Sexy pole dancing workshops hosted by the East London Strippers Collective aren’t just a saucy way to tone up this Valentine’s Day.
The sizzling workouts will shine the spotlight on the industry, too, and the performers’ battle for better legal rights and working conditions.
Those who find themselves wrapped around a silver bar on Sunday, February 14, will be treated to expert guidance from working strippers who will teach the basic moves, combinations and transitions as well as floor work to add extra variety.
After that there’s the chance to strut their stuff on stage in a group performance.
Group founder Stacey Clare said: “It’s quite different from your usual pole fitness.
“There’s a lot of emphasis on stripper culture as well as the pole dancing and how it would be if we were working.
“In the last event, the classes were a full house and we had a couple of experienced dancers but it seemed like most of the girls who came were people who did pole fitness.
“But we are trying to bring pole dancing back to the stage performance that a lot of pole fitness doesn’t want to go near, and we are doing it in a supportive environment.”
She added the beginner and advance workshops at Shoreditch’s Red Gallery also gave the group’s members the chance to showcase their individual talents.
After penning a dissertation on the poor licensing legislation for those in the stripping industry, Stacey decided to set up the group .
Its aim is to challenge what it calls the “patriarchal conventions” on which they believe the industry is based as well as to use its events to “shatter the relentless stereotyping of strippers”.
The group’s second showcase will also include a Stripperwear Fair on Saturday, February 13 and a Diamond Dolls performance that evening inspired by the tunes of the late David Bowie.
Meanwhile, those who fancy getting their hands dusty with liquid chalk and taking to the pole are in for a treat the following day.
“It’s a bit naughty, isn’t it?” said group co-founder Billy Laser.
“The pole is symbolic of stripper culture, it embodies it, and it’s a very important part.
“People are fascinated by it and they’re curious.
“People rarely know what goes on inside a strip club and it’s mesmerising.”
Professional stripper Tequila Rose, 35, started pole dancing about three years ago and will be leading the session.
The tip to pole dancing?
She said: “It’s practice more than anything else, and quite a bit of strength.
“When you start you don’t need to be strong at all, you just need to be willing to give it a go.
“Some people will pick it up in their first class.
“Something I’ve never been able to do is the dead lift on ayesha upside down - it’s upside down legs and you just hang.”
What can we expect from the class?
The first basic move is with your inside hand stretched up on the pole, and that shoulder pulled down.
As you walk around the pole, you keep the tautness in your body.
And think about your second hand [the one hanging free] too.
Use it to play with your hair, push your hair back up, but keep the body tension.
Check your position and look in the mirror, too.
Professional stripper and pole dancer Kitty Velour is training to become a qualified pole dance instructor. She will also be teaching at the event.
Why did you start?
I really liked the taboo of it to be honest.
I thought ‘this is cool, this is different, this is a bit rebellious.
And it’s nice to be able to feel good about yourself.
It’s learning how to have stage presence and perform too - you can do a million tricks, but you might not be good on-stage.”