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This is the long version of my answer to Bella’s pole dancing question yesterday.

One day, when my youngest daughter was about 4 months old, I looked at the mirror and didn’t like what I saw.  I knew that I had to start exercising again, but I wanted to do something new and exciting. I started browsing the fitness section of, and the first book I came across was a book titled “The S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman” by Sheila Kelley.  I was really intrigued. The next day I stopped at a local bookstore and bought the book.  By the end of the day I was hooked.

Sheila Kelley developed the S-Factor movement after playing a stripper in a movie.  In the book she tells how after the movie she noticed that her body looked 10 years younger.  The book contained instructions for the S-Factor floor workout (something between Yoga and Pilates), and for pole tricks.  After reading the book, I went to the S-Factor website and signed up for the monthly newsletter.  I found out there was one studio in LA where Sheila and a few other teachers taught, and I was already thinking of going there for an intensive weekend, when a few weeks later there was a big announcement in the newsletter that Sheila is taking S-Factor on the road, and her first stop is San Francisco.  As soon as I saw this I signed up for the workshop.

That first workshop took place in an attic of a clothes store, and was one of the more incredible experiences of my life.  Sheila amazed us with some pole tricks, we did the workout, and then she taught us a striping routine and a pole trick.  I came home completely sore, bruised from the pole and exhilarated.  The workshop was such a success, that the following month Sheila came again, and for the next few months, either she or one of her top instructors came to San Francisco for a weekend.  About 10 months after that first workshop, they opened a studio in SF with classes taught by local instructors.

S-Factor classes are given in 8 week sessions.  You sign up for a session and take weekly 2-hour classes.  There are 7 levels, each marked by a different color thong...  I’m very proud of my black “pole master” thong...  Classes start with an hour of floor work, then you do some pole tricks and then you dance.  In the lower levels the instructors teach a striping routine, but starting at about level 4, you get to improvise, and choose your own music and outfit usually according to a weekly theme.

For more than a year I took classes at the studio.  By this time our group became very close.  It was an unlikely group of women age 25 to almost 60, some single, some married with up to 6 kids, but we had this powerful thing in common, and the support we got from each other was amazing. I guess the intimacy of dancing in front of each other had a lot to do with it. After a few months I also bought a pole to practice at home.

I really miss S Factor on many levels.  The workout sculpted my body like nothing before, the dancing part did wonders to my soul, pole dancing is really fun, and mostly I miss the friends I made there.

By now there are S-Factor studios in several cities in the US. Last year my classmates and I reunited in the NY studio for a weekend, and I hope to be able to do it again sometime.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Oct 18, 2008
    • Yep.....I can see me doing THAT move in that picture right up above.  Ummmm...that would be a negative!!!!!!  LOL

      But I’m not saying I wouldn’t LIKE to be able to do it.....I’m sure it does get you into shape.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Inakika wrote Oct 18, 2008
    • Work it girl!! I would love to do that! Years ago I saw that movie that Sheila was in and she was amazing. She was also on Oprah some time ago showing her moves. Awesome!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Shopgirl1960 wrote Oct 19, 2008
    • OMG! You gooooooooooooooo girl!!!!!

      My Mom took up raquetball when she was in her mid-40’s.
      It totally reshaped her entire body. She had never looked so good as when she was playing. She even had some special photos taken for my Dad. (bathing suites) Hee Hee

      My daughter wants to try doing “the pole.” I would imagine it takes A LOT of strength.  AGAIN,,,, You goooooo girl !!!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Merlot63 wrote Oct 19, 2008
    • Thanks ladies for indulging my showoff happy!

      The great thing about it was that it’s a learned technique that requires some strength which you develop by doing the floor workout. Eventually all the women in my class were able to do these pole tricks.

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