Pole dancing has more and more followers without any gender barrier. Although some prejudices persist, the fact remains that it is a complete sport.
Pole fitness is a discipline that requires both great physical fitness and flexibility in order to perform different figures around a vertical bar.
If you are a beginner , want to practice this unusual activity and progress in a dedicated school or directly at home on your own, this article will give you a good foundation. You will understand the origins as well as the values of this sport.
And so that you can start pole dancing in the best possible conditions, we will reveal the list of equipment and accessories necessary to get you started.
Pole dancing: what is it?
This is a vast question which we will try to answer as simply as possible.
Let's start with its geographical origins!
A sports practice originating in Canada
Historically, pole dancing was born in caribou country. It was practiced in circuses around the 1920s with the Hoochie-Coochie dancers . These dancers entertained the public by swaying their hips and doing a few figures leaning on the iron bar that supported the canvas of the marquee.
From the 1950s, the discipline entered the bars. The strippers used the pole as a simple accessory for dancing, without necessarily using it to perform movements requiring training.
It was not until 40 years later that the first teachings of this complete art took place. Far from the world of the night, educational DVDs are entering the market, giving a first turn to this exercise with a rather controversial image until then.
Aesthetic sports practice , but also playful, pole dancing is gradually emerging from strip clubs to appear in various studios specially dedicated to pole sports. On the program in these places, good humor and smiles in order to develop both your muscles , your flexibility , as well as your artistic sensitivity and your self-confidence.
This activity allows, indeed, to have fun, while affirming its sensuality.
In Europe, pole dancing has been officially recognized as a gymnastic practice for only a few years. Today, it reaches a wide audience and is an official discipline of the French Dance Federation (FFD).
This sport combines choreography and acrobatics on a main apparatus: a vertical metal bar. The latter can be used in two different ways by the dancer:
- in spinning mode, in other words, the bar turns on itself around its axis,
- in static mode, with a fixed bar that does not rotate.
Recognized in 2017 by the World Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), various pole sports competitions have since appeared. We could mention, among others, the French Pole Dance Championship, Pole Art France or Pole Theater France.
Professionals who practice this art manage to evolve with grace and creativity. Looking at them, one would almost have the impression that it is easy and within everyone's reach. Think again ! Pole fitness is an extremely physical activity that requires skill and requires long hours of training.
The values of pole fitness: a universe that is both sporty and artistic
Today, pole dancing is light years away from its former reputation associated with strip clubs. It is a form of fitness that combines gymnastic exercise and art. In this sense, the IPSF (International Pole Sports Federation), which is the official representative of this activity, has a specific objective: to encourage the practice of this athletic sport in a positive way. His fight, in the long term, is to succeed in having Olympic recognition for pole sports.
Like other so-called aesthetic sports, pole dancing is based on strong values, carried by nearly 50,000 practitioners and 250 schools throughout France:
- the dynamism ;
- the sharing.
Halfway between street workout and calisthenics, the discipline combines bodybuilding, gymnastics, endurance and sensuality. Pole dance studios have become safe places where it is possible to be fully yourself, without judgment or criticism.
United around a common passion, the pole dancers encourage each other, reassure and comfort each other. These are structures filled with benevolence, within which strong bonds are sometimes created between the students. It's the perfect place to form friendships and be part of a respectful sisterhood that shares the same ideas and values. Besides, if you're wondering how your next pole dance class will go, it's here !
Who can start practicing this sport?
The good news is that you don't have to be an Olympic medalist before deciding to take up pole dancing . Also, don't think that if you're stiff as a broomstick, then this sport isn't for you. These are misconceptions. It is quite possible to start from scratch, without having ever done gymnastics or acrobatic sports before.
Whether you are a man or a woman, anyone can enroll in pole dancing lessons. There are even some for children and teenagers. There are no prerequisites or restrictions, whether concerning your physique or your age. You just need to be able to practice sport and be ready to familiarize yourself with certain sometimes barbaric-sounding anglicisms: spin, trick, transition, combo, grip, inversion , etc. No need to be already muscular or flexible.
On the contrary, pole dancing will itself transform your body as the sessions progress. This sport is complete, and leaves no respite to any muscle. The whole body is solicited .
Generally, the courses are organized by level, in order to allow the different groups to progress together in a homogeneous way. They start with a warm-up, sheathing, muscle strengthening and end each time with a stretch.
In the meantime, you will have the opportunity to practice several combinations of tricks , often impressive, on the bar.
You who, however, had no balance on this apparatus and were dizzy in spinning mode, will manage, session after session, to surpass yourself, to coordinate the different movements and to be always more comfortable and toned.
Your progress in pole dancing will be quickly visible, and you will see that there are always ways to improve.
Start pole dancing: what you need for your lessons
That's it, you're convinced! Whether you decide to indulge in the practice of pole dancing at home or in the studio, here is the necessary equipment for your lessons:
- an adapted pole dance outfit . Depending on your preference, it could be leggings , shorts and a bra or something sexier. However, forget the classic sports outfits. Here, it will be necessary to leave your arms, your belly and your legs without fabric to better cling to the apparatus and not slip like a soap;
- a pair of shoes with heels , which is however not obligatory. Wearing them helps to have a better posture and a more chic gait;
- a pole dance bar , whether silicone , chrome , on a podium , etc. ;
- a crash-mat (protective mattress), especially if you practice at home as an autodidact, so as not to injure yourself during any falls;
- a grip (solid, powder or liquid) to improve your grip on the bar.
Finally, note that it is important not to apply any fatty substances to your skin (cream, lotion, oil, etc.) before starting your workout . You risk losing your grip!
To get out of your comfort zone, pole dancing is the ideal sport . It would be a shame to deprive yourself of it, especially when you are aware of all the benefits it brings, even if you are a novice. In addition to restoring self-confidence, it is a practice that can totally restructure a physique.
So, are you ready to start pole dancing, book your trial lesson and join the big family of addicts?