The phrase ‘pole dancing’ elicits a world of mental images – the majority born in sleazy American movies and certainly comes with an x-rating. Yet following a few of my most respectful friends taking this up as a hobby for fitness and fun, I nabbed a voucher for Pole Sport London in a dilapidated building over in Bermondsey, and gave it a go.
The one thing that stuck out was the clothing instructions; wear shorts to allow for skin contact. Not helping the mental images here, I was confused as to why I’d want to stick when the whole activity seemed to be around sliding.
Ready for our pole class, I was rather surprised when the first direction given was to jog around the room. Makes sense given that looser limbs are easier to stretch before starting with some of the pole work.
The first move involved stretching up and grasping the pole with both hands, bending your knees with both feet up off the floor, ideally holding for ten seconds. Ideally. For most, this involved alternating legs and kicking off every so often to get some height while your body crept relentlessly down the pole.
The second move was to prop the pole under your armpit, bend your arms and grip the pole with both hands and bring your knees up, again holding for a few seconds. Again leg-kicking prevailed.
The next involved crooking the front of your foot against the back of the pole, bringing your other leg around it to pincer it between and ‘standing’ up by pulling with your arms. Again this proved tricky without some slippage. A few pros went on to creep up the pole to the top. Spoiler alert: I was not one of them.
The final move was a backward spin; bending a leg around the pole pinching it behind your knee and holding on with one hand, then ‘floating’ in a backwards spin with both knees up, lightly landing on your knees. I like to think there was a float in there somewhere.
After we’d had a go at these, alternating arms, we were taught a basic dance akin to a highschool group dance. There were a few heads spins (a common move for polers) before approaching the pole, doing a lazy swing around it before leaning against it, dropping down and doing another head spin. Finally, creeping up and away. Watch me in action;
It was fun to try although I think some chalk would have been handy as I felt myself continuously slinking down the pole (but unsexily). With the muscle pain the next day, I can definitely see how it would quickly help to tone if you have the patience to keep at it, which I’m not sure I do.
Give it try – there are multitudes of different classes dotted around London for pole enthusiasts to have a go. Here are a few;
- Lap HQ – Find a whole host of drop-in classes around London for roughly £15/hr
- Pineapple Studios – Covent Garden – pole drop-in classes for £15
- Contours Pole – Finsbury Park & Battersea – drop-in classes for £15
- Pole People – City – drop-in classes for £16
(Prices correct at time of posting)