This was my response to my instructor last night at my first “real” pole dancing class when, while teaching us a routine and realizing I was the only one in the class who was keeping up with her, she said to me, “Wow! Shannon, you’re really getting this!” After that week and a half hiatus from pole dancing to make a visit to see my family in the not-so-frozen tundra of Minnesota, my return to the sport (still trying to wrap my mind around pole dancing as a sport…but did you know that they’re thinking of putting it in the Olympics?? No joke!) was, at the beginning, a shaky one. To be honest, I did not want to go back after the first beating I took. However, as I walked down the long hall to the studio, voices resonated from behind the frosted glass door and I saw red glowing lights and heard a sultry voice crooning to a more sexy version of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle.” At this point, I started getting a little excited to walk through that door, grab a pole, and beat my body into submission…once again.
I entered through the door to see the familiar face of an older female friend, whom I had no idea was interested in this sort of fitness. We exchanged surprised glances at seeing each other, hugged, and talked about our experiences with the pole (she was just taking the “teaser” class, but wasn’t sure if she would sign up for anything additional). After a brief chat, I left her to put my belongings in a cubby and remove my socks and sneakers. Then off to find my pole! A creature of habit, I used the same one I occupied in my teaser class. We began with the usual warm up, using the pole to stretch our back, our sides, arms, legs, etc. After the warm-up, we moved into learning a few different spins. The instructor taught us three or four variations of the fireman spin…one of the easiest in my opinion (well, depending on which variation you do). A straight-legged fireman spin is not so easy as it requires a lot of core strength that I do not have and happily blame that on having my second baby girl almost nine months ago I used all of my ab strength to push her out of my hoo-ha, thank you very much…gimme some time to work on that.
A more complicated spin, in my opinion, is one where, depending on which side you’re using, you place your inner leg (closest to the pole) on the pole with your knee up and hook the arch of that foot onto the pole for a little stability. Your other leg (the one furthest from the pole) is extended in the air as you circle around the pole, both hands are on the pole, and you ”whip” your outer leg around bringing it straight out in front of you next to the pole (legs on opposite sides of the pole). Whipping the leg into the leg extension gives you extra propulsion around the pole for a tighter, faster spin. All well and good, if you have ab strength to hold that leg out straight in front of you as you spin down the pole (by the way, these poles are stationary…they do not spin on their own as their is a pin holding them stationary). Our instructor, after teaching a move, will take a look around the room and watch each lady as they perform their spins and help them if needed. The studio was full, every pole occupied, and everyone needed help with this spin! So after my first few failed attempts, I decided to just get the formation on the pole down as she was helping others. I suspended myself on the pole with my legs positioned the way they should be and held there for a little while hoping to cement it in my brain. The instructor said, “There you go, Shannon! That’s how you should be on the pole as you’re spinning down!” I replied, “Great! Could you come over here then and give me a little spin??” The room broke out in laughter and I even earned some applause on that one (I felt a little like the funny fat girl…minus the fat). Listen, it’s pole dancing and we’re beginners, if you can’t laugh at yourself while you’re learning then give it up. Everyone in there seemed to be taking things a little too seriously. One girl kept shaking her head each time she couldn’t get something. She was looking so frustrated and disappointed in herself. I’m thinking…lighten up, sweetie! It’s pole dancing!!
After an ultra-sweaty 45 minutes of spinning on the pole, we ended with one last go at the routine (hell to the yes, I’m a pro…ha!), then pulled out the yoga mats for a cool down. It was a great return experience for me and I’m feeling every bit of it…especially on my inner thighs! While reading to my 2 1/2 year old daughter last night, she insisted upon sitting on my indian-style crossed lap. I told her she had to sit still because mommy’s legs were sore, but she ignored my cries of pain as she used her bony little elbows to shift her weight from time to time.
All in all, it was another fun, exciting pole dancing experience at Apple Jelly Studios and I’m really looking forward to going back again next week to learn more! I have decided that, if at the end of my six weeks of beginner classes I’m still really into it, I will sign up for the beginner II level and purchase a pole for my home (they’re portable, so I can assemble and disassemble as I wish) in order to get more practice. Check out the video link at the end of this post to get more of an idea of what a fireman spin looks like (one variation of it anyway) as well as the martini spin. The martini spin is similar to the spin I was describing earlier, except in the martini spin, you wrap your outer leg around the pole, wrapping with the back of your knee (for the leg whip spin, your inner leg is placed on the pole, knee up, and the arch of your foot, not the back of your knee, is “wrapped” on the pole), then extend your other leg in front of you on the other side of the pole as you spin. In the leg whip spin, your outer leg would whip around the pole and extend in front of you in order to propel you around the pole. When I have my own pole I’ll be able to post my own videos…maybe.
That’s all for now…Shannon
VIDEO: Basic Pole Dancing Spins