Pole dancing has evolved to become a popular sport. It encompasses upper-body building, funky movements, and grace with a hint of attitude. Pole dance allows you to build upper-body and core strength while dancing to fresh music and striking intricate poses that would dazzle all your friends. Pole dancing has a stigma because of its history. However, with both cardio and strength training, pole dance is one of the best sports for people who want to tone up and lose weight.
If you’ve been longing to try out pole dance, then look no further! Read on about our writer’s personal experience on the pole.
How I Ended up on the Pole
To put it simply, I decided to try out pole dance to get stronger.
In 2016, I was underweight (41 kg, 1.62 m) and had almost no upper body strength at all. Even carrying my own suitcase was backbreaking work. I had a long history of running and cross country but have always faired poorly in any physical sport that involved weightlifting or strength training. While my legs were rather toned, I still had skinny and frail arms (below). After a brief introduction to pole dance by a concerned friend, I decided to give it a shot. I was tired of struggling with heavy items. Since I had no dance background but still wanted a fun workout that was doable even by people who had 2 left feet, I felt that pole dancing would be perfect for me.
I then emailed SLAP Dance Studio for a trial at SGD15 and began my first lesson the following week!
My First Lesson on the Pole
Initially, it was a little awkward because I was shy about just wearing a sports bra and booty shorts. However, I learned that your skin because that’s where the grip is! I felt more comfortable knowing that the other ladies in the class also had no dance experience so I wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
The lesson began with a simple warm up and basic stretches to improve our flexibility. After that, we began learning basic tricks. The first trick Mag, my teacher, taught us was the Fireman. Strangely, it was doable and fun especially when you were spinning on the pole. Since I was only doing a trial lesson, we were taught a mini 1-minute routine to Fleur East’s Sax. Paired with simple steps, the Fireman was also weaved into the routine. Mag was incredibly encouraging and helpful during the trial, I felt more comfortable and confident despite my lack of dance experience.
By the end of the 1-hour trial, I was already panting and dripping with sweat. But I enjoyed myself thoroughly and signed up for a 4-week Baby Pole term. We learned other basic tricks like the Geisha and Showgirls using other songs during the 4-week term. After the 4 weeks, I moved on to the 8-week Pole Basic class where we learned a routine to Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty and more tricks like Baby Jamilla.
The 4-week Baby Pole term retails at SGD130 while the 8-week Pole Basic term retails at SGD250.
Want to know whether I continued with Pole? Click on the arrows to find out!
Challenges I Faced
Unfortunately for me, the challenges did not really surface until I moved on to the Pole Easy level where my feeble chicken arms got the better of me.
First, I struggled to do inversions and handstands on the pole. I could barely hold my body up. Eventually, after having my fellow classmates support me, I succeeded. It took me about five weeks to get it right!
Second, it was pretty ironic, but I had a bad fall during my Pole Easy term while doing the handstand straddle. My teacher at the time told me that it was because of flawed technique that caused me to have poor balance. The fall was a little traumatic but with more practice, I could do it without the apprehension and fear.
Third, since I lacked upper body strength, it gets a little demoralising whenever my classmates could master a routine or tricks easily while I lagged behind. Nevertheless, the teachers at SLAP are encouraging and patient, so I always feel comforted when the teachers and my classmates motivate me to persevere.
Upper body strength aside, one of the key challenges in pole dance is the soreness after class. More often than not, I’ll find bruises on my arms and legs that I sustained from class the previous day. Thus, it is tantamount to stretch your sore muscles and soothe your bruises after dance so that you wake up feeling fresh and fit. Also, remembering the routine was definitely an issue. The solution is simple, though: practice!
Why I love Pole
I like that I was able to combine dance and strength-training in one sport. Whether we are dancing to upbeat or peaceful songs, we always engage our muscles and flow to the beat of the music. It’s always fun but challenging. After every class, I always feel accomplished and stronger than yesterday.
Best of all, my weight has increased because I started forming stronger muscles, and my BMI is back to normal. In addition, there is an emotional empowerment that arises after a good workout on the pole. Knowing that I was able to master new tricks within a certain amount of time persuades me to stay on track and keeps me motivated to keep improving. See below for pictures of me on the pole:
Moreover, it’s mind-boggling how a three-minute dance routine can challenge my muscles and stamina in ways that even a one-hour run can. You don’t have to worry about getting sunburnt since all pole dance classes are indoors! Even before the end of a class, my heart is always thumping from the cardio and I perspire a lot.
The friends I make from Pole Dance are also the main reason I look forward to class each week. Having to support one another physically when learning new tricks, we make friends very easily. The environment is always comfortable, encouraging and pleasant. Best of all, whenever I attend a new class, I always feel like I’m reuniting with old friends of whom I trust will lift me up (literally)!
Tips and Tricks
- Invest in a good gripping solution that is suitable for your skin type. Try Dry Hands if you have sweaty palms
- If you ever forget the routine, try freestyling with your favourite pole trick
- Use knee pads to protect your joints if you’re doing floor work.
DV Tip: if you’re going up to pole, knee pads are not advisable.
- If you are looking to build muscle, eat some lean protein like boiled eggs after class
- Be sure to wear shorts that are above the knee
- Always stretch after your dance lessons as some pole tricks are easier if you have greater flexibility. Stretching after the workout also helps to reduce the chance of aches the next day.
Thinking of trying Pole Dance now? Here is a list of Studios you could try!
- SLAP Dance Studio (155A/157A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068611 and Robinson Square, 144 Robinson Road, #10-01, Singapore 068908)
- Milan Pole Dance Studio (11 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089825)
- The Brass Barre (222 Queen Street, #02-01, Singapore 188550)
- Groove Dance School (8 Temasek Blvd, Servcorp Suntec Tower Three Singapore, Singapore 038988)
- Ecole De Pole (31 New Bridge Rd, #04-00, Singapore 059393)