My Expectations from My First Pole Dancing Class
After a bit of back and forth, I've finally decided that I'll let my self explore and let try new experiences. It is my first time attending this class and I am very nervous. Where will my arms and legs go? How will my hands grip the pole? What will I do with my arms? Will my limbs look awkward? How am I supposed to stand and what's going to be my stance? Wait a minute, do I know how to stand? What if I am the worst in the class? What if I can't do the move? Right!!! It is normal to think like this.
Of course, I'm talking about attending my first ever pole dancing class. A sport and fitness activity that provides a fun-filled workout by spinning on a shiny metal pole. The same shiny metal pole that mainstream media has portrayed as bad, taboo and has claimed to be the centrepiece in the strip clubs. Seriously, what am I thinking? But wait, is that what they want us to think?
Over the past decade, the image of pole dancing has changed and it will continue to change. Pole dancing is emerging to be an outstanding and exciting type of fitness, workout, sport and above all - an amazing art form. An art form and sport that requires incredible levels of fitness, strength and creativity for one to reach its pinnacle. The amount of content featuring pole dancing, found on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, will tell you how amazing this sport is. It is unfortunate that pole dancing was a taboo topic and has been manipulated for the benefits of old rudimentary society. Not anymore and let us not mull over it as it is a separate topic and we will talk about it in a separate discussion.
So finally, I have decided to attend my first pole dancing class. By now all my friends, siblings, work colleagues and even my kids have tried this. I feel like it might be too late for me now. But I'm sure I can give it a go; no matter what my current fitness level is. I checked out the Beginner Pole classes at Bendigo's best pole dancing studio - Z Fit Studios. After a few minutes of thinking 'Should I or should I not... I really, really should.' I called them and signed up for the beginner trial classes.
Well, now I think, 'What am I supposed to expect from my first ever pole dancing class? What am I supposed to do to be prepared?'
"Consider pole dancing as just a fun-filled fitness activity, as simple as going for a run, but not at all boring! There is no expectation that you have to be good at it when you're starting", a seasoned instructor and Executive-Director of Z Fit Studios, Saari Frochot-Chauhan told me. "Simply approach it with a sense of excitement, a sense of humour and trust these words that no one is going to judge you because, honestly, not everything will be perfect on that first day."
After that, I felt much more comfortable, at the same time I know that while I am mentally prepared now, I don't want to look like a kind of an un-graceful idiot, come-on who does. So here is my list that will help you get ready for your first pole dancing class.
Friend, buddy or just alone
Honestly, I attended my first class alone. I didn't attend my first class with my friend or someone from my family and I was a little nervous. But within the first 5 minutes of my class, I felt there was an amazing friendly vibe and everyone was just enjoying it. I'm sure if I have someone to go with, I would have enjoyed their company too, but again, I didn't feel like I was missing something.
"Sometimes, having a friend or someone you know well in your first class can make you feel shy" Frochot-Chauhan advised. "It can hold you back because you don't want to be embarrassed in front of your friend or a family member. However, if you have someone that you do all your fun activities with, then perhaps you will end up rolling on the floor laughing with them. Sometimes, it helps you—you feel less nervous and silly because you have somebody else there going through the same thing." Saari explained that based on her 10 years of experience in the sport, "You have to be ready to make a fool of yourself, so choose that friend wisely."
It is 100 times less intimidating than you think it will be
At Z Fit Studios and other similar studios, the numbers are capped. In my class, there were just eight others beginners. The personal care and attention I received was amazing. Each participant had our own designated equipment for the whole class. At the start of the class, we all introduced each other. Most of us had never touched a pole before and didn't have particularly extensive dance backgrounds either. Some of us were there to just give it a go for sun or were looking for a regular fitness class.
Was I naked-ish? No
For some people—like me—mere short shorts and a sports bra feels a little uncomfortable. I learned that pole dancing requires exposed skin to have skin contact with the pole. This is required to get a good grip on the pole. However, the great news is that for the beginner or basic fundamental moves that you do in the beginner or intro classes, only the backs of your knees should be naked and for the upper body, your pole needs contact with your shoulders, arms-pits onwards, you get the point. This means you can roll up those running capris and perhaps a sleeveless top and you're good to go. It is advised to wear well-fitted clothes, just because you don't want the fabric to be falling on your face or distracting you when you're learning your moves on the apparatus.
It is important to remember that, at times we all are very self-conscious about our bodies. Dave Chauhan, CEO of Z Fit Studios, also suggested that I remember that "Z Fit Studios is the region's first creative organisation to be working with The Body Positive Institute, (United States), so helping people to be comfortable in their skin is our mission."
Pole burn is real, it is no Loch Ness
After the class, you will get some red bruises which are caused due to friction and grip between your skin and pole, and these are called pole burns. It happens to all pole athletes and artists and no it doesn't hurt. I had a few and they went away in a few days. Honestly, I felt proud of it the next day as I felt like I have achieved something and there was no fear. In fact, the next day it made me feel I want to do more.
What I learned is that everyone gets these bruises in different areas, some on their ankles, and some on their thighs, arms or shins. Basically, how we hold the pole and how much pressure we put on different areas decides these pole burns. My recommendation is to take your pole burns with pride as it's the sign of you enjoying the class and not holding yourself back.
Only your instructor is observing you and no one is judging you
I had this fear as if others will be watching me and judging me and after my first class, I can say it now that no one judges. Everyone was busy with their own learning and the only person who was paying attention to me was our instructor. At no point, I felt judged, embarrassed or even the slightest bit awkward. Instead, I wanted to do more after the class finished, although my body was tired.
The beginner class is less of a workout and more of a good time While I felt like a good workout done, it wasn't intense and I wasn't huffing and puffing after the class. The beginner classes aren't like severe calorie-burning sessions. Instead, I would say the warm-up was the most intense part of the class and once I was ready after the stretching and warm-up, the rest of the class was learning the fundamentals and working my way on the apparatus. I felt good the whole time and it felt like a perfect balance between fun and workout.
You can definitely work your way up to the hard stuff as you increase your skill level You won't do all the stuff you see on Instagram and Facebook on your first day or even after your first few sessions. You will start to learn the fundamentals that will start to make you look incredible. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to improving.
Regardless of your fitness level, if you can walk and follow instructions, you'll be able to thrive in this class—that's why Z Fit Studios offers different levels of pole dancing.
"You might think that I need to get stronger, flexible or I need to lose weight etc, none of that is true, when you start your classes and follow the sport, you'll get stronger and more flexible because of the pole dance itself, it will provide you both strength and flexibility automatically and weight, that's just nonsense as long as you are ready to build your strength to carry your weight on the apparatus like any other sports, your body if your own choice and there are no limitations," Saari said.
Is it an expensive sport? Not really
While these classes and pole sports might seem expensive, you don't have to purchase any equipment or anything extra. Your initial cost is just the class price. Unlike in a gym, you get an instructor for the whole class among limited students, it's like having a personal coach. With that perspective the value for money is phenomenal.
Dave Chauhan mentioned, " Every now and then we release discounted Beginner Pole Classes, just so that we can let people give it a try and find how amazing this sport is. Moreover, once people get to love the game, they can take advantage of unlimited packages, which are offered at Z Fit Studios, offered rarely at other places. The cost of unlimited classes is cheaper than the cost of attending two classes."
So check out the Beginner Pole Offer and these unlimited packages. Give this sport a try and you might fall in love with it!
About this article: This piece has been penned to demonstrate the anticipation, excitement and thought process for several new pole beginners who want to start their pole sports and artistry journey and have so many questions. The inspiration is taken from real-life scenarios and examples, however do not represent a particular scenario or individual.