Updated: Jan 18
So, you’ve decided to give pole dancing or aerial dance a try. Woo Hoo!!
First of all - give yourself kudos for trying something new and out of your comfort zone. It takes moxie to get started! You are beginning a unique journey, with surprising rewards to come.
So, what to expect while getting started out;
in your first class & couple of months?
1 - LET GO OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Many will share these common concerns and reservations:
“What if I don’t have enough upper body strength?”
"What if I have NO upper body strength?"
“What if I don’t have much experience in fitness or dance?”
“What if I am the most awkward person in the class?”
“What if I am too old/out of shape/(insert whatever reason) to get started?”
Believe it or not - many agree that the hardest step is THE VERY FIRST STEP - getting into your first class. All of these (& more) reservations may be present for you.
1 - these feelings are totally normal,
2 - these are insecurities, and not FACTS,
3 - the beliefs that you bump up against are powerfully telling. - Understand that these beliefs are also holding you back far more in life than just taking your first pole class.
~ DON'T LET THESE BELIEFS GET THE BETTER OF YOU. ~
Find a reputable studio or instructor, and attend their intro or beginning classes. They will start you at the very the beginning. Anyone reputable will tell you that a strong foundation of understanding, alignment and technique will take you further than sheer strength will. Know that there is no pressure to advance or progress at any specific rate - you’ll start at the basics and build from there, at your own pace.
Progress will manifest as many things. Be open to being surprised.
2 - THERE IS NO SET RATE FOR IMPROVEMENT
Realize that every body will advance and progress differently, as well as begin in a different place. It’s true - that if you have previous dance, yoga, fitness, rock climbing, surfing, mosh pitting - or whatever movement practice - you will likely have a relatively quicker time advancing - at least initially. And if you have no experience - well, there’s a lot of cool things your body will start becoming accustomed to!
And - the more you move your body in general, and engage it with the world around you - you’ll bring that awareness and strength into your pole or aerial practice.
Another VERY IMPORTANT thing to consider - is HOW OFTEN will you be attending classes or doing personal practice?
Yes, you will advance quicker if you are attending 3 - 4 times per week (be sure to always keep “rest” days in between). But that's not necessary for improvement;
EVEN JUST ONCE A WEEK, IF DONE CONSISTENTLY, WEEK TO WEEK -
ALLOWS YOU TO SEE AND FEEL PROGRESS TAKING PLACE.
My best advice for advancement is CONSISTENCY. It is far better to get started attending once a week, and sticking to that - than it is to “commit” to 3 - 4 times a week, and feel bad or hard on ourselves if we are not staying up to date with that expectation.
3 - FEELING AWKWARD IN THE BEGINNING IS NORMAL - EMBRACE IT
Yes. You will likely feel strange or totally awkward doing these things! Even if you are an experienced mover - these apparatuses are unique, in that they don’t fully compare to other activities.
“How long will I feel awkward for?”
Again - it depends.
The previous experience you have, the ability to attend multiple classes a week, and consistency week to week are the factors for this.
But we can promise you 2 things!
1 - You will feel better in your second class, as compared to your first, and
2 - Anything new (skills introduced) will merit a new phase of awkwardness.
Know that this is to be expected. And look forward to being delightfully surprised to find noticeable improvements. You’ll have your frustrations validated - as other class participants always remember their first class. Polers and aerialists are a supportive, open-minded bunch, and are eager to support newcomers into the community.
~ Embracing any awkwardness will allow you to have the learning experience. ~
4 - THINGS WILL FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE ON YOUR SKIN - SO BE NICE TO YOURSELF
Whether it’s pole or an aerial apparatus - your skin will have a new and uncomfortable relationship with your new-found pursuit. Again I can promise you this - with CONSISTENCY and PATIENCE in PRACTICE - you may arrive to where there is no pain or discomfort.
CONSISTENCY - even if it’s just once a week, if it’s consistent you will be surprised at how well and quickly your skin adapts.
PATIENCE - something we see a lot of is bruising. This is considered “normal”, although I challenge that it is NOT necessary to bruise yourself to pieces!
“We want to attain the skill! Let’s go for it!...................OOUUUCHCHCHCH %$#@!!!!!!!”
REMEMBER - just like our muscles have a “building phase”, our skin has a
“building phase.” We can use pads or other cushions or clothing, and learn more progressively to reduce bruising and skin contusions.
I recommend an attitude of patience and playing for the long haul -
LET YOUR BODY;
FEEL & SETTLE INTO THIS NEW MOVEMENT.
Take your time and SINK into it - and know that even as you advance, you may ALWAYS keep attending foundational classes.
This sport is no doubt challenging. It's called Pole "Fitness". However it's also absolutely accessible, to someone willing to put in practice times regularly. You will need time in the beginning to get your muscles working differently, and you will also need to be patient to your skin while it adapts to the new pressures placed on it.
5 - DOING TOO MUCH, OR TOO FAST, MAY INFLICT INJURY
Again - let yourself sink into this. Know that there is always room for improvement. Whether we consider ourselves advanced or novice - we are never done. Let yourself play for the long haul, and enjoy. Let recovery be joyful - incorporate days where you are napping, massaging, lightly stretching & epsom salt soaking.
Simply, PROGRESS is a SURE THING, if we embrace the following:
~ Find where you feel a comfortable CONSISTENCY in your practice,
~ WORK HARD in the classes you are committed to,
~ RECOVER where needed,
~ Spend extra time in the areas that DAZZLE YOUR SOUL.
(Is that the dance? Are the tricks? The soulful performance?)
There are all ages, shapes, sizes, orientations, styles and intentions with pole dancers and aerialists. Let this be YOUR JOURNEY, and enjoy where it takes you.
~ There is truly room for everyone. ~
* SIGNS OF PROGRESS *
They will be subtle, and they will be obvious. At times, progress will also seemingly recede… and then plunge forward in a dramatic way! It may feel like a stable grind of repetition - with repetition, progress will surely come.
* TIP TO TRACK PROGRESS *
VIDEO YOURSELF! Many times we feel we don't want to video ourselves, because what we are doing isn't "good enough" to be filmed - well. You certainly don't have to share it with anyone, and this is a wonderful tool to help you see where things are working, and also where you need to focus more. After a few months in, It's a fabulous feeling to look back at your first videos of things - and an opportunity to CELEBRATE your progress!
~ Let your journey be as unique as you. ~
Here’s to a stronger, healthier, beautiful and sensually you!
THERE IS NO RUSHING REFINEMENT;
MOUNTAINS HAVE ONLY TIME.
Legy Meg @legymeg - photo @nikkittyta