“I use pole dance to show people that beauty does not come in one-size-fits-all packages and to share how we can use our bodies to express the stories that we hide from the world.”
The first day that Amy took her first pole dance class was the same day that she started law school. Amy was surprised to discover a tribe of passionate, strong, talented people from all backgrounds of life sharing a love of artistry through pole dancing – people just like her.
After graduating law school, Amy spent 4 years working in San Francisco’s startup scene, before she decided to take a leap and start SF Pole & Dance. For her, teaching pole dance is all about artistic expression – finding confidence within our own bodies, having autonomy over our identities and discovering that our own physical beauty sometimes comes from an inner strength, outwardly expressed.
Amy says, “Every time my student tells me that pole dance has helped them appreciate their bodies for what they can do rather than for what they look like, those moments are bigger than themselves because they redefine the stories that society has been telling people for ages. The story that says ‘you’re not good enough the way you are.’”
Read on to learn about Verlocal host and Founder of SF Pole & Dance, Amy, and her journey of dance, love, pain, and bravery.
- Hi Amy, can you introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?
Definitely! I am the Founder of SF Pole & Dance. We offer private pole dancing lessons and an introductory Taster pole dance class through Verlocal. We offer group and individual classes every day of the week.
- Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?
I took my first pole dance class the same day that I took my first law school class. I assumed that it would just be a nice release from the stress of school but there, I discovered my pack – passionate, strong, talented women from all backgrounds of life sharing a love of artistry through pole dancing.
- What does your passion mean to you?
It means that everyday, I wake up dedicated to helping people tell stories with their bodies. I work long hours on the business side and also teach over 20 classes a week. I have hand chosen seven of the best pole dance instructors in the Bay Area who also teach every week, and am currently bringing on three more.
Here’s something I wrote about what pole dance means to me:
I use pole dance to tell people that this is my body and I get to choose what to do with it, unlike the majority of the history of women who have come before me.
I use pole dance as a tool to tell other people that their bodies matter and that our bodies are the mediums we use to navigate this life and on which our lives display themselves.
I use pole dance to show people that beauty does not come in one-size-fits-all packages and that each of our bodies are beautiful and amazing and weird and fascinating in that they all move differently and tell different pain and different love and to show how we can use those bodies to express the stories that we hide from the world.
I use pole dance to tell the stories that are sometimes too hard to tell with words and to help other people tell their silenced stories too.
I use pole dance to create art, in the hopes that it connects my spark to your spark and helps our souls sing in unison, as we navigate this crazy world that will paint experiences, chosen and unchosen, back onto our bodies and which we’ll then use to create even more art, to connect more hearts and to continue to subvert false narratives about gender, and what’s proper, and what’s ok to do with our bodies and break the status quo.
- What made you want to pursue your passion, start your business, and become a host?
I worked in tech for four years after law school – mostly on the negotiations, legal and operations side. I love the business side – as an operations ninja, I get things done and I enjoy it. The business and artistic sides of me are more balanced now that I run my own business and I’ve reached this amazing point where I can share my craft and my love of pole with hundreds of people every week. Sharing my craft is why I teach and host.
- How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
Our classes are about self expression. About looking at a pole – which is in it’s essence, just a piece of metal, and saying ‘Hmmm, I’ll try to make art with that.’ I think that the development of art through pole infuses the development of art in other arenas too. Today, more than ever, the ability to share art is easier and more important than it’s ever been. Our art are our stories and this life is the only time we have to tell them.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about your passion?
Take a taster class! We have 6 taster classes every week including morning classes, lunchtime classes, and evening classes.
- How long have you been living in the city? What are some insider tips you’d like to recommend to someone who just moved to the city?
My husband and I have lived in the beautifully colorful mid-Market area (the Twitterloin) for 3.5 years since we moved here from Boston. Our favorite things to do are to hike Bernal Hill, eat tacos in the Mission at Taqueria Cancun (super tacos are the best!) and see shows at SNH. We recently saw Kinky Boots and it was amazing!
What is your favorite moment/story between you and your students?
Every time a student tells me that pole dance has made them appreciate their bodies for what it can do rather than because of what it looks like. When I see a student perform a trick that they never thought they could do and then exclaim, “Damn! I look good!” or “I did that!”, we high five. Those moments are bigger than themselves because they redefine the stories that society has been telling people for ages. The story that says ‘you’re not good enough the way you are.’ Pole dance helps people delight in their own bodies and movement. I think those moments are important to creating a better world around us!
- What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to open another studio. Right now, I’m looking at leases in the Marina area of San Francisco, Marin County, and Waikiki, HI.
- Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?
The best advice I ever got was this: “Assume that everyone around you is doing their best. No one is going to care the same amount that you do. People will mess up. And that’s ok. Assume people are giving the most they can.” I’ve followed that advice through the loneliness of the hardest days and it’s served me well.
- What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal is about community and exploring the beauty in our hometown. I discovered a pottery studio through Verlocal that was close to my house. It uncovers the hidden secrets and lives of entrepreneurs all around us.
- Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
I love this quote because it reminds me of the importance of showing up, and doing the work. I am not naturally an amazing pole dancer. I have become a professional by training everyday and making it a habit.
All Photos by Amy Bond
From 12/21 to 12/28, share a story about what your passion means to you or ask Amy any question under this post! One lucky commenter will walk away with a FREE Pole Dancing Class hosted by Amy.
Share your thoughts now.