Friday, June 7, 2013

Pole Dancing at Groove Dance Studios

I guess you know by now through my Instagram pictures that I have currently taken up pole dancing.

I started early last year at Groove Dance Studios. That's where I learn exotic dance too. I have been admiring the strong ladies coming out from pole classes and decided to try it for myself. I would have done it earlier but I keep hearing the pole ladies complain about how painful it is. I was afraid. Anyway I decided to suck it up and try beginners pole. If I didn't think I could take it, I would just stop. He he, I have just graduated level 5 now and there is no stopping for me.

Level 1 is all about spins. I suck at it up till now because I don't look graceful. I get dizzy too. Can you imagine how embarrassing it is that a pole dancer gets dizzy spinning on a pole? Sigh.

You start to get abrasions on your palms, wrists, ankles, knees basically everywhere you come into contact with the pole. After every lesson I wonder why I put myself through torture but when Saturday comes I get excited and keep going for more. What can I say, I'm a sucker for pain.

I love my dear pole instructor E. She is one of the strongest and most fun pole instructor there is. She has been my pole instructor since I took pole up. She is patient and yet spurs us to try and do our best. Her instructions are clear and easy to follow. She slowly takes us through body conditioning exercises that build our strength. I look at what I did for pole 1 and now and I'm amazed at how far I've come. E never gives us exercises that are beyond us. The conditioning exercises are tailored to challenge us but yet easy for us at our fitness level. I remember how she helped me through my pole dance routine by standing next to me and holding me up when I needed her help.  She got me to complete the whole thing. 

In the beginning, I'm always looking at the other ladies and feeling envious of how well or beautifully they can execute moves. Then I come to realise that it is not about other people but about myself. How I improve and get better week after week. How I challenge myself.

Pole 2 was all about climbing and staying on the pole. Bruising on the inner thighs is very common and we all walked funny after class. Here are some things we learn.

Inner thigh hold
Side plank
Yup as you can see I have a pole at home. Right in the middle of the living room. It is quite a conversation piece when visitors come to visit heh heh. It is the best $600 I have invested in my life.

In the beginning all of us found it difficult to stay on the pole. We slipped and slid all the time. But as we worked on our thigh muscles it got easier with time and practice. Initially we always blamed the pole for being slippery now I realise it really is about the thigh grip nothing else.

Pole 3 was all about being upside down or inverts as we called them. It is a terrifying experience but each pose is broken down to manageable baby steps. The conditioning exercises got tougher but I got stronger as well.

I had to learn to trust my body and know that if I placed my body in the right position, my body would hold me in place. I am terrified of crashing to the floor. What I learn is not to panic, hang on tight and call for help.


The bow


Gemini

It usually takes me quite a few weeks before I can get a move right. I'm not very flexible so certain moves don't look really nice because I cannot stretch out nicely. I always place my musty old mattress on the floor and use that as my crash mat but I remove it when I feel confident. My DH is my spotter at home. Sometimes just having him near me gives me the confidence to do a move.

Pole 4 was tough for me. Having some dance experience did not prepare me for pole choreography which I find extremely challenging. Not only do I need to squeeze out every once of my stamina to complete a whole dance routine I found that I was totally not graceful dancing on the pole.

The following moves were part of the dance routine. I had a lot of trouble with the combination because I had issues with my arm strength and just being afraid to let go.




I hope you don't mind me showing off my poses. I get great satisfaction knowing a move that I found difficult becomes easier with practice. I have calluses on my hands and I'm super proud of them. The calluses actually protect my hands from feeling anymore pain. My arms might have bulked up but I don't mind that either. I get introduced to a new sort of pain every other week but like life's problems they fade away eventually.

Pole Dancing is totally not sleazy at all. There is that beautiful grace when you see masters at work. We focus a lot of technique and fitness. It is all about getting stronger and feeling confident about your body. Pole dancing has taught me to be more fearless. I am more willing to try the unknown than before. I feel that I can take on challenges better than before as well.

I think it is important for all ladies to get active and exercise. It might be simply brisk walking or something simple like swimming. We owe it to our bodies to give it lots of love. It is not just your body that benefits. Sometimes you learn life lessons as well.

Come on, let's get active.

44 comments:

  1. AMAAZING JACQ !!!

    Love all your pole's pictures, you look great and awesome ! And thanks for sharing the journey of your learning, it certainly inspire me and many other women out there.

    Ever since i have a kid, I seem don't have any hubby or interest to pursue.. always busy day-in-day-out mandate life.. haha..

    Thanks for sharing again, as usual, love your post :)

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    1. Grace my dear, I challenge you to go do something that you have not done before. Perhaps you have always been curious about something. You never know if you like it until you try it. I find doing things other than normal work enriching for me and it has actually helped me with my daily life. Go for it my dear!

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  2. I'm loving this post! :) Thanks for introducing me to Groove too! How are your aerial inverts coming along? This is the most difficult move for me in Pole 5 and I still struggle sometimes, especially when I am tired.

    I've got class tonight, but I'm aching from yoga all over my thighs and my shoulders! Gonna have trouble with the aerial inverts again tonight. :(

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    1. I find aerial inverts scary especially when followed by symphony. In addition my right leg always cramps up and I agree with you after two aerial inverts I am totally pooped. I am so glad you are loving your time at Groove. We all should be doing something we love. And I absolutely love pole.

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  3. This is a wonderful post, Jacq and your poses are amazing!!!

    we indeed need to get active. Urban lifestyle is just too unheathy.

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    1. Thank you Ruby. Yes we owe our bodies to be active.

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  4. You're amazing! My colleague is also taking pole lessons now so I know what the aftereffects are like! Applause!!

    I'm also trying to be more active and head to the gym at least twice a week! =)

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    1. Luna then you know pole dancers aren't shy about showing our battle scars. My colleagues and husband is very sick of me showing my blue black bruises. Yes Luna I saw your IG shots at the gym, good going girl, jia you!

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  5. I salute you for your perseverance, Jacq! You are amazing!

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    1. Caise, I'm not talented, just determined to be active.

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  7. Absolutely amazing! I'd be way too afraid to try this kind of thing but I really admire your courage and ability!

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    1. You know I am deathly afraid of falling too but like everything, if you follow instructions and do it like you are told to, it is actually quite safe. Now if only I can muster the courage to learn how to cycle.

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  8. Jacqueline, you're amazing! I like how you described the evolution of your abilities from the start. It reminds me of how when I struggle with tough times or new challenges, it's the easiest to focus on how hard things are rather than the distance I've come. You look very accomplished at pole dancing. I have an urge to run out and find a class of my own. I wonder what my fiancé would think about putting a pole up in our kitchen? heh heh.

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    1. Perhaps your fiance will be very happy. Initially my hubby would make jokes about breaking out the beer and sitting in the living room to watch me pole. Then eventually he found out how ungraceful I am. Ha! Ha! It is always easy to focus on how difficult something is or what you cannot do. I do that all the time and eventually I realise all that can of negative self-talk demoralizes me. It is really about changing your mindset.

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  9. Wow! Those are some really awesome looking poses! I don't think you look ungraceful at all, you look fantastic and fit! :) I'm too chicken to try anything like that (the upside down poses look scary), so I guess I'll just stick to running haha.

    BTW is the pole in your living room removable? Or did you have to drill a hole somewhere to mount it? :)

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    1. The only reason why hubby allows the pole in the living room is because it can be removed rather quickly. There wasn't any need for drilling, it came in sections which hubby has the twist and tighten. The upside down poses are scary, my palms sweat a little every time I have to invert and I still get nervous.

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  10. Wow that is seriously amazing, Jacqueline! Good for you! I can totally see how pole dancing is not only totally fun and an incredible workout but SO liberating and exhilarating as well! I've been curious about doing a pole dancing class for a couple of years now. After being inspired by your photos, however, I think I will get serious and start looking for a class near me. I've been looking for a fun way to get back into exercising lately (it's been SO long for me! :/) and I think this would be perfect! :D

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    1. Becca, I think the key factor for me to stick to an exercise routine is the fun factor. I don't want to dread doing my exercises. Go my dear. I've not met any ladies who hated pole after taking it up.

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  11. OMG Jacqueline you're a PRO! Amazing! I don't think I have that much strength (which is not a good thing. I need more)! Pole fitness is really becoming popular. I totally understand why. It looks like a lot of fun!

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    1. Hey Sunny, I started out without having arm strength. So trust me, it can be developed. It's popular in Singapore too, I think it's because it is such a confidence booster for ladies.

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  12. I was thinking want to blog about my pole stuff hehe. or maybe i should do it now :P
    Love you! You are awesome hehe

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    1. Fenny please do! I would love to hear your thoughts about pole. I admire your grace when you dance babe.

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  13. This has got to be one of my favourite posts! I admire your passion for dancing, and how strong you are!

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    1. Thank you Jade. Actually there are stronger ladies out there but I'm getting there one step at a time.

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  14. Dear Jacqueline,

    I know this is a good 6 months late but I stumbled upon this post while googling for reviews of Groove Dance Studio!

    Firstly I must say that WOW you are amazing and inspiring!

    I do have some questions about classes at Groove which I hope you can help me with :)

    I'd imagine the participants to all be lithe and skinny ladies. I'm not of that build, would it be really awkward to be there?

    I have zero experience in dancing, gymnastics or the likes. Would this hamper my experience?

    Thank you so much ~

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    1. By the way Tess I've graduated and have become a dance instructor at Groove so if you are interested I teach on Saturdays :) First up, ladies of all shapes and sizes come to Groove. It is about loving your own body no matter what it looks like and building self confidence. It is perfectly fine that you have no experience whatsoever we peg our teaching to whatever level of skills you have. If you are interested in dance start with the level 1 classes, Exotic 1 is slow, sexy and fun, I think you will have fun with it. Honestly, everyone is too busy looking at themselves in the mirror because they are concentrating on their moves to be looking at what others are doing. All the ladies I've met are friendly and accepting so don't worry. If you are interested in Pole, level 1 is all about spinning. You know what, I've seen curvy ladies who can dance better than skinny ones. :) give it a go babe, you won't regret it.

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    2. Hi Jacqueline! Thank you so much for your informative and inspiring reply! Glad to know you have become an instructor at Groove :)

      I've registered for Pole Level 1 online! Awaiting the confirmation email now and I'll be at the studio soon ~ Hope to see you there!

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    3. So so exciting, you are on your way to your pole journey, I can't wait to meet you! We can trade bruise stories :) so do you know who is your instructor yet?

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  15. Hello Jacqueline! I can't wait to meet you too and be as good as you some day !! The class I signed up for is under "Melissa"! I didn't see your name on any of the class options :(

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    1. Tess I teach Exotic Dance I'm totally not qualified to teach pole. I bet you will have fun learning with Melissa ( thumbs up!) so when are your classes starting? It's so exciting babe. Be sure not to apply body lotion on that day, I don't want you slipping and sliding.

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    2. Hey Jacqueline! If all goes well I'll be starting 22nd Feb :) Thank you so much for your advice !! Hope to see you in person some day :) You will be my first ever pole-inspiration!

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    3. Yipee for you Tess! Don't forget to say hi if you see me ok? I would love to meet you. Enjoy yourself, I bet you cant wait to start. Anyway here are a few tips to get you ready for class. Don't use body or hand lotion on the day or the day before. You become to slippery for pole. T shirt and shorts are perfectly fine but your shorts should be above the knees cos you will need your knees to come in contact with the pole. Happy poling!

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    4. Hi Jac! I know it's been a while but I wanted to drop by again to say thank you for giving me the much needed encouragement and push to take up pole dancing classes. I started P1 under Elaine sometime in Feb and while it is indeed very challenging for me I am loving every bit of it! I am determined to pursue pole to a much higher level in time to come!

      I'm also starting to expand my new found interest in dance and I hope to take exotic dance classes @ Groove some day! I hope I can get to learn from you ~~ when do you teach? :D

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    5. Tess I'm so happy to have played a part in your pole journey. It is so liberating and addictive :) you are in good hands with Elaine. She has hoisted this body a good number of occasions :) She is very strong. How's the pain so far?
      I teach on Saturday afternoons at 130 onwards. I suggest you look out for the Exotic 1 class it's for beginners and super sexy.

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    6. Heyo Jac! Pain has been bearable so far, ironically the worst of the lot was a blister smack at the bottom of my middle finger which hampered everything I did :(

      Thank you for sharing your teaching slots! Right now I can't manage two classes at a go but I definitely want to try exotic someday so maybe when I take a break from pole/schedule clears !! HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON :D

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    7. Tess! We all have that blister, for me it has become a callus and it actually helps me to grip the pole with less pain. Everyone has it. It is the mark of a pole dancer! :) Welcome to the fraternity. So which day do you learn from Elaine? Sometimes I do pop in on other days so if you are there I'll peep in and say hi. :)

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    8. Hello ~~ classes are at 8:30pm every Wed for now ! I just signed up for P2 :D YAY please let me know if you'll be there on wed :)

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  16. Hi Jac,

    Came across your blog like many others who googled about reviews for Groove.

    I've just signed up for it a few days back! P1 in Feb (Elaine, my instructor) and I am so so excited. I'm even excited to start experiencing all those pain/bruises that you've mentioned! :))

    Your entry is really detailed and helpful!
    Hope I will be able to bump into someday in school. :) And if I happen to take up Exotic dance, you as my instructor! Haha.

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    1. Meriting I'm so excited for you, Elaine has been my instructor from the very beginning until now so you are in very good hands. I'm always at Groove on Saturdays in the afternoon till evening. When is your class?

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  17. i enjoy your blog upon reading this entry on pole dancing. I have tried pole dancing with groupon at bobbies pole. Any comments on the difference studios?

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  18. Hi,
    I enjoy reading this entry on pole dancing. I tried bobbie's pole before and I am wondering what the difference between different pole dancing studio.

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    1. Hi Celine, I haven't gone to Bobbi's Pole before so I can't comment on them. Groove in my opinion is focussed more with pole fitness and getting their student conditioned to master each trick. For example I'm at APC 4 which means Advanced Pole Choreography 4 now. My instructor teaches us the difficult moves on the first lesson and does conditioning exercises through the course to prep us. We have the time to practice them throughout the entire course so that by lesson 7 or 8, we would all have mastered the combinations planned. I really like how they are very patient and breakdown moves for us. E.g. I have problems with my arm flexibility and my instructor always adds arm flexibility exercises into our warm up. They always ensure that we are successful with our tricks.

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