Making History Every Day: Black Pole Dancers Who Inspire Us
In honor of Black History Month, we are excited to highlight some of the many contributions people of color bring to the pole dance community. From inventing and popularizing key pole moves, to raising visibility of pole fitness and inspiring dancers around the world, these women and men are superstars we celebrate. The people and groups listed here are by no means exhaustive, but we hope it is a starting point to learn, support, and inspire. What are you waiting for? Follow them on social media and, if you’re lucky, take a class or workshop with these amazing dancers! If you want to highlight another amazing dancer who’s a person of color, comment or tag them below!
Phoenix Kazree (@phoenixkazree), a former gymnast and professional dancer, is the consummate pole dancer – embodying power, flexibility, and flow. She has won national and international pole competitions and was the first African American to compete internationally. She currently travels the globe as a full-time pole trainer, choreographer, and performance/competition coach and her line-up of clients includes many of the world’s top pole dancers. She is also the founder of Masters Only Pole Retreat (@mastersonlyretreat), a retreat exclusively for pole dancers 40+.
Dalijah Franklin (@dalijahamelia) is the founder of Black Girls Pole, a group dedicated to increasing the representation of black women in pole. Having pole danced for over 10 years, she empowers others as an instructor at Body & Pole in NYC and has inspired us with her championship performance at 2019 PSO Atlantic and with her recent appearance on SNL with Lizzo.
Crystal Belcher (@itsthecdb) has been pole dancing for over 10 years and is an international pole champion. She is a powerful communicator – with her fluid choreography, she focuses her compositions to not only entertain, but to challenge the emotional expectation an artist takes to the stage and how an audience can be liberated in their receipt of that performance. Not to mention, her compelling skills as an MC make you feel welcomed; warm and fuzzy feels, coupled with a hilariously cunning reproach for stage etiquette (we loved her humor and pizzazz at PSO Northeast 2019!).
Sasja Lee (@iamsasjafierce), 5-time pro champion and creator of Haus of Fierce pole tutorials takes a personal approach toward propelling athletes to their next level, while finding their unique voice through movement.
Roz "The Diva" Mays (@rozthediva) is a pole and fitness trainer based in NYC. We love Roz for her championing of black women and for her tireless advocacy of body positivity in the pole world.
Bentley Rebel (@bentleyrebel) is an instructor and pole champion who specializes in exotic pole. His mesmerizing flow and musicality have challenged misconceptions of men in pole. He continues to inspire us as artists and athletes.
Ashley Fox (@foxyashleyfox) Despite starting pole with very little background in dance or fitness, Ashley has won multiple national competitions and is known for her signature daring and dynamic style. Ever a trailblazer, she inspires us as a successful business owner of Foxy Fitness and Pole with locations in NYC and NJ.
Kimmy Fitz (@itskimmyyb) has won silver at PSO nationals four times including most recently in 2019. She teaches at Inspiration Studios and SF Pole and Dance. We are inspired by her inventive teaching methods that unlock the mysteries of pole for a variety of learners. She is also the owner of costume and clothing brands @bykimb and @endlessbykimb, and recently became a co-owner of the Northern California Pole Presentational (@norcalpolepresentational).
Regina Armand (@reginaamariee_) is an aerial instructor, performer, and competitor based out of NYC. She is a formidable presence in the pole world. She holds the title of Pro Champion of the Pole Sport Organization Seaboard Competition, is a USPDF Pro athlete, owns an aerial arts studio in Mineola, Long Island, and broadened the pole audience with her compelling SNL performance with Lizzo!
Black Girls Pole (@blackgirlspole) is an organization that aims to increase diversity in pole by empowering, inspiring, and educating women of color about pole dancing. BGP has over 57k followers on Instagram and hosts events and retreats both nationally and internationally. You can learn more and learn about upcoming events at https://www.blackgirlspole.com/.
Black Girl Fit Files (@blackgirlfitfilespodcast) is a podcast hosted by Delijah Franklin. Each week Delijah interviews incredible black women in the fitness industry, from pole instructors and artists to entrepreneurs and studio owners and beyond! We love this podcast because it is educational, motivating, inspiring, and fun, and think it should be on every dancer’s playlist!