I managed to get a direct train from Brighton to Farringdon, which was really handy, and the studio was only a short walk from the station - bonus! Once there, I was greeted by friendly staff who showed me to a changing room where I could get out of my office clothes and into my dance gear! I also got the chance to chat to some of the other girls taking the class with me, and luckily no one that I spoke to had ever done it before either, so that took a lot of the pressure off.
Meeting in the studio, we got our first look at the poles we'd be dancing on. There were six of us taking the class, plus the instructor. All girls, all around the same age, and all looking slightly nervous! Our teacher, Alexe, started by getting us to introduce ourselves and say how much experience we had. Luckily for me, over half had never done it before and a couple had had one or two lessons, so we were all in the same boat! After that it was time to stretch and warm up by jogging around the studio and touching our toes (or at least attempting to).
Alexe wasted no time getting us onto the poles, we started with the basics, circling the poles in a graceful manner and sliding up and down. At first it felt a bit odd trying to be elegant and confident, but you soon get into it. From there we gradually learnt more difficult techniques like climbs and spins, the climbs involved hooking your foot round the pole and hoisting yourself up, and the spins involved using a raised leg to propel yourself with momentum. It was really very enjoyable! I was somewhat out of breath fairly quickly, and I could start to feel the burn in my limbs, but not enough that I wanted to stop. Alexe said right at the start that pole dancing is addictive, and she was definitely right! When you learn a new move you just keep practising and practising until it's perfect, with nothing to dishearten you.
After each new manoeuvre we'd perform it to some music, then at the end we put a few together to perform a little routine - I couldn't believe how professional we looked after only one class! Before finishing, Alexe showed us exactly what we'd learn if we decided to start the 6-week course. It all looked complicated and difficult, but after my taster I knew I'd like to give it a go anyway, I was hooked! If only the classes would come to Brighton...
Judging by my aching body I can conclude that pole-dancing is most certainly a good workout! There was nothing sleazy about it, only techniques on getting the best improvement in strength, flexibility and balance. It was definitely a novel way of exercising for me, but I greatly enjoyed it and would love to give it another go. Massive thank you to Alexe and everyone at London Dance Academy for being so accommodating and introducing me to a fantastic new experience!
Alexe showing us how it's done.
Look at me go!