“Just one more time, try it one more time.” I thought to myself as I stared at the silver metal pole in front of me. My body glistened with sweat as I tried focusing on what I had to do in order to achieve this particular move I have been working months on for pole dancing. I wiped the palms of my hands on my shorts and grabbed the pole with both hands. With a push up, I wrapped my thighs around the pole, crossing one leg over the other. I lower myself backwards and let go of the pole. My bent knee over my extended leg touch the pole as my head tilts back to see behind me, my arms dangling toward the floor. My back arches.
“I did it!” I smile. My nerves get the better of me and I quickly sat up and grabbed the pole as I could feel my thighs starting to slide down.
After months of pole dancing, I was able to do the waterfall or laid back move. I did a small dance once I was back on my feet and proceeded to do the move a few more times with more and more confidence.
1. A Different Type of Fitness
I have always been into fitness as seen by two long distance cycling around North America (total of 10K kilometers or about 6K miles) and running all over the world. Besides those, swimming and a few dance classes in tango and ballet have been in my history throughout the years.
I have not come across any type of fitness that gives me and that teaches me all that which pole dancing has given and taught.
Pole dancing gives me cardio and muscle work-outs every class. It gives me a variety of stages of improvement I can pursue as goals. Instead of just increasing the distance running or swimming, I have tricks I can practice on the floor, spins, and tricks higher up on the pole. It entertains me every class as each class offers new tricks, new jokes with my fellow students, or different music playing. It has taught me that every body, literally body, is different, but that makes no difference in the sport.
You don’t need to be thin, you don’t need to be tall, you don’t need to be extremely buff, and you don’t need to be very flexible in order to be a great pole dancer.
2. Freedom from Judgement
It has given me a place free of discrimination and judgment- just support and kindness. Pole dancers are at all different levels and abilities. Instead of feeling competitive, each offers a helping hand and advice to make sure everyone is safe doing the tricks and feels comfortable. Feeling comfortable in your situation plays a huge factor in your safety on the pole because if you don’t feel comfortable and you don’t trust the pole or yourself, the trick won’t be success.
Pole dancing has given me more confidence in my own body. The less clothes you have, the more skin contact you have with the pole, the safer you will be when performing tricks. This means most of your body is exposed- thighs, stomach, arms, etc.
No one cares.
Some are covered in tattoos, piercings, both or none at all. Some shave everywhere. Others don’t shave. There are men and women. There are older folk and younger folk.
3. Support and Confidence
My pole studio has given me this support group that makes me really feel at home in a city and country that are still new to me (I have lived here for about a year). As this area is very bilingual, classes are done in both languages, even if the teacher is not comfortable in one or either language because it isn’t about what people think, it is about sharing our love for the sport.
I’ve collected bruises throughout my life, but I am more proud of my bruises from pole than from other endeavors or as we call them, pole kisses. Because, it shows me that I am pushing myself outside my comfort zone while pushing myself to get stronger physically, but also mentally and emotionally. To fully love myself- curves and all, especially when I am hanging upside down with only my two hands and one ankle as physical contact with the pole (this move is called the Extended Butterfly), while my fellow pole dancers rooting me on.
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