Name: Jennifer Hall
Ethnic Background: Puerto Rican
Hometown: Spanish Harlem, NYC
Business/ hustle: Pole to Pole Fitness, LLC; pole dance & fitness
Location: Woodbridge, NJ
Strip clubs, bodacious women strapped on with platforms, and rap stars making it rain. Those are the things we tend to think about when we hear the mere mention of a pole. Without a doubt, pole dancing is raunchy, sexy and full of sultry seduction. But it’s much more than just the hyper-sexualized practice that Americans deem it to be. Pole dancing is an art. Something that takes true talent and skill. And polished pole pros like Jennifer Hall are here to swing it to you just like that.
With a hot dance studio in Jersey, Pole to Pole Fitness, this Boricua boss is teaching folks in the Tri-State how to flip, swirl and twirl their way to fearlessness and fitness!
Miss CM twerked onboard to get the hip lock drop and the funky monkey on Jen and her 5 year strong phenom that’s changing the scope of fitness, one climb at a time.
Miss CM: Pole dancing. This is an interesting art form, and one we don’t see many women of color getting into on an artistic level. How did you get into pole?
Jen: I’m from NYC so we have these on every block! I saw someone on TV doing it and I had to find a class!
What made you say, ‘I’m going to open up a pole-dancing studio’?
I moved to NJ and was bored! All of the studios were far, and then I got the ‘aha’ moment! It was a hobby, not something I thought I would be leading. I wanted to own a hair salon.
Was it a tough journey trying to get your business off the ground?
The toughest part is keeping your poker face during the rough times and the good times. My poker face has gotten better and I keep going no matter what tries to take me down. And as a woman—Puerto Rican, rough around the edges, from NYC—business politics try you daily. But bring it because I was raised by wolves! I’m not perfect, but I love what I do!
Tell us about some of the sultry classes you offer for adults.
My classes demonstrate strength building—that’s what makes us sexy. A woman that can do a pull up and push ups while working the pole is sexy as hell!
What are some of the basic moves you teach when giving pole lessons?
Climbing and a basic spin for all my newbies! The fundamentals are choreo, flexibility and strength. You can’t do those sexy, complex moves without strength.
Jen teaching a client the fundamentals of pole dancing.
Do you consider yourself a master pole dancer?
I would say I’m seasoned—there are no masters, in my opinion. There are people who’ve perfected the craft to fit their body and likings. A pole dancer/artist has her or his own footprint—no two bodies move the same. My journey is not over and never will be. Well, when I die I guess, but hopefully where I go after death there are poles. [Laughs.]
How long would you say it usually takes a person to go from beginner to a full-blown pole pro?
Two years, depending on if he or she is consistent. The game is CONSISTENCY!
What would you say is the hardest part about learning to pole?
Since you’ve launched P2P, have you given any lessons to professional strippers?
Yes, and we love the strippers. They work hard too!
I see that you recently started teaching children’s pole classes. This is a touchy area because pole dancing has been extremely sexualized in American society, so most people see it as something strictly designed for adults. What made you decide to offer your services to children despite the fact that the art of pole is deemed inappropriate for kids? And what is your response to people who feel that poling should be off limits when it comes to children?
People in Europe, they do this seriously! My kids are better than their moms, who pole dance too. We’ve sexualized poling in the States. Kids don’t walk into class and say, ‘Let it rain!’ That will only happen if they are taught that! So to the naysayers: What do you think they do on the playground? Yup, slide down poles and flip on bars! Same concept!
Kids enjoying aerial art at P2P.
You just recently celebrated P2P’s 5th year anniversary. Why do you think your business has been so successful over the years?
Because we are raw and we don’t ‘yes’ you to death! We want you to become educated in what you do! Know how it works. Most of the people who come to P2P come from all walks of life, so everyone is super supportive and non-judgmental. My staff is world class!
Since you’ve opened up Pole 2 Pole, what has been the most rewarding part of your experience?
The people! I’ve met amazing people.
If someone would have told you 10 years ago that you would one day be teaching people how to pole, would you have believed them?
I would probably be interested in hearing more about my future. In all seriousness, I probably would have laughed because I went in and out of pole since 19. I was very frustrated with it because I wasn’t being educated enough on pole and what the possibilities were.
Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?
Probably yes. There are many avenues I can take with aerial fitness! So yes, but I’ll always have an exit plan should I take on something else.
Would you consider opening a second location?
Yes! Stay tuned!
What challenges have you faced as both a small business owner and a minority business owner, if any?
Being young, woman and brown can be challenging. I just wish there was more assistance for entrepreneurs in healthcare and retirement planning. We deserve help in those areas and it’s ridiculously expensive to support the 9-5 worker’s benefits. If you own a business, you are out with the wolves, in my opinion.
Jen showing off her pole skills.
Besides poling, what is something else that you’re really passionate about?
About kids growing up in the inner city of East Harlem! I was a kid in those streets and poverty and social and economic challenges can bring you to three things: pregnancy, death, or prison. Places you will go if you don’t have a strong support system. I’m so interested in giving back to my community! I just wish the cost of having a business there wasn’t so expensive. I so want to work close with the kids over there!
What tips would you give to women out there who are interested in learning to pole, but are scared to do it, or think it’s too hard?
Do it! See if you like it! It’s the wave!
Any words of wisdom for young entrepreneurs out there looking to start their own brand?
Be strong-minded because things will be tough at times, but remember God is only going to give you what you can handle. Keep your head up because people will try to bring you down. Keep the course. You got this!
Stay hungry and don’t get comfortable, straight up!
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