So you finally decide to take the plunge and book your first ever pole class! You are both excited and nervous - you can;t wait to try it out, but also worry inside about everything from what to wear, will I be bad at it, what if I fall off, will people be nice in class? And probably so many more things! Ahhhh!!!
I remember my first pole class well - I was so scared to go, I even took my mum with me! (I was 18 years old, so not a baby, but still didn't want to go by myself). I remember walking into the room, and it was a private lesson, 10 years ago group pole dance classes were just not a thing! Now they're everywhere! There were 3 poles, close together, in a front room in a regular British Terrace house. The walls were girly, the curtains were black mesh drapes, there was a wall full of crazy stripper shoes! And my instructor was a total babe!
I had all the emotions going through my head, I was so nervous I was sweating doing nothing! Thankfully, though, my instructor - Victoria - was so nice! She had a great attitude and put my mum and I at ease.
We started with a warm-up, which felt sully as hell, because I couldn't follow it properly, and it was only 5 minutes but I was out of breath already - what the actual hell had I let myself in for!
Now, my first lesson was not what your typical pole lesson is today - 10 years ago there were not even half the pole moves of today, and there certainly wasn't much help in the way of levelling moves, nor as much care as we see today in safe progression.... SO with that in mind... My first ever lesson consisted of strength tuck holds, some simple spins like back hook, and... reverse handstand walk up the pole to a crucifix. (insert monkey face emoji here...)
So even though I would never teach this to my beginners, hell maybe not even my intermediates! It was the best lesson ever! I was challenged, I remember feeling success and failure, but wanting to progress. The burning desire to improve and impress my instructor. Even my mum, who was 50 at the time, had success in the handstand to crucifix!
We finished the lesson off with some dumbbell exercises and some stretching. I quickly realised how actually crap I was at anything strength, barely could I lift 4x bicep curls at 4kg.... So in the next few weeks I purchased a set of dumbbells and was stretching as often as i could. I was determined to touch my toes!
The next day, oh my hell... My arms, my shoulders, everything hurt! It hurt so bad I even had to get my mum, who also ached, to drive me back to uni at Hatfield becuase I couldn't even change gears!!! It was with this realisation that I was inflexible, weak and hurt so bad after 1 lesson, that I needed to improve, work on my weaknesses and get better at pole! I wanted to learn all the cool moves!!!
Remembering that feeling, I want to give the same experience to my students - when you walk in the door I want you to look around and say 'Wow!' - look at the stripper lights, look at all the mirrors, look at the bookcase full of crazy stripper heels, look at that Chaise Lounge! And most importantly, I want you to feel welcome and at ease at Bewitched.
In your first lesson you will learn 3/4 moves that are basic beginners spins, we talk about posture, engaging your muscles correctly and that taking your time, progressing at your own pace, is far more important than rushing and injuring yourself. I will always try to help you the best i can to achieve a move, but I will also be honest about your current strength, offer you advice and things to do at home to improve, and then it is up to you to get that fire in your belly, work on it, and come back and show me the improvement!
So yes, you may feel nervous, and worried, and that is part of the porcess. Once you walk through the door, see that everyone else is feeling exactly the same, and that your instructor is cheering you on, supporting you and teaching you cool moves, and you will look at others, some will struggle, some will have immediate success - you will see a group of women all coming together to enjoy a dance and fitness class together, with no judgement, and loads of laughter! This is the true infectious nature of pole, progression of your skills and friendships in class, joining our Bewitched Babes community and having fun!