Theme Big: Janelle Monáe Pole Class!

I freaking love Janelle Monáe and I freaking love theme classes and workouts! This is a pole class inspired by Janelle Monáe, who recently released an amazing new album called Dirty Computer.

General instructions:

  • Dress up! Totally optional, but imho dressing up is half the fun. Janelle has a fabulous sense of style, but don't be intimidated- you can't go wrong with wearing black + white or pink. Some inspiration can be found here and here. If you can come up with a pole version of these vagina pants, I will lose my mind.
  • Free playlist! I have created this playlist for a 60-minute class. If you have longer classes, you could add literally any other song of hers- it was very hard to narrow it down!
  • Both sides! Janelle just officially came out as pan/bi, so students *must* do all the moves on both sides.


If you are following my 60 min playlist, the first 3 songs are for warm-up and floor conditioning.

  • Most of her songs have a strong, easy to hear baseline, which makes isolations fun. Start with head, shoulders, ribcage, then hips, following this pattern: right and left, up and down/forward and back, then a box, then circles.
  • Ab conditioning to Make Me Feel, inspired by the line "don't make me spell it out for you" and Roz the Diva. Have students lie on their back with their legs in the air. Moving their legs as one unit, they spell the letter you yell out. I suggest having them spell Q U E E R   Q U E E N . 

Potential moves to teach: 

Here is a list of potential moves at various levels, with the corresponding song in parenthesis. I like to do 2 combos for class, with only 2-3 new moves total (the rest are ones my students will have already learned or are simple to pick up, like the downward dog booty werk). Click the hyperlink to see a photo or tutorial I found on the interwebs. 

Final Freestyle: Tightrope

I like to end class with a final freestyle/jam. The goal is for them to have fun and do whatever they want. Below are a few prompts that they can play with in their freestyle.

  • Play with different levels- elevate when she says elevate, experiment with being high and low
  • Pretend you are walking or balancing on a tightrope
  • Moves that tip (examples: dip turns, cradle hold, pole sits, inverts)

If you need more inspiration on mixing Janelle and pole, see this absolutely amazing performance Candace Cane recently won the Pacific Pole Championships with! Would love to see any videos or photos if you try it at home or in your studio! Tag @moveyourstory or #moveyourstory so I can see them!

Val OliphantComment