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Everybody started somewhere. In the My Journey posts we ask an accomplished athlete / star / thought leader how they got where they are now. We hope their stories will inspire and motivate you.

In this sixty sixth My Journey post, we had a chat with Jenyne, a professional pole dancer. We hope you enjoy Jenyne's journey.
Jenyne Butterfly
Tell us a little bit about yourself :)

I currently live in Las Vegas, since 2005. I'm originally from Seattle, Washington. I like to play. I'm an artist. Started with interiors and architecture and now pursuing costume design and show creation. Climbing on things is my specialty. Started in trees as a child and now any apparatus that gets my feet off the ground is where you can find me. Yoga is another one of my favorite ways to move, and a good balance to get grounded. And nothing beats the feeling of flying down the mountain on my board.

How did you get introduced to pole dancing and when did pole dancing get serious?

It all started when I was 18 years old and went with some friends to a gentlemen's club. There was a girl there using the pole very dynamically and it got my attention. I got one for my house and taught myself how to use it. People wanted me to teach them too so I built the first pole studio in the world in downtown Seattle. I found a group of aerialist women and after taking a couple classes they asked me to perform with them. Then I saw Cirque du Soleil and realized it could be a career. I was 21 and quit college to join the circus. Best decision ever. Moved to Vegas to try to make it big. Life changing moments there.

A few years later I competed and won the first ever US Pole Dance Championship and got the 1st runner-up in Worlds. Not really being a competitor, I've discovered aside from performing my passion lies in teaching. I've been fortunate enough to share my love for pole in more than 45 countries.

Can you share your biggest challenges?

I think the biggest challenge for me has been trying to find the balance between teaching and training myself. I always feel disappointed in the amount of time I spend training myself. I feel ALL of my performances could be better if I could dedicate more time. But it's difficult to turn away from the income that provides being a full-time artist. Cirque provided me with a "creation" period of 6 months for my act there and I felt that finally, I had created something quality.

So I stayed there performing it 2 times a night for 5 years! Then I felt like I really needed to create something new.

How do you handle pressure and where do you find your motivation?

The pressure can be a little consuming if you let it. There are always new up-and-coming artists that come into the industry and are totally incredible. They are so fresh and bring a lot of skills from other sports or dance. I have always focused on not comparing myself to others, which is why I'm an artist and performer instead of the competitive athlete. I like to see that the industry has split into 3 different, art, and fitness. I'm honored every time I see someone doing a move or transition that I created and completely honored to get recognized for the 17 years of passion I've put into building this industry. My motivation comes from EVERYWHERE.

It could be a song, another artist, an outside element, or a drama in my life or someone else's. I have written two production shows and have several acts on standby to be created. My eyes are always open and I love being inspired. The biggest motivation would be watching my own videos and without fail...every time I know I can do better. That's a great way to push yourself.

What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to pole dancing, of course)?

Oh my gosh. When I was integrating into a big production show (called Le Reve) they had us taking an acting workshop to help us get into the characters. There was a skill-building exercise that we had to improve our acting. They gave us a scenario and then had us come out from backstage to solo act it out. The tricky part was that it had to be in a made-up language. Most of the others in the room could speak two or more languages so it didn't seem to be that difficult for them. I only speak English. So whatever the first sound out of your mouth was, in order to be believable in your acting, you had to go with that.

I had the MOST awkward sounds come out. I actually sounded like I might be deaf and couldn't hear the sounds coming out. It was not cute. Everyone was trying to hold their laughing and I was trying to act, be serious and distressed, convincing that my car had broken down and I needed help. I almost died.

How did pole dancing influence your life in other ways?

I have found myself focusing on health, continuously researching how to maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I like to do things naturally and strive for balance in life. I really think all of that has stemmed from my passion to pole and fly.

My life revolves around it. I was called to create an act for Cirque du Soleil and met the love of my life there and we now have a beautiful son who loves dancing and flying as well. The most incredible people I have met have been through pole and circus.

What does your typical day look like?

Typical? It's always changing! When I'm at home in Vegas and not on tour, and if I'm not currently working on producing something or another gig or project...this would be my day:

  1. Wake up to my 4-year-old asking for breakfast
  2. Make food for him then get a yerba mate and sit at the computer (1 hour)
  3. Shower and dress the two of us
  4. Do chores around the house
  5. Train or teach at the studio
  6. Have lunch
  7. Take my dog and son on a bike ride or to the park
  8. Run errands
  9. Get ready to perform
  10. Make dinner
  11. Leave my son home with the nanny and go to do a show

Right now I'm in a transition period and things are changing daily...I just got done with a tour and I'm planning 3 more this year. The days I'm here in Vegas will never be the same. I'll be doing training intensives and performing in different events, not regularly. Hopefully producing more as well.

And what about your flexibility training? Where does that fit in?

It takes TIME! A lot of time. Enjoy it. Turn on good music and do it 3-6 times per week. Try to always warm up first, strength train, and do your deep stretching after. Salt baths, massages, and rolling are essential. Eat well and drink a lot of water. I usually spend an hour stretching.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

Soooooooo many!!!!!!! I have TONS of project ideas.

Any tips for passionate people who are starting to practice pole dancing now?

Freestyle. Cross train. That's it.

Anything else?

Spend your time wisely. Take care of your body. You only get one. Have patience. Be persistent. Stay unique.

Come visit me in Vegas! We can train, play, do photo and video shoots, and possibly perform in a local show! Come to grow as an artist and have fun!

Anything you’d like to share?

I'm starting a new blog called Live, Love, Circus...follow me on YouTube!

Jenyne Butterfly
Pole dancer

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2 Comment(s)

  • Author Image
    Becca Posted February 23 2018

    Omg such a great career! Keep going!

  • Author Image
    Rachel Posted February 23 2018

    I just started poledancing lately and have a lot of struggle as I am not flexible. This is very inspiring and motivating! :)


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