I’d like to take you back to the very beginning…

There are two reasons why I went to that first dance class; I wanted to exercise more and I was curious as to what a pole dance class might entail. Was there a room full of naked girls swinging round a pole? Do boys do it? What is it that takes place?

I had built up in my mind, some kind of sordid affair and the curiosity was so great as my first class approached that I was quite nervous. I had researched the local area and found a dance school – Pole2Pole. All I had been told was to wear a pair of leggings and a vest top – not exactly what I had imagined, although I was relieved not to be getting down to my lingerie right away! On the evening of my first class, I was greeted by a man who resembled a nightclub bouncer who smiled, took the money, and gave me a form to complete as all ‘new girls’ were required to do. I filled in the details and sign the disclaimed that said if I injured myself it was my own fault. I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I’m a walking disaster at the best of times, let alone swinging round a pole. As I entered the main club, the scene was completely different to what I had built up in my mind.

The first thing I noticed was that there were no men, only women. There were roughly 20 girls chatting in groups, everyone seemed friendly. There were 3 women with ‘Instructor’ printed on the back of their tops. My second observation was that everyone in the room had on various forms of casual wear. Not a single girl was in lingerie or less – I felt relieved and surprised. Perhaps it wasn’t quite as dark and dramatic as I had imagined.

After an aerobic warm we were split into three groups – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each group had a pole and an instructor each. At least as a first timer, I wasn’t going to have to be near the girls who had clearly been going for some time.

In the beginner group, there were 6 of us all new to pole dancing. We started with a move called the Fireman Sam – the most basic of pole dancing moves. We were talked through the move step by step, and then we each had a turn. As my turn came around, I felt like everyone was staring at me and I felt massively self-conscious, but I gave it my best shot. I’ll never forget that feeling of my first spin. I felt like a complete idiot. I honestly wondered what on earth had possessed me to come to such a class. I stumbled away from the pole feeling a little dizzy and embarrassed; I was clearly out of my depth. The rest of the group all did the same to varying success. We spent the first hour doing Fireman Sam’s and also a Crossed Leg Fireman Sam. By the time the break came around, I still felt ridiculous.

After the break, it was time for ‘the routine’. As I looked round the room, the other ‘newbie’s’ faces said exactly what I was thinking “what the…!” Over a 4 week period the group learn a routine, and take turns to perform to the rest of the group. The first 3 went up. They were from the advanced class, and they were excellent. There was no way I could do the routine. I felt self conscious back in our little beginner group, you can just imagine how I was feeling in front of the entire class! I reluctantly gave it my best shot with the instructors shouting out the moves. I was more than a little bit rubbish!

After the routine, we went back into our small groups and picked up where we had left off before the break. We learnt two more moves that night – the forward star and the backwards star. The rest of the class went by very quickly in a blur of embarrassment and bruises!

During the cool down at the end, I remember thinking “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ridiculous!” My body was already aching and I knew I was going to be covered in bruises. My second thought was what a great time I had. Despite feeling like a fool, I had really enjoyed myself. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming and it wasn’t at all like I had pictured it. I had an understanding for just how difficult pole dancing is. It was more than just dancing, it was pole fitness. I’d laughed at myself a lot throughout the night, and more than anything I felt some kind of self achievement for not giving up and having a go at everything. It was that moment right there – that was when I caught the pole dancing bug!

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