I have a recurring nightmare leading up to pole dance competitions. It’s the terrible, I’m running late and no matter what I do things just get worse and I become later and later and it’s just a big negative feedback loop of stress. I can’t find my clothes, my car keys are missing, traffic is terrible. The stress is so tangible during the dream that I wake up still feeling it, fumbling in the dark for my phone so I can check the time and date and make sure everything is OK and I haven’t slept through my alarm. Then there’s the nightmare of, I’ve forgotten my entire routine. I’m standing side of stage, sweating it up, frantically trying to pull anything out of my memory bank that resembles the routine I’ve been working on for the past two months, but nothing is forthcoming. That dream always ends before I make it to the stage, so for all I know it could end with me nailing a freestyle performance for the first time in my life.
These things are pretty unlikely to occur in real life, but there are other, not quite so dramatic things that can and probably will go wrong at some point in your performing life. The good news is, you can prepare and recover from most of these things and still put on a great show.
They adorn the feet of many an exotic goddess and can be a pole dancer’s best friend. They open up a whole new world of possibilities for split drops, tuck unders and heel bangs that you’d have to be a little crazy to try in your bare feet. But all of this banging and sliding takes its toll on our beloved shoes and before long they’re beautiful façade is scuffed, chipped and worn out. Whether it’s chrome, glitter, suede or matte, they all suffer the same fate. It’s a knife to the heart of all pole dancers when our beloved heels are no longer performance or even Insta video fit. And all too often it happens all too FAST! So how can we extend the shelf life of our fave shoes and save our hearts and wallets some heartache.
When I first started pole dancing I really wanted my front splits, mostly because the Jade split was a dream move that I wanted to conquer. There are so many pole moves that use splits, it’s usually pretty high on every pole dancer’s wish list. I went really hard with my stretching routine and had my front splits flat in about 6 months, and by really hard, I mean I was stretching EVERY DAY. Not a full session every day, but at least 10-15 minutes every day. I had really tight hamstrings so had to focus more on those than on my hip flexors, I spent a lot of time in downward facing dog, still do actually. It may take you longer, or it may be easier for you depending on the flexibility level you have currently and the time you’re willing to put in. If you want front splits, the main muscles you need to stretch are your hips flexors, hamstrings and glutes, all the big ones in the legs basically. I put together a routine that worked for me targeting these muscles using stretches I’d learned from pole class, my time as a basketballer and yoga practice. And then I did it religiously until I achieved my goal of a flat split.
It’s a new year, the time for goal setting and New Year’s resolutions etc so if pole dancing is something you’ve been thinking of trying then it’s the perfect time to take the leap and give it a whirl. Maybe you have friends or family members who are already involved in the sport, or maybe you’ve just seen some cool pole dancing babes on Instagram or Facebook and thought to yourself. “Hey, that looks like fun!” Whatever your current fitness level don’t be deterred, the most common reasons I hear from people for not trying pole dancing are “I’m not strong enough” or “I’m not flexible enough”. Guess what, neither was I when I first started, that’s why you start, to learn and grow in an environment with professionals who will give you all the support you need. Amazing levels of strength and flex aren’t required to enjoy pole dancing, remember there’s dancing involved, it’s not all mind blowing tricks and splits. Still not convinced, let me break it down for you with my ten reasons to start pole dancing.
We’re all guilty of it. We rock up to pole dance training with lots of good intentions but no real idea of what we want to work on. Then we spend half the time just standing around thinking of what we should be doing, or chatting to friends. If we want to get more out of our pole training sessions, then like any other work out, we need a plan of attack. I find it works best if I write down what I want to work on beforehand. Follow the same structure that you would in pole class with your instructors. There’s a reason that pole dance classes are structured the way they are. One for safety, and two, to optimise the training time available.