This year I am racking up the phrases I never thought I’d say a year ago… and here is another one: “I’ve been on the pole”.
Taking a pole dancing class was put on the Yay! List during a late night over desserts with a group of girls after a gala. I added it because it was something that made me uncomfortable. I took the class a few weeks ago, but writing this post took a while. Not so much the writing of THIS post, but my trying to determine how I wanted to approach sharing my thoughts about this experience.
I found myself sitting on the fence about what to write – do I write about the actual experience or do I explore the ensuing thoughts and discussions I had about the dichotomy of how pole dancing classes as a form of exercise could make you feel? One will take me a little longer to write, in part because I am lazy, but also I want to take my time with it.
The Brass Ovaries Studio
A few weekends ago an awkward woman (that’s me) arrived at Brass Ovaries, a small, women-owned business that teaches pole dancing. When I asked Sarah, the instructor how long she has been teaching, she said “I’ve been teaching for two years, but on the pole for three.” Most of her students are suburban housewives or college students looking for a new workout routine. She mentioned meeting women who had experience “on the pole” in a professional setting, but found them to be much less dependable in terms of actually showing up to the classes. Which makes sense to me.
Sarah is in phenomenal shape, the kind of body that you look at and know she could physically do anything. And she enjoys what she does, she enjoys teaching women to release their inhibitions while embracing the part of them that feels and becomes physically powerful.
As a beginner’s class, there wasn’t any acrobatics involved but rather the experience of understanding how to move around a pole with a simple routine. The interesting part of the experience was discovering how uncomfortable I was at the beginning of the class and how much more at ease I felt at the end.
The most important things I learned in this class are:
- It’s possible for me to get over being self-conscious, but it takes a while and a lot of laughs along the way.
- Your left and your right can get confusing, or is that just me?
- If you’re going “on the pole”, evidently bruising is a concern. See the photo for the many different places you can expect to be bruised.
- There are different sizes of poles, 45 or 50mm diameter offer different sizes for different sized hands. A 45mm pole felt better for my (evidently) smaller hands. For nothing we were doing in the class would I really need to have a smaller pole diameter but if you are engaging in some of the potential acrobatics, I could see how a better… um… grip would be beneficial.
- The poles have a pin at the base that allow you to either have a standard non-moving pole or one that spins. The effect is actually amazing, the difference between a spin on a spinning or a still pole.
Would I take another class? Initially I thought “no”, I didn’t need to – I didn’t find it to be much of a workout, and if it wasn’t a workout, then it was “just” an experience I’d had, a box to check. But I suspect that more advanced classes definitely require more physically that make it a better workout.
I am glad I had the experience and would suggest that anyone who is at all curious should try it. Moving around the pole in a routine set to Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” definitely reminds you never to take yourself too seriously. Because when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror, you may not feel as ridiculous as you thought you might – and that’s kind of fun. Or is that just me? Nah… .