Pole dancing is harder than it looks

Pole dancing has a stigma, but it’s a great form of fitness

When Assistant Editor Tina Todaro (right) visited Brass Vixens, her strength and endurance were put to the test. PHOTO: JEVI/THE DIALOG

When Assistant Editor Tina Todaro (right) visited Brass Vixens, her strength and endurance were put to the test. PHOTO: JEVI/THE DIALOG

I danced on a pole, and not to strip. On Jan. 28 I attended a beginner pole dancing class at Brass Vixens pole dancing and fitness studio out of curiosity and for a workout.

“After years I wanted find a new way to get into shape, but I didn’t want to do what I had done previously,” said Kori, a pole dancing instructor. “I had heard and become aware of pole dancing as something that was becoming popular, and I just thought the idea sounded so fun.”

I had also heard of pole dancing was a great workout but had never actually tried it.

“I found a friend who was also interested in pole dancing, and we took a trial class together because we were too shy to take class by ourselves. The class was not really hard, it was so fun,” said Ayuko Kitazawa, GBC graduate who now works as an instructor at Brass Vixens. “As a student, I took classes for a workout and to improve my dance skills.”

There’s many people who say that if you’re dancing on a pole that you’re a stripper, well, while there are girls that attend these classes who are professional strippers, there are many who simply want to get in shape.

“There’s still quite a stigma with a lot of people worried that they’re going to come here and we’re all strippers, stripping and getting naked, and it’s not the case,” said Kori. “People come here with other intentions, some of our students are professional strippers, others are mothers, professionals, PhDs, waitresses, it’s an entire gamut of professions and lifestyles.”

Located on the third floor above the Seduction sex shop on Yonge Street, the place was certainly not sketchy—it was bright, fun, inviting and pink!

Kori says she got hooked from the first class. “I loved it, it was so much fun. It was such an inviting and inclusive environment. It was humourous and everybody was so friendly. I felt like it was a safe environment.”

Turning on the music to set the mood, she taught me some basic poses like the flamingo and sexy squats. These moves and poses look simple but really worked the body, requiring balance and control.

It was not an easy class, but it was fun. The other girls in the class were laughing and enjoying it, which made me enjoy it as well.

Pole dancing when used as fitness is a entire body workout. From the warm up to dance sequences, every move requires strength, control and upper body strength. Using your core and upper body strength, we were also taught other moves like the windmill, the fireman, and how to properly do a sexy walk around the pole.

Pointed feet, legs straight, gripping the pole with your bicep, it is definitely a challenging workout, especially if you’ve never done it before.

“The biggest challenge in learning the art of pole is how to move while looking sexy and beautiful. It requires lots of core, strengthening and flexibility,” said Kitazawa.

Many of the instructors are professional or trained dancers and they make it look easy, but it comes with practice.

“What I liked about it for me, and I think what appeals to a lot of people as opposed to the gym, not only are you getting stronger, more flexible, building endurance and co-ordination and all of those great physical attributes, that’s not the goal in and of itself, that’s the side effect of learning something new and fun and learning a new skill and at the same time you have the chance for self-expression,” said Kori.

I recommend these classes as a great way to get in shape, and even after the first class I would definitely try it again. If you are an avid gym-goer you may find it easier, unless you have good upper body strength.

“What draws people here, what they finally realize, is that it isn’t anything other than what you choose to make it,” said Kori. “If you want to come and get your sexy on, and have fun expressing that side of yourself, you have the freedom to do that here.”

For Kitazawa what she loves most about pole dancing is “hanging out with pole friends. Everyone in the pole community is so sweet, we share the fun and learn each other.”

Try expressing yourself in a sexy, fun and creative way at Brass Vixens fitness studio.

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Pole dancing is harder than it looks