We’ve all been to classes at the gym, maybe yoga or dance classes. You turn up, jostle for a place and go through the motions, often in a quite impersonal and anonymous manner. There is usually pretty limited interaction between you and the instructor. If you’ve come with a friend you may have someone to chat with, or there may be a familiar face in the class that you share a few words with. Then you head off, same routine each week.
A pole dancing class is quite different. Firstly, it’s for women only. No sweaty guys to perve at you. Secondly the classes are smaller. Everyone needs to have a pole to use, so most classes only have around ten students. Thirdly, your teacher knows your name and engages with you. The teacher-student bond in a pole class is far closer than other fitness classes. When you advance to the higher levels you will need to be “spotted” on the pole. This means that the teacher will actually support you when you’re upside down, for your security and safety.
In our classes we encourage the students to share a bit of information about themselves, and it’s amazing how frequently students realize that they know people in common, or work in the same company or profession. This helps to develop a sense of camaraderie and trust in the classes. We are all there trying to make ourselves stronger and more capable on a dance pole. It is non-competitive, it’s not a race, and there’s no room for prima donnas. Most importantly we all support each other. There are great moments of triumph when a problem move is finally mastered and the class acknowledges that achievement. There are also lots of laughs in the class, sometimes we just stuff up a move, and it’s pretty hilarious. We’ve all done that!
Each week is different. In a choreography class, not only are you learning how to spin around a pole with grace and elegance, but the pole moves are incorporated into a dance routine. Each class you’re learning something new as you progress through and perfect that routine. You then have the option of performing with your class group at our end of term performance nights. It’s a great motivator to make sure that you’ve got it all mastered! Also a public performance is an excuse to buy a new outfit and dress up. It’s not a test, it’s all voluntary and purely for fun. At the same time, you also prove to yourself that you really can do it!
Pole dancing classes are primarily exercise classes, so you wear exercise gear. Shorts and a top are fine. You need to have the skin exposed from your knee down, so no full length leggings. Also, don’t drape yourself in jewelry, rings especially can get in the way.
Heels are optional, and generally only appear after a few weeks of classes, but bare feet are easier. As we’re gripping on to a slippery pole it’s also important to not apply moisturiser to your hands or legs just before a class. We provide moisturizer in the studio so you can soften your hands after each class.
For many of us, pole dancing becomes an addiction, a lifestyle. The classes are the highlight of our week. We really look forward to catching up with our class mates. Some of the friendships have developed into shared living arrangements, overseas travel, and lots of get togethers for Friday night drinks. We all share something special – pole dancing.
Sarah Thompson, aka Miss Fit, manages to combine unusual but highly rewarding elements into her work/life balance. Originally working as a country vet in mixed practise, Sarah moved back to Sydney where she started pole dancing at the age of 40. Discovering her niche in this sport, Sarah and partner John established Miss Fit Dance Studio, now with 2 locations and around 250 students each term. She has reduced her veterinary involvement to one day a week and administers the pole dancing schools from home, teaching classes at night. She has 2 teenage sons, Oliver, now at university and William who is preparing for his HSC.