Pole dancing classes are increasingly becoming more popular among many people around the world, and many versions of pole dance and pole fitness are becoming synonymous with each other for being an alternative way of keeping toned and healthy as well as offering that creative outlet.
More established gym studios are offering these classes for their aerobic and anaerobic form of workouts. Now finding a pole dance class near is not as difficult as it once was. Due to its popularity, we have seen pole dancing competitions being held in the US, Canada, and Australia and all over Europe. Even a dedicated group of advocates has been pushing for its inclusion of pole dancing competitions in the Olympics.
It’s still little known to many that pole dance is difficult, archiving perfection, prior rigorous training is required which has seen the establishment of pole dance classes and studios offering a wide array of classes. Check out the history of pole dance for more info.
Types of pole dance classes
There are two categories of pole dance classes and the choice on which class to undertake depends on the individual’s preferences.
This involves taking the lessons together with other learners interested in learning pole dancing. This type of class is fun as you get to meet other people with shared interests.
Advantages of Group pole dance lessons
Builds a connection with other pole dancers
Being in a group setting allows you to meet new people allowing you to build a community hence forming a new connection with them.
An instructor is tasked with teaching many dancers at the same time. Due to this arrangement, the prices are subsidized making them more affordable especially if you are on a tight budget.
Not everyone is a fast learner. Some people might take longer than others to learn a specific trick. In case you have been struggling with a trick and you finally manage to perform it, you have a larger cheering squad in a group lesson. This motivates you to keep going.
A specific focus curriculum
The instructor builds a curriculum for the dancers with a specific goal in mind. This makes it easy to measure their performance as they progress by knowing the tricks they have perfected and those that require more training or practice.
Building Muscle memory
Most techniques in group pole dance lessons are done on repetition. This ensures you practice more which builds your muscle memory and boosts your confidence.
Learning by collaborating
Taking group dance lessons gives you a chance to meet new people. This allows slow learners or beginners to learn from fast learners or the more experienced dancers. This collaboration makes it easy for beginners.
Disadvantages of Group pole dancing classes
If you are a beginner and you join a class with experienced dancers, you might feel left behind which may cause demotivation.
Overshadowing by other dancers
This mostly happens in a large class. A dancer may not be performing well but due to the class number, the instructor only focuses on a few learners leaving the rest out and by the end of the class, some students cannot perform the trick the instructor perceived would be performed by all the students.
One on One pole dance classes
This type of class entails having private lessons with the instructor away from all the other learners.
Advantages of One on One pole dance lessons
Having private lessons ensures you get a specific curriculum that is solely created for you. This is created by you and your instructor depending on what you are aiming to achieve.
Extra time for working on specific tricks.
Being alone gives you more time to work on transitions and choreographies until you are a perfect performer. This differs greatly with group classes where the instructor may be compelled to move on once the majority of the learners have perfected the skill leaving some members behind.
Instructor’s undivided attention
Since you are alone in the class, the instructor can identify even the smallest mistake and correct you before you move on to the next trick as there is nobody to overshadow you.
Ensures you Master the proper technique
With the one-on-one classes, the instructor closely monitors you and you have the opportunity to schedule multiple classes in a week. You also get to understand how your body responds when you try a new trick, the exact angles you should form on the pole, and how to improve. With all these available resources at your disposal, you get to master the skill of pole dancing easily.
Disadvantages of One on One pole dancing lessons
As compared to group classes, private classes are quite expensive which limits the struggling dancers who are on a tight budget. The need for multiple classes per week may raise the cost as well.
Types of pole dances
In this style of pole dancing, dancing moves are limited and the choreographers have their main focus on aerobics. It involves drills, physical strength, and technique difficulty. Experts have regarded pole dancing as a good form of both mental and physical exercise which has seen many people start embracing it and joining classes for the same. International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) is the regulatory body of pole dancing as a sport which is also regarded as a fitness pole.
Delegations in the respective countries are mandated to organize national and regional competitions with world competitions taking place annually. Other fitness benefits reaped from pole dancing include;
Improvement of posture
Pole dancing stretches and tones the entire body hence is a great exercise for those that are looking to improve their natural posture. People who spend most of their days seated are said to experience spine complications later in age and are therefore encouraged to take pole dancing classes to avoid this.
Overcoming Mental stress
Pole dancing initiates the body to release Endorphin hormones which are responsible for making you healthier, feel happier, and energetic. This goes a long way in reducing stress which most people are battling nowadays.
Toning of key muscles groups
Although this can be achieved through various exercises, pole dancing takes toning and streamlining the body muscles a notch higher. When performing pole dancing, the dancer is required to support all their body’s weight with their arms. This goes further in toning the lower leg muscles and the thighs as well as building the core strength.
Losing calories is desired by many but the path to losing calories is disliked due to the work you have to put in. Pole dancing is a good option for people struggling to find motivation for exercise. It guarantees you good results while still having fun.
Exotic Pole dance
Exotic dance is the most widely known type of pole dancing. It generally focuses on learning a routine which is mostly one minute, long and incorporating some other tricks like floor works and spins that require gripping with your hands only. The dancers rarely need to grip with their hips and knees which would explain why it is common to see them wearing leggings while performing. Heels on the other hand are a requirement for the exotic pole dance.
Just because it does not require climbing a pole, exotic dance is not easy. The routines which are repeated severally while on your toes and in heels should be an indication that this type of pole dancing involves strength, endurance, and a lot of flexibility to perfect. Although not their primary purpose, exotic dance can be a great body workout since it involves dread moves like deadlifts, body waves, and smooth transition.
There are different styles of exotic pole dance which include
This is regarded as the “cleaner” style in exotic pole dancing. The dance is all about fluidly creating beautiful shapes both in the air or on the floor while making seductive movements. It involves engaging the audience, multi-tricks combos, and plenty of splits which can be either front, middle, or straddles. It is competition friendly as it is non-threatening or not too much in your face.
Russian Exotic style
The style is associated with the Russians who have always portrayed amazing skills and strength on the pole. It involves a high level of technical difficulty with less raw performance. Russian exotic involves power spins, handstands, deadlifts, intending to portray the crazy transitions with upper body strength. The dancers have focus highly on the tricks which they execute effortlessly.
Stripper Exotic style
Stripper style is sometimes referred to as “too much”. This is because it takes the acts to the extreme which are sultry. It involves acts such as heel clacks, twerking, eye contact, the removal of clothing, body rolls, and touching your own body. The dancer focuses a lot on engagement with the audience by bringing on stage what invites the audience in and less on the tricks. Each dancer aims to be authentic to attract more audience. It is mostly found in strip clubs.
Contemporary/Lyrical Pole Dance
The dancer incorporates elements of modern, contemporary, and lyrical dance. They use the power of music to tell a story and express emotion. It involves planning a story and developing a character and requires dancers to be creative. Before attending this class, it is recommended that you have a couple of classes worth of pole dancing lessons.
Power pole dance
It is closely related to contemporary pole dancing but focuses on precise technique and conditioning that is disguised as creative movements. The dance puts a lot of emphasis on progression for every move which encourages the dancer to push further and become better. The class can be taken by dancers of all levels.
Sensual pole dance
This type of pole dancing emphasizes feeling your inner self. In some dance studios, you will find faded lighting and candles which awaken your senses. There is no choreography for this pole dance instead the dancer performs like a free bird to awaken her emotions. The dancer may also choose the kind of music that resonates with their feelings at the time. During the lesson, you may opt to wear high heels or dance barefoot. The best sensual pole dancers are those that have fully immersed themselves in their souls.
Strength pole dance
This type of pole dancing is mostly aimed at strengthening the upper body part. To be a good pole dancer, you find that in most cases, the parts of the upper body are supporting the entire body and this requires strength. This class can be enrolled by beginners. To increase your strength, you can also perform other exercises such as push-ups, planks, and pull-ups as a combination with the strength pole dance.
What you will learn at pole dance lessons.
Poles are a vital part of taking your pole dancing class. It is therefore important to learn about them and how they can impact your learning experience before commencing any pole dancing classes. You should strive to learn the following;
Type of Poles for pole dance classes
There are two types of poles available for dancers at any level.
Static poles are fixed and don’t rotate in any direction. This type of pole is ideal for beginners who have not mastered the art of pole dancing. It avoids any injuries that could arise from falling from a pole since, at this level, you are not able to perfectly control your movements.
Spinning poles can be set to either rotate or be in a fixed position like that of the static pole. Spinning poles allow the performance of advanced moves which is why they are most recommended for experienced dancers. The spinning pole comes with a maintenance kit with keys used to adjust the pole from static to spin. For safety reasons, you should recheck to ensure you are loosening the correct screws for spin mode.
The Size of the pole matters
Poles come in different diameters that are 40mm,45mm and 50 mm. Although 45mm is the standard size when undertaking pole dancing lessons, beginners should use a 40mm pole if available. A smaller diameter means it is easier to grip and hold on to. As you become more experienced, you can progress to use larger poles which are ideal for gripping at the knees.
The coating of the pole is important
Before embarking on the pole dance lessons, you should check the coating of the poles you will be using and rule out any allergies you may have that could be triggered by the coating material. The most common coatings are chrome and brass. Chrome is ideal for students who have dry skin as it does not absorb moisture. Brass on the other hand absorbs moisture and should be used by those with oily skin or sweaty palms.
During the lesson, you get to learn a lot of tricks which include;
The vital hold to the pole is utilized by all dancers in most of the tricks. You will learn how to anchor your body against the pole to ensure you are not trying to out-muscle any moves. This grip helps you move up and down the pole and by the end of the training, you should be able to release your legs from the pole or bring them up in the air away from the floor without your body collapsing in.
One of the most basic tricks of pole dancing is used at all levels of expertise. It is done by wrapping your thumbs around the pole on the opposite side of the fingers just like you would hold a baseball bat.
This trick involves gripping the pole with your hands then hooking your leg into the pole while bringing out the back leg behind your body and holding it there and spinning. This beginner trick is a test on your body’s flexibility.
This simple pose combines well with most of the routines. It shows flexibility and strength that is required for pole dancing.
Basic body rolls
This versatile move can be incorporated into any pole dancing routine as they help you explore how your body can move in pole dancing. They are fun and are excellent for working on flow and fluidity while beginning.
Basic foot Hold
Used for inverted moves where the toes are pointed either towards the floor or the ceiling. This move can be done when wearing heels where the heel is maintained on the side for better anchoring.
The combo includes a forearm spin, climbing, and synchronizing music with your dance to create a seamless dance piece.
This features moves such as spinning climb, inside leg hang, inverted thigh hold, flatline Scorpio, and Scorpio handstand. The combo can be used at both beginner and intermediate levels.
This involves combining moves such as back kook, martini seat, back attitude floor cartwheel, and log roll. The move is suitable for both beginners and intermediate level dancers.
Other combos include; Outside step, spin around, pirouette, poses, straight leg-spin, and butt swivel.
What you need to bring to the pole dance class
Kneepads are required for those taking exotic dance classes due to the floor works they are bound to perform. You can bring layers for ankle protection like tall socks or leg warmers, especially in the cold season to avoid sticking on the floor.
You should also have some hairbands just in case the one you are wearing snaps. Due to the vigorous movements during pole dancing your hair should be tied up.
What should you wear to a pole dance class?
The most important factor to note is that before attending any class, you must be in a comfortable outfit that is not too tight neither too baggy to allow you to perform the tricks with ease. Depending on the type of class, you can wear either shorts or leggings. For classes where you will need to grip the pole with your hips or knees, shorts are recommended. However, in exotic dance classes where there is minimal grip, you may wear leggings.
For shoes, some classes like exotic and sensual that require the dancer to portray sexiness, high heels are the most recommended. If you are attending a fitness pole dance class, heels are not required and you may wear your sneakers or perform barefoot. Flip flops are however discouraged as they keep on falling out during the performance and they can’s grip the pole.
Finally, to avoid sliding on the pole, you are discouraged to apply lotion on either your hands or legs before attending the training.
Frequently asked questions
Must I be in shape to join the pole dance class?
No! Coming to class is the best way to get ready for class. Pole dance classes are categorized into many types to ensure they accommodate students of all sizes. The instructors also know that they should breakdown the moves to ensure it is accessible to every interested learner.
Is gymnastic or dance background a requirement for taking pole dance class?
No. You do not require any gymnastic or dance background to enrol in any type of pole dance classes. The instructors will teach you everything you need to know about pole dancing and with consistent practice, you will reach where you aim to be.
How long will it take me to learn pole dancing?
Beginners who join the class take somewhere from a few weeks to months to learn how to perform some basic moves and tricks. Most advanced level dancers take years to perfect their skill and during this time consistent training and practice are highly recommended.
With the rising popularity of pole dancing and the availability of instructors to teach, pole dancing is being embraced in many countries. Not only do you get to have fun, but you also get health benefits that are not guaranteed by the other exercises. Before enrolling in these classes, ensure you understand each type of dance and choose it on your preferences and goals, there are a few different types of dance and this is where you need to know where you would like to start. I would recommend a beginner pole dance class to learn the basics before expanding on your horizons.