In recent years, pole dance has gained popularity as a form of fitness. Competitions are held all over the world, and it’s making its way through the application process toward inclusion in the Olympics. It’s an exciting time for the world of pole dance, and if you’ve ever been curious or considered getting involved, there are some things you need to know.
Number one, numero uno, the Big Answer to the Ultimate Question: Yes! You can do it. You, right there, reading this, with a mind already crowded with excuses. You aren’t too tall, too short, too heavy, too uncoordinated. There is no height limit, no age limit, no restrictions apply. Pole is for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Pole dance lessons are usually offered in dance studio environments, typically several rows of poles with a wall of mirrors at the front of the room so you can keep an eye on your form. On your first day you may feel more comfortable in yoga pants or sweats, but eventually you’ll be wearing a sports bra and booty shorts. More exposed skin means a greater area that can stick to the pole, which opens up a vast realm of tricks. Make sure you scrub off lotion, sunscreen, and any other slippery substance that has graced your skin before getting on the dancefloor. You’ll need all the grip you can get!
Those are just the basics, the skeleton, the pragmatic details of your entry point into the world of pole. Telling you to wear yoga pants and avoid lotion is like telling Alice to wear comfortable walking shoes to Wonderland: it’s useful information, but it doesn’t really prepare you for what you’ll experience when you drop down the rabbit hole. It’s hard to prepare for magic.
Pole dance stands firmly at the intersection of sexuality and athleticism. It’s a rough sport and a seductive art. It is a method of expressing yourself through movement. For many it represents escape, and sanctuary from life’s struggles. It’s hard to worry about the rough patch in your relationship or over-analyze the passive-aggressive remark your coworker made when you’re hanging upside down trying to figure out how to get into your next trick without crash-landing on your cranium. It’s about pushing yourself, calling B.S. on your limits, and reevaluating everything you believed you couldn’t do.
Pole dance is pain. It’s bruises on the backs of your legs from knee holds. It’s shiny red skin, freshly exposed because the top layer was left on the pole. It’s arms too sore to raise to the top of your steering wheel so you have to start at the bottom and crawl with your fingers to ten and two. It’s lying in bed staring at the ceiling and taking inventory of all the throbbing pieces, all the parts of your body that worked and strained and fought and thrived. It’s undeniable, inescapable effort you can be proud of.
Best of all, the pole dance studio is a sacred asylum of support and encouragement. The success of one dancer is the success of all, and everyone’s accomplishments are celebrated. Despite a culture that likes to put women in competition with one another, pole remains a place for women to build one another up. The doors are wide open, the club is forever recruiting. You are welcome here.