A bit about me...

People describe me as a pint-sized bundle of sparks, which I quite like.
Anyway, I'm sure you're here to read all about my achievements. With over 15 years of skin in the game as a pole dance artist, competitor and instructor, I'll now attempt to condense my story into a digestible manner. Allow me to be very un-Irish and brag about myself across a number of paragraphs, in a manner that you will hopefully find engaging and interesting...

A bit about me...

People describe me as a pint-sized bundle of sparks, which I quite like.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re here to read all about my achievements. With over 15 years of skin in the game as a pole dance artist, competitor and instructor, I’ll now attempt to condense my story into a digestible manner.

Allow me to be very un-Irish and brag about myself across a number of paragraphs, in a manner that you will hopefully find engaging and interesting…

My story begins in rural Ireland (I’m Louth and proud, hai). I fell in love with pole dance in 2006 after taking some ‘pole fitness’ classes in Drogheda with my mum. At that time, I was studying Visual Communications at DIT with the intentions of working as a graphic designer once I graduated.

I became the first Miss Pole Dance Ireland in 2007 and went on to win more competitions in the years following this. In 2010, I had the honour of representing the Republic of Ireland at the World Pole Dance Championships in Zurich. I didn’t make it past the semi-final, but the nonetheless I was absolutely beside myself to share the stage with so many pole dancers that I looked up to and followed on social media, including Alethea Austin and Allegra King.

Also in 2010, I also became involved with Burlesque by running away with the infamous ‘Lovecats’ Burlesque Troupe in Dublin. Here, I was able to learn from great Burlesque dancers (Azaria Starfire in particular) and begin to craft my pole dance style that I am still performing today. I learned not just how to engage and captivate the audience, but how to integrate cohesive story-telling and genuine heartfelt emotion into my dancing.

‘But what about your degree in graphic design?’ I hear you ask. Well, we were dealing with a bit of devastating economic recession in Ireland around that time. I bounced around a few unpaid internships, and then joined the dole queue like so many others (I didn’t have the option to emigrate). From here, I passed the time at home practicing on my pole and dreaming-in new opportunities for myself, using my social welfare payments to retrain and reinvent myself as a pole dance instructor.

Arlene Caffrey Miss Pole Dance Ireland 2007 and KT Coates
A photo of myself when I won 'Miss Pole Dance Ireland 2007' with head judge KT Coates. My mate MK took this photo.
Arlene Caffrey dancing at World Pole Dance Championship 2010 by Jass Foley
A shot from my performance at the World Pole Dance Championship 2010, by Jass Foley
Arlene Caffrey pole dancing on the RTE All Ireland Talent Show 2010
A still from my pole dancing performance on the RTÉ All Ireland Talent Show, 2010.

Shortly after appearing on RTÉ’s ‘All Ireland Talent Show’ in December 2010, I started teaching pole dancing classes in Dublin and Galway under my company name Irish Pole Dance Academy.  I initially ran my classes from rooms rented by the hour, over the years building my customer bases and later establishing permanent studios in Dublin 1 in 2014 (we’re still at the same location all these years later) and on the Headford Road in Galway in 2015 (I later sold this business).

In addition to running a small business, I have also spent the last number of years travelling the world to compete, perform and teach. I have also worked extensively in helping to develop pole dancing into the art form that it is today in Ireland,  by appearing on more radio, TV and media appearances than she can count. You might remember me from that appearance on ‘Ireland AM’ in 2021 that went viral, as well as the extremely popular ‘Irish People Try Pole Dancing For The First Time’ YouTube video.

Bringing my love of Old School sexy flexy acrobatic antics with badass Burlesque flare, I have performed all over the world including Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago and more. As my Burlesque alter ego ‘La Petite Mort’, I have had the honour of performing at all of the major Burlesque festivals and shows in Ireland, including Dublin Burlesque Festival, Galway Burlesque Festival and Belfast Burlesque Festival. I have also performed as part of the world famous Dublin Fringe Festival, as well as part of the international showcase at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival in the UK.

One of my proudest moments is being a featured performer in Alethea Austin’s ‘Live Dancing Girls’ in Nashville from 2013-2016. Though I’m probably best known for my ‘Irish Unicorn’ winning comedy act at Pole Theatre USA 2018, and my ‘Bad Bosco’ winning Neo act at Miss Burlesque Ireland in which I hilariously ruined fond memories from Irish childhood.

Arlene Caffrey at Irish Pole Dance Academy by Peter Varga
A portrait of me at Irish Pole Dance Academy, by Peter Varga.
Miss Burlesque Ireland 2016 Arlene Caffrey
That time I won 'Miss Burlesque Ireland', photo by Rick Taylor.
Arlene Caffrey as La Petite Mort Bad Bosco from Miss Burlesque Ireland
My infamous 'Bad Bosco' Burlesque act! Photo from Belfast Burlesque Festival.

Today, I’m based in the ancient and magical city of Kilkenny. When I’m not gallivanting around the world, you can still find me at my studio sharing my love of all things sexy; the Irish Pole Dance Academy in Dublin.

Apart from sexy dancing, some of my favourite things are: depressing hipster music (my favourite bands are The Smiths and Interpol), intersectional feminism, and being a coffee snob. I have two tuxedo cats called Ollie and Paul.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this short autobiography. I am currently working on a memoir, where I talk in-depth about my experiences of stepping into womanhood in Ireland and navigating my way through change, while pole dancing. Keep an eye out for it, and if you feel called to support my writing process you can do so by buying me a coffee. Ta muchly!

Wanna Buy Me a Coffee?

arlene caffrey portrait by stephen white

My teaching credentials

  • Liquid Motion Floorwork 1.0
  • Liquid Motion Floorwork 2.0
  • Liquid Motion Heels Floorwork
  • XPERT Pole Fitness 'Essential Science of Heels'
  • elevatED Pole Fitness Level 1 & 2
  • XPERT Pole Fitness Levels 1 - 4
  • Vertical Dance Pole Fitness
  • Freestyle Fitness Yoga
  • Exercise to Music
  • Moon Mná Women's Circles Facilitator

Competition Titles

  • Miss Pole Dance Ireland 2007
  • Irish Pole Champion 2008
  • Miss Pole Fitness Northern Ireland 2008
  • Irish Pole Champion 2009 3rd Place
  • Irish Pole Champion 2010
  • World Pole Dance Championship Semi-Finalist 2010
  • European Pole Dance Champion of Champions 4th Place 2010
  • All Ireland Pole Dancing Championship 2011 2nd Place
  • Irish Pole Champion 2011
  • All Ireland Pole Dancing Championship 2013 3rd Place
  • Pole Theatre Ireland Classique Category Pro Winner 2014
  • All Ireland Pole Dancing Championship Pro Winner 2014
  • Miss Burlesque Ireland Finalist 2015
  • United Pole Artists ‘Bringing Sexy Back’ Poster Model Winner 2015
  • Miss Burlesque Ireland 2016/17
  • Pole Theatre USA Comedy Pro Winner 2018