I hate you, Marion Crampe.

French people ruin EVERYTHING.

This is Marion Crampe.


You’ve probably seen her dancing. She’s pretty active on social media and other people LOVE her, so she gets shared a lot.

I was one of these people, many times.

Until, in a pole class, doing yet another “broken doll” pose to sad White People Music (WPM) while flinging my body around dramatically (with toes pointed, natch), I realized pole has changed, and it’s all Marion Crampe’s fault.

Like, okay, not ALL her fault. But at least 40%.

Guys, I’m not having fun anymore. It’s something that slapped me in the face in the middle of a choreography class while doing still more “desperate” poses, hunched gallops, and pretending to push the pole away.

This is not fun.

It’s painful (flinging yourself into a chrome pole in a dramatic fashion hurts), it’s way too serious, and it’s hitting the same note over and over and over and over again.

We are not all Marion Crampe. We do not all look good in broken doll poses (anyone over 102 pounds can relate to this, I’m sure–“awkward” only looks good on tiny people). And further more, we’re not all contortionists and gymnasts. Marion Crampe does not share this believe. This is a photo she shared this on Facebook the other day, just to underscore my point.

Um, but there should be a difference, because I’m not a rhythmic gymnast.

I guess I’m not sure where I fit in pole-wise right now. I’m not really suited to stripper-style studios (pole being all about booty claps and impressively wide leg spreads feels just as poseur to me as pretending to be Marion Crampe), but clearly, the classes I’m taking right now are just not right for me anymore. I think it’s time to admit this myself and move on, instead of going to yet another class and gritting my teeth through it.

I do know one aspect of what I’m looking for: I want to dance at a studio where dancing feels good. I feel like I’m being told to ignore pain way too often at the studios I’m visiting, and for what?

I didn’t share this with you guys because at the time (about two months ago), I was beating myself up for not being able to catch onto the choreography well enough. This was a different style (re: not Marion Crampe), but the focus is still on dramatic extremes and the expense of… not being bruised and floor burned. At the time of the class, I was still struggling with back pain, and I spoke to the teacher about this–she said she understood and was nice about it–but, you can see from the choreo she had planned that there really wasn’t a way to modify it to make it more gentle. I’m not even doing half of the moves because I lost my split and my back was just NOT permitting that push up-body slam thing. Multiple people looked upset and discouraged and were complaining that the routine was very painful (especially for those of us without socks), but, it was what it was. There was also a sequence of just like, 20 seconds of pirouettes and I couldn’t do that either. This whole thing pretty much made me want to whimper.

And another thing: I’m sensing a kind of internal contempt at these places between students. I feel like this is symptomatic of an atmosphere where we’re all told to power through pain and discomfort for the sake of aesthetics (which seems strange to me, because who’s watching exactly? where is this critical eye like Sauron demanding we skin our knees?).

As much as I hate yoga (I really, really hate yoga), I think they have the right idea when it comes to individual practice. Everybody has to do things at their own pace, and they should. We’re not all Marion Crampe. And trying to be is making a lot of us miserable.

Anyway, shout out to Marion, you’re freakishly good at what you do.

I’m just hoping there’s room in the pole world for the rest of us.

Until then, I think I’m going to keep bellydancing. We had a show last night and I had an absolute BLAST.


  1. This is a great post (like all of yours. You are amazing). Anyways, I don’t believe in merging the styles of pole. What I love about it is that you can blatantly steal your style from anything else and use it in pole to tell a story. And it should be fun, which it may not be if it hurts so much. Great post about something people don’t want to think about or admit to.

    • awww, shucks. and YES… there is a lot of blatant stealing, which is kinda fine… but also kinda responsible for the homogenization I’m noticing. and this is a separate issue, but what’s with all the “OMG these are just crappy easy moves but I was feeling the music” captions on RIDICULOUS trick videos? there’s such a weird, self-conscious, keeping-up-with-the-joneses thing in pole culture, I don’t get it. just saying.

      let’s make pole chill and fun again!!! it’s not russian ballet!!

  2. So yeah, this is why I’m all about the freestyle and not the tricks. Sure I wish I could share awesome videos and garner the praise of my peers but fuck it, what I do feels good.

    • It’s hard to find the will to even do that though. It’s like, why even bother posting this little video of a few pirouettes and a backbend when other people are doing flips and stuff? But then, I think about it, and as a viewer, I want to see what you do, Angela!! So I’m trying to think that other people must feel that way too. Still, it’s hard.

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