do not accept it as a sport. I find it to be a beautiful form of art, you have to work on both your strength and flexibility to become a good pole dancer. It changed my whole life and I am very happy I found it. Like some other Iranian pole dancers I have a private Instagram page where I post pole videos, but if the government or my boss would find out about it - they’d fire me very easily. So we don't have the chance to pole/post/work on our sport in public.
What are your plans for your #polepassion?
If I get the chance I will participate in any camp out of Iran, for sure. Additionally, I am going to participate in the Dubai Pole Cup competition next Autumn. I know it will be very difficult for me as I don't have any teachers close to me but I have to attempt to do my best. I wish to win first place in the amateur category. Wish me luck.