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#051: The art of pole dancing – Lauren Pei-Lee

By Jordan Michaelides

Lauren Pei-Lee ( @lauren_peilee ) is a semi-pro who competes nationally in the burgeoning performance art of pole dancing – a sport that combines dance and acrobatics on a vertical pole. 

Pole dancing is a sport that has fascinated me since I met Lauren, because at the same time I was learning about the GymnasticBodies movement and people such as Ido Portal. This form of exercise and control over my body was a lot more interesting to me, rather than just completing rudimentary weight training. When I saw people like Conor McGregor also start to use Ido Portal as part of his training camp, I was intent on broadening my exercise routine into this area. 

The sport has rapidly changed over the last decade, to the point where it’s now been provided observer status by the GAISF, the body in charge of classifying sports for the Olympic committee – possibly paving the way for its inclusion in years to come. The connotations of stripping still remain for the layperson, but I think there’s enough BuzzFeed & VICE videos online now to show that perception is changing, there’s numerous studios providing a base for talent, and competitions that become more competitive as each year goes by.

Lauren is a good friend of mine, and an incredible talent. She’ll help broaden your understanding of this new sport, and what opportunities it provides for athletes interested in the performance. In terms of topics we covered:

  • Her earliest experience and how she began dancing
  • Different styles of dance
  • What pole dancing is as a sport, and how it works
  • Training, trainers, and competition
  • Where, what, and who she draws inspiration from
  • Staying in shape day-to-day
  • Training for competitions and F45 training
  • Pole Star Idols: Pole dancers she looks up to
  • How she got into competing and how competitions work
  • What dancers overlook and Lauren’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Advice for beginners on getting started

Listen to the episode

Watch the episode: 


01:58 – Introduction
06:05 – Earliest memory of dance
07:49 – Styles of dance & how she began pole
10:11 – Pole dancing as a sport
12:50 – Training, trainers, and competition
15:19 – Pop culture and pole dancing
18:03 – Where, what, and who she draws inspiration
21:45 – Staying in shape day-to-day
27:56 – Training for competitions and F45 training
29:53 – Where people can go to train in Australia
30:37 – Pole idols: dancers she looks up to
31:39 – International pole dancing
35:00 – How she got into competing
36:30 – What dancers overlook, strengths & weaknesses
38:49 – Where she performs outside of competitions
40:52 – Advice for beginners on getting started
47:01 – Criteria and judging of competitions
48:19 – Morning/evening routines
49:52 – What music she enjoys to dance to
50:14 – Best purchase under $200
51:35 – What she’s most proud of
53:04 – If she could have a billboard anywhere in Aus
53:46 – What historical figure she most identifies with