Last night I had the opportunity to visit a new pole studio for the first time ever. http://www.flirtygirlfitness.com/ Great experience!
First some basics. This pole studio is large and it’s only a part of a gigantic operation that has many kinds of fitness including some I’ve never heard of. There were two girls at the front desk and they were both super friendly. The pole studio had (I think) 10 poles, two of which were ‘skinny’ (I can’t remember if any were spinny, but I was on a static pole). Last night was a Pole Tricks class which is where you can work on whatever you want and the instructor goes around and helps each girl. The instructor, Daina, was crazy buff and extremely friendly. There was one student about my level who was very friendly and another who was a little more advanced and was also nice. There was another student who was quite a bit more advanced and was at the other end of the huge room and one more student who was very, very advanced and was also at that other end of the room. We were all barefoot (yay!). The poles were chrome and it makes me think ours at home are brass – these could be super grippy or super slippery depending on if there’s any moisture at all on your hands. Very different for me.
Now some technical stuff. The class was brightly lit, as I expected, but I didn’t expect the windows for some reason. The space was somewhat below ground-level so out the windows were cars parked in a parking lot. We started with a very short warmup, the length of a few songs. The instructor faced a mirrored wall along one of the long sides of the room and there was some dance/aerobic type warm-ups (moving to the count of the beat). I’ve never seen myself move before; my home studio purposefully does not have mirrors. I learned that I am a robot. Even when I think I am moving extra fluidly I am not. (Note: I suspect it is quite different when I freestyle dance in the dark in my home studio.) Then we warmed up on our own however we wished. The floor was very dirty and clearly most people do not sit on it. I learned this after I did. Then the instructor came to each of us and asked what we’d like to work on – she was happy to help us improve something or learn something new. I mentioned that I’m inconsistent with inversions and would love some practice and tips. She watched me try one to see my form. I got it right away but it wasn’t great at all. She noted that my hands don’t stay behind the pole, they end up in front where I probably feel like they might slip off and I can’t retain a good grip so I should try to keep them curled back from behind the pole (palms towards me). Great! She went on and I practiced, learning that the reason that happens is I SPIN. I guess I’m trying so hard to make sure I hook my right heel that I swing it – and my body – around some. Hence the hands end up weird. When she came back around she wanted me to try to invert, get hips to the pole (which they really weren’t doing whithout a little hitch at the end on my part) then release into a V one leg at a time, back over my head. My left leg is very willing, my right leg will NOT let go of the pole – straight up fear. Also, to keep my hands in the advised position was super weird because I’m used to moving them down and out of the way of my knees, but that’s too low for an inverted V I guess. Bunches of non-success around that stuff. I got tired, so the next time she came around I said I was trying to work on climbing left-handed. She wanted to see my regular climb. Her advice then was really interesting! She said my climb was super solid but a prettier variation would be to keep my left (non-dominant) hand low (about the waist?) and push the pole while bringing my butt out and my knees up to that lower hand, then stand – not pull up with both hands. This is SUPER pretty. I did not succeed even once but I love it. You can kind of see it in the below video at 1:33 for a SPLIT second. (She does a bunch of stuff here, but I couldn’t find a great example of someone showing what I mean with the lower hand.) http://youtu.be/Ya7cpDIkFHo?t=1m30s (Edited to add: just found a better one at 2:36 – http://youtu.be/ktr_HZs1JUM?t=2m36s)
Now my feelings. Oh how I miss my beloved Aerosha. Have you ever tasted love – passionate and enduring “make you want to be a better person” love – and later had just a crush? Of course a crush is fun, but it’s not the same and you know it even while it’s happening. My studio feeds my soul and reminds me each week that pole is just one of the many ways I’m amazing. It teaches me that it doesn’t matter at all what I look like, only what I feel like; that no matter what I may be able to do in the future, what I can do now is spectacular and brave; that the mere sensation of my flesh in every move and pose is worthy of celebration. That’s what I missed last night. That’s what I can’t wait to experience again.