Dance First. Think Later. It’s the natural order.
– Samuel Beckett
When you think about it, there must be no dearth of puny, rhyme, cutesy names for a pole dance studio, but Ecole de Pole has got to be one of the best. Damn catchy, that. As I began my first class at the Singapore studio (five minutes from Clarke Quay MRT), the name seemed the last bit of lightheartedness that I would know for the next 15 minutes.
My instructor, Salmah, was brutal. She was relentless. She was a slave-driver. Drill sergeants could take lessons from her. I loved it. OK, I’m exaggerating (a bit), Salmah knew what she was doing and knew how much she could ask of us tyros. A great deal! I was stiff and sore a few hours after that first workout. It was the kind of pain that was its own reward. I knew I had crossed a threshold and that, with a few stretches, some moaning, some groaning, and some comfort food, I felt good about myself!
I needed a lift. At 5 months Postpartum, I could tell that my body had been through some changes – weight gain, shape anomalies, water retention. Nothing unique there, goodness knows, but when it happened to me, combined with an ineffable sense of longing, sadness, yearning, lassitude that giving birth inspires, I decided to mope. But not for long! Moping is just not in my DNA. Nope, I’m no mope dope. I decided to cope and hope. The upward slope!
In passing, a friend mentioned a pole dancing studio that she had heard of. I thought about it. For at least thirty seconds. It sounded like my kind of alternative exercise. No gym membership. No self-directed torture for me. At this unique juncture of my maternal life, I was looking for a change from the typical – my modus operandi.
I’ve been “on the pole” for 4 months now. I’ve seen my body return to its former shape – almost. There is still a bit of abdominal bulge (so slight!) where flatness once ruled. But I “wear it well” (thanks Rod Stewart – look him up, millennials). I am a confident person. Always have been. That birth stuff, though, threw me for a momentary loop. I suppose I would have gained back my self-confidence eventually, but the pole accelerated the process.
Ecole de Pole offers a really wide variety of classes. Like “Whack Me,” a high intensity-interval training experience – keywords: strength, endurance, cardio – to more advanced classes culminating with PRO Tricks and Techniques there is a range of choices. Yes, ‘real men dance’ as the “Man Pole” class attests. “It’s not easy boys so beware – bring your balls with you!”, declares the website. I assume they refer to training accessories with which I am not familiar.
As you might guess I chose Beginner Pole. For what I was looking for – basic techniques and strength-building, it proved a good fit. The aforementioned Salmah was tough but kind. Here’s her blurb from the website:
“Salmah’s love for all things hip and booty have led her to explore Twerking, Belly Dancing and Tahitian Dance Fitness which she practices regularly.
What she loves most about teaching is that she can inspire others to find comfort in their own skin and strongly believes that confidence is the key to being sexy.”
She explores twerking! Now there’s a testimonial if I ever heard one. After my own heart. Thirteen other instructors share the bio page with Salmah. No shortage of talent, variety, experience and expertise.
With branches in London, Singapore, Brisbane, and Cleveland, Ecole de Pole School of Dance is no fly-by-night trend-chaser. Believe me; they know what they are doing. They have a good thing going. One that many should try.
I went. I poled. I surrounded my postpartum angst and forced it to surrender!
When I’m on the pole, I’m definitely in the flow. I don’t really feel emotion either when I’m in the flow. It’s just happening. That’s what I love. It’s an escape.
– Danielle Gray