Pole Dancing 101: Submitting our term paper

The Foetal: As performed by the expert Tamara. One mis-timed knee placement leads to a nice black bruise ...

PHOTO GALLERY: All 6 lessons - yes, the whole pole!


Lesson 4: our progress thus far

Lesson 6: the Final Exam!

YEOOOWWW. I've got a large black bruise on my left knee from a poorly timed leg-over during the 'Extended Foetal' move (see photo, minus me and bruise). Not to mentioned a giant nimbostratus on my right inner thigh from attempting 'Upside Down' no-hands ...

Our 6 week Beginner Poledancing course is all over bar the fat lady swinging - with legs in flying V formation of course (the 'Reach for the Stars' move). I honestly thought I'd be blogging our progress each week, but when not gripping the drop bars on my Bike Friday, my keyboard fingers have been busy clutching our 50 cm diameter, demountable chrome dance pole, now lovingly installed smack in the middle of our teensy living room. We learned well over 20 moves plus a pile of 'linking' manoeuvres - amazing what you can do with a simple steel shaft. Think of it as the horizontal bar in Olympic gymnastics but rated M. My mother seems to enjoy polishing it more than swinging on it, and it's handy pillar to lean up against if you like watching the telly standing in the middle of the room ...

But back it's original purpose: to make going to the gym, yoga or pilates classes seem sexless and passe. I mean, how can a bench press compare to a stunning 360 degree bodily orbit around the pole, called Wonder Woman? Then there's 'Upside Down' culminating in a gravity-defying, worm like retreat away from the pole called 'The Caterpillar' (remember, worms have no arms).

I found that the gold bling on my gorgeous Helena Christensen shoes were getting pole-pranged, so I splurged on a pair of Bloch ballroom dance shoes - in garish gold. These have a sensible 2" chunky heel and are very supportive all over, unlike these 3"+ inverted Eiffel Towers women are supposed to totter around on (designed by men). I did try on a pair of killer stilettoes with a diamente orb and chrome sceptre for a heel - a steal at $A46 although I shudder to think of how much the Chinese worker was paid to knock them up. One of the gals in the class ordered online a pair of lethal-looking, stiletto thigh high boots all the way from over there - the place where someone told me factory workers earn 33 cents an iPod. They gripped the pole so well her friends had to peel her off it. Keep a Chinese worker from their teabreak here: http://stores.ebay.com.au/Garden-of-shoes

Some of the moves we learned were indeed risque.

Lesson 5 featured 'Flaps of Fire' - yes you read it right - a difficult move where one climbs the pole, spread eagles and slides artfully groundward sitting on one's other hand. In the UK it is primly called 'Climb and V'. What was wrong with that name? I put my hands over my ears and said lalalalalala whever the move was mentioned while imagining Micky Mouse's ears on fire.

'Feeling it More' is a simple move involving bending over with legs apart and suggestively stroking the pole three times between one's knees. Tamara related a story of a student who wanted to get the move over and done with to save embarrassment, so ended up stroking the pole more vigorously ... !

And so on - check the above Photo Gallery and Movie clips.

For the final lesson we were required to dream up a routine, bring food, and dress to kill. My mother wore sensible clothes ('now come ON, at my age ...' etc etc) I wore my old Gestapo boots, good pole-armor of one's shins and angles, and a baby doll dress with a forgiving maternity-like mid-section, that I bought for 20 bucks at the Double Pay Clothing Warehouse - a place that looks like it sells trash but is actually quite good. The other girls turned up very alluring but tasteful lingere, there was even a Playboy bunny. Not a bad Wednesday night effort for 6 students!

The three girlfriends in the class did a trio act which was bloody excellent - see clip. My routine, choreographed in the 10 minutes prior to the lesson, taught me my baby doll dress was not appropriate for doing Upside Down - it ended up around my ears. Thank Bhudda for shorts. My mother somehow sidestepped the whole exam, although did a hammed-up 'Feeling it' to the hoots of yours truly behind the camera. But then, at 68 she's allowed to do whatever she damn well pleases - including sign up for a poledancing course.

We all got a nice little certificate which will go straight to the pool room ...

So would I do it again? Lemme at it! After the inital shock of discovering how piss weak your arms are, and colliding with the pole a few times, you get more brazen. The giggling stage is over. The bruises are a rite of passage. You throw yourself at the pole before you know it you're swinging like a monkey on a vine from one arm - but hopefully looking more delectable. You start to enjoy dressing up just for the hell of it and you walk down the street looking like that, not caring who's looking. 'Better to be looked over that overlooked' says my mother. Your upper body is now getting the workout that sports like road cycling don't provide. My arms feel about a foot longer, but that could come in handy for backscratching. If you're able to to do the splits it's ideal, but if you're can't, there are plenty of alternative moves involving keeping your legs together that look just as cool. Every No Standing pole is a free piece of outdoor gym equipment (wear cycling gloves), so there's no need to cart your demountable pole everywhere. And it's a talking point. Yoga schmoga.

My mother lost a bit of her normal chutzpah towards the end of the course, seemingly intimidated by the comparitive youth of the rest of us - our ages ranged from 21 to 68. I tried to tell her that she's ahead of all the women that didn't turn up, no matter what age. Ageing gracefully is something we're faced with, and I think I'd nominate poledancing ahead of Botox anyday.

Thank you to our teacher Tamara, brilliant and beautiful - did anyone ever tell you that you look like Nicole Kidman? And thank you Polestars for making it possible for my mother and I to do this course together - and buy our own pole.

'Take it with you to America' - Tamara.
'It's staying right where it is til you get back' - Mum

www.galfromdownunder.com/poledancing Read the full story


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