Pole dancing 101: Your new favorite workout

Sports reporter Sara Miller takes baby steps learning a new way to keep fit.

Morgan Vines demonstrates one of the introductory holds in the Pole 101 class at Dolphin Dance Studio in Port Orchard. This was Vines’ second class. “I feel pretty when I wear my heels

“If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

Although Nike is more famous for its “Just Do It” tag line, this slogan is a little more meaningful to the every-day person who doesn’t feel comfortable going to the gym or trying a new workout regime.

Even I have felt that way. Although I’ve always been fit and can hold my own in most any sport, certain workouts scare me. I’ve read about hot yoga, Pilates, barre and every other new fad in “fun” workouts. I’ve always wanted to try them. Being a soccer girl, however, I wasn’t comfortable with the flexibility aspects of these workouts, so I always made excuses why I never signed up. Then I came across Dolphin Dance Studio.

Dolphin Dance Studio is a pole-dancing studio on Bay Street in Port Orchard. On its website, the business said classes were specifically designed to be accessible to women of all ages, dance backgrounds and fitness levels because “Every woman deserves to feel sexy, because sexy is a state of mind.”

I am not flexible. My ideal style of dancing is the electric slide. However, since graduating from college and retiring from my soccer career, I’ve found myself being less motivated to work out because, well, what’s the point? My sister and I go to the gym regularly but it feels more like a chore. Every testimonial from women who have taken these classes said they’ve “never had more fun working out,” and “I left feeling sexy and confident.” So, my sister and I decided to give it a try.

Dolphin Dance is a small studio next to Nostalgia House Bakery in the Westbay Center. It has six poles for intimate classes and individualized teachings. And that is exactly what Emily, our instructor, did. Our class included myself and my sister (she’s also a soccer player), our friend Kylee (a cross-country runner) and a girl named Morgan, who has a history in dance. Needless to say, Morgan was much better than the three of us, but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

The class started with warmups and stretching before Emily showed us beginning holds and pull-ups. She taught us a choreographed routine with different moves. After we put all the moves together, we turned to free dance, where the only rule was this: you can’t stop moving.

Emily was not only knowledgeable about the subject, but she taught us why the pole is held in specific ways due to the muscles that are exercised. She had two sayings: “See, it’s not that hard,” and “If I can do it, you can do it.”

And, ultimately, what she said proved true. Although my lack of dance skills and confidence off the soccer field were obstacles, I felt myself improving and feeling more confident as the hour-and-a-half class progressed. Emily would walk around, correct us if we were doing something slightly wrong and then make a joke about why it’s wrong to keep the whole group laughing.

Being put in a situation so far outside your comfort zone is hard, to say the least. However, having confident and fun instructors like Emily is what instills confidence in pole-dancing students.

At the beginning of the class, Emily said, “We want to show that this form of exercise is for everybody. And by everybody, I mean every person and every kind of body.”

“If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” I think it’s safe to say Nike was referring to more than just running shoes when they branded that slogan. I was admittedly terrible. I wore the wrong pants when I should have worn shorts. And, not surprisingly, I was crazy-sore afterward, but I can’t wait to go back and learn more.

At the end of each session, Emily makes every student say what makes them feel, pretty, beautiful or sexy.

“There aren’t a lot of places where you can brag about yourself without being torn down or someone making a comment back,” Emily said. “But, this is a safe place where we want everyone to feel confident in.” My input was that, “I feel pretty when I’m learning and improving,” which I honestly did during my Pole 101 class.

In search of a different kind of love? Step out of your comfort zone and try a beginning level class. You never know when you’re going to fall in love with a new workout that truly makes you love yourself.

For more information to schedule a test run at a class, visit www.dolphindanceexotic.com.

 

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