Celebrating Our Curves

This Saturday, October 4th at 7M, Pole Pressure Studios in Alexandria, VA is hosting an event that showcases plus-sized pole dancers…..It’s going to be so much fun! Here are the details below:

When: October 4th, 2014
Where: Pole Pressure Alexandria, 2304A Huntington Ave
Alexandria, VA 22303
Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm
Tickets: $20

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How to Prepare for Your First Pole Fitness Class

So you’ve finally made the decision. You walked by your local pole studio at least twenty times. It’s time to try out your first class! Now or never, right? So, how do you prepare for your first pole fitness class? Here are some suggestions:

Wear comfortable clothing.  For your very first pole class, you honestly can wear pretty much whatever you want. Sweat pants, yoga pants, running shorts, t-shirts, tank tops….it really doesn’t matter because it’s your first class. In your first class, you will probably be learning basic pole moves like the pole walk, cache spin and fireman spin. With your first class, keep it simple. Sometimes I encourage people to wear leggings because if you are doing a simple spin, leggings will help your leg wrap around the pole smoother.

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Don’t put on lotion right before your pole class. Especially on your hands. The pole that you are dancing with is usually made of either chrome or stainless steel. Both  of these metals are very slick. As you are poling, you need some friction on your hands so that you can grip the pole better and so that your hands don’t slip off as you spin or walk around the pole. It’s recommended that you don’t put on lotion for 12 hours before your pole class. If you already have lotion on your hands before you go to class, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before class to make sure that your hands are dry. In some studios, they have Dry Hands which is a solution that can help with gripping the pole.

Leave your heels at home.  Since it’s your first pole class, you should try to get a feel of the class or the instructor’s style of dance before donning heels. Some instructors focus on contemporary pole so they prefer to not wear heels in their class at all and include warm up routines / pole moves that are very difficult to do with heels on. Also, pole dancing with heels usually requires stabilization and balance that beginners might not have yet. Since this is your first class, focus more on learning the movements and spins first. You can always tack on a pair of cute heels in your second class or whenever you feel like you’re ready and you’ve got a hang of it. If you do choose to bring your heels, make sure that your heels have ankle straps so that your shoes don’t fly off your feet while you are doing a spin.

Know that you might have 1 or 2 guys in your class.  A lot of guys are now ignoring gender bias and after watching popular YouTube performances of male pole dancers, like Evgeny Greshilov or Josiah Grant, and want to develop the same amount of strength and power that these men have. Remember, at the end of day, it’s a workout. Whether you’re a guy or girl, we just want to feel good about ourselves. Pole helps us get there.

In terms of how challenging your first class will be, it depends on the studio you are going to and it also depends on your background. If you’ve already done aerial arts / acrobatics/ gymnastics, your first pole class should not be a big deal. For the majority of us newbies, it will be a new adventure! If you have any more questions about your first pole class, feel free to comment below and I’d be more than happy to answer them. Happy Poling!

Pole = EMPOWERMENT

It might seem like a paradox, right? Most people believe that when a woman dances seductively at a party or a club, she is degrading herself. That dancing exotically makes her look cheap and that she gets around. When she exposes her body freely to everyone who wants to look, she is not modest. She is not embarrassed or bashful. She shows off her curves more and more with each angle that she creates with her body as she bends over and arches and crawls. If you told your everyday father that his daughter would grow up to become a pole dancer, I’m sure he would feel as if he had failed as a parent. So….why would this style of dance be empowering?

Understanding how pole is empowering can be a bit complicated, but let’s just start off by saying this: it’s not about your friends, your family, or anyone else in your social circle. It’s for you. Just you. It’s a way for you to become more self-aware and to become comfortable in your own skin. When I attend class, I don’t pole dance for other people. I pole dance for myself and to embrace myself. Instead of being the subject of other people’s desires, I am just embracing my own femininity and confidence.

While I was going through engineering school back in college, I quickly learned that in order for myself to be heard and taken seriously, I had to suppress my femininity. I had to act like one of the guys. This way, my male classmates would not dismiss my rational thoughts as emotional or fleeting. At the same time, I was a committed member of a religious student organization that lead women to believe that if we don’t want the men in our organization to be tempted, then we should always dress and behave modestly and also be aware of how our beauty can cause them to backslide….

….but once I started taking pole classes, I realized that was never my responsibility. The moment I started pole dancing was the moment I started to feel like myself again. Pole dancing allowed me to be feminine and sensual without feeling a sense of shame. When I’m in pole class, I begin to recognize who I am, what I look like, what my strengths and abilities are, and what I can challenge myself to learn and do. You would be surprised to find out how many people don’t know what their own bodies look like.

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For most members of the pole community that I know, this is our mindset during class. When we dance, we are saying:

This is my gorgeous body. This is my femininity. We are not ashamed of it. We embrace it. We feel positively about ourselves.  We don’t feel contempt towards or guilt about our bodies.  We are not hiding our femininity to make other people feel better about their social standards or moral conduct. Their moral conduct is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to be ourselves. We acknowledge that we are strong and beautiful as we dance. We love ourselves for it.

4 Most Popular Pole Styles

Like all disciplines, pole can be broken down into different catogories. The common theme is having a vertical pole. Here are the 4 most popular pole styles:

American Traditional If Miss America allowed for pole dancing in their talent portion, this is the style that would be showcased. American Traditional style of poling dancing has the beauty pageant flare to it. You would see a woman in 5 inch high heels, a two piece outfit, doing hair flips and body rolls and spinning around the pole. She can climb the pole, do splits and drops, and go upside down all with a smile on her face. Effortlessly and with confidence. This style focuses on explosive muscular power, flexibility, and coordination. At the core of American Traditional pole style are ballet undertones which include clean lines, pointed toes, and graceful movements that are continuous and fluid. Here, heel clapping is encouraged but there is minimal to no booty shaking. This style can also be considered Australian Traditional because Aussies have this style DOWN PAT! Here is a great example of what American Traditional looks like: 

Acrobatic Pole/ Gymnastics This style of pole is strictly acrobatic. It’s less focused on musicality or sensuality and mostly about showcasing agility, strength, and power through advanced moves. Chinese Pole and Mallakhamba (Indian Pole Gymnastics) are included in this category.  Chinese pole is popular in many acrobatic circus acts like Cirque de Soliel. In this type of pole, performers focus on acrobatic tricks and flips. The performers are usually male, there are multiple poles, and there are usually multiple performers doing tricks on the same pole. Chinese pole studios are only offered in select studios on the West Coast. Mallakhamba began in the 12th century. Here, the performer executes feats and poses with a vertical wooden pole or rope. It is not likely that you will see many studios offering Mallakhamba here in America. Many of these acrobatic pole dancing tricks have been incorporated in modern pole dancing classes and performances. Here is a great example of what chinese pole looks like: 

Contemporary Pole This is the fusion of contemporary dance mixed with pole dance styles. It’s the most modern style of pole dance out there. In terms of tricks, if American traditional and Chinese pole had a baby, that baby’s cousin would be contemporary pole dance. More people can do it. It doesn’t require high heels. The gender bias isn’t as important. Lack of shoes also allows for fusion of other dance types like hip hop, belly dance, Zumba, breakdancing, whatever you can think of.  There usually isn’t a lot of sexual dance in this style of pole so no body waves or gyrating. Similar to American Traditional, the focus here is on flexibility, strength, and explosive power. If you attend a pole fitness competion on the regional or national level, most (if not all) pole dance competitions are strictly contemporary pole dance. Here is a great example of what contemporary pole looks like:  

Exotic Pole When I tell people that I pole dance, this is what 85% of people think I do. With the popularity of twerking, this style of pole dancing is more easy to recognize. This category is where pole is influenced by brukwine, twerking and booty clapping. It requires a lot of practice and learned muscular isolation techniques. Despite popular belief, booty popping is not easy to do at all and does not come naturally to most. It takes a lot of time and practice to get it right. Here is an example of exotic pole:

As a spectator, I love and admire ALL forms of pole dance. When it comes to the type of style of pole I like to perform, I prefer American Traditional. These categories are not set in stone. In most pole dance routines, there’s usually a fusion of each of these pole dance styles. For example, I would say that all of these pole styles can have acrobatic and gymnastic elements to them. Pole routines can also vary depending just on the dancer as well as on the music being danced to.

As you decide which pole dance studio to join, keep these different dance styles in mind. For example, if you prefer American Traditional pole and are looking to strut around in heels or body roll, you might not want to go to a studio that focuses on contemporary pole which is barefoot and focuses on free flow, raw, and organic movements. The best way to find out is to take a few classes to test it out and see if the studio is the right fit for you.

What it your favorite pole style? Comment below. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to comment below as well. Happy Poling! 🙂

 

Good Morning! It’s a Beautiful Day to Pole Dance.

I took my very 1st exotic dance class in June 2010 at a studio called Body Talk. I was invited by one of my friends from my bible study. One of our girlfriends was getting married and she wanted to surprise her by taking a class with her. Since our bible study focused on and strictly practiced abstinence, it was really meant to try to help her get ready for her big day. But only one month after my attending my undergraduate graduation ceremony, going to a pole dance class was the last thing on my mind. Nevertheless, I went so that I could support my friend.

We took a chair class and I wore a black wife beater, grey basketball shorts, and black 3 inch heels (the tallest heels I owned at the time.) I was a little nervous and uncomfortable at first, but as the class went on, I realized that it wasn’t as taboo as I thought. After the class, the instructor gave a pole dance demo. She climbed up the pole, went upside down, wrapped her leg around the pole, came right side up, and dropped down to the ground into a split. I was done. It was love at first sight. I knew I had to pole dance.

Four years later, I’m still pole dancing. I’ve visited several pole studios along the East Coast. I’ve competed in 4 local and 2 regional pole fitness competitions.  Did I place in any of them? Nope. But that’s no biggie. Pole dance, like any art form, is always a work in progress.  I’ve become stronger, more flexible, and more coordinated. Most importantly, my confidence has sky rocketed!

This blog is for:

  • anyone in the pole community (curvy or not)
  • people who are curious about trying out a pole dance class
  • people who are just beginning to pole dance
  • full-figured women who are learning to pole dance
  • full-figured women who are looking to compete or perform in competitions

I’ll be sharing tips on:

  • Pole Dance Fundamentals
  • How to Pole Dance as someone who is curvy / full-figured
  • How to improve your pole technique
  • Exercises that can help with your pole dance training

I’ll also be sharing with you my personal stories as a pole dancer/ fitness athlete/ performer/ aerialist/ whatever floats your boat. ;D

Thank you for reading my first post! I’d love to hear from you. Leave comments below and let me know what you would like to learn more about or if you have any questions. Of course, if I see any comments that have profane or indecent language; threats or defamatory statements, hate speech of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, or disability; or promote or endorse services or products, I will delete them. You can also reach me at curvypoledancer at gmail dot com. Happy Poling!