Let’s play a game; you know the one where I say something and you say the first thing that comes to mind? Okay, here we go: resolution; fitness; competition; Olympics; pole dancing. No doubt, many of you were fine until we got to pole dancing. From here, I could hear the record scratch as your festive holiday music came to a screeching halt. Though pole dancing has long since been breaking out of the constraints of the negative association box in people’s minds, many are determined to keep that little box locked tight, never allowing it to break out; to be free to move into the neighboring positive association box.
Though it is understandable that most people’s association with the pole lead them to think of it as risqué, there is more to pole dancing than meets the association box. As pole dancing has become more and more mainstream with appearances on shows from Oprah to America’s Best Dance Crew, as well as celebrities participating in pole fitness workouts, pole dancing has morphed into three categories: 1. Exotic Dancing, 2. Pole Fitness, 3. Competitive Pole. While many pole studios, as well as their students enjoy the exotic dancing category (not that there’s anything wrong with that), many studios and students prefer the latter two categories. Pole Fitness and Competitive Pole is not risqué at all. There is more booty shaking and hip movement in more socially accepted classes like Zumba, which is so popular that millions are doing it in over 150 countries!
Pole dancing will always have the ability to make women feel good about their selves, hence tag lines such as “release your inner diva”. However, it is very important that people understand just what pole fitness is in the pole fitness community at large, and specifically at Urbana’s A Pole New You. In its simplest terms, it is a combination of ballet and gymnastics; a display of strength, control, flexibility, flow, and beauty, using a vertical apparatus. The fact that the apparatus has a stigma with such negative connotations is unfortunate, and an obstacle that the pole fitness community will long work to overcome.
To get a better understanding of what pole fitness is, and more importantly, what it is not, take a look at some of the performances by the industry’s most well-known pole performers and competitors (yes there are competitions, and even a push for the Olympics) like Felix Cane, Jenyne Butterfly, and Phoenix Kazree (three of my favorites). Amazing performances can be found at http://polechampionvideo.com/video/polechampion2010 from the International Pole Championship…be sure to check out Felix Cane and Gilulia Piolanti. Don’t forget to take a look at some of the men (though our studio focuses on women, there are many men who enjoy this fitness and art form), like Duncan West and Adam Tan. With these performances other dance forms, like break dancing and contemporary manifest as well. Pole fitness and competitive pole are so much more than the small perception that people keep locked away in the box.
With that being said, once people understand what it is vs. what it is not, it can still be expected that people may be intimidated by pole fitness…but not because of the previous risqué stigma, but because of the sheer difficulty of these moves, and perhaps because the amount of skin shown. However, these people are the best of the best. It is a natural reaction to think, “I could never do that!” Keep in mind that no beginner starts there, and for beginners, covering up is fine because they will not be performing advanced skills that require the amount of body to pole friction that the moves seen in these videos require. A Pole New You beginner classes are true to the title, and the program is designed to be safe, and properly progressive. Like professional athletes, most people will never achieve the level seen in these videos (at least not without hard work and dedication), but as is painstakingly obvious, pole fitness benefits such as muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular are phenomenal. The fun, unique, ever-challenging workout is sure to prevent the workout boredom that creeps into more traditional forms of exercise, and causes people to give up on their fitness workouts; and the results are breathtaking (see OC Pole Fitness’ A Pole New You 90-Day Shape Up and Weight Loss Challenge).
In addition, pole studios like A Pole New You can be a one-stop shop for fitness, not only offering pole fitness, Zumba, Belly Dancing, but a variety of fun dance forms, and a smorges borge of effective group fitness classes. At A Pole New You, the workouts never become monotonous, women are never gawked at objects during workouts, and let’s face it…it’s nice to have a place to get away from work, husbands, and children to call your own and develop relationships with like-minded women. As you ring in the New Year, set to resolve your resolutions, and work to achieve your fitness goals, allow pole fitness to break out of the negative box in your mind, and consider checking out a class…A Pole New You awaits. WARNING: pole fitness can be very addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!