People sometimes ask me what I do for fitness, being a fairly active person and studying health and personal training, they assume I am a runner or a gym junkie and they are always surprised when I answer that I'm a pole dancer. I'm not, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer but I am absolutely addicted to pole. Pole dancing has been around as a form of fitness for quite a number of years and has a lot of benefits. The most obvious benefits are a cardio workout from dance and a fantastic upper body workout, especially through the biceps, triceps and lats, but also the abdominals and core. Flexibility improvement and a lower body workout are also part of a standard class or workshop, but the best part is that even given all of that work, the time flies by. I've never been great at sticking to a gym routine as much as I have enthusiasm for it, and my running schedule is sporadic at best. Pole dancing is the only thing I have stuck to, and I think the reason is because you are not only learning new tricks each week, but seeing your strength and flexibilty improve right before your eyes. It's empowering as a woman to be strong enough to lift your own body weight over one shoulder and have adductors that could crush! Before I started pole dancing, my fitness was okay but I was slim, not shapely. Now I boast a decent set of legs, shoulders, abs and some serious arms - pole dancers are definitely not weedy little things!
I started pole dancing classes in January 2008 at a studio near my house from a combination of body-envying a super-fit girlfriend, and curiosity. I immediately fell in love with it and roped a friend into starting classes with me the following term. At the start of every term I thought to myself, "As if I will ever be able to do the tricks in this course" and sure enough by the end of the 8 week term, I could do it. I ended up taking two pole dancing classes and a flexibility class every week and performing a group routine in our end of year showcase in October 2008. In 2009, I competed in the student competition at the Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne and in 2010 I competed in the student competition in both advanced solo and doubles and performed in a group routine in the end of year showcase. In 2011 I changed studios, discovered aerial hoop to complement my pole dancing and also competed in the Sexpo pole dancing championships. At the moment I try to take two pole dancing clases, one aerial hoop class and any flexibility classes or dance workshops I can fit in to my schedule each week.
Aerial Hoop is a circus apparatus that is suspended from a rigging point above. Just like pole dancing, it is a serious core and upper body workout but it's magnified! Having to stabilize a hoop that has its own swing as well as pulling yourself up into it to perform tricks, poses and spins, makes for an amazing strength class. Plus no matter what kind of aerialist you are watching, whether it be a pole dancer, aerial hoopist, trapeze or silks artist or anything else, they are not only beautiful but strong and absolutely breathtaking. You can run and lift weights all you want but you're not going to want to watch anyone else doing it. That's the reason I love both styles so much - it's functional and fun and if you want to get competitive about it you can, but there are always amazing instructors and performers out there to inspire just like any other danceform. Each term I have tricks and combinations I want to master which become mini-goals and keep me motivated to practice and attend classes. This year I aim to complete a couple more levels each of the static pole dancing course, dedicated spinning pole course and aerial hoop course, plus try my hand at silks, and also contortion. I'll keep you posted!
Healthy Party Girl is a Vegan, pole dancing & aerial arts enthusiast, blogger/writer/reviewer and has a number of other hats as well.
She is studying a Certificate III & IV in Fitness and has a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition/Psychology) on hold while she completes further studies in Marketing & Advertising. She loves piglets and calves as much as kittens and puppies. You can find her on Twitter or at her website.
- Published: 26 January 2012
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