By Wendy Toth
Pole dancing has become a big part of many women’s wellness practices in the last five years, thanks to fun, supportive, fitness-focused classes at studios like SpaFinder®Wellness partner Brass Belles Dance and Fitness Studio in Brampton, Ontario.
Image: Flickr user lululemon
With a mix of strength and flexibility training, plus fat-burning and dance moves, pole dancing is getting a new reputation as a challenging, graceful way to get in shape. “You have a mind-body connection,” says Jocie Pace, owner of Brass Belles, which offers pole dance fitness classes, “and any time you are learning something new, it doesn’t feel like work.”
So where the gym can begin to feel like a grind, as you go through the same routine each week, pole dancing helps you tap into something more primal.
“When that bit of sensuality comes to the surface, it’s liberating,”
Wear It… to Class
Classes are barefoot, just like yoga, and the dress is very similar. So leave the stilettos at home, at least for now. “Wear leggings and a tank top, and you are good to go,” says Pacey.
Say It… For Motivation
The supportive nature of the pole dance community is a main force behind its popularity. “In the beginning it’s women-only, and everyone is feeling shy and has no idea what to expect,” says Pacey. This creates a powerful environment of support. “There is no intimidation, and it’s an incredibly social experience.”
Find It… Near You
Search for a pole dance studio in your area (Spafinder® Wellness can help) and then try a drop-in beginner class. “Most studios have at least six different teachers,” says Pacey. Try out a variety of classes to find the perfect fit for you.
Brass Belles Dance & Fitness Studio
The most common excuses Pacey hears have to do with perceived ability: “I have no upper body strength,” “I have no dance background,” or “I’m too old.”
And she has an answer for each one. “We aren’t engineered to have a ton of upper-body strength, so we use different conditioning moves to build it up over time,” she says. As for having a dance background, the majority of teachers at Brass Belles don’t come from a dance background either. They learned through the studio, and so can you.
If age is your issue, pole dancing does not discriminate. “I took my first class with my mom and we had a 55-year-old instructor,” she says.
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Wendy Toth writes and edits stories about fitness, beauty (inner and outer), health and pets for outlets like The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Weight Watchers and Pet360. She lives in Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, which is complicated, but fun. You can ask her about it through wendytoth.com.