A Pole with a View

Lauren Crank and Daniel Santos have made an incredible transformation from training dolphins to training people to pole dance. Their unique new concept has provided the Algarve with another tourist attraction by offering a pole with a view! 

Lauren’s story is an unusual one. Growing up around the world, she first formed a bond with dolphins in Antigua, where she volunteered at a local marine park. At 17, she moved back to the UK to work full-time. She was on holiday visiting her mother (a yoga teacher) in Oman when she heard about a life-changing opportunity. She interviewed for a job with the dolphins at the famous Atlantis Hotel in Dubai and was offered an entry-level position straight away. She was just 19 but returned to the UK to pack her things and move to Dubai, where she worked her way up to being the first female manager. 

“My job was so physically demanding that hitting the gym after work was not appealing to me. The only thing I could stick to was a class with Pole Fit Dubai. They were the reason I started and continued – the teachers are incredible. I found it empowering, fun and addictive.” 

While at work, she met and fell in love with Portuguese dolphin trainer Daniel, who moved to Dubai after working with the Dolphin Emotions interactive experience at Zoomarine. Lauren had been in Dubai for 11 years and Daniel three and a half when the couple started to get itchy feet. After working full-time since she was 17, Lauren took a well-earned sabbatical. They followed their dreams and bought a holiday apartment in Koh Samui. 

They spent three months there after leaving Dubai and used it as a base to travel to Singapore and Bali. Their long-term plan was to relocate to Daniel’s homeland of Portugal to pursue a new career. They currently rent the apartment on Airbnb when they are working in Portugal. 

Lauren was surprised that there weren’t a lot of options for pole dancing here in the Algarve. 

When the world went into lockdown, she used the time on her hands to complete an online teacher training course with X Pole in the UK with Daniel as her student! “Pole Dance is a beautiful, artistic sport that is growing immensely in popularity worldwide so it was a great opportunity.” 

The idea then came to them that with the fantastic weather and locations in the Algarve, why not offer pole classes outdoors for the visitors who come to the Algarve looking for fun experiences? “We are the first company to also offer this experience as part of a holiday activity, with a beginner-friendly lesson, dancing, photos and videos as well as nibbles and celebratory drinks. Our aim is to make it possible for everybody – any age, size or fitness level – to experience this fun activity and absolutely no previous experience is required. We provide a safe and welcoming space with the added bonus of being surrounded by some of the best views Algarve has to offer,” Lauren explains.

The trendy new company offers a variety of activities from lessons for the locals to a once in a lifetime experience for visitors as well as group celebrations and pole parties! 

This is not logistically easy, however, due to the weight of the poles, so Daniel re-tuned his focus from dolphins to poles. Although Lauren’s pole dancing prowess attracts all the attention, she confesses that “the business only works because of both of us, and there is no way I could do it without Daniel.” Her partner has worked hard customising a van to fit three poles which they can transport to a private villa or to their regular locations in Quinta do Lago, Portimão, Praia da Luz and Albufeira. Daniel is certainly pulling his weight with the poles and supporting his girlfriend. “Lauren brings her skills as a manager and makes people feel comfortable,” he says. “Her skill is in helping people believe in themselves and showing them that they are capable of doing it and achieving things they never thought they would!”

In October 2021, they opened a studio in Lagoa with seven poles to offer lessons to the residents of the Algarve. They offer different classes every week, including an introduction, pole spin, static pole and pole choreography. The number of classes changes seasonally as in summer they do more al fresco sessions than in the winter when they teach more in the studio.

Their ‘Summer Sessions’ are for holidaymakers that are not in a group but want to have some pole action! They can book a sunset session online, including a one-hour lesson, followed by a dance and photo session ending with drinks and food. “We are putting our heart and soul into this and when we see people’s faces at the end, it is so rewarding. As I am Portuguese, I also feel proud to be adding something else to the tourist industry here,” adds Daniel. 

“We know we are a little different from usual activities, but we think that is what makes us special and we want to continue pushing the boundaries and change the mindset that can sometimes come along when people think of pole dance,” concludes Lauren.

Lauren and Daniel are certainly in pole position to give visitors and locals an experience to remember this summer.


Instagram – @polewithaview

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