A novel fitness retreat focused on women of colour has found a happy sanctuary in Bermuda.
For two years running, New York City-based Black Girls Pole have brought more than a dozen attendees to Bermuda for fitness training and female empowerment activities.
Since launching retreats back in 2015, Black Girls Pole have taken jaunts to Miami, Chicago and London. Bermuda is now a regular fixture on the retreat rotation with visits in late May of this year and last year, aligning with Memorial Day in the United States.
“Bermuda has quickly become a second home for Black Girls Pole. The love shown from local Bermudians is so warm, genuine and inviting,” said owner and founder Dalijah Franklin.
“Bermuda is the perfect place for retreaters to come, vacation and explore something new—all while pole dancing and meeting other like-minded women in the pole community.”
On social media the group of women are seen practicing pole routines in Bermuda – in-studio and on the beach. Occasionally, men are participating as well. When not learning from pole instructors, the group is photographed boating, eating out and enjoying the island’s culture.
In two years, Black Girls Pole retreats have generated more than 50 visitor arrivals, including the enrolees who travel with partners. The group has already begun planning for 2020.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority provided logistical support to Black Girls Pole and their local partner Marilyn Allers, a Poles Move-certified instructor who owns Aerial Therapy in Pembroke.
“While a relatively small volume travel group, Black Girls Pole is a big win strategically,” said Glenn Jones, chief experience development officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
“Not only does this group align with growth strategies in the Teams and Groups pillar of the National Tourism Plan, it also highlights the island’s ambition to grown African American travel.
“Mostly black women follow Black Girls Pole on Instagram and tens of thousands of them are getting to know our way of life out here. And naturally, the content is reflective of who they are. They’re getting the chance to literally see themselves in Bermuda.”
Local involvement is also critical to winning groups of this kind, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Its Bring It Home programme supports local residents who use their professional connections to inspire group travel to Bermuda in the same way Mrs. Allers has done through her pole dancing network.
“It has been such a joy hosting each group of attendees and instructors particularly for the fact that it more closely connects the Bermuda pole community with the wider, international pole scene,” said Mariyn Allers.
“Since meeting Dalijah in 2017, I have come to understand her as well as her brand’s ethos which aligns closely with that of Aerial Therapy’s and I continue to do everything I can to ensure its success. Outside of our business relationship, Dalijah has become a true friend and I look forward to having her and the BGP Retreats return to Bermuda for years to come.”