Stacey Windsor gets some funny looks when she explains what activity got her hooked on fitness.

The Naracoorte local has been a dancer her whole life but, when it came to finding a way to stay fit throughout adulthood, she could never quite get into conventional sport. 

That’s when she tried pole dancing, despite initially feeling that swinging around a pole in front of people probably wasn’t for her.  

“I just saw classes advertised in my local neighbourhood, so I went along and I just fell madly in love with it,” she says. 

Stacey Windsor started pole dancing for fitness while living in Melbourne.(ABC South East SA: Sam Bradbrook)

“I finally understood how it felt to be strong and to really challenge myself. 

“I’ve always done dance for fun, but now it’s added that element of fitness that I never understood, but now I’m obsessed.”

After a stint away from Naracoorte in Melbourne, Ms Windsor, who performs and teaches under the stage name Dee Dee, is back in her home town and has established her own pole dancing studio. 

Ms Windsor says pole dancing is a tough workout.(ABC South East SA: Sam Bradbrook)

Despite Naracoorte being known as a small, conservative country town, she hopes it will take off with locals looking for a challenge. 

“I always tell people it’s harder than it looks but it’s also really addictive and way more fun than anything I’ve ever done,” she says. 

“You don’t need anything to start, I think that’s one of the biggest myths where people say, ‘Now I want to get fit before I start.’

“No, you get yourself fit doing this.” 

‘It changed my life’ 

Naracoorte mum Imogen Fudge has a similar background to Ms Windsor, as she too grew up dancing in a range of disciplines.

She is one of the first Naracoorte women to sign up for pole classes and said she wanted to rebuild her core strength after having a baby. 

Naracoorte mum Imogen Fudge with her daughter, Maeve.(Supplied)

“There’s a bit of a social side of it as well. Being a mum and getting out and about is important,” she says.

“It will be really good, I think, for both my mental health and for my physical fitness as well, allowing me to build up my core strength again. 

“You don’t realise how much you use and lose your core when you have a baby.”

Pole dancing has existed for centuries and has long been associated with the sex industry.

Ms Windsor says the discipline’s reputation does make some locals raise their eyebrows when she tells them about her job. 

But, she says, pole dancing’s history should be celebrated. 

“There is this dichotomy of strength and vulnerability,” she says. 

“It takes a lot of bravery to bare yourself physically and emotionally like that but there’s also a vulnerability side of showing yourself and being that open. 

“It’s not too far to say it’s changed my life.” 

Ms Windsor says pole dancing shouldn’t be judged by its past reputation.(ABC South East SA: Sam Bradbrook)

Ms Windsor says those who may look down on pole dancing should come and give it a try.

“I found aspects of myself that I never dreamed that I would express, let alone put on a stage,” she says. 

“If you see me walking down the street, I’m not the sort of person who you’d think would be up in lingerie for everyone to see. 

“But I started off in my long shorts, thinking ‘I’ll never have to bare my body, it’s not for me.'”

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