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Pole Dancing for Exercise - OK!

This past weekend my sister and I had quit the experience ... Pole Dancing for exercise! Say What?!?!

We attended the Intro to Pole class at Pole Up Fitness and Dance Studio,, on E. 96th Street to see what this pole dancing fitness craze is all about. I had a number of questions running through my head prior to attending this 1 hour class ... For one, am I going to make a complete fool of myself? ... For two, is pole dancing really a fitness challenge? ... For three, if Jessie Spano did it, can't I?

Well, all of my questions were answered pretty quickly as we began our Intro to Pole class ... YES ... YES ... and NO. Yes, I likely made a fool of myself, but it was worth the laughs. Yes, it was, in fact, a challenging workout for the whole body - arms, legs and core. And lastly, No, I of course looked nothing like Jessie Spano as I attempted to move around that pole, but I was ok with that! I won't quit my day job!

the class:
The class maxes out at 8 people and one instructor and the room holds 8 floor to ceiling poles and is surrounded by mirrors. The intro class that we took teaches you the basics of pole dancing and shows you what pole dancing is about. We began with a stretch, then learned some basic moves. We jumped right into risqué moves with names like "sexy kitty" which is kind of like a push up and stretches with a bit of suggestive movement. We did the stretching and basics on a mat without use of the pole.

We then began learning a short routine which consisted of stripper-like movements including a twirl around the pole. The moves were not too complicated and the routine was pretty easy to master. I think almost everyone in our class was comfortable with the routine by the end of the class, except one lady who didn't really seem to get it! When we mostly had the routine down, the lights were turned down, neon tube lighting was illuminated, and we completed the routine several times through to music - fast and slow.

We actually did better than we thought we would! The class felt more like a dance class than an actual pole dancing class to me, meaning the moves were rhythmic and not overly seductive - it wasn't raunchy or too over the top - it was more about attitude! We both have done some dance back in the day and are fairly musical, so we were good students.

the instructor:
The instructor was great! She was good at explaining the moves and offering advice when someone was struggling. At the end of the class, the instructor performed a full pole routine including climbing the pole, twisting and turning like a pro. Her strength was incredible. The routine she performed is apparently the routine that you would learn if you decided to continue taking the Pole Up class series - there are several levels of 8-week classes that increasingly get harder and more advanced.

the cost:
The class cost was only $15 for the intro class, though we scored a Living Social coupon dropping the cost to $10. The subsequent levels cost $225.00 for 8-weeks.

tips if you are interested in checking out the class:
  1. Go with a friend - everything is more fun with a friend!
  2. Have fun with it ... when else will you be able to dance around a pole!
  3. Wear regular workout clothes - leggings and a tank or t-shirt - and you will be barefoot - I was not sure what to wear before attending the class but we found out that our attire was just fine.
  4. Even if you don't intend on taking the subsequent classes, you should still give the intro class a shot ... there was no pressure to sign up for other classes and you learn a nice little routine even at the intro level. 
other offerings:
We are definitely glad we took this class, though I don't anticipate that we will be moving on to the other Poles Fitness Series classes that they offer. The studio does offer a number of other class options though including belly dancing, hoop dancing, Turbo Kick and Zumba that I might have to try. They also run a Back It Up Flash Mob Series charity event that might peak your interest,

Overall, the experience was a blast. My sister and I laughed with each other as we attempted the routine ... we had fun with it ... we weren't taking it too seriously. On the other hand ... it seemed like everyone else in the class was super serious about it - each of the other people were there alone and didn't seem to think the whole idea was as funny as we did!

It was a decent workout and more importantly a rare experience that we likely won't try other than through a class like this. We definitely were pushed a bit out of our comfort zones, and we now know that neither of us have a stripping career in our future (thank goodness!), but it will definitely be an experience to laugh about for a long time!

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