Being at home and practicing social distancing has made me miss being active. My mother andI have not leftour home in almost twenty days. During that time, I have spent a lot of time eitherbinge-watching my favorite seriesor completing assignments in my kitchen. When I was in Madrid, I joined a gym called El Horno.
While I had friends that joined with a fitness membership, I would go two or three times a week and attend their pole dancing classes. I took my first class in October, and since then, I have seen so much progress.
I began taking pole dancing more seriously when Irealized I could get my dance classes credited as long as I completed the required hours. I would walk thirty minutes to the gym, followed by a very intense warm-up. During my first class, the instructor—Jesús—taught me how to properly climb the pole.With his help by the end of that class, I was able to do an invert on the pole and hold my body upside-down. It felt empowering to know that pole is not limited to a single gender or body type. I remember how bruised I was after my first hour of pole and how the pain and adrenaline made me more eager tokeep pushing. I had never experienced that while working out, and I have always hated exercise since I was younger. Pole dancing made me realize I just needed to try a different form of exercise that suited me best.
In my next classes, the different instructors would change the pole from static to dynamic, and I learned different poses on the pole and how to spin.With every class came a new challenge to balance my weight differently and hold myself up on the pole. Every new move at first would be so sloppy until I would look in the mirror, remember to point my toes, and try again. Different instructors would have different teaching styles, and the only thing I did not like about my classes was how often the instructors would be switched out. I don’t think I ever had one single instructor more than once. One of my instructors worked well with the different levels of experience in the class, teaching two new moves to beginners and two new moves to the more experienced dancers. However, another instructor I had taught an entire choreography to the class with about eight separate poses within the hour of class that we had.
One of the things I wish were different is the fact that I could only pole dance during my classes. I wish there were open hours where I could go into the gym and practice whatever I had learned previously. Unfortunately, with the stigma around pole dancing, it is not an art form I feel able to publicly embrace yet. Also, poles are relatively expensive, and since I am back home, my mother wouldn’t allow me to install one in her house. In New York, pole dancing classes are about ten times more expensive than the ones in Madrid, so I may not get back to dancing for a while. Whenever I can get my own pole, though, I look forward to picking up where I left off, embracing all the bruising and soreness that comes with the art of pole dancing.
Nicole Richards (Nico), student blogger primavera 2020