Benefit blog...

By Rachael Butler 26th July 2016

Pole dancing is growing in popularity in Doncaster. And Iím not referring to town on a Saturday night. Iím talking about a trend thatís emerged over the last couple of years Ė pole fitness. A trend thatís seen hundreds of women across Doncaster swap gym memberships for pole fitness classes, some of my friends and family included. Given they all rave about Ďpoleí, as itís fondly referred to, I decided to give it a whirl.

So why do women pole dance? When I asked the guys in the office they rattled off the old cliches with sly smiles Ė to earn extra cash in gentlemanís clubs, to bag a rich fella or spice up ones sex lives. Clearly thereís still a stigma attached to pole dancing that women who choose to do it have to contend with.

What she saidÖ

Yet when I asked the same question to the teachers and members at Benefit Fitness in Rossington they said they pole dance to build confidence, get strong, for the buzz of mastering new moves and because of the friendships theyíve developed through pole. My cousin Nichola whoís a pole instructor and recently won her first pole competition added,

ĎNailing a new move is an incredible feeling and such a confidence boost, especially when it comes to your nemesis tricks. Some of the tricks take weeks or months to master, you leave class covered in bruises and burns (pole kisses as we call them) but the end result is so worth it. Itís not quite the glamorous pastime people think it is. Itís a bit of a rollercoaster. Excitement at trying something new. Disappointment when you donít quite get it. Frustration when you keep not getting it. Then feeling like you have conquered the world when it finally happens.í

This sounded a far cry from the reputation pole tends to have. On the contrary, it sounded good, so good that I wanted to see first hand what it was all about.

Pole Taster Session

So, the other week I dragged a couple of mates (thank you Leanne & Mel) to a taster class at Benefit Pole Fitness in Rossington. Having put off doing this class for two months, I must admit it was a bit nervous walking in. The pole room can feel intimidating at first, but once I got chatting to Bridie the owner and Vicki who took the class I started to relax.

Whatís great about pole is that just 10 minutes into the class youíre on that pole. And by then end of the first class youíll have learnt your first routine. Thereís a pace to the class that keeps you engaged and focused for the full hour. I couldnít believe how quickly it went Ė if only an hour in the gym went so quickly. Having said that Vicki still took her time to break down the moves and explained them in a way that was relatively easy to get. Showing us again if we missed something.

All up the class was a right laugh, not something I usually say about exercise. Leanne and Mel loved it, having managed to master a couple of moves and have since signed up to a course. As for me I have a new understanding of the amount of work and discipline it takes to master these moves and nothing but admiration for the women that do.

Pole Dancing Myths Dispelled

1. Pole dancing is sexy Ė it can be with lots and lots of practice but thereís nothing sexy about learning. Be prepared for bruised legs and landing in a heap on the floor but that only adds to the fun.
2. It requires loads of flexibility Ė being flexible helps but itís not a requirement. Pole can help improve flexibility and thereís moves for all flexibility levels.
3. You need to be skinny to pole dance Ė look Iíll be honest if youíre the size of a house you might struggle to hold your body weight. But Iím no skinny bitch and what I loved about pole is that the girls are models of the mantra Ďstrong is the new skinnyí. Theyíve got arses, arm muscles and curves. No matter what your body shape youíll fit in at pole.
4. Itís a bitchy environment Ė from what Iíve seen and heard the pole fitness industry is generally friendly and supportive.
5. What if I fall and break my head Ė quite the opposite is true. In early classes youíll have a tendency to cling to the pole for dear life, as you get better and braver youíre encouraged to have a friend on hand to catch you. I get really clammy hands and thanks to product called ĎDry handsí I managed to stay on and not kill myself, so youíll be fine.

Improving Well-Being

Pole is a unique sport. Itís basically gymnastics on a pole and like any sport itís benefits are bigger than the physical. Itís about developing the whole person, from building confidence, competence, friendships and fitness, to becoming proud of your body. As Bridie founder of Benefit Fitness promotes, pole has huge psychological health and well-being benefits to offer women.

Iíd urge everyone to take one pole class in their lives. Itíll give you a little taster of the work, discipline and strength that goes into being able to do these moves, demonstrated by Bridie Walker at the Yorkshire Championships on Youtube plus itís great fun.

Where to try Pole Dancing in Doncaster

We did our taster class at Benefit Fitness & Well Being. The centre offers tasters, classes and 1-2-1 tuition every week in pole fitness, contemporary pole, aerial hoop, stretch & conditioning and burlesque. Pole Taster sessions are £5 per class. Follow Benefit Fitness & Well Being on Facebook for more info.

Thereís also Pole Addictz in Scunthorpe which isnít too far from Donny. Nichola Harper quoted in this article is one of the instructors there. Check out the website for membership options, class timetable and details of pole parties which are great for hen doís and birthday parties or follow Pole Addictz on Facebook.

Let us know your thoughts on this article and pole dancing. BDx.
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