Netflix's new documentary Strip Down, Rise Up hopes to change the perception of pole dancing, delving into the unexpected power of healing it has for a group of women profiled in the film. The movie was directed by Michele Ohayon and features stories from women about how pole dancing helped them overcome traumas and fears. Netflix released a trailer for the film on Friday, ahead of its release on Feb. 5. One of the women featured in the film is The Good Doctor actress Sheila Kelley.
Ohayon, who earned an Oscar nomination for her 1997 documentary Colors Straight Up, made the film to "celebrate women who transform from victim to victors through the beautiful, sensual art of pole dancing and movement," she told PEOPLE. "I wanted to show through my lens, that sensual dance is for every body type, shape and ethnic background," the filmmaker continued. It gives a voice for "diverse group of women, their power, their pain, their reclamation, their raw beauty, and offers a much-needed positive message of women stripping down shame and taking ownership of their sensual, feminine being in order to rise," she said. "I truly hope it will inspire others to move into movement."
In the trailer, some of the women shared why picked up pole dancing. "It's not about feeling pretty, it's about feeling powerful," one woman said. "I want some of that." Another subject noted that when she started, "I just wanted to feel more sensual. I didn't know there was a deeper journey." Another subject said she was sexually abused when she was younger and she did not know who she was. "Someone stole that from you and we need to reclaim it," Kelley told her.
Kelley has been a longtime advocate for pole dancing, even starting her own training company, S Factor. She also attracted celebrity fans, including Teri Hatcher, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, reports PEOPLE. "It’s a really safe, fun, wholesome, and sexy environment,” she previously told the magazine about S Factor. “It’s not sleazy or tacky or silly; it’s really sensual and beautiful. It’s not about being naked.
Strip Down, Rise Up was filmed by an all-female crew and features songs by Coldplay and FKA twigs, notes TVLine. The film promises "an emotionally gratifying, visually astounding and unexpected look at the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of pole artistry and expression." San Francisco Pole and Dance CEO Amy Bond and U.S. Pole Dance Federation champion Jenyne Butterfly are also featured in the movie.