No doubt, you’ve probably heard mention of pole dancing as a fitness trend sweeping the nation over the past several years. The days of its association strictly to exotic dancing and strip clubs are starting to fade as pole dancing makes its way into more mainstream media. There are a host of amateur and professional competitions held in a number of countries around the world, and even a semi-recent push for pole dancing to be represented in the Olympics.
But, what draws someone to try pole dancing, and how much of a workout can you really get from just spinning around a pole?
You may be in for a surprise if you think pole dancing’s easy. If you’re bored with typical workouts and are in search of something new and different, pole dancing is a great option! It’s a mix of isotonic and isometric moves that’s reminiscent of a cross between gymnastics and dance, and it works the entire body. With regular practice, pole dancing can help you build greater strength and flexibility.
If you’re most interested in the “fitness” side of pole dance, or if you want to focus more on the on the dancing and the artistry, the good news is that you can easily pick, choose or blend any aspect of pole dancing to develop your own style.
Many women and men also find that it’s incredibly empowering and liberating, and that it provides a boost in self-confidence. What a lot of people don’t realize is that pole dancing can be for anyone. You don’t have to be a certain gender, size, shape, or age to take it up.
Things to Look for in a Studio
- Do they offer a “taster” class?
Many studios often have a discounted price for an introductory lesson. During my first lesson at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness, Bel began by asking about my fitness and/or dance background, then she put on some music, and had me familiarize myself with the pole by walking around it, learning the different grips, and simple transition movements I could do between spins and tricks. There are different names for many of the same moves, but the first two moves I ever learned were the “fairy spin” and the “prayer spin.” I also learned the proper way to climb the pole.
- Is there an emphasis on safety?
There are inherent risks involved with pole dancing. Before committing to a studio, you should ask yourself the following questions: Does the instructor spot her or his students? Can he or she tailor different moves to each individual’s fitness level? Are there mats available for trying out or practicing new tricks?
- Are you looking for a studio where you can just learn to dance? Learn tricks? Or a mixture of both?
My advice would be to find a studio that incorporates both. When you’re just starting out, it’s great to get exposed to a mixture of styles so you can get a better idea of which approach you’d like to focus on, before eventually developing your own style.
- Do you get your own pole?
Often, the best way to learn is by doing. Practice, practice, and more practice is what drives improvement, and having your own pole gives you more of an opportunity to do so.
- How do the students interact with each other?
Do they seem “clique-y,” or are they friendly and supportive of each other (and of you!)? What drew me to Twirly Girls (aside from the fact that it was a whole lot of fun) was the overall environment. Everyone was (and is) extremely kind, welcoming and encouraging of one another, and the studio became my home away from home.
Tips for Your First Lesson
- Do not wear lotion. Lotion makes the poles slippery, which will make it difficult to do any moves on the pole, and could potentially be dangerous for you and other dancers. Wear deodorant, but please skip the lotion!
- Wear clothes you can move in, and remember that skin is what sticks to the pole. There’s a reason pole dancers wear sports bras and booty shorts!
- Don’t expect to be inverting and doing advanced tricks at your very first lesson! As with most activities, improvement takes practice, and it’s best to follow a sensible progression to avoid injury! My biggest problems in the beginning stemmed from my desire to muscle my way through different moves when I couldn’t get them right away. Although that may work in the short-term, it’s best to learn each move properly and not “shortcut” your way through.
- Go in with a positive attitude! You learn a lot better when you go in with an open mind! Just have fun, and if you feel inclined, see if you can bring your own music to play!
- Bring a phone with video capabilities or a camera! Although not necessary, this is wildly helpful for helping you to remember and take “notes,” on different moves. You can also use videos and images to see how you can improve!
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