This weekend saw the prenuptial hen do celebrations of a friend of mine, for which there were many surprises planned and I was thrilled to be a part of. Apart from the inevitable copious amounts of booze drinking – gin in particular for this special bride-to-be! – there was quite a different activity planned for Saturday morning (having kept Friday night fairly light in anticipation of the ensuing event…).
A pole dancing session! Eeeee! Just to clarify, that was an excitable exclamation rather than a fearful one. The idea of doing pole dancing for fitness has intrigued me for a while: it’s super strength-building and develops excellent core muscles, and I think just looks pretty darn fun. Spinning and twirling pulling all kinds of unusual shapes on a pole like a sexy acrobat holds quite the appeal to me. You might have guessed it, but I was the one to suggest the pole dancing for the hen weekend 😉 And surprisingly, everyone was up for it and willing to give it a go!
Instructed to wear short shorts and a vest top for maximum grip from our skin to the pole, off we went to our session with eager anticipation – although I’m probably largely speaking for myself here. Our trainer was a bouncy, fun, gung-ho trainer called Alice who runs pole dancing classes in her Funky Monkey studio in Bath. She was fantastic at getting us all giggling and loosened up with some warm up stretches, and she had quite a fun introductory activity for us. Stood in a semi-circle, we were asked to step in one at a time and strike a pose whilst shouting out our name, then say our pole dancing name which was to be a combo of our first pet’s name and mother’s maiden name. Feeling rather sophisticated, if perhaps a little snooty-sounding, my designated pole dancer’s title was Cocoa Charles (Cocoa was my first pet rabbit – thank goodness I remembered because initially I thought I’d be William Charles after the name of my first hamster at the age of about 8. That just wouldn’t work).
Suitably warmed up and ready for action, we had 4 poles across a group of 7 and paired up with the hen working alongside the instructor. The bouncing energy that was Alice demonstrated a variety of basic pole dancing moves and poses, of which we were instructed to have a go at ourselves – some of us tentatively, others with gusto. I was in the latter and happy to throw myself at and around the pole! I loved it, and particularly enjoyed the spins we did, which were called ‘the fireman’, ‘attitude’ and ‘the cradle’. Each spin required three steps around the pole before swinging into the move and propelling yourself around the pole – it takes some force, which I think is what some of the group were a little afraid of or lacking confidence to do. It was double points if you managed to spin your move right down to the floor with grace, rather than the pose ceasing midway down the pole leaving you with an awkward angle to try and depart from without looking like a tangled up flamingo.
Once we were familiar with how to manoeuvre around and work with the pole, Alice then began choreographing a dance routine. I had no idea this was going to happen, and it was brilliant! Working with our pole partners, we were taken step by step through a whole dance tune (I can’t remember what, but it had a great beat to swing our hips to). It was a lot to take in and remember the moves – we all had blank moments and realised we were completely out of synch with everyone else! – but it was hugely fun and great to do an activity where we all worked together. It was made special for our hen too as she was made star of the routine as she climbed a human staircase and was lifted *ahem* gracefully (ha!) up and around in a laying down pose for the camera. After several run throughs of course. After which we still fluffed a few steps….!
The moves are a real test of upper body strength, and although I lack a bit in flexibility, I was pleased that I was able to hold myself up fairly well and do so horizontally too for some of the moves. But my word does pole dancing make you ache afterwards! Hence it’s a great workout 😉 My back and shoulders have suffered a bit, but worst is my chest – holding yourself against a big metal pole when you’re a boney-chested slim physique isn’t too comfortable. I feel rather bruised, but it’s not dampened my enthusiasm to have a go at an actual lesson for fitness. As it so happens, there are quite a few options local to me – time to book up a trial!
Big thumbs up for pole dancing from me, it gets a sexy few G & T’s to cool off with after some hot stuff working the pole.
Maybe I’ll be able to do that one day….
Here’s how damaged I can expect to feel if I took up pole dancing:
~ Ouch… Bring on the pain!