How To Be Super Confident and Prepared For Your First Pole Dancing Class
What Have You Signed Up For?
Whether it be part of a hen's night, an impulse attempt to lose weight/get sexy/find your rhythm, or the start of a long cherished goal to finally learn to 'work a pole', it can be daunting when preparing to attend your first ever pole dancing class.
In the followng article, i'm going to try to alleviate some fears and replace them with a sense of composed preparedness. Here we go...
No, Really..What DID You Sign Up For?
Before I go any further I just want to bring some clarity to the fact that all pole dancing classes are not made equal. In fact, not a Beginners Pole Dance classes are even made equal and can vary widely, being more subjective than you can perhaps expect from other common classes.
In order to know what to expect, you first and foremost really need to figure out the type of pole dancing lesson you have signed up for.
Pole dancing is a real umbrella term that people use to encompass any form of exercise where a vertical pole is involved, but in actual fact, there are many different incarnations of the art of pole dancing, any of which may be a part of your very first lesson.
Pole dancing is still open to a tonne of influences and is morphing and growing every day. There are influences from traditional pole art like Chinese Pole, input from Gymnastics, are from other dance forms, traditional and modern - not to mention Exotic dance. As such, there are widely differing ideas about how the pole arts can be categorised, but here is one way of looking at it:
Are you considering taking your first pole dance class?
What's The Difference?
Pole Fitness - this category seems to be more of a sport than a dance style. I have heard it referred to as an extreme sport - and while to some degree pole dancing as a whole can be extreme, pole fitness seems to be the most challenging form.
If your introduction to Pole Fitness is anything like mine then you will be practising forearm stands in your first class. This form of pole definitely has a strong gymnastics and tricks emphasis.
Artistic Pole Dance - Artistic Pole Dance is more performance-focussed combining elements of dance, pole tricks and choreography. You may be encouraged to wear heels, or they may be optional.
Erotic Pole Dance - Erotic pole dance is a sexier form of pole dance. Usually involves heels and may incorporate other erotic dance forms like chair dancing, floor work and lap dancing.
And really, from what i have seen, few pole dance studios will confine themselves to just one of these, but tend to offer classes that are an amalgamation of at least two, if not all of these forms.
You Won't Be Alone
Any beginners class you go to will have beginners in it - that is, people like you who might be uncoordinated, nervous, ill-prepared, dressed incorrectly...You get the picture. So don't be too concerned about not knowing what you are doing - most people in the class will be in the same boat.
Guys Can Do It Too
If your pole studio is like the first one I went to they might welcome men as well as women. These days pole dance is embraced by men as well as women. However, some women would prefer to attend female-only classes, If this is something you would prefer, make sure to sign up at a studio that caters to females only - some do.
You Will Experience Failure
Unless you have had some gymnastic experience - and even if you have - you are probably going to find there are some things you won't be able to do, even in your first class. Most people don't have the sort of strength in their grip that is necessary for pole dancing, and you will probably find yourself limited by this fact.
Even beginner moves require the performing of certain postures, and a certain degree of flexibility. Often, even for the flexible person, the particular stances required in pole dancing will be unfamiliar and require some getting used to.
Pain of Varying Types
Everyone who starts a beginner pole class for the first time is likely to end up with some sort of pain from the activity. For some, it will be aching arms, bruising on legs(common in pole dancing from contact with the pole),soreness from stretching, or simply blisters on your palms from not being accustomed to swinging your whole weight around in your hands.
Expect pain, it is part of the experience and will signal muscle groups that may need to get stronger in order to continue progressing with your pole practise. Of course, I am not referring to an actual injury. If you actually get injured, of course, visit a medical practitioner, but short of that, you will probably feel some discomfort in your body from using a new exercise equipment - yup, I'm referring to the pole - for the first time.
A Look At The Other Class Students
If your beginners classes are anything like mine, you will either be showing up before - or after - the more advanced classes. As such you will get an enticing peek at students who used to be like you - beginners - but who have stuck with it and progressed to be able to do things you can only dream of at your present stage.
Take this as an exciting glimpse of your own future. Not something to be intimidated by, but to work towards.
A Few Tips
Bra - I felt I should address the bra issue. Because you often have one or both arms over your head swinging from a pole, if you wear a regular bra you will probably find that it always needs to be pulled down every time you attempt a move. Wear a sports bra or other bra you have that doesn't tend to hitch up when you put your hands over your head.
Fitting Shorts - Shorts are the way to go when it comes to pole dancing and hot pants, short yoga shorts and fitted bike shorts are all suitable when you start. You can even wear slightly longer shorts if you feel more comfortable in them, just make sure they are made from a comfortable and stretchy fabric like lycra or spandex and that you can roll them up if necessary.
Shoes - Make sure to ask at your studio if they require you to wear heels for your classes. Some studios want you to wear 'stripper heels' from the get-go, others don't allow it and some leave the choice up to you.
If you don't have to wear heels, and you don't have an appropriate pair (there are specific types of heels suitable for pole dancing), then don't rush out to buy some. Instead, experience your first class and make your mind up later.
Leg Warmers - Some studios have wooden floors, while other studios - usually those focussed on Pole Fitness - will have padded floors. Practising pole barefoot on wooden floors is more likely to be a cold experience, and especially in the Winter.
If you know you tend to experience leg cramps, you might want to wear leg warmers. They are also useful for pole classes that focus more on floor work - although this probably won't be a consideration for most introductory pole classes.
Bring The Right Stuff
Grip Aides - I really wouldn't mention this for your first class except that I know some people experience chronically sweaty hands. Dry Hands and similar products are known as 'grip aids' and they help you hold onto the pole more easily.
I once went for a pole class without Dry Hands. For some reason, I was extremely sweaty that day. It was a pretty bad class, as I found that I couldn't even attempt some of the moves because my hands were so slick it wasn't safe.
If you don't get sweaty hands I wouldn't worry about it for your first class. Further, most pole dance studios do stock it, so if after your first class you think this is something you might want to invest in, you can.
Water Bottle - Like with any exercise you need to stay hydrated, and pole dancing can be a particularly sweaty.business, so bring your water bottle along.
A Few Don'ts...
Don't Wear Lotion - A pole is a difficult thing to hang onto at the best of times, but wearing oils or lotions on your skin can make it next to impossible - especially for the beginner who hasn't had a chance to develop grip strength.
Oils and lotions on the skin also have a tendency to leave residue on the poles and will make them equally slippery for other dancers. Make sure not to apply any slippery toiletries to your skin on the day of your class.
Leave The Jewellery At Home - Aside from perhaps small earrings, there really doesnt seem to be a place for jewellery during pole dance classes. Rings interfere with your ability to grip the pole, even toe rings interfere with certain moves that require you to put your feet on the pole. Although not all of these considerations will apply to your first class, it is good to get into the right habits from the start.
More Beginners Pole Dance Resources
- How To Pole Dance: Beginner Exercises, Moves, & Benefits.
Learning how to pole dance can be scary and frustrating for the beginner, however with the right exercises and learning the moves step by step, pole dancing can become the best workout.