When I tell other LA dancers about the Pole Dance Tourism project, they often respond:
"ooooh, what do you think of BeSpun- everyone either loves it or hates it!"
As one of the first 25 pole studios in the US, BeSpun is arguably the most famous of the LA pole studios. They host the famous Pole Show LA, which this year featured Bendy Kate, Michelle Shimmy, and Maddie Sparkle, among others.
BeSpun boasts a star studded roster of instructors, including Brynn Route, Jordan Kensley, and Natasha Wang, to name a few. These are the dancers you pay $50+ to take workshops with when they're in town- all in one studio.
Additionally, BeSpun offers more pole classes than any other studio I've been to. They don't offer other types of aerial, which means there are pole classes both morning, noon, and night!
Along with choreo, tricks, and exotic pole classes, BeSpun offers flexibility and twerking classes.
Single drop in classes are more expensive than average- $35 a pop, even for open pole or stretch class. That being said, memberships are $199/month. This is an average price in LA, but if you take advantage of their many classes, it's an exceptional value.
Furthermore, locals can try the studio with 2 weeks of unlimited classes for only $69. With such a hefty class schedule, this is an amazing deal.
It's important to note that there's a $20 late fee for being only 5 minutes late. Although I managed to make it on time to all my classes, the notion that a little bit of extra traffic could come with a $20 fee did cause some stress. Plan to get there early and leave lots of time for parking.
I took advantage of the BeSpun intro offer while I'm living in LA. This allowed me to get a more complete sense of the studio.
Do I fall into the group that loves or hates BeSpun? I definitely don't hate it, but I did have mixed experiences.
I got to take so many pole classes during my time at BeSpun! It's unlikely that I'll be taking 12 classes a week again any time soon.
Because I had access to unlimited classes, I felt inclined to try styles of pole that I normally don't gravitate toward.
BeSpun is also a great place to network if you're really looking to make it in the industry. Their all-star instructors are incredibly down to earth. Not only are they invested in helping students progress, but they're willing to get to know you on a personal level.
While I appreciated a lot of things about BeSpun, I also have some criticisms and ideas.
For starters, the physical space isn't ideal. It's a long narrow room with 7 poles in essentially a straight line, making it difficult to see the instructor if you're on one of the outside poles.
Classes hold up to 15 students, which means there are sometimes 3 to a pole. This can lead to a lot of down time, especially in choreo classes.
On top of the classes being huge, every class I took had a huge variety of levels. Their website gives a description of which classes are meant for which level, but their sign up app doesn't make the distinction clear. As a result, you may sign up for an advanced pole class alongside a handful of beginners. I love pole newbies, but when I'm in an advanced inversions class, it can be frustrating when the instructor spends a lot of time helping newer students work on their basic invert.
It was difficult to contact the studio. I called a few times with questions before I signed up, but never heard back from the person who I needed to reach.
Additionally, I once had an instructor not show up to a class. This sounds really bad, and in a way it is, but the reality is that instructors are human, things come up and mistakes can happen even in the most well run studios. It did strike me as unprofessional that I was never contacted by a representative of the studio with an apology or explanation.
There are a lot of super negative reviews of BeSpun on the internet. I actually think these are really unfair. I read some reviews claiming the staff was rude, the facility was dirty, and the neighborhood was dangerous. I didn't experience any of those things.
If you live in LA, I would absolutely recommend trying their 2 week trial membership to see for yourself if BeSpun is the best fit for you. If your schedule requires you to take morning classes, or just have a lot of time options, it may be the best fit. If you don't have a pole at home, they also offer the most open pole practice time to work on what you've learned in class.
I didn't feel like I got the best value per class, but if you are able to go to a lot of classes, you may get the best value for your membership.