I started pole dancing in 2010 with the intention of learning how to dance like a stripper. I didn’t know much about the activity at all! I just knew I wanted a new way to exercise and I wanted to feel sexy again. Those first couple of months were rough. I was awkward, out of shape, bruised up, and sore but having the time of my life! I wanted to reflect on my days as a beginner student before I completely forget about them and so I could pass some knowledge on to you!
I have had some wonderful pole dance instructors or “pole mommas” over the years but I didn’t always listen to them. They knew much more than I did but I was constantly doing what I wanted to do. I really wished I would have listened to them more instead of trying to do my own thing. I wanted to skip steps and I just wasn’t very trusting of the process but pole dance doesn’t work that way. It is very important to do everything just how you are taught to get stronger and more importantly, avoid injury! Additionally my pole mothers were some of the sweetest kindest most encouraging women I have ever met. Whether I was fumbling or flying high they were there for me cheering me on. Even when I thought I sucked they were there telling me how awesome I was. I wish I had listened to them more and not gotten so discouraged in those early years. I should have believed them when they told me I was great. Do not take the encouragement you get for granted as every instructor you will have just wants to see you succeed.
When I first started I wanted to learn EVERYTHING. You hear me, I wanted to learn everything at that very moment. This was long before Instagram so I am very glad I am not a beginner student now. I can’t imagine constantly opening social media and seeing tricks and combos to try because I would have tried them and probably failed to be quite honest. I was trying to climb and invert when I didn’t nearly have enough strength to attempt these things. I say all this to say, take it slow. Those tricks and combos aren’t going anywhere. I promise. Take your time to get moves the right safe way. Take your time to strengthen your body so it is more ready for those challenging tricks. Do not rush into any move. You know your body better than anyone. If it doesn’t feel right to you let it go, you shouldn’t have to force your body into any move if you are completely prepared for it. As an advanced student, I still sometimes get “shiny trick syndrome” and I will want to try whatever new combo is floating around but I still have to remind myself to just stop. Learning too much too fast can also lead to burn out and frustration so take your time and allow yourself to get the moves as your body allows.
I like to say that pole dancers have it easy now. There are so many products to help you as a pole dancer. I have scars on the top of my feet from learning moves that would be completely avoided now with the protection that Mighty Grip Ankle Protectors give. There are also grip aids such as Dry Hands, iTac, Firm Grip, Pole Poised, Tite Grip, and so many more! Please take the time to research these products to find out what works best for you. For example, I have friends who swear by iTac but the first time I used it it nearly took the skin off my hands! I can use Dry Hands on some parts of my body but it doesn’t work as well on other parts. Knee pads are definitely something that I wish I would have invested in a little sooner than later. They are especially helpful in pole dance classes where you are learning floorwork or other dance moves. I would like to add it is important to not get too dependent on these products. You don’t want to get to the point where you have to have these things in order to complete moves. Most competitions do not allow you to put grip aids directly on the pole so I would definitely recommend that you only use the grip aids on your body sparingly and not in excess. This is something I wish I would have learned sooner. Once the grip products started to become more available I wanted to use them all the time! But it got to the point where I wouldn’t want to do anything without Dry Hands which kind of stunted my growth. Additionally, the ankle grips by Mighty Grip only come in black which doesn’t look too attractive when you are performing. Aesthetics matter in pole dance!
Being a beginner pole dance student is so much fun! It is an exciting time where you are discovering just how amazing your body is and what you can do. Take the tips I gave you to become an even better dancer so you can keep flying high :)