10 things you didn’t know about pole dancing: To those who live in the pole dancing world, they are probably aware of these facts, but they are not immediately apparent to those outside the pole industry.
1. Positive body image.
Most people experience a pretty quick change in their bodies. They get stronger, they get more defined, they lose weight, or lose inches because they gain muscle. Aside from that, you will move your body in ways you never dreamed of. The physical transformation leads to a mental one. You stop judging yourself on what your body looks like, and start focusing on all the amazing things you can do with it.
This brings us to point 2.
2. Self-esteem boost.
When you Pole, I think part of why we love it is the continual affirmation. There is an almost continual goal achievement. With always something new to strive towards. Nailing each and every move is an affirmation of your control, and skill. You feel in control, capable of achieving anything, you look better and feel better, and this builds your self-esteem. Even though every new move brings its own challenges which leads us to point 3.
3. It hurts.
Now this may not seem like a selling point to get people interested in Pole Dance and Fitness, but it is the truth. From day one there will be bruises, friction burns, blisters on your palms from the tight grip you are using because you’re scared of landing in a heap on the floor. Then you have the building of pain tolerance as you use various degrees of exposed skin to grip the pole in what are sometimes, quite frankly, unnatural positions for a body to be in. What keeps us going forward is that you build a tolerance, and know that we look awesome once we have gotten that move nailed.
4. Wider horizons
You meet so many people from different walks of life. From the PHD lecturer with a stripper background, to the lawyer that opened her own pole school, to the broken down woman who gained her confidence back after a bad relationship, to the trans woman who teaches sensual movement pole classes. People and characters from every walk of life, who you may not normally meet, all bring something new to your life if you are willing to listen and learn.
Whether it’s be facing down a complex combination of moves, knowing how much that’s going to hurt so, so, bad at first, or learning a stunt drop, or travelling the country alone to get to that *must do* workshop with a pole idol. We push ourselves into new situations. And at some point this starts ebbing over into ‘real’ life, not just your pole life.
6. Personal and professional development
At some point the feeling you get from goal achievement you get in class starts to spread to your real life. You stop settling for the status quo. That thing you always wanted to do, suddenly you have that ambition again and it seems attainable. And you start to plan and work towards it. Because one thing pole has taught is that nothing worth it is ever easy.
7. Community, Trust and Friendships
Maybe it’s the fact that when learning, you have to spot each other (be there to catch and support someone in a new move), and you end up with various body parts in unnatural positions, and not all of them are your own. The amount of times I’ve had someone’s ass in my face, or other parts, been elbowed or kicked as a student has come out of a move, they are too numerous to count.
Most times I don’t even notice it anymore until a student apologises for nearly sitting on my head as they come down from whatever they’re learning. It builds trust and friendships that last a lifetime. And because most other polers have been through something similar, there is not only a sense of community, but a real community where people actually help and support each other.
8. Goal expansion
Polers continually strive for more. More flexibility, more strength, more endurance, just basically more of anything that will make that move they’re working on look cleaner, crisper and closer to perfection. In your head it goes like this ‘I nailed that combination of moves, it looks pretty awesome right now, but what if I put drop splits on the end…. Crap, now I need to work on my flexibility and get perfectly flat splits’ and then the purchasing of flexi bands and stretching apparatus follows.
9. Different Pole Styles.
Whether its strength, fitness, flexibility, sensuality, sexiness, or anything else, there is a style to fit you. Pole can be whatever you want it to be.
10. Age isn’t a barrier.
I started pole in my 30’s with no fitness or dance background (apart from a few ballet and tap lessons when I was about 6 years old). I know may people who have started in their 40’s and 50’s. This is truly a sport for everyone. Each pole journey is individual, and you will progress at your own pace, but don’t let age be the excuse that holds you back.
Sarah Myers is owner and chief pole instructor at Vertical Fitness & Vertical Joy fitness and dance studio, Sarah has been pole dancing 8 years and can also be reached at her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Vertical-Joy-309031055936240/.
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