Tips and Tricks: Make the Most of Your Pole Dancing Classes. How to Dance Better and Learn
Pole dancing lessons in a dance studio or private instruction in your home can be a great way to jump-start your pole fitness regimen.
Pole dancing is a fun, fabulous total-body workout that can whip a body into bikini shape in a few short weeks. Like any workout, there can be a steep learning curve. If you haven't tried pole dancing in a formal setting, and you don't have experience with gymnastics or acrobatic dance, pole dance lessons could be right for you.
Pole dancing lessons don't come cheap. The space required for poles and dance moves limits the number of students in each class. As a result, many studios charge more than $20 per class, with additional fees for drop-ins. Even all-inclusive studios or gyms may charge a premium rate for high-demand pole classes.
High prices usually mean smaller classes and more tailored instruction, but a little work outside the studio will make a big difference in performance.
Tip #1 - Every Class Minute Counts
The #1 tip for getting the most out of pole classes is practice, practice, practice IN CLASS.
Most pole classes have a set activity rhythm. First comes a brief warm-up and strengthening exercises. Next, the instructor demonstrates a move like the FireMan or SunDial. After the demonstration, students practice on their own, and the instructor circulates to give individual advice or assistance.
Some students spend most of the practice time waiting. First they lounge against their pole, waiting for the instructor to help them. Then, they lounge against their pole waiting for the next exercise.
To get the most out of pole dancing classes, you have to practice as much as possible while you're in class. Repeating each exercise until you're sweaty and tired has several positive results.
- Fitness and weight loss. Staying in motion increases the number of calories burned during pole dancing class, and increases the cardiovascular benefits of pole dancing as an exercise. Repeating each move multiple times also strengthens muscles (more muscle, means more calories burned not just in class, but in all daily activities).
- Muscle Memory and Performance. Muscle memory is an important part of pole dancing, and dance class is your main opportunity to land the moves and ensure you're executing them correctly. You may be able to practice moves at home, but without an instructor, you may be learning bad habits you'll have to unlearn in the future. During class, repeat moves and incorporate instructor feedback to you AND to other students to gain immediate progress in form and orchestration.
Tip #2 - Exercise at Home
Pole dancing is a strenuous workout. All moves involve substantial core and arm strength. Most professional pole dancers are extremely muscular for their size. They may look slight, but pole dancing builds wiry strength and well-developed core muscles without adding bulk.
You can build similar strength through pole dancing exercise, but you can't build it through exercising once or twice a week. Adding a few strength exercises to your at-home exercise regimen will make a huge difference in pole class performance.
- Push-ups. Push-ups can be tedious, but the arm strength they build makes inverts much easier. Push-ups also improve spins like the Floater or the Corkscrew where arm resistance and core strength create distance between your body and the pole.
- Dips. Dips are push-ups in reverse, and strengthen the tricep muscles on the backside of your upper arm. If you're having trouble with your push-pull grip, dips will help you gain tension in your bottom arm.
- Sit-ups. Sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts - any variation of basic core-strengthening exercise will have a major impact on your pole dance routines. Core strength provides grace and elegance to pole dance moves. We've all seen dancers fling themselves into a Basic Invert, and either catch a leg on the pole or crash to the ground. Good core strength lets you control your movements for more deliberate motions and a more effortless appearance.
- Toe Sit-ups. Pointed Toes make a huge difference in pole dancing routines. Pointing your toes properly requires pointing your entire leg, and is an exercise all by itself!
Tip #3 - Practice the Little Things
Use your time outside the pole studio to practice small moves that make a big difference in pole dancing.
- Practice Arm Movements. Most pole dancing classes don't include specific instruction on arm movements used in dance routines. These arm movements require strength (for control) and endurance (for repetition), but they are an essential element of dance orchestration. Practicing arm movements from Bellydance, Hula or Bollywood dance styles will make a big difference in one-armed spins like the Angel and the LegHook.
- Point your Toes. This is so essential, it's listed twice. Toe sit-ups are an easy way to pass time while reading or watching TV. Doing toe sit-ups for a few minutes a day will greatly improve overall pole dancing performance. Dancing on properly pointed toes straightens the posture, tightens the core and gives moves a graceful, effortless appearance.