meet the BGP team
Dalijah Franklin is a dancer trained in ballet, jazz, tap and gymnastics. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in Nutrition & Exercise Science, she moved to New York City to dance. Dalijah began pole dancing in 2009 when a friend dragged her to take a class. Since then Dalijah has become an instructor at the world renowned Body & Pole in New York City. She is the 2013 Level 3 champion of the Atlantic Pole Championships, the 2015 U.S Aerial Championship winner, and the top scoring female of Pole Theatre USA 2015. She is a member of AERA a non-profit Aerial Dance Company based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Dalijah found the need to start Black Girls Pole because she felt there weren't enough women who looked like her in this sport. As a pole instructor, Dalijah wanted to empower more women to start pole dancing, and have a platform that would help to change the stigma around what it means to be both a pole dancer and a woman of color.
Dalijah founded BGP in February of 2014. Since then, BGP has gone on to host over 5 events around the country, from NYC to ATL.
BGP has built a following of over 20,000 supporters, of all color, shapes, and sizes. Some faces of Black Girls Pole include: Roz "The Diva" Mayes, Crystal Belcher, Sasja Lee, and Zippora Lewis (see our Ambassadors below!).
Alicia obtained her BFA in dance from Fordham University/The Ailey Schooland continues to pursue a career in fitness. Although a dance major, Alicia was still very new to world of exercise. She started taking group classes several times a week and developed a passion for fitness and instruction. Certified by AFAA, she now teaches several signature formats focusing on helping students realize their full potential joyfully, through musicality and rhythm. Through working in the industry, Alicia found herself influenced by circus arts. Always intrigued by aerial work and acrobatics, she looked for lessons in NYC and began training regularly in aerial, contortion and hand-balancing. Now well versed in the workings of flexibility, she combines her specialty in body weight training with the knowledge of mobility and stretching techniques. Alicia believes discipline lies within, and that tremendous results are possible for anybody willing to put in the work.
Athleticism, adventure and artistry have always been a recurring characteristic of Crystal Belcher aka “CryStylez.” Crystal has an extensive history of dancing, cheering, co-ed competitive sports and dance fitness. She has been a student of pole, an instructor and choreographer since 2010. “CryStylez” thrives on fluidity and showmanship, alongside the thrill of expression and transformation. Crystal’s most recent credits include 2015 Pole Art Italy nominee in Milan, Italy and Miss Pole Dance America finalist in Nashville, Tennessee. As well, she has earned 2nd Place Women’s Professional and Overall winner at 2014 National Aerial Pole Art in Los Angeles, California and 2012 Miss Texas Pole Star Ultimate Champion in Dallas, Texas. Crystal is the founder and creator of Melee on the Bayou: Houston’s Premier Pole Dance competition and Exhibition.
Amy Henderson definitely is a Pepper (One of a Kind) performer. She dreams of performing and sharing her knowledge of pole performing all around the world. She brings face, fierceness, strength, control and shivers every time she hits the stage. Serving C.U.N.T. (charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent) realness, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what she will bring to the table.
Amy is a self-taught pole performer. She started in 2006 and learned from YouTube watching such stars as Josiah Grant, Alethea Austin, Felix Cane, Pantera and Jenyne Butterfly. Since then, she has competed in many competitions, gained respect from fellow artists and self -knowledge about herself as a person and performer.
Amy has been teaching since 2010 at The Girls Room and Vertical Fitness Dallas where she has touched hundreds of lives through pole. She continues her journey traveling over the country to perform, compete and train.
Sasja embarked on her pole journey in December of 2009 as a student and became an instructor after only 4 months. Having no athletic or dance background, she took to the pole like a fish to water and has since made pole dance a main fixture in her life. As Brand Ambassador for Bad Kitty USA, this three time consecutive champion has been awarded 2014 National Aerial Pole Art Champion, 2014 Queen Mary Champion, and 2013 California Pole Dance Champion. She has performed at the 2013 HMMA Awards, choreographed a pole dance segment on funnyordie.com for America’s sweetheart, Christina Applegate and appeared on a pole dancing segment for The Associated Press, Telemundo Network, Lifetime Television, We Network, Justin TV and late night TV's, "The Arsenio Hall Show". Sasja has been a guest on Rant Radio Network and WYTB Radio, promoting the art of pole dance, and is also a principle dancer in the monthly showcase, Girl Next Door- a pole dance soiree & SEVEN. For someone who once considered shopping her cardio, she now has a deeper appreciation for the connection of body and spirit through the art of dance. "Every woman should give it a try. Your spirit will thank you for it.
At 7:30pm, after 100 handsprings, 75 suicides, 500 sit-ups and 50 eighty-pound squats….Zippora begins her pole training. Booming music with heavy bass is blaring. An intense pole vibe begins to ensue. When she trains alone she likes to push her body to the limit and once she has exhausted every limb, she tries to push it just a bit harder. Her training is full of multiple pole drills, which she rounds out with ardent freestyle and flow. She trains alone about 4 times a week, at least 2 ½ hours each day. Breathing is the most important part of her fitness regimen and what is needed to get through those rigorous training sessions. To Zippora flexibility and contortion evokes sensuality and an awakening that she enjoys after almost every workout. From stretching to pull ups to engaging the abs to “keep it tight”, she is enamored with pole fitness as it aids in eradicating insecurities while also developing perpetual confidence on and off the vertical steel.
Zippora “Island” Lewis, Mother and career Apparel Technical Designer, is the 2013 Ms. Tri-State Pole Fitness Champion, SPC Pole Sport Organization Level 4 Senior Winner, APC Pole Sport Organization Professional 4th place Alternate and Black Girls Pole Brand Ambassador. Known for strength and flexibility, Zippora is enthusiastically intrigued by the continual challenges and allures pole fitness brings about at every spin. Owner of the brand BiPOLER Fitness, she understands the diligence required and comradery gained by being a Pole Athlete. Island is excited by working with other athletes and novices who are looking to achieve new goals and reach new heights. Giving back to the community through mentoring, fitness, health education and the support of non-profit organizations are all acts of altruism that she holds most dear.
Zippora plans to continue to compete professionally and provide support within the Pole community, focusing on assisting in the efforts of Black Girls Pole acting as a catalyst for awareness and unity.
NASM certified Roz "The Diva" Mays has dedicated many late nights at the gym to becoming a stronger and healthier athlete. Pole dancing is her sport of choice to teach, followed by TRX, strength & conditioning, flexibility and personal training. Among her finest contributions to the pole world has been creating Dangerous Curves: A Celebration of Plus Size Pole Dancers. Her talents have lead to a SAG membership for professional stunt work in Law and Order: SVU, The Big C and an Adam Sandler movie. She loves to teach obnoxiously loud classes at Body & Pole and Crunch in New York City. Recently, she was a featured performer on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Season 10. When she isn’t half naked and sweaty, Diva’s usual making pancakes with Beyoncé.
Nadia is an electrical engineer turned professional pole dancer by winning State, National and International Pole Competitions with her unique style and presence. This Mexi-Pak forced her way into BGP because she supports the cause and message. She is the creator and owner of Twisted Movement, a movement practice and clothing collection.
Nicole "The Pole" Williams is a Pioneer in the Pole Dance Fitness Industry and has taken mainstream media by storm after being featured with two of the industry’s biggest music Superstars. Nicole was the lead Pole Dancer in Rihanna’s sexy & highly talked about music video “Pour It Up”. She also took to the big stage with Bruno Mars in Amsterdam at the MTV European Music Awards and was the pole dancer in the Gorilla music video in which she doubled for Freida Pinto.
She began her pole journey in 2007 and quickly fell in love with the athleticism aspect as she grew up a tomboy and played sports throughout school. Nicole was a Certified Personal Trainer and owned a fitness gym at the time she started Pole Dancing. She quickly started telling her clients about her new found love that offered an outlet in which she would learn to point her toes, gracefulness, fluidity and musicality which were traits that she didn’t possess prior to Pole. Nicole had a vision that this was going to be a powerful movement and in 2008 opened Allure Dance & Fitness, one of LA’s pioneer pole studios. She has competed in over a dozen pole competitions placing as high as 1st and winning the Best Entertainer Award at CPDC. She performed in Girl Next Door when it first began and has performed in countless showcases. Nicole has been featured on Ellen, VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live w/ Nick Lachey, Ricki Lake, Access Hollywood, CBS The Insider, Mary May, i-d A-Z dance guide and much more.
Nicole has a complete 6 disc instructional DVD series for Beginner to Advanced students and has a Brand New Instructional DVD series coming out this Summer called “The No Basic Zone” which features all the tricks she did in the Rihanna Pour it Up videos. With Nicole’s fitness & athletic background she excels as a teacher in breaking down moves and making it fun. She instills in her students an I CAN attitude and that when you have a positive mindset anything is possible.`