Poling With Lori Myers
June 15, 2012
When I tell people that I pole dance, their raised eyebrow is not a reaction to the whole “stripper thing.” It is usually to give me the once over as they ponder out loud how I could possibly be a pole dancer. You see, at six feet tall and over 200 pounds, I am not your average pole dancer. Or so I thought.
Facebook has provided me with a wealth of information about what the “average” pole dancer looks like. She is tall or short; thin or not; has long hair or short; light skin or dark. In fact, the average pole dancer isn’t even female anymore. More and more men are joining their pole dancing sisters in the studio. You see, there is no average pole dancer. We are professionals, students and soccer moms (or dads). Some of us dance for fun and others dance for a living. Our age range spans decades. I have seen videos online of dancers as young as nine-years-old and as old as 70. My own pole dance instructor, Bel Jeremiah, is an energetic 60 years young.
I have been pole dancing since 2009 and recently started teaching at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness. One thing I like to tell my students is that pole dance is for everybody. Sure, some moves will require strength that many of us might not have (yet), but the best way to gain that strength is to start pole dancing. I often hear potential students say that they would like to start pole dancing after they lose some weight or gain more upper body strength. I encourage everyone to drop those ideas and get into a studio today.
First, even if you began strength training at the gym for your future pole dancing classes, most weight lifting machines at the gym do not focus on a narrow grip. If you spent a year building up your muscles at the gym, you would still need to re-train your body once you started pole dancing to safely perform tricks with a narrow grip. In addition, many moves require more core strength than upper body. There is no better way to get into shape than to start trying to lift your own body weight at a pole studio. Other than your pole, no weights or other accessories are required.
Second, learning to dance can be beneficial to your self-esteem even if you are not strong enough to perform tricks. Even if you never gain the strength to actually lift your body off the ground, there are many beautiful dance moves and so much floorwork that can be performed with little strength required. I have witnessed many amazing routines that have no tricks in them whatsoever. I have absolutely no dance background and am in my third year of pole dancing. I am just now becoming comfortable with how I look when I dance. Had I waited to start classes until I was strong enough to do all the tricks I saw on YouTube, I would still be waiting. In the meantime, I am building a solid foundation in dance while I work to gain the strength required to do future tricks.
I understand that watching the professional competitors online can be intimidating. I know better than to hold myself to that standard. The pros do this for a living and quite possibly spend hours per day training their bodies. I love pole dancing — both for the physical and mental benefits. Although my journey to learn how to pole may be longer than another dancer’s, I feel as if that gives me more time to bask in the glory of each new success.
If you have pondered taking a pole class but you feel like your weight is holding you back, please sign up anyway. If you have a friend who is on the fence, please invite them to a class. If you are an instructor who meets potential students that tell you they are not strong enough, please encourage them. Pole dancing is for everybody. Some students may need modifications, additional time and a little encouragement to master certain moves. But the taste of victory is that much sweeter when you finally nail those moves on which you have worked so hard.
Photo credit: Liquidpulp Photography. Written by Lori Myers of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness, lolorashel.blogspot.com
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