I recently got a request from a friend of mine asking for a crash course in pole.
She was having a pole-mergency, so to speak.
The request was pole-urgent.
Okay, I’ll stop.
It’s funny, there aren’t many situations in life where you desperately need to learn to dance on a pole in 5 days or less. But when you’re in one, nothing could be more important.
My friend, I should note, is a go-go dancer. She’s starting work at a new club on Saturday, and there will be poles. She wants to learn some tricks, she tells me, so she doesn’t look stupid. She’s hoping to learn a few flashy dance moves and spins.
As I suppress my urge to laugh maniacally (Sure, you’ll be doing spins and tricks by FRIDAY, lol problem bro?) I simultaneously take a walk down memory lane, to back when I started pole dancing, and my expectations were equally delusional.
You see, I’ve really only been dancing for about 8 months. The memories of starting out are quite vivid, because very recently, I was a pole-virgin. Okay I’m really stopping now.
For me, the most memorable part of the 3-4 months of misery that was learning pole the first time, was not just the skin peeling off my wrists, or the throbbing shoulder joints, or legs that were more black and blue than flesh colored… it was the sheer frustration of just not looking good on the pole.
For all you hater-ade drinkers out there, get some respect for strippers, because looking sexy on a pole is tough. Like, seriously tough. We’re talking mentally on par with learning the instruments in a cockpit, or geometry proofs, or playing a 5 piece drum kit, with both feet and hands working simultaneously. And that’s just the coordination part.
It doesn’t cover the physical challenges of balancing in 6-inch heels, supporting your full body weight with your arms and the strength of your grip, or holding your legs up, in aesthetically pleasing shapes, while spinning in circles.
Once you start learning little rules here and there, yes, it does get easier. Pointing your toes and arching your back–yes, that’s always going to be a good idea.
But for the first couple of months–more, depending on how often you get lessons and practice–you’re going to look like an awkward giraffe. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is. You’re not going to know what the hell to do with yourself, and by god, it will show.
They say with writing that you need to compose 10,000 words of utter crap before you write anything interesting, and friends, it’s no different with dancing. You will need to stumble, fall on your ass, and accidentally get too far from the pole (and end up holding it like you’re on the subway), all before you can look good.
But in the mean time, here are a few shortcuts you can use to look slightly competent. I intend to teach these to my friend, but honestly, they work for all levels.
In no particular order, try this shit!
1. Take your damn time
Nervous? Immediately do everything at half speed. I promise you, it feels like slow motion, but you’re moving much quicker than you think you are. This helps for two reasons: it forces you to engage with the moment (mmm, that steel feels sooooo smooth–say that to yourself in a porny voice in your head, I swear, it helps), the whole thing will look much hotter, with you looking ultra confident. And two, it will keep your from blowing through the 3 moves you know too quickly. Nobody wants to see your fairy spin 9 times.
2. Show your ass!
No, don’t pull your pants down or anything (unless your pole-mergency is a stripping audition), but when in doubt, face down, ass up! That’s the way we like to look competent at pole dancing! While you’re down there, touch your legs like you’ve shaved recently. Ha, ha. Pole dancing is lies.
3. Feet in, hips out
Get all bendy with it. If you’re holding the pole with your inside hand, get those feet nice and close to the base and drop your hip out. Feel that stretch? Good–you’re in sexy, bendy town. Now walk, one foot in front of the other, and sway those hips. When your arms starts getting low, swoop your hips out and around, and pivot your body toward the pole, switching out your arms. Walk in the opposite directions. Bonus points for a hair flip. That’s how you walk on a pole, bitch.
4. Caress that shit!
Here’s a cute move. Pause while walking, and face the pole with it just a little closer than arm’s length away from you. Trace it down with your hands while bending over with an arched back and your ass proudly blowing in the wind. When your head’s level with your hips, dip it around one side of the pole and flip it up on the other. If this is too complicated, just remember to caress the pole. It’s sexy, because Freud.
No, not off the pole. If that’s happening, wipe your hands, girl! I’m talking falling out and around the pole. Try this to practice the motion: standing about 6 inches away from the pole, grab it over your head with your inside arm (straight, always straight!), and lift your outside leg to form an X shape with your body. Then, push off a little with your inside foot and slowly, controlled-ly, fall forward and around the pole, using your body weight for momentum. Step and pivot to face forward again, and try it on the other side.
If nothing else, get comfortable with that motion–it’s the base of all spins–and mix it with other little moves. Fall out and around, then hike up (ie. hook the pole with your leg at hip level). Or when you pivot, keep turning until your back is flat against the pole, and throw in a little backwards grind. The possibilities are many. And if you’re following rule #1, hopefully you’ll have a few seconds to get creative!
That’s all for now, as I’m off to teach–classes are 6-9 tonight, remember?