Do you need a Pole dancing pole to practise on? Actually, no. Read on...
From your very first lesson, you'll realize that Pole dancing isn't all done on the pole.
There are a lot of movements done dancing around the pole whilst standing, kneeling or sitting next to the pole rather than gripping onto it with your feet off the floor.
That means there are many moves that evoke the Pole dancing style which you can replicate without a pole at all.
So not needing a Pole dancing pole is good news if you'd been planning to try clinging onto your banisters for dear life. Not recommended…
And while we're on the subject of things that aren't recommended, let's talk a little about those portable Pole dancing poles you can buy to use at home.
We've been scratching our heads trying to come up with nice things to say about these… and have failed. Sorry.
Really experienced Pole dancers and teachers know exactly what to look for in a safe Pole dancing pole.
They know how to properly test a pole and also know enough about the moves (and are fit enough) to prevent injury should they be using a pole that fails in some way.
So they know what they are doing when they install poles at home for their own use and practise.
However, as mentioned, these are experienced people, with usually years of practise.
For complete beginners, we DO NOT recommend that you rush out and buy a cheap pole.
Let's put it like this: no manufacturer or retailer of these poles will take any responsibility for injuries arising from using them. Not using them incorrectly, but using them at all.
So are they safe? Probably not.
Stories abound of cheap temporary Pole dancing poles coming apart, crashing to the floor and bending.
While you are still new to Pole dancing, leave your 'on the pole' moves until you're in a proper class. Practise and perform your moves at home in a freestyle way without the pole.
Or you might land on your head, and we don't want that.
And if you simply want to practise for your next class, concentrate on abs and arm strength training (that's loads of push ups and sit ups and planks), hip flexibility and stretching.
The poles you'll find in good classes are well designed apparatus that won't compromise your safety.
They'll be ultra smooth steel or brass and strong enough to withstand
you flinging yourself at them in a variety of poses.
Here are a few tips on how to best use a Pole dancing pole…
Before you start your class, wash off any moisturizer, body lotions and oils on your skin - you'll just slide off the thing and will also make the pole slippery for your fellow pupils.
Make sure you wash your hands just before the class to remove any sweat or hand lotion residue.
Then dust your palms with the chalk that your teacher should supply.
This is what will stop your skin from squeaking as you
move on the pole - the combination of powdery chalk and polished steel or brass is smooooooth!
And that's the best way to avoid those horrible skin burns you can get if you don't glide on the pole.
There are products out there that help skin grip the pole, but at a beginner level, a bit of chalk is all you should use.
There aren't many dance styles that we issue a safety warning about.
But this is one.
The bottom line is that done badly, Pole dancing can, in extreme cases, cause severe injury and even paralysis.
Risking falling off a Pole dancing pole, knocking out a few teeth and breaking your nose would look tame next to some of the injuries that have been suffered.
You just have to look at some of the videos on YouTube of people falling off poles and landing face first.
They may look
hilarious to some but do you really want that to be you?
But that's the dangerous side of Pole dancing and in a well run class, you'll be safe and looked after.
However, most learners suffer a few
skin burns from slipping on the pole from time to time - so just
remember to use loads of that chalk.
Other things to look out for include protecting your elbows (by not dropping them when doing a hold on the pole) as they may not be used to the amount of pressure you are going to put on them.
(Also, Pole dancing probably isn't the best way to get back into shape after having a baby - this kind of strenuous exercise too soon after a pregnancy can risk injury and strain to the lower back.)
However, these things will be taken care of by any good teacher getting to know their class and by properly, physically supporting and correcting your positions on the pole.
Good teachers are never going to encourage you to try the upside down positions in the early classes unless they are literally holding you there.
So, it's time to find out a little more about these amazing teachers...