Let’s talk about finding studios. I have a patented bullshit scale for myself that you might find helpful! First, a soundtrack for this post:
(Chris Brown is NOT having any of your bullshit in that album art.)
Second: let’s go over kinds of bullshit you might encounter when trying to find a studio to suit all your poling needs:
1. Yoga Bullshit
This is not a standard I apply just to pole studios, but to bellydance ones as well: there should not be a fuck-ton of yoga in classes for OTHER THINGS.
Yes, stretching, warms ups–important and appreciated. But if we have to stand around with our hands clasped in prayer position or focus on our breaths for more than half a second, I’m going to get irritable. And 20 minutes out of an hour class dedicated to sun salutations instead of spins or omis? No.
2. Cancellation Bullshit
Now by this I don’t mean cancellation policies that apply to you–those are fair, and, as a teacher, I know they’re necessary. I also understand, as a teacher, that classes get cancelled if they don’t fill up, because that teacher needs to be paid.
But when I’m a student, it’s really annoying to plan my day around a class that may or may not happen. More often than not, a pattern in cancellations will make me skittish and seek other, more predictable studios. (I feel bad about this, but, it is what it is).
3. Lack of Class Structure Bullshit
I have a pole at home. If I wanted to pay 25/hr for what’s essentially an open pole class, I would not have hauled ass out into the snow.
4. Environmental Bullshit
Poles too close together. Cattle call classes of 3 girls to a pole. Lack of basic necessities like alcohol or cloths. For how much these classes cost, this type of bullshit is most definitely Deal Breaking Bullshit (DBB).
5. Mean Teacher or Staff Bullshit
I don’t know about you guys, but, if I have to go through a rude front desk person to buy more classes, I will kind of put it off until–OH LOOK, this other studio has a sale… aaaaaand, I’m gone. Same with teacher that make you feel shitty. Again, I’d just stay at home and tell myself I suck. Way cheaper!
Aside form this criteria, I also have more subjective, judgement-call type bullshit categories like 60% of a class dedicated to booty work (nothing wrong with booty work, but if I came to learn new pole stuff, I’m gonna be disappointed), or, general scariness of other students (if it’s laundry day and I only have a ratty tank top to wear to class, and the girls are the shade-throwing type, I might skip it).
These are factors that are very important to me. I’m pretty open to new styles, teaching methods, etc, so long as a studio has as little DBB as possible.
If you’re in the process of choosing your “home studio” so to speak, know that they kind of fall into the following categories, and that to get a full experience that fits your goals with pole, you might need to combine a few (I totally do this).
I realize I’m sort of repeating myself from a previous post on types of pole studios, but I believe a year of class hopping has helped me refine my categories. Here’s how I think they should be sorted now:
1. The Sensual, Mirror-less studio
I think this is a cool idea and would probably try it as a side dish to my regular training. I can see its usefulness in building artistic stuff, or if you’re dancing for fun and not with a goal of performing. I know a lot of people rave about these places. Downside: I hear rumors of extensive freedancing in class (AHHHHHHHHH), and weird intimacy exercises like making eye contact with class members during dances (no nope bye CANNOT DO IT SORRY). I also feel like I’d fall into bad habits by doing what “feels right” instead of checking the mirror… as in, my choppers would not get any less lopsided and my right side would be SUPER STRONG.
2. The Booty Studio
These places are a lot of fun. You’ll probably get a lot of flexibility work in and learn some rad raunchy moves to incorporate into your routines, a la Michelle Shimmy. Downside: If you’re like me, you could get a little uncomfortable with all the head to the ground, butt in the air work. Bonus: there will probably be cool lighting and maybe champagne, and it’s a very fun place to visit with friends. Also, the teachers are usually a riot and very approachable.
3. The Pole-astics Studio
This place is flat out just not as much of a playground as the above studios, but, it’s where I usually put in most of my class time. You’ll probably be forced to do all kinds of awful things like conditioning exercises, doing moves on Your Evil Bad Side, or combining moves. You may be a little scared of your instructor, and you might also be tempted to skip class at the end of a long work day. BUT, here’s your reward: you will see a lot of progress.
How would you guys describe your studio? Do you have a couple you alternate between?
I definitely have a “home” studio I go to because it’s close to my literal home and full of familiar faces, but have a “serious” studio for cancellation-proof training. Is this weird? I also really miss some of the hot floorwork I used to get out of the more stripper oriented classes, so, I definitely think there’s a place for all kinds of pole dancing in our training.
XOXO and HT,