Strong Is The New Skinny: Why I Love Pole Dancing

Pole dancing is my favourite past time, I first tried in my early 30’s when I saw a video on You Tube by Elena Gibson – the former Miss Pole Dance UK. Her grace and strength impressed me. I was looking for some kind of sociable activity that was fun and challenging. Having suffered from lower back disc problems, I also wanted a sport that would help me improve my core strength.
Elena is one of the most talented and inspiring teachers I have trained with.

Women have different body types, and I think that certain sports are better for women. Although I had gone to the gym before I had never been good at gymnastics and had never been very flexible. I hated dance classes because (not to say that I can’t dance) I was never good at following another person’s steps or style.

Pole dance is not the same as other kinds of dance; in order to do the various moves and tricks you have to become very familiar with your body, know and trust yourself. There are plenty of times I am scared about doing a new move, but you get over it and keep practicing. Once you nail the move, it feels great. The moves all have cool names that you get to learn – it’s a whole new vocabulary.

Pole affords a great deal of personal expression and two people who do the same routine will do it differently – because of the way they move and their different body shapes.
Certain types of exercise were not ideal for my body shape. I have a pear shape and running or the gym just bulked my frame in a non-feminine way. Pole dancing toned my whole body in a very flattering and even way. It is excellent for core strength, legs and arms. To look good at pole you have to be controlled and elegant. It is naturally a sport more suitable for women than men. However, saying that there are some excellent male teachers such as Josh and Nico who put us girls to shame. Annoyingly my boyfriend can do a handspring that I haven’t nailed in 3 years after just 2 hours doing pole. Boys have absurd strength and certain strength based moves are easier for them. I think that women generally look better on pole because we have a broader range of moves.
I find it funny because there are so many misconceived ideas people have about pole dancing – no you don’t have to be a stripper and I have never worked at a gentlemen’s club. I have often been asked “do your parents know?”- and the answer is “hell yeah”. I have been bitten hard by the pole bug. There was a point, before I had my own pole, that I would try and practice moves on any type of street lamp or pole, even on the tube.

Pole is not easy but very fun and rewarding. I have had bruises all over my body in almost any place you can imagine. It has been good for me and toughened me up. I feel more confident and more willing to take on new challenges as a result.

Like any kind of sport you meet a whole cross section of people who you would not otherwise know. I regularly go to Gymbox in London who offer almost daily classes with their club membership. The people I have met in my class include: professional dancers, personal trainers, lawyers, accountants, economists for the Bank of England and consultants. I think that attitudes are shifting and pole is becoming a more mainstream sporting activity. There was even talk of it becoming an Olympic sport
I appreciate all the encouragement my parents gave me in cultivating my personal interests. They sent me to: ballet, piano lessons and tennis camp (my Dad’s fix). Simply – I’m addicted to pole fitness. I admit it might not be the hobby they envisaged me having – but I love it and I know that they are supportive in me pursuing a hobby I enjoy.

With all the pressures on people with modern life it is important to have creative outlets. Not enough emphasis is placed upon our creative minds and expanding that.

There is no particular size or shape of pole dancer. There are no particulares that are better – it’s for everyone. Surprisingly some of the plumper girls are better movers! What I have always noticed is that the girls who pick it up, stick with it and end up having hot bodies and more self-confidence. Hey, the new Hollywood paradigm is “Strong is the New Skinny”.

I don’t think that it matters what you choose to pursue in your free time: but it has to be something that you enjoy and are passionate about.

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