Body positive workshop wants women to feel like ‘bombshells’


Sydney Lyons

Sydney Lyons, director of Bombshell Movement Studio, will be the instructor for a plus-size only pole dancing workshop intended as a safe space for plus size women to feel comfortable with themselves. 

By Arts & Culture Reporter

A local pole dancing studio will include plus-size women in its mission of body positivity with the studio’s upcoming plus-size only workshop.

Sydney Lyons, director of Bombshell Movement Studio in Beverly and the course’s instructor, wants to break down barriers that cause plus-size women to be too self-conscious to participate in pole dancing and other physical activities. The one-time workshop will be held Oct. 4 at the studio, 10511 S. Western Ave.

“The driving force [behind creating the class] is that plus-size women feel they can’t do anything athletic,” Lyons said. “The process behind [creating the course] was reaching out to a population that may feel they can’t do this and showing them they can. We believe poling is for everybody.” 

According to Lyons, Bombshell attempted a course for plus-size women 10 years ago, but it did not succeed because it was too focused on learning advanced moves on the pole. The new course focuses less on tricks and more on people feeling good in their own skin.

Although Bombshell’s new approach to instruction may help participants feel comfortable, Lyons said her personal confidence in her body may also play a part.

“Because I am plus-size myself, when the girls come in and I got on my short-shorts and my tank top, the [participants] say, ‘Well, if she can have all that out, I truly can have all that out.’” Lyons said.

Connie Sobczak, co-founder and executive director of The Body Positive, an organization that spreads body positivity through resources and workshops, said the opportunity for plus-size women to enjoy themselves has a strong impact. 

“Giving people [who are] larger sizes than what is socially acceptable in our world at this moment a chance to move freely, play and have fun is powerful at any time,” Sobczak said.

According to Lyons, Bombshell facilitates love and acceptance, and causing others discomfort is not tolerated. Lyons called the space a “judgement-free zone” and said members who made others feel uncomfortable have been asked to leave in the past.

Valery Levitt, an Old Town resident who has participated in multiple Chicago pole dancing classes, said she has always felt pole dancing studios are accepting environments. She said most studios want their participants to feel good about themselves and use music and positive instruction to create the right atmosphere where confidence and body positivity can flourish. 

“A lot of [instructors] say things like, ‘Don’t even worry how you’re looking when you’re dancing. Just focus on how you feel,’” Levitt explained. “[They] are very supportive and encouraging.”

Creating a space for women to learn and have fun includes using positive language during courses and providing an environment where all bodies can be accepted and free from ridicule, according to Lyons.

“It’s important to have a safe space [for plus–size people],” Sobczak said. “Sometimes, when larger people go out and move and exercise, they can be harassed and called names. To create these safe spaces is really beautiful.”