At the start of the year I shared a little photo diary of Elite Fitness, a new fitness and dance studio that opened in Hobart and which I attend. I wanted to delve a little deeper and show you what goes on in some of our classes. Who knows, perhaps it might inspire you to give our place a try!
As a bit of back story, I took up pole dance in 2011. I had toyed with the idea of pole fitness whilst living in Japan a few years before. I’m not particularly athletic; badminton was my jam for all of high school and university, but without the student routine and extra-curricular necessity to bring players together regularly, I was a little lost.
When I played badminton I wasn’t doing it for any physical benefit, I played before I jolly well loved the feeling of stepping onto court, serving, hearing the really satisfying thwack of a shuttle as it hits the sweet spot on the racquet, hitting a smash that angles so sharply to the ground the opponent can’t return it. I had proper fun playing.
Realising that I probably wouldn’t be able to play with the same people again after I returned from overseas, I looked into other methods of fitness. I hate running; I hate gyms; I hate ‘working out’. Boot class, Crossfit, personal training, none of it appealed. And then I saw a clip of someone fitness pole dancing and thought hey, that looks interesting, and the seed was planted.
Fortunately, years after I got back from Japan, I attended my first Hen’s do that involved a trip to a local studio that specialised in burlesque and pole. We were booked in for the burlesque, but I came back the next week by myself for a pole lesson. And then I came back the week after, and the week after, and the week after. I worked muscles in my shoulders and forearms I didn’t realise existed; my hamstrings were shot, my hip flexors protesting. I couldn’t walk properly for a week afterwards and carrying anything had me internally whimpering.
3-4 weeks in I could hold myself off the floor, then I started going upside down; 3 months in my teacher asked if I wanted to teach beginner classes by myself, and I consistently taught for 5 years after that. My old studio is now closed, but it’s so exciting to be involved with another studio now, and being back in the role of student after so many years of being tutor.
Modern pole is so much more than stripping, and incorporates absolutely every form of dance, fitness, and circus you can imagine – acrobatics, flips, body manipulation, choreography, callisthenics, rhythm and flow. Pole dance can also be broken down into so many genres – comedy, art, classic, downright dirty.
These pictures are a snapshot from our Acro class run by Naomi Cappelli. Naomi is one of our instructors; she has a dance background and has won several state and national pole competitions (because yes, pole is a competitive sport too). But most of us, instructors and students alike (except for Ally, the owner, in the grey top – she’s been dancing for yonkeroonies), don’t come from dance or gymnastic backgrounds, which is kind of cool when you consider the sorts of things we are learning to do.
Acro is pretty much acrobatics – cartwheels, hand stands, bridges, and then once mastering those, translating them into moves that can be done with the pole. Pole in general is about learning to trust yourself and trusting your body, and acro takes it that next step as you learn to trust yourself dynamically as well as in static poses.
Check out the current timetable here, and give us a holler if you’re interested in classes!