In pole position
If you still think pole dancing is all about seedy clubs, then you've got some catching up to do.
It’s boomed in popularity as a workout in recent years, and a hard one at that (have you seen the muscles on these polers?).
And the Global Association of International Sports Federations has confirmed it’s given observer status to the International Pole Sports Federation, which could mean a pathway towards full Olympic recognition.
Pole aficionado’s Kelly McNab and Jessica Gray, instructors at Kelly Amelia’s Fitness Studio in Marton, tell us what’s so great about it.
Studio owner Kelly, who has been pole dancing for six years and teaching for two years, said: “Pole is suitable for everybody, and has many physical benefits including increased strength and endurance, and improved flexibility. Studies have shown a pole class can burn the equivalent calories to a one hour Bodypump class, or 25 minutes running.
“There are physiological and psychological benefits too. The body releases feel good hormones, meaning everyone leaves the studio feeling happy and empowered. Pole isn’t just about fitness, it’s a family, the pole community is a fantastic group to be a part of, where everyone is welcomed and encouraged. Every class is different and individual’s goals are achieved the fun way.”
Kelly says there is still some misunderstanding of what pole fitness is about.
“Unfortunately, when you say ‘pole’, a lot of people assume the same thing – stripper. Many strippers are very talented pole artists and within the pole community everyone is accepted and welcomed. But at Kelly Amelia, our focus is fun and fitness. We work out in bare feet, alongside like-minded people.
“I love feeling of being strong and the physical changes of your body toning up. The feeling of achieving a new move is like no other, you’re never bored with all the new challenging moves. Time goes so fast during class, you don’t feel like our working out.
“Its great pole is now recognised as a sport, it’s something the pole community has wanted for a long time and does help to relinquish the seedy background that comes along side saying you pole dance. On the other hand, if pole does become an Olympic sport it could become too regulated, where at the moment it’s a fun casual fitness anyone can become involved with.”
Fellow instructor Jessica, who started pole dancing in 2013, said: “I started pole because I was inspired by another girl on night out who was busting some moves on a nightclub pole. From my first class I was hooked and I’ve now been teaching for just under 2 years.
“My favourite thing about pole dancing is the challenge it presents and how individual it is, everyone is on their own journey and its doesn’t matter if you have tonnes of experience or none, its about you and what you want to achieve.”
• Visit kellyamelia.co.uk