“Pole gives you the opportunity to have super human strength, to defy gravity, to dance and to be sexy. It also makes for a crazy awesome confidence in other parts of your life too.”
Medical Student and Pole Fitness Instructor at Fitness Evolution
Amanda G’s first pole class was offered at a yoga/fitness studio she’d been to a couple of times. In search of a new hobby, she thought the pole class would make a good joke. “I brought a girlfriend just to see what it was like. I thought it was going to be like a bachelorette party, where I would make fun of myself.”
But it didn’t happen that way.
“It blew me away! I was terrible at it in the first class,” she said. “I couldn’t even lift myself. But I went back and became obsessed. I’ll never looked back.”
Amanda says she loves everything about pole. “I’m in awe of the sport. It’s empowering, and makes me feel strong, like I can take on anything. It’s definitely confidence building. You become very strong and very self-aware of your body.”
Amanda says she felt far from sexy when she started pole. She really saw the sport as a challenge for her body, and preferred it to the gym. “My body shape changed quickly doing pole. It’s really demanding, and I loved the challenge.”
As a former ballet student, she also loved the freestyle dance and individual expression pole fitness allowed for, with its gymnastic challenges, and space for sensual expression.
“In ballet I was trained to be this person standing up straight with my toes pointed. There was no room for moving to the music, or showing a seductive style. I don’t know what happened but somehow, eventually, I just stopped being so self-conscious about not feeling sexy. The confidence that the sport gave me, combined with the amazing and supportive people in my pole class just allowed me to completely open up.”
“I never started a song with routine wanting it to be seductive, I’m not forcing anything, it really feels authentic.”
“I’m happy I had those years in ballet, but it was never like this. I was never as serious about it. I liked it, I had fun, I made friends, I felt I was learning something really cool, but this changed my life, gave me a new confidence and made me feel truly good about myself.”
A video of Amanda G pole dancing in slow motion:
From ‘Pole Dancing’ to ‘Pole Fitness’ and back again
In her first year at medical school, G says she surprised a lot of people when she told them she’s a pole dancer. “When I meet a new person it’s not something I immediately tell them. When I do, they’re often a little confused.”
“But when I send them a video of myself they usually come back to me with a wow! I didn’t expect that. It’s not what it seems. Some even ask about were they can take a class.”
There’s a stigma to the sport, but as awareness increases, more people are starting to understand that the new era of pole dancing is more likely to be in a theatre, or a stadium – not a strip club.
“Strip tease on the pole? Hello no!” Amanda says, explaining that she sees pole dancing and stripping as two completely different activities. “It’s a way to escape and be super human.”
“My students range in age from 16-45. Some are married and have kids. They do talk about their kids. Everyone has a different background like cheerleading, ballet, hip-hop, gymnastics or some other kind of dance. But you don’t need a dance background. Anyone can do pole.”
Every once in a while, a stripper takes the class. “They want to enhance their skills to give a more entertaining performance. “You’re taking them on the same journey as any other student, but their needs are more about the sensuality. It’s not a fitness sport for them, they’re putting on a dance performance. I’ll teach what the student is asking of me. But if it’s beyond me, then I tell them.”
A Potential Olympic Sport
Since 2000, the term “pole fitness” has outnumbering “pole dancing” as it gains popularity in the sports arena. 150 athletes competed in the World Pole Sports Championships last year, and the pole community online is vast. The World Pole Sports Championships wants to see it become an Olympic discipline.
“Not with the stilettos obviously!” said Amanda. “Give the world a couple more decades for that…”
Amanda G is a 24 year old med student and teaches part time at Fitness Evolution in Montreal.