Pole de Leon
Welch is not, nor has she ever been, a stripper. She's a personal trainer and fitness class instructor, and she's reviewing her latest curriculum: pole dancing.
Welch "approached me and really wanted to do this," says Heather Dupuis, owner of Vie, where the classes have been offered since September. "At first I was hesitant," admits Dupuis. "To buy the poles, we're talking a couple thousand dollars. But she was confident she could fill it up."
Fill it up she has. At first, Welch taught an introductory class one night a week. By January, Vie had classes four nights a week and was turning people away. Demand is still on the rise, so Dupuis will bring on another instructor for the next six-week session starting in September.
Jen Burt, Nikki Raymor, and a professor who asked to remain anonymous convene at Vie for a class. They all move confidently in their knee-high leathers, short shorts, and tight tanks. Welch recommends the attire not only for functionality--bare arms and leather boots help grip the pole--but also because looking and feeling sexy is one of the purposes of the class. Of course, it's not the only purpose.