When I used to pole…

PortraitI remember joining Polemania School of Fitness as a student in December 09 inspired by Maxine Bett’s winning performance at Miss Pole Dance UK 2009 and decided that I had to have a go. After all I started my sporting life with gymnastics at the age of 6 and was competing at regional level in Italy by the age of 8. At the age of 14, after developing a strong aversion to the beam, I moved on to jazz dance and performed several times in shows and competitions that I also choreographed. So, pole dancing huh? How hard can that be?!

Practicing Chi Sau with Grand Master Ip Chun outside the Ip Man Museum in Foshan, PRC

Practicing Chi Sau with Grand Master Ip Chun outside the Ip Man Museum in Foshan, PRC

Before I come to that it’s worth mentioning a few other adventures. After a short break from sports to pursue a qualification in Sound Recording Engineering, I moved to the UK where I returned to one of my favourite activities: martial arts.

This saw me travelling to Hong Kong and mainland China to study Kung Fu with Bruce Lee’s instructor and, a year or so after that, to the Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro to improve my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. On top of this I also earned a 1st degree brown belt in Kapatiran Arnis (Escrima) that I combined with a broken arm and wrist. So, again, pole dancing…  how hard could it be? Really.

Based on the theory that when horses break their legs responsible owners are supposed to walk them in hand to subject their bones to increased weight load I decided to try a form of exercise that wouldn’t put me in harms way (ha ha ha) and no bruising (ha ha ha). Pole dancing seemed to be the answer and it was my way to gently return to full-on exercise following my martial arts injury.

Despite soon discovering that my assessment of pole fitness exertion levels was totally wrong after finding myself crippled in bed 48 hours after my very first lesson, it was only a matter of time before the “new hobby” became a “new addiction” being now able to reinvent my old gymnastics antics and dance routines on, around, slightly sideways and up and down the pole. I was a quick learner and in May 2010, just before my 4* birthday and my final exam towards a degree in Social Sciences, much to my surprise, I completed my pole dance instructor course run by Maxine and in October 2010 was handed over the running of the Burnham on Crouch studio (in Essex).

In 2011 I was finally able to realize one of my long held pole dancing dreams: train with some of my superheroes. First up were a couple of workshops with Karol Helmes, then a couple of workshops with Jenyne Butterfly and finally a double workshop and private lesson with Zoraya Judd. These were invaluable experiences as each one of these pole artistes provided me with the inspiration to keep on pushing my boundaries and learn even more advanced moves.

My pole dancing superheroes

Although I have since stopped teaching and practicing courtesy of my chronic fatigue, I still believe that pole fitness is a really great form of exercise and one of the best ways to get and stay fit as part of any weight loss and body sculpting program. I also found that for myself (and for most of my ex students) pole dancing was a way to connect to my feminine side, which I neglected for many years while being busy with a career and studying martial arts. Oh the joy of being able to wear stilettos at the “gym” and be able to allow my body to follow the music and be free to explore my sensuality…

There is really no other sport quite like it.

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