Inside every goody-two-shoes Sandra Dee is a vixen, screaming to get out.

During recent efforts to channel my inner goddess, I gyrated and wrapped myself around a stripper pole. I twirled. I writhed on the floor. And while I had a great time doing it, I really hope my parents aren’t reading this.

But Corinne Brodthagen tells me Mom and Dad have nothing to worry about.


“People used to associate pole dancing with stripping,” said Brodthagen, a pole dancing instructor. “But we’re not taking our clothes off. We’re just having fun.”

Once considered “unacceptable,” the trend is now “spreading like wildfire” in the nation’s capital, said Brodthagen. And it’s not only taut young things taking part in it.

“I teach it to women of all ages.”

In addition to being a good upper body workout, it also tones the back and butt, she said.

Katrina Bussey was surprised at how much athleticism pole dancing demands. The Ottawa resident recently tried pole dancing after hearing about it on Oprah.

“It was lots of fun, and very empowering,” said Bussey.

Brodthagen, 30, was already involved in ballet, hip-hop and jazz when she started pole dancing classes at a downtown gym. When she realized there was a market for classes, she quit her job with the federal government in order to teach. Recently, she showed me how.

With one hand on the pole, she struts around it. “Make the walk your own,” she said.

She twirls under her arm and slides to the floor with her back against the pole, crawling on her hands and knees towards me.

She shows me how to get up “like a stripper” — spreading one leg at a time to the side and then slowly slinking to a standing position.

Putting on my best come-hither look, I plié, stick my chest and butt out and rise to a standing position for a move called the Tequila Sunrise.

Next, I try the dip — with one hand on the pole, I do a deep backward bend.

The fireman spin — a move we’ve seen in Hollywood movies’ stripper scenes a zillion times — proves more challenging. Hooking one ankle around the pole, I wrap my thighs around it and zip to the ground way faster than I’m supposed to.

Nothing is unsexier.

The key is leaving your inhibitions at the door, said Ottawa’s Cheryl Lyttle, who tried pole dancing recently. Although people are shy to start, they grow more confident by the end, she said.

“Women are learning to move in a sexy way and a lot of men are going to benefit from that,” said Brodthagen, adding, “I think some women will take these moves into the bedroom.”

“The husbands definitely don’t mind,” said Lyttle. “They really enjoy boasting to their buddies that their women can work a pole.”

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