By Dawn Alexander
You don’t know sexy until you know Kelsea Polk, known to some as Alabama. The alias has nothing to do with the state but rather taken from the movie True Romance and it’s character Alabama played by Patricia Arquette.
Why do I put Miss Polk up on a platform of sexy status? Well, this woman is genuine in her craft. She’s a professional pole dancer, stripper, teacher and co-creator of a burlesque showcase called Wicked Woman. She’s also a sister, a daughter and a friend. I have the pleasure to be one of her friends and give you some insight to a world you may be confused, intrigued, misinformed or simply just interested in.
For years our understanding of pole dancing has evolved. It’s not as commonly dismissed or judged as a low class act for fast money on the contrary, there are national and worldwide competitions that show off the athletics and artistry of what isn’t always just grinding of a pole to bad music. House wives are setting up poles in their living rooms to get fit while the kids are at school. I recently went to a bachelorette party and our stop was at a female strip club. A very confused guy came up to us and asked “Im just curious..why are you girls here?” I was confused myself by this question, “For the dancing of course!” I replied. Whether you are in it to get turned on or in it to be dazzled by the moves seems all types of us are enjoying this style of dance more and more.
“I never fit myself into a pole dancing box though and most of the women I dance with love the power pole side and the exotic side” She explains. Unfortunately, however with the trend growing comes some hypocrisy. Some women who only dance for fitness or only for their husbands or boyfriends on Valentines Day may also shame or look down on strippers. She refers to this as “Strip Culture Appropriation” She explains, “They’re wearing the heels and sexy outfit at the studio but slut shaming”. Kelsea embraces the roots of the craft and history of exotic pole dancing within strip clubs. She has no desire to put herself in a set category. She considers herself both a stripper and a pole dancer. Her current position at LA’s Cheetahs for the past 2 years is one where the dancers don’t get naked and can focus more on style, choreography and performance. She feels that this is one of the few blurred lines between “stripper” and “pole dancer” Getting naked or not.
In 2013 Kelsea started dancing at Ecdysiast, a pole studio in Porland, OR . It would be only a few months later that she would start to dance at strip club called Rose City Strip and another, DV8. The dancing gave her a sense of confidence, a confidence she saw in the women she admired and had previously watched on stage. “I was drawn to the idea of having a platform to be whatever you wanted to be without being judged”, she explains, “Confidence goes a long way” She now spreads this confidence herself in many ways.
When I or any of her friends tell her, “I wish I could do that” she’ll quickly say..”You CAN!, anyone can!” She believes all women can learn to be as talented and strong as her and gain the confidence she once did not have herself. She has begun teaching at Infit Dance in Woodland Hills. She found it to be a great way to think more about what was happening with her body and be able to explain it and break down the process. She teaches Exotic Pole, Lap Dance and Intro to Twerk.
Recently Kelsea and her friend, Noelle Bruno, started a burlesque showcase night called Wicked Woman. After practicing variations of arial together over the past 3 years they both wanted to create a new kind of strip club. They saw a need to create an environment with a vibe that was not only sexy but encompassed female empowerment hence Wicked Woman was born. The name came from brainstorming a variety of women in history that all went against the grain of society in some way, ‘Nasty Woman’ was already taken *wink. Kelsea feels the name resonates with that feeling of not fitting the mold society places on women. It’s a sexy, fun environment where she says she wants people to “..let their freak flags fly” but it’s also about creating a safe place for ladies to express themselves and step outside the norms that arial may usually dictate.
I was able to attend the Wicked Woman premiere event at Pour Vous in December and it lived up to all these ideals. The vibe of the bar is already both sexy and classy. A old french style decor with dim lighting and delicious cocktails. Kelsea also bartends at Por Vous so creating a specialty drink for the night is also part of the fun. The drinks get a creative, sometimes humorous, name which is an homage to the Wicked Woman of the month theme. The show is broken up into segments throughout the night mixed with pole dancing, burlesque, contortionist and ariel performances complete with a double arial finale show by the hosts themselves.
“I was very proud of the performers coming together and putting on a kick ass show” Kelsea says, describing her success from the first event
Do yourself a favor and step out of your average nightly hangs and enjoy a nice cocktail and an amazing show supporting talented women. Click here to find out how to experience the next Wicked Woman show.
Thursday, Jan 19th at Pour Vous. $10 8:30pm
Also check out Kelsea’s classes at Infit Dance Tuesday Nights:
Follow Kelsea on Instagram @Kelsea_Alabama
Wicked Women is also a group page on Facebook where you can stay in the look about the events but also be a part of networking with other performers, hear about other events, gigs & more. Wicked Woman Artist Collective Group Page