Monday, 1 December 2014

The Stripper Gymnast's Transformation

Here is the third in the series of posts my colleague Ann Marie on pole dancing. You can find the earlier posts here and here


Many things happen to a person after they embark on the pole dancing journey. After that first invert and leg hang - things start to change. It may be slight at first, but eventually "pole dancer" is no longer a hobby but a form of identification. They are now a Pole Dancer and Stripper Gymnast.

Phase 1: The Pain & Bruising


Although bruises happen with almost all tricks and levels, the beginner level is the worst. Your body isn't quite used to gripping onto the pole in basic moves yet and it's asking "Why the hell are you beating me up all the time?" Bruises in this phase occur in the multitudes, mostly on the legs - all the way from the inner thigh to the foot. 



Credit: www.learn-pole-dancing.com
Pole dancing is incredibly painful, due to the ways the body has to twist and the body parts we need to grip. And it is this phase that seeds out those who will continue to become pole dancers and those who decide to go back to yoga. 

Phase 2: Upside Down & Inside Out


By now, the pole dancer is really comfortable with chilling out upside down on the pole. New moves still hurt like a b***h, but the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment makes it all worth it. Like in that way mothers say their children makes childbirth all worth it. We're still questioning that one. 


They're now doing all the "cool moves", take a lot more photos and have moved on from a session a week to an average of 3. This is when friends and family tend to sit up and take notice, because they are missing half the time and of all the photos on Instagram and Facebook.  



My Instagram is 90% pole, 10% food.
They now identify as pole dancers, but some might still have not revealed publicly due to the stigma and weird comments pole dancers get.

Phase 3: The Final Frontier


You could say it's getting pretty serious now. The pole dancer is now quite advanced and experimenting with the cool moves by the Pole Idols, like the Janeiro, Marion Amber and the Dragontail. Pole dancing is now a part of life, and we can't imagine what we'd do if we didn't have it. 



The Janeiro
Everyone, at least in the immediate circle of family and friends, is aware of this. In fact, it is probably very difficult to forget with us going on about it all the time. Our cabinets are full of pole clothing, and we're probably wearing it under our normal clothes. You know, just in case we come across a pole. One needs to be prepared.

I call this phase the Final Frontier because of the choice between staying as a recreational pole dancer or taking the next (very intense) step of becoming a professional - either an instructor, competitor or both - entering Amateur competitions along the way. 


Phase 4: Professional Stripper Gymnast



Anastasia Skukhtorova
Not many people make it to this phase - but not everyone has to. To get to this place in life, you have to be training for a few hours every day. It takes a lot of physical and mental strength to get to the level required. Not to mention you won't see anyone outside your day job (if you still have one) and bed. 

There is a great ton of respect for the professionals. We look at them with awe and jaw to the floor, wishing we could do what they do.

At the end of the day though, we love our instructors and we idolise them along with the elite competitors. A big shout out to all the pole instructors who have guided us along to becoming a pole dancer, and especially for bearing with our terrible lines and sickle feet.