In everyone’s pole journey, there are those moments that make you go “Ooooh!” Moments that make you feel you are getting somewhere. Moments that add together to make a big ball of pole love. Moments that make you feel on top of the world. Following an extensive poll (or pole haha) of the worldwide pole community (ie my pole mates) by an experienced pole know-it-all (ie me), here are the most popular top ten moments in your pole journey
Except there are 11. Because I couldn’t narrow it down to 10.
1. Your first spin
It’s your first time on a pole – and your first spin. It will probably be a fireman spin (or any one of the million names this two handed cross ankle spin goes by). You may recognise this spin as the one always used by pole dancing extras in the background of strip clubs on TV.
Your feet are off the ground. You are supporting your weight, albeit briefly, with your arms. You are spinning around the pole and looking gorgeous – yes you really are, a lot more gorgeous than you know!
Congratulations. You have taken your very first step on your pole journey.
2. Your first pole climb
What, how on earth, you want me to what?? Climb a pole? A smooth, shiny, tall narrow pole? With my legs? Which are soft and squishy and possibly not been seen in public for quite some time?
Yes. And you can do it – you just need to know how. And when you do, and you take off first one hand, and then the other, you will feel like you are standing on top of the world.
3. Your first pole sit
Owwwwwwww oww oww how on earth do you do this?! My thighs!!!
Yes we pole dancers have a somewhat masochistic streak. I promise it will get better. But for now, you are holding your body weight between your thighs, sitting beautifully and elegantly and SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE QUICK BEFORE MY THIGHS CATCH FIRE
4. Your first invert
There’s no question – this is possibly the biggest moment in your pole journey. For some, they flip upside down first time. For others, it becomes a personal battle lasting weeks, or even months of trying. Both are completely “normal”.
|1st inverts are always a cause for celebration|
If you are struggling, take a step back and continue working on the prep and conditioning your instructor will (or should) have been working on with you, but don’t lose hope. It feels like an insurmountable mountain sometimes but it WILL happen, and then you will a) feel like an unstoppable force of nature, albeit an exhausted sweaty one, and b) panic slightly about what to do next. Which brings us to…
5 Your first “proper” move
Whether it be a Gemini, a Scorpio, a butterfly or another beautiful move from the extensive repertoire of first inverted moves, to be able to take the seeming impossibility and difficulty of actually getting upside down, and then turn it into something beautiful is a major milestone.
Behold the face of my lovely student Sarah, who spent months saying “I’m slipping! I can’t!” before finally having the confidence to release into this perfect gemini and realise her own awesomeness. Incidentally, following this breakthrough, Sarah now gets any move I show her pretty much straight away, proving the old adage that confidence is key, especially in pole.
6. First superman
Without question, superman came up again and again as the first move that polers felt was a big move, that took them from intermediate to advanced level with a twist of the torso and a chafe of the thighs. There are a million ways to get into it (OK, not a million but at least 12) and let’s face it, it burns like holy water on Regan Macneil in the Exorcist, but when you get there you smile through the pain because YOU DID IT!!! And as you practice it, it won’t hurt any more. Promise.
7. First nemesis move
All polers, even professional ones, will have a move that still scares them. It might be something simple. It might be something they once slipped out of or just couldn’t nail whilst everyone else was flying into first time and they got a mental block.
Or maybe it’s just a move that eludes you, because you can’t get past the pain, or you just don’t quite bend that way, or you just can’t make sense of it. Sometimes all you need to do is leave it, come back to it in a month, a year, two years, or train with someone who can help you understand it, or you just have a good day and BOOM. Nemesis move nailed. Who ever thought you would have this one in the bag! Who ever thought you would struggle with something so simple! But there you are. That’s pole, and we are not all the same.
8. First handspring
The thing about handsprings is, it’s all or nothing. Either you do it, or you don’t. There’s no middle ground, no – oh well, you managed to turn it into something else instead that also looked pretty. Nope, it’s handspring or bust, and it often takes a long time to learn – several huge pole icons have told me it took a year or 18 months for them to handspring. I think this is why a lot of people give up on it.
But even if it takes you five minutes to master, it’s still a huge moment – you are holding yourself in mid air, without anything on the pole but your hands! As a beginner, this seems impossible! But here you are, you wonder of nature, doing what you never thought you could.
|Here’s (one of) my first handsprings|
9. Dancing in heels
Heels may not be your thing. You may consider yourself a bona fide “pole athlete” and not feel comfortable at all with the hip rolling, floor working, hair flicking thing. And that’s fine – there are many facets to pole and nobody says you have to be queen and master of all of them. But it’s likely at some point you will have a crack at dancing in heels. And who knows what might happen?
Your legs look longer, your posture changes, you have to get a whole extra 7 inches of your heels past the pole before you can hook on. And it’s damn hard. Even if you never pole in heels again, you will undoubtedly come away from the experience with a renewed respect for the girls who make this look easy.
10. Your first pole photo shoot
Now this is a whole different ball game. It’s time to take what you have learned over the past *insert here how long you have been poling* and showcase that on film. What to wear? What poses to do? It’s a little project all on its own. And you may be surprised at how much hard work it is – after all, you might have to hold those moves longer than you usually do, and you might have to do them again and again until you get your angle right, or your hair out of your face, or you’re not grimacing.
But when you get your photos, it will all be worth it. “Is that me?” “I never thought I could look like that!” “I had no idea I had muscles like that!” A professional photographer will capture you at your very best, and will highlight your talents in a way an iPhone in a studio just cannot.
11. Your first performance
Now we are getting to the serious end of things. At some point in your pole journey you might want to perform, Maybe you are an experienced performer. Maybe you’ve never stood on a stage in your life but hey, it’s now or never, and you’ll never make it to the X Factor finals so it’ll have to be pole. Maybe it’s a competition, or a showcase or a demonstration at a country fair. It makes no difference – you are getting up there and putting what you have learned together into a performance and experiencing a whole side of the pole world you never have before. And can we just give you a massive hand for getting up there to perform for us, for putting yourself up there to be watched and judged and owning that stage. Not everyone will do this. Not many people will do this. So massive pat on the back to you for being the one that does. We salute you.
Did I miss any? What were the major landmarks on your pole journey?