Where it all started…
Girlfriend Fun & Fitness was Queensland’s first pole dancing school, opened in 2004 (then known as Girlfriend United). Natalie TeKanawa founded the company at a time when pole fitness was relatively unknown, when she saw not just the need for exotic pole dancers to have access to professional training, but also the opportunity to promote pole dance as a fantastic full body workout that had great potential in the fitness market.
Prior to this, Natalie had an additional 4 years experience teaching pole, making her one of the world’s first pioneers of professional pole dance, having been involved in all aspects of the industry from clubs, gyms and pole studios since 1999.
Paving the way…
Girlfriend Fun & Fitness grew from strength to strength, and it wasn’t long before we opened branches in Rockhampton and Mackay, in addition to our existing Cleveland and Redland Bay classes. Girlfriend was also the first company to implement pole dancing classes into maintream Queensland gyms, running as part of gym membership, and the first pole school in Australia to not only allow men to join their classes but to provide specialised pole training for males.
Introducing ‘Pure Pole’…
In 2010, Natalie TeKanawa launched the Pure Pole brand, to the public, with the appearance of three members of the Girlfriend’s Pure Pole Angels troupe on Australia’s Got Talent! This was the first time pole dance, as a sport, had been presented on mainstream TV to a national audience. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the following year the show saw our mixed-gender performance group Pure Pole Elements take centre stage! Over the next 12 months, all Girlfriend Fun & Fitness studios were re-branded to Pure Pole, as the company continued to grow….
Why the change of name?
As our company continued to grow bigger and better, it became evident that the name Girlfriend Fun & Fitness no longer encapsulated everything we had to offer. For one thing, we were seeing more and more men join our classes (perhaps due to the great success of our instructor, Dave Kahl, who won the men’s division of the first ever International Pole Championships, or the incredible Pure Pole Elements performers, Chris Measday, Duncan West and Travis Scott, who showcased male pole fitness to the nation on Australia’s Got Talent in 2011. (Each of these three men also holds their own IPC world pole dancing title, as well!)
We were also building a stronger network of studios and felt it was time to bring them all together, align our timetables, prices and systems, and present our students with all the opportunities and benefits that come with a united, stronger brand! This included our exclusive membership privileges being honoured at ALL our studio locations across Queensland.
Natalie TeKanawa had also been working on a concept close to her heart – the Pure Pole Prodigy program – since 2009. Pure Pole Prodigy was designed to give pole dancers the opportunity to take part in competition and performance training, and eventually audition to join the Pure Pole Angels, Elements or Studs performance troupes – each of which would be a collaboration various pole dancer from different studios and states, with different skills, all ready to break the stigma and show the world how diverse pole dancing really is!
Following the success of these performance programs, and troupes, we felt it was time to officially launch Pure Pole Management, our sister company that had been already operating for several years but was now too big to exist solely as a sidenote on our ‘services’ page. This performance agency was now grown-up enough to warrant a website all of it’s own and a dedicated team of staff to drive it!
Where we are TODAY…
Re-branding will be complete as of 1st July 2012 (start of new fiscal year).
Until this time, studio memberships will continue operating as normal – e.g they will be valid in the originating location only. Please also note the Pure Pole Management website is still under construction, to be launched very shortly!