A hectic job and the added responsibilities of marriage had eaten away all of Sakshi’s time. She had been a dancer, very fit and flexible, but a year’s gap had turned her body brittle and the weight she’d gained stung her eye and her confidence. Last New Year’s Eve, Sakshi and her husband went for a bash which had a pole dance show. “I had known pole dance to be an erotic form of dance, but that show changed my perspective. And the first thing I did on New Year’s Day was a google search for pole dance classes!” she said. Sakshi was initially drawn to it because it was subtle and sensuous, but on taking lessons realised that a strenuous exercise regimen and extreme fitness was the backbone of this exotic dance form.
Pole dance is usually associated with seedy bars, but that’s not the place where it all began. Back in the 1920s in America, dance troupes used poles of their tents to swivel and sway around. Gradually the dancers started experimenting with new moves on the pole, and the climbs and slides invited jaw-dropping reactions from audiences. So the dancers turned up the sensuous heat a notch which seduced them further. Over the years, pole dance made its way into night clubs and bars where enticing and alluring the audience became its raison d’etre.
However, in the last couple of years pole dance has gone through an image makeover to a fitness workout from an erotic dance form. Lourd Vijay, a pole dance trainer explained, “Pole dancing requires extreme levels of fitness. The main areas of focus are the core, the upper body, especially arms and the back. Pole dance does not lead to weight reduction. Strength and flexibility are the main requirements of pole dancing and that’s what we concentrate on.”
So what preparations does the body need before playing around the pole? “Oh! A lot of muscle strength building and joints and muscle loosening at the same time. So we have rigorous workouts like hip isolations, push-ups, core exercises, hip rolls, cardio and flexibility workouts.”
It’s been about eight months of training for Sakshi and she beamed as she spoke about how these workouts have done wonders for her flexibility and fitness levels. And besides sweating it out, she shares the exciting paradox that the pole offers...“You know, there’s this high intensity, rigorous workout that the body needs as a preparation for the pole, but on the other hand, the dance is as feminine as feminine can be!” Lourd Vijay echoed the same thoughts, “Pole dancing can be looked at as a strength and stamina building workout, but it also brings forth the soft and sensual side of a woman. My students tell me it’s a dance form that’s mentally and emotionally satisfying.”
Since pole dancing is meant to tease and appease, sexy and sensual it has to be. But if fitness and flexibility come as a part of the package, is there any better workout you could ask for? I guess not!