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Former exotic dancer opens Billings pole dance studio with focus on fitness & body confidence

The studio offers modern, circus and Chinese pole classes
Posted at 6:33 AM, May 18, 2023

BILLINGS - From modern moves to circus and even Chinese moves, there’s a new pole dancing studio in Billings that’s helping men and women with mobility and strength.

Clients at Reel Pole Dance Studio get plenty of exercise, while also having fun.

“I think it's just a good self-expression,” said Sarah Dreese, a Reel Pole Dance Studio client as she climbs the pole. “You can dance to anything, rock, rap. I think it's just a good space to hang out.”

Reel Pole Dance Studio opened in October 2022. It’s a place that gets people out of their comfort zone and into unusual body positions.

“The big thing about pole is it doesn’t have a direct body type. Pole is a muscle sport. It is all about muscle, and anybody can build muscle,” said Cody Reel, who owns the business.

A lot of Reel’s clients are also building camaraderie via weekly pole classes.

“I've met a lot of my closest friends pole dancing,” said Dreese.

“Honestly it's just ridiculously fun,” said Reel.

"Honestly it's just ridiculously fun."

It's also hard work.

“You will eventually need endurance, but most of what we do is similar to a pullup but instead of grabbing out or around, we grab very close. So it's really close to lifting sports, where we’re thinking about, where is this muscle pulling and where is this weight pulling,” said Reel as she demonstrates the motions of pole strength.

For some, pole dancing is even a competitive sport, with Reel and her clients already bringing home medals in pole.

“In the exotic category, they are looking for slinky moves that slide together effortlessly. They are looking for smooth motions, so they are not looking at the technical difficulty of the routine or the uniqueness of shapes. They are looking for visually appealing and smooth,” said Reel. “For exotic you’ve got to wear heels.”

Reel got her start wearing heels working at Planet Lockwood, paying her way through college.

"I was a collegiate athlete. My freshman year of college is when I found pole dancing. I accidentally became a stripper,” Reel said with a laugh. “I didn't mean to, but I ended up falling in love with the sport of pole. I liked the rules at our local club, where it's no touch, no-nonsense, I just show up, do my little dance, get paid, go home.”

Today she’s given up the strip club, but she’s still making it rain as a business owner and coach, certified in the three styles of pole: circus, Chinese and modern.

“I found my life’s passion through stripping,” said Reel. “My main goals are giving people an outlet for creativity and athletics.”

Something she needed when she gave up collegiate track.

“Some people like alternative fitness,” said Reel.

The focus is on body confidence and Reel said feeling sexy is a side benefit that comes with being comfortable.

“There's not a lot of pressure, honestly we spend half of our time laughing,” said Reel.