Flash Pole Fairies introduces students to the art of pole dancing


Courtesy of @flashpolefairies on Instagram

The Flash Pole Fairies and students pose after a successful pole session.

Clara Wicinski, Reporter

Kent State’s new student-run pole dancing club aims to empower students to harness their confidence through fitness.

Flash Pole Fairies got their start in April of this year. Four classes have been taught so far, and 220 students have signed up stating they are interested in participating this semester. Currently, the group is searching for a space on campus to hold the sessions.

Hailey Barnett, president of Flash Pole Fairies and senior communications major, got her start at Alchemy Pole Fitness, a pole fitness studio in Akron.

Hailey Barnett, president of Flash Pole Fairies, demonstrates one of her many skills on a pole.

“I’ve met so many people who want to do this, but it costs a lot to go to a studio and not everybody has a car to get there, so we said we might as well bring it to the students here,” Barnett said.

The classes teach an hour of level one and two pole fitness, which incorporates basic moves such as walking, spinning and gripping the pole. The group currently has one portable pole that can hold up to 300 pounds. The sessions are open to any Kent State student, with an entry fee of $10.

“All students, all genders, all body sizes, all zodiac signs,” Barnett said. “We do not discriminate.”

The group is a safe space for students to learn as well as express themselves. However, with expression comes judgment. Negative stereotypes, such as the class being “just for strippers” or for the sole purpose of the male gaze, have been placed upon the group.

Rather than being discouraged by these judgments, Rachel Whealan, treasurer of Flash Pole Fairies and junior accounting major, has learned to embrace them.

“There’s no way to exist in the world as a woman without someone ever saying something negative to you,” Whealan said. “It’s something that I’ve come to terms with accepting.”

The club vocalizes that classes do not teach students how to become exotic dancers. In the past, some students in the class have been interested in stripping. Although the club does not encourage it, they do want to teach interested students how to enter the dancing scene properly.

“Dancing is no joke,” Barnett said. “It is a very serious profession that has a lot of risks to it.”

The organization does not discredit exotic dancing. Pole fitness and the moves they teach are based on moves dancers do at clubs.

“The women that I have learned from and that I have danced with were the ones that were working in the clubs,” Whealan said. “They went through the danger so we can experience safety.”

The goal of Flash Pole Fairies is to teach students the value of being in tune with their bodies on the pole, as well as strengthen themselves, whether that is physically or through expression.

“You can dance out your joy, your sorrow, your pain, your anger, literally anything,” Whealan said. “It’s a very healthy way to concentrate and express your energy.”

Clara Wicinski is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].