When you see the words pole dancing, what image does your mind conjure? Perhaps scantily-dressed women, or strip clubs? Few performance arts, if any at all, draw the same controversy and flak as pole dance.
Traditionally, there is no denying that pole-dancing has been commonly associated with these things. Yet, to perceive pole-dancing with such a narrow viewpoint would be an injustice to these dancers who have dedicated extensive hours into perfecting their craft.
I’ve always maintained a cursory fascination with pole dance. Having been dancing my entire life, I could appreciate the amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone to building the strength required not just to dance around or on the pole, but to look good while doing so.
These days, unconventional forms of fitness like piloxing and barre workouts are becoming increasingly popular. Pole-dancing is no exception. Despite the negativity surrounding it, more and more studios offering the sport have been popping up across the nation.
I decided to take a leap of faith and signed myself up for a trial class at The Brass Barre to find out.
With doubt lingering at the back of my mind, I stepped apprehensively into the studio. It was much smaller than I anticipated, but the space allowed for a cozy atmosphere as well as an intimate session with the instructor, as I would find out later.
Our instructor, Rei, was extremely approachable and enthusiastic, putting everyone at ease. To begin with, she gave everyone a quick introduction to pole dancing and told us about the different types of poles and items commonly used to improve grip.
Did you know that pole dancers use various products to help them grip onto the pole better? Much like how rock climbers use chalk to prevent sweaty palms, pole dancers use products like shaving gel and DryHands to do the same thing!
The class was made up of four main segments – warm up, basic moves, basic tricks, and a short choreography.
We began with some basic moves to help us ease into the class and get into the groove. Rei taught us some tips and tricks on how to walk sexily, hair flips, and getting up from the floor gracefully. While basic, these moves serve to make the choreography we learnt later on flow more seamlessly.
Next, we learnt some basic tricks on the pole. This segment caught me by surprise as I didn’t think I could achieve much in the span of an hour. Yet, we managed to learn three different types of spins – the front hook spin, the geisha spin, and the fireman spin.
Once everyone got the hang of these moves, we moved on to an actual choreography. The choreography incorporated everything we had learnt prior and served as a way for us to get an idea of what pole dancing is like.
Through it all, Rei was incredibly patient.
She would go to every individual and ensure that she saw you execute the moves properly before moving on. She was also incredibly encouraging, urging us to be comfortable with our bodies and to dance without inhibitions.
As expected, my palms starting hurting a little and I could feel the strain in my arms the next day – but that’s how I know I’ve gotten a workout.
Generally, pole dancing is great for training upper body strength, improving your balance, flexibility and coordination. Most importantly, it helps to boost your confidence.
If you’re still unsure about going for a class, bring a friend along! Trial classes are available at most studios for lower rates. Pole dancing will also make for a great hen’s night activity if you’re looking for a different way to celebrate.
I had my reservations, but I surprised myself with just how much I enjoyed it. It might be a little more “out there” than most people are comfortable with, but if you’re looking for a push to step out of your comfort zone and try something different, then this is it. Carpe diem!