Did you know that pole dancing has a long history intimately entwined with BIPOC sex workers, strippers, and exotic dancers? Without the experiences and hard work of BIPOC sex workers, strippers, and exotic dancers, there would be no Aradia.

Sex workers and strippers continue to receive much stigma for their progression; stigma from preconceived notions produced and reproduced by patriarchal and white supremacist media. Sex work, stripping, and exotic dancing are all real work. At Aradia, we acknowledge the sex workers, strippers, and exotic dancers that paved the way for pole fitness to exist. At the beginning of each new session, instructors and students acknowledge the work of BIPOC sex workers, strippers, and exotic dancers to ensure they are aware of how pole fitness came to be. In this blog, we want to not only acknowledge the history of exotic dance work, but also share some of our fave sex work inclusive content!

We also had the privilege of being able to interview one of our very own instructors, Onyx, about her experience in the exotic dance industry. And finally, we want to share some information relative to the sex work industry, and how we can advocate for safe spaces for sex workers.

(Blog content created by James Harley (they/them) jjharley@shaw.ca
and Chantelle Beasley (she/her) chantelle@aradiafitness.com)

Great follow recommendations for Instagram

@jacqthestripper – Jacqueline Frances is a comedian, artist, writer, businesswoman, and exotic dancer! She provides a raw and honest look into the sex work industry – a must follow!

@jordankensley – We love this girl! She came to visit our studio a few years ago for some incredible pole workshops. Jordan is also an experienced exotic dancer – her sensuality and expression on the pole is limitless and inspiring.

@lux_atl – Lux is a stripper with a PhD! Lux has a podcast, is a writer, hosts yearly retreats “striphaven” and “stripcoven” retreats, and is a former university professor.

@exotic.cancer – This Instagram page is an art page created by a “mysterious and unnamed” exotic dancer. Be warned, this page may be lewd for some viewers – but gives a comical and honest look in to the experiences of exotic dancers.

@sexworkhistory – This Instagram page is all things Sex Work History! It’s a fascinating page that you’ll likely end up spending hours on by accident – sorry!

There are MANY more incredible pages – knows some?

E-mail us at edmonton@aradiafitness.com and we will share them! We also can’t forget some of our incredible local talent including: @ania_woods, @mmmklinaaa, @hail_elvira, @the_belle_show, @kruellakraken, @officialharleyblaze, @serena_rayne_sgh, @maverick.mettle
(These only name a few. There are SO many more. Don’t see someone you think deserves to be recognized above? Let us know!)

Photos throughout blog taken by @stripperwithacamera and with permission

Interview with Onyx

2X Miss Nude Canada + Many more titles
Instructor at Aradia Fitness@onyxsachi

I first started stripping right after amateur night! I was so nervous… I definitely had to drink to take the edge off. But it was a Tuesday night and I came home with 700 dollars and I think I only had to pay ten dollars out to the DJ… I think what inspired me to become a stripper was watching the amazing features on stage. I come from an era of top feature veterans, the years when you could have a real-life tiger on stage. Watching shows like that is what made me start to build myself to what I am today!

I feel like each province has their own set of rules. The east side of Canada allows contact, the West Side does not. The economy is different in each province, and the Maritimes are so secluded… anything goes out there.

I’m not sure about other strippers, but I enjoy working the coasts of Canada. East and West.. the landscape is so beautiful, so it’s like a working vacation to me

In my opinion, I feel that as long as the pole fitness industry recognizes where pole evolved from, I support all aspects of it!

A lot of people think strippers are dumb or have daddy issues… where most strippers I know own their own home, they’ve finished University… we’re just human beings, regular working people.

The improvement starts with strippers being recognized as actual workers and being treated accordingly with employment bylaws.

Sex Work In The News: What’s Happening

“Councillor wants Edmonton to consider permanent closure of body rub centres” – Sex workers say motion could push them back to unsafe conditions on the street

“Vancouver opens Canada’s first 24/7 shelter for street-based sex workers”

Be sure to check out “Yes A Stripper” Podcast here:

Check out Peers:
“We believe every person, regardless of their occupation, age, gender, race, or ethnicity, ability or socio-economic status, deserves equal rights and benefits. Alongside many other organizations in Canada and internationally, we advocated for the rights of sex workers and provide opportunities for people to learn about and become involved in addressing stigma”