Meet the Pole Dancer Down the Street

An acrobatic Glen Ridge mom in 8-inch heels climbs to the top of her sport.

Champion pole dancer Sabine Dworak gives pole classes in her Glen Ridge living room. She came to the activity after an injury sidelined her from dancing. Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser

Sabine Dworak seems almost pixie-like with her blonde hair pulled into a tight ponytail, a face usually free of makeup and a soft voice that retains a hint of a German accent. At a bit over 5 foot 3, the Dusseldorf native weighs a mere 107 pounds.

But if you’re invited into her sunlit Glen Ridge living room, you’ll soon realize that Dworak is no ordinary pixie. Maybe it’s her 8-inch patent-leather platform heels, the sofa on wheels, or the almost wall-size mirror, also on wheels. Then again, it could be the room’s two floor-to-ceiling poles.

Dworak, 52, is reigning world champion of the masters-class division of the Pole Sports & Arts World Federation. She’s a pole dancer, a pole athlete, or as she says, “a pole everything.” Part acrobat, part dancer, part exhibitionist—she once walked across Times Square on her hands for a video—Dworak is a star in a sport that aspires to inclusion in the Olympics. But she’s also an unabashed participant in the exotic version of the activity. That doesn’t mean nudity or stripping (despite occasional gossip in town), but it does involve scanty clothes (sports bra and bikini bottom), butt rolls, high, high heels, and calculated hair whipping.

Dworak, married and the mother of two, came to the sport about 10 years ago after a stress fracture in her foot sidelined her from dancing. A friend and fellow dancer suggested she go aerial. In addition to competitions, she performs at anniversaries and special events and gives pole-dancing lessons, sometimes in her home. When she rolls the sofa into the hall and closes the pocket doors, her living room becomes a pole-dance studio.

For some students, already dancers, the class is about technique. But she’s also happy to teach women to be sexier. 

Sydney Harp of Newark met Dworak in Johari, a Montclair lingerie store, about six years ago. She has been taking pole classes with Dworak on and off ever since. Does it make her better in bed? “I would say so, yeah,” she giggles. “I would say my fiancé’s very happy.” Harp has a pole in her Newark home, a Christmas present from said fiancé.

And while other Glen Ridge moms might occasionally be a little chilly toward Dworak, they have no qualms when she donates a free lesson to their fundraising auctions—like last fall’s Glen Ridge Educational Foundation gala. At that event, the winners bid $1,400 for a pole party. They’ve only recently contacted her about scheduling their prize. That’s not unusual. After some auctions, Dworak doesn’t hear from the winners at all. 

Dworak thinks people shy away from pole dancing for fear they might not be fit enough or they’ll have to reveal too much skin. Still, she has her “fingers crossed” that her pole party for the Glen Ridge winners will be a success. “I will serve them wine after the party and will have some snacks ready,” she says. “I really want to make it special, and I also want them to feel comfortable.”

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