Strip It Down: Exploring the Facts and Fiction Surrounding Pole Dancing

Yes, pole workouts are still a thing. And there are places right here in Indy where you can try it for yourself.
Chrome Fitness Group posing for a picture.

Sometimes, traditional exercise is just. not. it. Still, we know it’s good to move our bodies to age better, regulate our hormones, improve our sleep, and live a healthy lifestyle. 

So, how can those of us who know we are not among those destined to be a Turkey Trot family move our bodies in a way that works for us?

If you’ve been part of the Maven Movement for a while, you probably remember the article outlining several different Indianapolis-area group fitness classes a few years ago. Still, one fitness class was not mentioned in this article, even though this exercise style piqued this author’s interest long before that piece went live.

So why was this workout not covered in the previous article? Is it because this form of exercise is slightly more “taboo” (though we def don’t have a problem with taboo topics at Indy Maven) than most? Or is it the fear of the unknown? Possibly the complete lack of experience in anything related to this type of movement? 

If it wasn’t clear already, the type of exercise I’m referring to is the art of pole dancing.

Marcy Kerr-Lemus
Photo Credit: Chrome Instagram

While initially intimidating, pole fitness is an opportunity to express yourself artistically, feel free in your body, and find a community of supportive women.

Maybe you’re familiar with pole dancing from nights out at the club, a bachelorette party activity, or from when pole workouts first became more widely recognized as mainstream fitness in the early 2000s.

No matter how you were first introduced to pole fitness (and if you weren’t previously, welcome – you’re in the right place), it’s worth recognizing that a) yes, these workouts are still a thing!, b) even today, there are many misconceptions about pole fitness, and c) there are women-owned pole studios in Indianapolis that welcome those at any level wanting to participate in pole fitness – from first-timers to the pros!

We took time with Marcy Kerr-Lemus, owner and lead instructor at Chrome Fitness in Carmel, to learn more about the art of pole fitness as a sport.

FICTION: All pole dancers are strippers.

There are different types of pole exercise: pole fitness, pole dancing, and stripping. Even within these categories, there are different sub-categories: gymnastics, aerial, twerk, flow, freestyle, deadlifts, doubles, and more.

FACT: Strippers helped make pole dancing a mainstream exercise.

While not all pole dancing is stripping, it is important to credit strippers for bringing pole fitness to studios and popularizing and legitimizing it as exercise.

“About 10 years ago, there was a hashtag that became popular in the pole corner of social media titled ‘#NotAStripper’,” Kerr-Lemus explained. “This hashtag was harmful because it tried to separate the pole fitness community into ‘them’ and ‘us.’ Without strippers, pole dancing would’ve never become a popular form of fitness.”

FICTION: Everyone who participates in pole fitness has to perform.

Chrome Fitness Studio
Photo Credit: Chrome Instagram

Just as there are different types of pole fitness, there are also different reasons people take up pole. While some women are eager to perform, others practice pole fitness for dance-based strength and cardio exercise, to gain confidence in their bodies, or to find a supportive community of others who prioritize their health.

FACT: There are pole competitions and showcases.

As pole dancing has become more popular, opportunities to perform and compete nationwide have emerged. Studios also organize showcases for members to perform for friends, family, and peers.

FICTION: The pole community is exclusive based on skill level.

While pole dance can look intimidating, and there are opportunities to increase your strength and skills, a true pole community accepts and includes dancers at every skill level.

FACT: The pole community is inclusive, welcoming, and encouraging.

Women wearing Chrome Fitness T-Shirts.
Photo Credit: Chrome Instagram

Regardless of your experience, “open gym” times allow pole dancers at different levels to meet, mingle, and practice alongside one another. At places like Kerr-Lemus’ studio, Chrome Fitness, fellow dancers cheer each other on when a new move is mastered, whether it’s a basic spin or an aerial trick.

FICTION: I must have significant strength or significant experience in pole dancing.

Many pole videos show extremely muscular dancers spinning, climbing, and inverting with ease. While this is beautiful, impressive, and something to aspire to, these routines are by no means the only routines that can empower women who try pole dancing.

FACT: There is a style of pole that works for every body type.

Just as there are different pole moves for different skill levels, there are entire routines fit for brand-new dancers with zero dance background that still make the performers feel sexy and strong.

Regardless of your skill level, dance background, or knowledge of the sport, pole fitness is an exciting way to test out a new form of exercise and meet new people. Kerr-Lemus’ Chrome Fitness is one of a few different studios in the area, and it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary all year.

Learn more about Chrome Fitness and pole fitness at

Chrome Fitness Group posing for a picture.

Kylie Stine is a contributor to Indy Maven who loves trying non-traditional forms of exercise. She has found empowerment and community through classes at Chrome Fitness and loves attending all of the classes offered at the studio, including chair dance, twerk, and pole.

All of our content—including this article—is completely free. However, we’d love if you would please consider supporting our journalism with an Indy Maven membership.

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