Pole dancing: not just for strippers

February 8, 2007

My arms ache and I can already feel the bruises on my inner thighs as I try to crawl sexily on all fours. The music switches to “Fergalicious,” and that’s my cue to shimmy up the chrome pole. Holding on with my left hand, I move with the music, strut my stuff for a few beats and slowly turn a full body roll into the fireman spin. I glance at the other women around me doing spins and silently pray for a break before we have to head down to the floor work.

I may know all the lingo of a pole dancer, but the moves prove to be much more challenging. Arriving at the studio in suburban Maryland, I did not have any idea just how grueling a workout for a two-hour pole-dancing class could be.

Yo! I got a friend with a pole in his basement.
Courtesy goddessfitness.com

People tend to consider pole dancing as something sleazy but easy, and it wasn’t until celebrities such as Kate Moss, Kate Hudson and Teri Hatcher began trumpeting the benefits of the sexy workout that classes really took off in metropolitan areas around the United Kingdom and United States. Goddess Fitness is one of D.C.’s first pole dancing studios. Jen, the owner and one of the instructors, said she hoped women would let loose and feel empowered while getting a great workout.

Christina, our accountant-turned-dance instructor and mother of five, started the class with a warm-up reminiscent of a junior school sports lesson, complete with Hula-Hoops. Then she gracefully showed us the routine we would learn by the end of class and explained the basics of gripping the pole so that we could move on to spins.

The pole work was the hardest part. A popular pole dancing misconception is that you have to hold on to the pole with your legs. In fact, legs direct the motion of the spin, but the bulk of the movement is done with the arms.

Mastering the “fireman” and getting down and dirty on the floor were the easiest parts of the class. The spins increased in intensity and ingenuity; the “fairy” was followed by the “spinner” and the “merry-go-round”. Unfortunately, my merry only went round backwards, but looking at the other students, I saw I wasn’t the only one having difficulties. The only thing uniting my six all-female (sorry, no boys allowed) classmates, who ranged from suburban soccer moms to sassy city ladies, was our overall spirit of camaraderie as we clapped when anyone got a spin right.

The two-hour taster class definitely got me hooked. An afternoon of pole dancing beats a spinning class at Yates, and the friendly atmosphere was anything but seedy. Now I cannot wait for the next party to show off my new tricks. The workout was well worth the sore arms the next morning, and I can’t help but respect the pros out there practicing their trade everyday.

Advice and apparel:

Classes for all levels at Goddess Fitness: www.goddessfitness.com and www.myspace.com/mdpoledancing.

It’s easier to train with bare legs, so wear shorts and a supportive top. High heels are a must for the sexiness factor. Get into character by checking out the selection at www.sfactor.com or nearby at The Pleasure Place (1063 Wisconsin Ave NW).

Practice at home by installing a removable pole available at www.lilmynx.com or www.platinumstages.com.

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Sherita Mack

I am interested in having a Pole Dance Instructor for a Girls Night Out Event.