About Otanko

Otanko is a student association located in Otaniemi. Our aim is to connect students interested in pole dancing. We offer reasonably priced weekly classes and workshops for our members. We also organize pole dance tryouts and performances.

We have nearly 15 instructed classes every week. All of our instructors, performers and board members are volunteers with passion for pole dancing.

If you want to get started with your pole dance journey and become our member, see more information here. We are also constantly looking for new volunteers and instructors.

The core values of Otanko are presented below. They are an integral part of who we are!

1. Pursue safety

For an association in pole dancing, safety means two different things to us: physical and social safety.

As an acrobatic sport, a lot of mishaps can happen on the pole without proper safety measurements. That’s why our instructors are taught to use the utmost caution when teaching new or old tricks and live by safety every day. Otanko is, to this day, proud to be free from severe accidents. However, we admit some minor injuries do happen – bruises also are kind of the name and the game in this sport.

With social safety, we want to provide a space where everyone is welcome without any judgment. We have a zero-tolerance against bullying, body shaming, racism, sexism, ableism, and anything coming even close. Any type of disrespectful behavior towards others is not accepted in our classes. We want Otanko to be a safe space for anyone who is interested in the wonderful world of pole and acrobatics!

2. Embrace individuality

Right from the very start, Otanko has been built by people from different backgrounds. We want each and every one of our members to feel welcome and special because of who they are – being an otankolainen means being truly yourself!

We welcome anyone no matter their gender, body type, cultural background, sexual orientation, or anything else. You can be a pole beginner or a near pole professional, a student from any university or no student at all, introvert, extrovert or ambivert – everyone comes as equals for us. We think that diversity makes our association better!

3. Be compassionate

We want our work to be built on love and respect for people both inside and outside our community. Being compassionate towards our students, instructors, board members and people interested in the pole community (or complete outsiders) is something we want to do to create an open and accepting atmosphere every time Otanko is present.

We’re not pushing our students to do something they don’t want to do, actives can themselves adjust the time they want to spend on our association and board members are able to balance their responsibilities according to their personal life. And even though we’re excited about pole, we know it’s not for everyone – that’s why we want to offer other wonderful things as well!

4. Enjoy learning

Otanko is all about learning: learning to pole, learning to love yourself, learning prevalence through challenges, learning new stuff, learning to fail… As we are a student association, the idea of learning, innovating, and evolving is embedded to us. We are here to help you learn, but also to learn from you and at Otanko, we want everyone to have fun while doing so. 

Learning pole dance shouldn’t be something you’re forced to do or force yourself to do. That way something will only break. With enjoyable learning comes self-confidence and love for your work. We want learning to be a process, not a goal-oriented journey (even though we know getting that ayesha feels the best). As a fairly new constantly developing sport, pole is always keeping you on your toes as new tricks and styles come out. You can never be a ready pole dancer!

5. Inspire and be inspired

The creative cycle that surrounds pole dance is not a vacuum, it’s a cyclone of ideas. This dance form probably wouldn’t exist without the co-creation and the amazing people constantly feeding the inspiration machine. 

At Otanko we want our members to inspire each other and themselves, be it asking your friend to pole class, gathering courage to join a choreo group, changing to a different technique level or trying a new pole style. The teachers and senior actives are there to support you, and the newbies give oldies new motivation and inspiration to try again. With this foundation, creativity can thrive and we can try to make a change with the help of art and people.