This Lawyer and Mother Finds Power While Pole Dancing

Pole dancing is about strength, beauty, and empowerment.
IMAGE Brent Hughldridge Chua of Anchor Point Studio

“It feels like flying,” says Gia Recio Arugay of what it feels to be up on the pole. “That momentary feeling of flight, of not being completely earthbound—it’s absolutely priceless.  There is a delicate beauty and freedom to it that I can’t compare to anything else.”

Atty. Gia Recio Arugay Pole Dancing

Arugay obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature (Major in European Literature) from the University of the Philippines in 2009, and her Juris Doctor degree from the UP College of Law in 2013. 

 Gia Recio Arugay

Photo by Gia Recio Arugay.

Currently, she is a senior associate at a full-service law firm based in Makati City. She specializes in tax law, corporate law, and a bit of data privacy. 

Like many mothers, Arugay is devoted to providing a good life for her child and family. 

“I don’t really have any big dreams for myself,” she says. “I just want to be able to give my daughter and my husband a happy, comfortable life, while developing my practice as a corporate and tax lawyer and hitting my pole fitness goals.”


What else?

“I also want to be able to pole until I’m well into my 60s!”

Pole Dancing as a Source of Power

As a young woman Arugay never really took dance classes. It was only in her late 20s when she decided to try pole dancing. 

“I’ve always been an awkward dancer,” Arugay says. “But in 2015, I developed an appreciation for dancepole dancing, in particular.”

Arugay discovered the pole through one of her closest friends from law school. She had seen some of her friend’s photos from her pole classes, and, out of sheer curiosity, decided to take a class with her one evening. 

Photo by Brent Hughldridge Chua of Anchor Point Studio.

“I remember my first pole class, how slippery and heavy I felt, and how I could barely stick to or carry myself on the pole,” said Arugay. “But since I had so much fun during that first class, I decided to take another class, and then another, and another, until I found myself taking classes with my friend twice a week.”

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For Arugay, pole dancing became a source of power. 

“There’s just something exhilarating about pole fitness/pole dance: You find yourself getting stronger, more flexible, and more immune to the occasional pain and discomfort. You also learn to be completely comfortable in your own skin, and to truly love and appreciate your body for what it can do,” said Arugay. 

Pole Dancing Is Not Obscene

In the past, there used to be a stigma of obscenity associated with pole dancing. Arugay effortlessly shuts it down. 

“I never found pole dancing obscene. Sure, looking or feeling sexy and powerful can be associated with pole dancing, but I don’t think it’s fair or appropriate to label someone who pole dances as obscene, whether she be a stripper or bar girl or otherwise.

Photo by Brent Hughldridge Chua of Anchor Point Studio.

“Also, some people tend to overlook the fact that sexiness (which is probably the dominant characteristic highlighted in films) is just one aspect of pole dance and pole fitness. There is also strength, beauty, empowerment, skill, athleticism, artistry.


'I Don’t Have to Be the Best Pole Dancer.'

In one of Arugay's recent journal entries, she wrote: 

I would like to be able to do this until I die. I don’t have to be the best pole dancer/pole fitness athlete out there; it’s enough that I am able to hone my own pole practice. It’s enough that I am able to dance on air and twirl around the pole like a loose kite, unbound by the earth.

Watch one of Gia Recio Arugay's moments on the pole:

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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