FitGirl: The Pole Dancing Exercise Craze
“Pole dancing classes allow women to get into touch with themselves in a supportive, female environment,” instructor Sasja Lee said. Women initially try pole dancing to spice up their relationship with their significant others while getting in shape, explained Lee, but soon realize that classes focus on fostering self-confidence and enjoying your own femininity rather than learning how to entice a man. Pole classes also work the core and upper body, building killer abs and toned arms.
The concept of acting sexy for my own enjoyment was strange but I rolled with it. Literally. At one point Lee instructed us to do body rolls while admiring ourselves in the mirror.
Lee began the class normally however, by leading stretches on yoga mats. The first thing we learned was how to walk. Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong for 21 years; a “sexy walk” includes dragging your feet on the floor and swaying your hips as you walk very slowly around the pole, flipping your hair every once in awhile.
I felt incredibly stupid at first. Not to mention I also hit my head on the pole when I tried whipping my hair like Willow Smith. However, the constant stream of Beyoncé and other confident divas playing in the background, paired with Lee’s laidback attitude, eased my discomfort.
She moved on and taught us a few spins, which are much more difficult than they appear. We also learned a couple combinations of floor moves and how to get up using the “cougar pop,” a move similar to the “bend and snap” from Legally Blonde. Even though I only got two spins down solid, I eventually started laughing and having fun instead of constantly judging myself in the mirror. The last ten minutes we put all our moves together to create a mini-routine and stretched again as a cool down.
Pole dancing is definitely not as easy as it looks and the studios are covered in mirrors therefore having the ability to laugh at yourself is key. Lee says first timers should “wear something comfortable like yoga pants and a tank top.” Heels are optional but make some of the moves easier, surprisingly. I recommend going to your first class with a friend; it makes the whole experience more entertaining. Plus, releasing your inner diva is easier with a friend strutting her stuff right alongside you.
Evolve Dance Studio
5872 Pico Blvd., Suite #A
Los Angeles, CA 90019
FitGirl is a weekly health and fitness column that comes out every Thursday. If you have any questions you want to see answered feel free to email me.