Quick poll: is it just me, or does pole go 0 to 100 REAL QUICK.
Like, there’s intro to pole… then there’s “intermediate” which is people working on their fonjis with no help beyond a spot.
There are a few notable exceptions to this rule: Sacred in Brooklyn is like a, “okay, what does everybody want to work on today?” type studio, and the teachers are fantastic about giving modifications and really checking in with everyone about how they’re feeling with new moves.
Unfortunately, they’re also about an hour and a half away from me (it’s so hard to get TO brooklyn FROM brooklyn… don’t even get me started), and they only have like 4 poles, so there’s that. ECP was great too, but now defunct.
So long story short, I’ve been trying to go to THE INDUSTRY STANDARD studio (y’all know who), but I have a serious, serious bone to pick with their class structures.
Here’s the deal: I have legit been taking level 1 class there for a year–despite doing all kinds of upside down, handstandy stuff at my previous studios.
This is 100% because every time I think I’m ready to try a level two class, we’re immediately given a routine involving shit I have no idea how to do or physically can’t do yet, like aerial inverts.
Since level 1 doesn’t offer any invert instruction (strictly right-side-up, which is totally understandable since it’s level 1), I have no idea where I’m supposed to learn technique or condition for the stuff the level 2 class is already doing.
After trying over and over and over again to get through these classes (surviving is really the word to describe it), breaking down yet again in the bathroom immediately afterwards, I decided to bite the bullet and ask for guidance from the authority on how the studio works: the studio.
I went to the front desk and said, “Hey, is there a time when like… level two starts from the beginning? Am I going at the wrong part of a lesson cycle or something? Pls hlp.”
Here’s the great thing: THEY GIRLS AT THE DESK WERE SO NICE. I wasn’t expecting that because a lot of people at this particular studio are not very approachable. Again, if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about.
But here’s the ridiculous part: they agreed with everything I said and had no advice for me, other than a list of teachers to actively avoid because “they don’t really teach.” They also said that a lot of level 3 and level 4 people take level 2 classes for shits and giggles, so they don’t really need the instruction, and that’s why the teacher tends to skip it.
Again, cannot stress how nice and helpful and cool these chicks were. But like, for the studio… that’s really not okay.
Especially considering the insane amount of money these classes cost, and their reputation for teaching proper technique.
I should also add that many of the teachers I’ve taken class with get a look like somebody farted when you ask a question about something. Again, not all–in fact, my level one teachers have mostly been fabulous. But if you’re not going to teach me, and I have to embarrass myself by asking for the extra help, do you really need to ALSO look put out by helping me? Really?
I have a class card to use up, but once that’s finished I think I’m basically done there.
Meanwhile, as a teacher, here’s an open question for the people working at this studio:
Why are you teaching if you don’t seem to like… teaching?
It’s obvious that some people at this studio are teachers because they are excellent dancers, not because they enjoy helping people learn. Sorry, but it’s true. I picked this up from super subtle context clues such as not making eye contact with anyone in class, ignoring struggling students, and copping an attitude when asked questions (even when the questions are in response to you asking “Any questions?”).
(As a teacher I want to add this note: BITCH PLEASE, this is YOUR CLASS. Your students are desperate to please you and do well. Why don’t you want to help them???? I just don’t understand this attitude from instructors at all. But then, I’m not an award-winning dancer, so.)
Am I alone in feeling like this?
Am I being a crybaby and a beyotch?
At this point I will definitely skip the pole idol worship and instead take lessons from someone who doesn’t dance particularly well, but understands the mechanics of a move, and is happy to explain them–even if it means over and over, in different ways until something clicks.
Because that’s what teaching is.
Quick example of someone who I think is killing it on the teaching front, albeit via tutorial videos: Dr. Ken Kao.
Do I have the conditioning yet for a one-arm hang on a spin pole? Probably not. But do feel like I totally understand the technique/physics of how it works for when I’m ready? Fuck yes.
Gold star, dude.