Wendy's Whirled


Photograph by Don Curry

Wendy Traskos is not only one of the strongest and sexiest dancers I’ve met, she is also an entrepreneur whose ventures include New York Pole Dancing Studio, Climb and Spin, and United States Pole Dancing Federation.  Amazingly, Wendy did not qualify for the cheerleading team when she was in high school, despite already being a competitive gymnast and having sister Tracy in the team.  But perhaps this early challenge contributed to Wendy’s tendency to push the limits.  Maybe growing up with a father in the military helped too. Rules couldn't be broken, so she sought areas of life where the rules hadn't been defined yet.

From floor: Wendy Traskos, Tracy Traskos and NYPD instructor, Brynlyn Loomis

Sister, Tracy, went to college for Community Health Education, and became a respected bodybuilder and fitness educator. Wendy followed her own path, and—in her final year of high school—her parents told her if she didn’t go to college, she would have to start paying rent.

Photograph by Don Curry

“I left at 18 and never looked back,” said Wendy. “After that, I just figured I could do what I wanted because I did everything all on my own: my own decisions and my own failures and everything.“

“I needed a job when I came to NY.  So eventually I started stripping. My parents would be so proud,” Wendy laughed.

“I never felt uncomfortable about showing my body,” she said. “And I knew that no one could touch me so I was fine with that. I drew a clear line and never stepped over it."

Wendy saved enough money to start her business in 2005, and to employ some of the finest pole dancers in New York including sister, Tracy.  Although running NYPD hasn’t proved as lucrative as stripping, Wendy does it because of her passion for pole, and also because it empowers women, and creates a sense of community.  Pole dancing is a bonding experience for many women, as they push their limits of endurance and strength together.

Photograph by Don Curry

Wendy refined the moves in the Climb and Spin method so they are safe for beginners and for progression to advanced moves. Unlike other studios, New York Pole Dancing requires testing before students perform invert (upside down) moves.

“I am trying to protect the students’ safety,” says Wendy. “Some people see a rivalry between New York Pole Dancing and other studios, but I feel there’s room for everybody.”

Wendy performing at Schtick A Pole In It

New York Pole Dancing offers drop in classes for students of all levels.  Wendy frequently performs at events like the Northwest Championship, Schtick a Pole In It, and the Pulse Project’s Sirens 2.  Currently, Wendy is focusing more on the studio and on Climb and Spin, which she hopes will become a standard method.  Whatever branch of her business she chooses to focus on, Wendy Traskos is clearly a Pole Dancing Pioneer.

My Pole Dancing Marathon

Wendy Traskos, Co-creator of Climb & Spin, Co-Founder of US Pole Dance Federation and Owner of NYPD

Pole dancing is a lot more fun than writing.  This thought came to me one morning, and I decided to find out how many classes I could take in one day at New York Pole Dancing.

Between 8.15am and 5.15pm, I took six hour-long classes including Climb and Spin, Stretch, Booty Camp (twice), Handstands and Sexy Seats.

Instructors, Wendy Traskos, Gabrielle Valliere, Brynlyn Loomis, Anna Grundstrom, Jillian Urrutia, Caitlin Goddard & Bonnie Fischer

Each Climb and Spin class ends with a routine including a spin, a climb and some floor work or transitional moves.  It’s satisfying to feel one is leaving with something one could show one's friends, if one had the guts to do so.

During stretch class, instructor, Anna Grundstrom, demonstrated as she lay on her stomach and almost touched the back of her head with her foot while arching her back.  Then we lay on our backs for hamstring stretches, and Anna almost touched her forehead with her foot.  My leg shook as I fought to keep it straight while pulling it closer. 

NYPD Instructors after a recent photo shoot

The NYPD instructors are knowledgeable enough to lead novices like myself through improvement, while also being able to push experts to expand their skills.

In my next class, instructor, Mica, bounced into Booty Camp like an elastic band, with a hibiscus flower tattoo covering half her back.

“You know how during yoga, downward dog is your resting position,” Mica said.  “Well, during booty camp, your resting position is jumping jacks.  Let’s start with 50.  Go.”

I started jumping.  This was my third hour, with three more to go.  Mica cheered us along as we did side planks with leg lifts, mountain climbers, pullups and pikes.   Another student and I grinned at each other.  This was hard but it was also really fun. 

Handstands with Wendy Traskos

Waiting in the lobby for the next class, one student described to me a move she learned in “Sexy Seats.”

“So you put your head between his legs while he’s sitting in a chair,” she said, letting her waist length brown hair dangle between her legs.  “Then you blossom out your legs.”  She waved her arms like undulating water. 

“I showed it to my boss and he said, ‘What are they teaching you there?’”

I could not imagine demonstrating this move to my boss, if I had one.  But if I had a boss, I probably wouldn’t be here doing six hours of pole dancing classes in one day. 

After handstands, and Brynlyn Loomis’s booty camp, I took my last class of the day: Sexy Seats. 

Instructor, Brynlyn Loomis, doing her 2012 USPDF routine

First, we walked across the room in our heels.  Walking in a straight line is challenging when wearing seven-inch heels. The shoes mesmerized me: silver glitter, pink corset, gilded, light up and some with fluffy toys inside. 

Whether the pole is symbolic or not, climbing it, sliding down it, and spinning around it makes one feel powerful.  Although I haven’t yet mastered any upside down moves or poses, I feel stronger and, yes, sexier, for having tried it.

After six hours of classes, I felt energized. And I couldn’t wait to write about it.


Instructors Brynlyn Loomis, Tracy Traskos and Wendy Traskos, photo by NYPD

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