Pole dance your way to a toned body

We sat down with Kathy-Lee, founder of the Pole Project in Cape Town, to find out just exactly what the art of pole dancing requires from a woman.

The thought of pole dancing can be very intimidating for some women.

We also had our reservations but after our chat with Kathy we learned that pole dancing is for everyone, so long as you have the will and determination, and want to explore your sensuality.

Will anyone be able to try it? I mean pole dancing takes lots of strength, fitness and suppleness...
Absolutely. People from all walks of life are signing up for pole fitness – from accountants, doctors, dancers, gymnasts, lawyers, students to the more mature men and women… and in all shapes and sizes.
How did you become involved in pole dancing?
Growing up I always loved pursuing various dance forms, and a friend of mine suggested I try out pole dancing as a hobby.  I watched a YouTube clip of Felix Cane (a world champion pole dancer, who also performs with Cirque du Soleil) and I was blown away by her strength, grace and sensuality.

I was hooked after my first class. After six years working as a lawyer, I decided a change of lifestyle was in order and I had to follow my passion… so I started The Pole Project.

What about the sleaze element?
Pole dance used to be associated with strip clubs, but in recent years it has become huge in the fitness world and is now a competitive sport.
It has evolved into three main genres today: sport, art and sexy. There is a tendency for people to confuse “sexy” with “sleazy”. While our pole fitness classes are geared towards the sporty and arty side of pole, The Pole Project also embraces the more sensual style of pole dance.

Our exotic pole dance classes allow women to tap into their sensuality, build confidence and lots of attitude!
Do people get hurt?
Like any sport, there is always a risk of injury. In addition to bruises, pole dancers can experience wrist, shoulder and/or back pain as a result of improper technique.

This is why we include warm ups and downs and conditioning exercises in our classes, and teach you the right way to execute tricks, spins and transitions.

How long will it take until I’m good?
This varies from person to person, and depends on several factors including one’s body makeup and how much time is dedicated to training.

Some take a few weeks to learn the basics, others a few months. But everyone moves at their own pace and the process of growth never ends. There are always new tricks or transitions to conquer and it leaves you wanting more.
Do I have to do it in skimpy outfits and heels?
No, but we do recommend shorts and cropped tops as you need to have skin exposed to grip the pole. Heels are only recommended for our exotic pole dance classes, otherwise we normally train barefoot.
What if I’m not a good dancer?
The majority of our students start with no dance experience at all and we are here to teach you the basics.

Is it only for women?
Absolutely not. The number of men pole dancing has been rapidly increasing each year. There are men’s divisions in national and international pole competitions now. Men have a natural inclination towards greater upper body strength and can achieve some lifts quite easily.

Male pole fitness is akin to a gymnastics routine on a vertical pole, where the focus is more on the acrobatic and artistic elements of the activity.

For more information visit The Pole Project website

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