Pole Dancing, Preconceptions, and You

Michelle Stanek

Pole Dancing, Preconceptions, and You

Filmed on October 19, 2016 at the 2016 AIGA Design Conference

For most, letting go of preconceived notions is a difficult practice, but understanding what one is criticizing before one criticizes it is only fair. Consider a Rothko and a Caravaggio painting. Formally, they are exactly the same—there’s a canvas, paint on the canvas, and the person who put it there. But who painted it, how they painted it, for whom they painted it, and the viewers’ reception of the painting could not be more different. In this presentation and performance, Michelle Stanek breaks down common misconceptions about pole dancing.

Michelle Stanek is an internationally recognized pole-dance performer and instructor. She won the 2012 United States Pole Dance Federation competition and her industry-changing performances are notable for their movement innovation, artistry, and fluidity. Prior to her full-time pole dance career, Stanek earned a B.A. and M.A. in Art History, worked as the program curator for AIGA, and taught art history at Pratt Institute.

A passionate and dedicated instructor, Stanek is co-owner and co-creator of elevatED: pole dance fitness and flexibility teacher trainings. Teaching and performing has taken her to Dubai, Tokyo, Africa, Scandinavia, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, the Caribbean, and around the U.S. When not traveling, she lives in New York City and instructs at Body & Pole, where she is also the pole department manager and the curator of The Wall at Body & Pole—a unique NYC gallery space showcasing contemporary visual artists.