How To be the Perfect Pole Partner. Ten Things You Need to Know.

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to be the Perfect Pole Partner.
10 things You Need to Know.

It’s hard out there for a pole dancer. On the one hand, we know that our work ethic, self confidence, toned body and passion for dance makes us a sought after catch, with some serious bragging rights for the guys. Pole dancing is a sport that attracts women who are ballsy, can laugh at themselves, and who develop a great sense of body awareness. On the other hand, strip clubs have poles in them, so we know that “pole dancer” can be secret code for “stripper” for the ignorant.

Still, when something’s a big part of your life, you kind of have to tell people.  I always feel that honesty is the best approach, and I’m more than proud to be involved in (and an ambassador for) this amazing sport. When you tell a stranger that you’re a pole dancer it is a form of litmus test as to how switched on they are. If their tongue starts hanging out you know you are dealing with a redneck. Walk away. But if they can maintain enough self control to at least pretend they’re curious about pole as a sport, they’ve got my attention.

So, here are 10 things your Future Potential Girlfriend Who Pole Dances would like you to understand. Study carefully!

1. She’s really proud of those bruises
She will get bruised a lot, and in some pretty awkward places, so get good at hiding your horror and repulsion. Also remember that they are painful. We in the pole community call them pole “kisses” and consider them a badge of honour, so just be cool and pass her the arnica gel.

2. She probably won’t notice if she’s doesn’t have her legs covered
We need skin for grip (skin sticks, fabric slips), so booty shorts to us are like swimsuits for Olympic divers: a uniform. Don’t be surprised if your girl wanders around the house between practice sessions in hot pants, she’s not doing it as a come on.

3. She desperately wants to teach you something
She’s a pole addict and has her own pole set up at home. She’ll spend hours practising on it. She would like you to be involved. Let her do it. And make a big fuss over how hard it is. It is hard to make a move look easy and effortless. Right? The only way you could impress her more would be if you took up pole classes too! Miss Fit Dance Studios  offer FaST Boyz pole fitness classes for guys – check it out.

4. If she wants to show you a trick, don’t make it about her body
As with the booty shorts, the sexy aspect of pole is something we stop noticing after repeated exposure. We love that you think we’re cute, but really, if we’re trying to show you this trick we worked on for four hours, don’t fixate on anatomy. Please. Just watch the trick. Exception: telling her that she’s got a 6 pack is always welcome!

5. Pole is not a sex thing, so stop trying to make that happen
You’ll know if we’re trying to seduce you. Promise. Frankly after a pole workout sex is probably the last thing on our mind. Hope for a pole free day (-:

6. Don’t expect us to know how to give lap dances
Pole Dancing does not equal lap dancing. Lap dancing, just like any other skill, needs to be learnt and practised, it doesn’t just happen. If your girl offers you a lap dance thank your pole god.

7. But when it does come to sex stuff, brace yourself
It’s a confidence thing.

8. Massages are not an “extra,” they’re a necessity
Pole dancers ALWAYS have sore muscles, so a massage is ALWAYS welcome! You’ll get sick of hearing us talking about how sore we are, so try to remedy the problem.

9. For the most part, we’re totally normal girls
The more you can treat pole like any other interest, the happier and more comfortable we’ll feel having you in our lives.

10. You may end up as a pole widow
Just accept that your girl will be spending lots of time at her pole studio and will want to hang out with her pole buddies from time to time. And eventually, you will become blasé about watching her do tricks unless you get involved!

Now go forth and be a PPP!

Sarah Thompson, AKA Miss Fit

Pole Dancing - The 5 Secrets it will reveal to You

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Prior to my first pole dancing class I was a mix of nerves and excitement – what on earth had I signed up to? Little did I realize the profound and life changing effects it was going to have on me, and the many women (and men) that I have met through this activity.

Here are a few things I learned about how pole dancing is beneficial to the mind, body and soul.

1. The Obvious Health and Fitness Benefits
Over time, pole dancing routines (and the discipline required to learn them) can help you build upper body and core strength, improve the look of your arms and tummy, gain flexibility, burn calories, boost metabolism, and of course, lose weight. Greater core strength will also improve your posture: walking tall is key to owning the pole. Memorizing choreography is a very specific brain exercise - you need to train your brain too!

2. It Builds Confidence and Increases Self-Esteem
Pole dancing is not easy. There are very specific muscles that you need to train to be able to hold and control each move and lift. So when I finally nailed the hardest move I was taught, I felt like I’d just won a gold medal and the lottery at the same time. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had. Honestly. It felt amazing because it required stamina, strength, and flexibility. That new found self-affirmation inspires you to try the next pole challenge.

3. It Can Empower You in Other Areas of Your Life
This new found confidence will empower you in other areas of your life. You are not just strong on the outside, but you feel more enabled to face life’s challenges, in relationships, the workplace or other physical challenges. I used to feel traumatized by confrontations in my workplace. Now I walk through the office door feeling confident and in control, and I relate more effectively to my clients so that those dramas now just don’t occur. Pole dancing will definitely also get you in touch with your more sensual side, which also makes for a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your partner. Feeling fit and able bodied also makes unexpected moments more fun – lifting furniture, an impromptu run or showing off your hot body on the dance floor.

4. It Creates Bonding
Taking part in a pole class is a very different experience from going to the gym. The intimate setting of a pole lesson brings women closer together. The mood is supportive and non-competitive. New friendships develop that extend beyond the confines of the studio. There’s no place for prima donnas. We are all facing our own battles with a vertical pole and gravity! Can’t conquer a move? Girl, we will try until you nail it and I am here to lend a hand. Often there is spontaneous applause from the class when a long term goal is finally achieved.

5. It’s Fun!
Spinning around a pole is fun! I always love hearing the excited squeal of beginners the first time they experience this feeling. Whether you choose to dance in heels or barefoot, you can let your hair down and be yourself in an environment that is safe and definitely not sleazy. There are lots of laughs when we first try body rolls and some of the more sensual looking dance moves. To be honest, when we first start them they do not look very sexy. That’s ok. It’s really just a matter of practising and training your body to make those moves flow. Then, when you see your reflection in the mirror you can honestly say that you like what you see. Love it!

What have you learnt from pole?

Miss Fit
 

World-first pole dancing program takes weight loss to new heights

Friday, December 12, 2014

A ground-breaking Australian program that combines pole dancing with a controlled eating plan is achieving great results in helping women to lose weight, increase muscle tone and build self-confidence.

The BodyFit weight loss program is run by Sydney-based Miss Fit Dance Studio working with two qualified dieticians form Bites Health Clinic and Verve Dietetics. It follows on from a highly successful eight-week clinical trial with 20 students in 2012. This was the first time that a scientific study had been performed to measure body composition changes using pole dancing and a controlled eating plan. On average, each participant lost over 5 kilograms during the trial, with one participant losing 14kgs and achieving a 47% reduction in her total body fat. Since the initial trial, the BodyFit program has been expanded to include Aerial Yoga and conditioning classes to create more variety for participants.

“As far as we are aware, there is no other fitness program like ours that incorporates both pole fitness, aerial yoga and a healthy eating plan, to help women achieve weight loss and fitness results,” says Miss Fit Dance Studio director Sarah Thompson.

“The BodyFit programme is unique because there is very close mentoring between the dietician and the client, which makes it much easier for participants to stick to their eating plan and stay on target. On top of that, there is a serious fun factor in a pole dancing class - it is quite unlike other forms of dance or gym classes. Heels are optional but definitely add sexiness to the dance class. Women get to let their hair down and really have fun.

“Pole dancing not only makes you look great but it’s a real confidence lifter too. The boost to self esteem is just as important as the physical changes. Also there are great friendships that develop in pole classes – it is always a very supportive, non-competitive environment.”

Mrs Thompson says that pole dancing is fundamentally resistance training as participants learn to carry their body weight on their arms as they spin and lift around a pole. Resistance training is the best way to increase your muscle mass. As muscle requires more energy to be maintained than body fat, even at rest you are burning more calories, so the weight stays off. We have created a strategy that doesn't just trim you down, it will keep you looking great.

Aerial Yoga involves performing exercises in fabric slings suspended from the ceiling but close to floor. It creates opportunities for participants to train all joints without jarring, focussing on increasing strength, stability, balance and control. Plus there is a profound stretching experience which is not possible with floor based exercises. Every class finishes with a relaxing cocoon session so participants leave feeling very nurtured.

The BodyFit programme is designed for both novice and experienced pole dancers with a range of pole fitness, aerial yoga and conditioning classes to choose from depending on their capability. Each eight- week program includes regular face to face meetings with our dietician, a customised eating plan, lots of mentoring and support, as well as two or three exercise classes a week at our studios.

Participants also keep a food and exercise diary, which is submitted to the dietician for review throughout the program. It’s not about eating less, actually eating more, but of the right foods, and you're allowed some treats too!

“This is a proven weight loss and fitness program, and follows a professionally structured approach developed by Miss Fit Dance Studio and Bites Health Clinic. It really is taking exercise and weight loss to a whole new level,” Mrs Thompson adds.

Aerial Yoga - It's taking Off!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Aerial Yoga – it’s taking off!

 

Originally developed as a conditioning tool for the athletes involved in Cirque du Soleil, Aerial Yoga is the latest development in aerial training, and it can be beneficial for all of us. Basically, you are performing exercises in fabric slings suspended from the ceiling, but close to the ground. It is not a trapeze class. There are a range of sling products available, they vary in their stretchiness and in the type of slings. Some just have a single sling, others have a range of slings for various holds and wraps, and some slings are attached to the top of a dance pole to be used more specifically for pole conditioning. The more slings you have the greater the number of variations you can create with the exercises. The rigging is far simpler than for other aerial arts, so aerial yoga classes generally have up to 10 slings being used simultaneously.

 

When you first try the slings you need to learn to trust them. Everyone starts off a little fearful thinking that they may break the sling or fall out of it. The fabric and fittings have been strength tested to hold over 450 kg – so even after your most indulgent chocaholic weekend you are nowhere near that weight! Classes start slowly and carefully with floor based exercises, and as your confidence and competence develops you become progressively more airborne. Every exercise has inbuilt progressions. The more fabric there is supporting you the easier it is. As you get stronger, your instructor will reduce the number of slings or the amount of fabric supporting you.

 

It is a yoga class, not a pump class, and it certainly hones your body awareness. You become very aware of exactly which part of your body you are working. Each class may have a different focus, depending on the instructor and the level of the class. Enjoy a gruelling abs workout, perform variations on traditional yoga poses to improve your leg strength and balance, indulge in a profound stretching experience, or try exercises that also incorporate the dance poles. You can use the slings to perform assisted static Vs, Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Iron Xs, just to name a few. With the security of the fabric supporting you these challenging pole moves are far less daunting. There are many aerial yoga exercises that specifically train the muscles that we use to lift and invert, one of the fundamentals of correct pole technique.

 

One of the great benefits to pole dancers is that all aerial yoga exercises are performed symmetrically and each joint can be taken through a 360 degree range of movement. Pole dancing is an inherently one-sided exercise, and we all tend to mostly work our “preferred” side, which can lead to asymmetry and tightness.  You can use the exercises either to achieve greater balance in your body, or to correct a particular weakness or tightness that may be holding back your progress with your pole dancing. It is an ideal cross-training tool for pole dancers.

 

Most importantly hanging out in the slings is fun. You can use the sling as a swing – it really takes you back to your childhood. Learn how to perform somersaults – either off the floor or aerially. You will get to try (and achieve) things that you may never normally do. An unexpected bonus is just being able to hang upside down in the slings, totally relaxed. This creates great spinal decompression which provides rapid relief for certain back problems. The main sling can be opened up into a full size hammock – gently swinging in a hammock listening to meditative music is total bliss, and you leave the class feeling very nurtured and grounded.

 

What are the negatives? Unlike dance poles, it is not that easy to set up a yoga sling at home. You would need either a very stable pergola or hooks in your nice high ceiling to attach it to. You may need a builder to install it safely for you. Slings can be set up on the climbing apparatus at the park if you have one near by. So for most of us, you will need to attend classes at studios for your aerial yoga fix. While there may be a downside in terms of cost and convenience, exercising in a group certainly keeps you feeling motivated and connected.

 

If you are considering booking in for aerial yoga classes, you should ensure that the studios instructors are qualified, and that the studio has complete insurance cover. Apart from location, cost and timetables for classes, see if they offer levels in their classes. Most studios will offer trial classes or you can attend as a casual while you decide if this form of exercise is something that you enjoy. Keep in mind that any form of exercise can result in injury. If you have significant health issues, make sure you get clearance from your health care professionals before signing up for any classes. Ensure that your doctor understands that you will be inverting, so sufferers of glaucoma, high blood pressure, or certain issues inside the skull may not be suitable for this activity. Also make sure that your instructor is aware of any of your health issues.

 

Give aerial a go – Flying is Fun!

 

 

Sarah Thompson

Level 2 Certified Fly Gym Instructor

Miss Fit Dance Studio

www.missfit.com.au

0431 244 162

 

Miss Fit Sydney South - the earliest days

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Joys and Frustrations of Setting Up a Pole Dancing Studio

 

Setting up a new pole dancing studio brings much excitement, and also many frustrations along the way. My journey began back in early September 2013, when I met up with the ever enthusiastic Miss Fit and her partner John to eek out the earliest planning of our joint business venture. It was then that we hatched the plan to open up a third Miss Fit Dance Studio. I had already decided that I wanted to run a pole studio and had even found an ideal location close to where I live at Taren Point. Turning plans into reality is always harder than you ever imagine, with every conceivable part of the project taking far longer and being far more complicated and expensive than you ever expect. So it has been an exciting but rather frustrating adventure at times.  However we are on our way, the journey to Miss Fit Sydney South has begun!

The biggest thing I’ve learnt so far is that you at least need to double the amount of time many businesses tell you that things will be done by! If it’s not solicitors telling you “just give me another day”, or real estate agents telling you that the air conditioner has been supposedly serviced recently only to find it’s “raining” in your studio, not to mention curtain quotes, structural engineers, and mirror installations. All while you have a 6 month old baby with an ear infection screaming at you all day while you are “functioning” on three hours sleep a night.  (Thank god for caffeine!) My husband Dale has been trying to teach me the “three strikes – you’re out” rule of business, and how to be blunt yet polite to people you need to deal with to get things moving.  Yes I need to toughen up.

While these dramas can sometimes cloud your path, it is the small things that remind you why you are doing what you are doing. Funny things like seeing your husband spending over an hour to put together a dance pole, all the while, you’ve assembled yours in ten minutes - and having a laugh about it….or having your eight month old son crawling around the studio floor “vacuuming” up all the little bits of rubbish you’ve left behind.… or even the meat heads in the adjoining gym wanting to “help you with that”, man-speak for “any pretty girls upstairs to perve on?” And the endless “winks and nods” from contractors when they hear that you are setting up a pole dancing studio - apparently that means that you must be single and a sex maniac. I even had one guy tell me that I should join all the dating sites - despite the fact that I’m happily married! My response to him was, frankly, blunt! But these things do make you laugh and become even more determined to rid the pole dance industry of the stigma that is attached to such this fantastic sport.

The most exciting part for me this week has been seeing the beautiful Miss Fit Dance Studio colours on the previously boring pale green walls and also seeing my beautiful mirrors go in.  It was hard to envisage how the decorated studio would look originally, but now that there are beautiful purple and red walls, feathers and sparkly things in it, it is all starting to feel real and look amazing! My son has also enjoyed shopping with me for feather boas and sparkly hats, much to his dad’s disgust!

No longer just a pole fitness expert, I can also safely say I’ve also become quite the handyman lately, assembling furniture and making my own dressing room mirror.  Dale did have to teach me the basics of power tool operation, but I got the hang of it eventually! And he got a laugh out of watching me try….. personally I’m blaming the instructions that came with the furniture. J

I cannot wait to see my window dressings installed and finally have the Miss Fit Dance Studio logo up in lights. The night that beautiful logo switches on in the light box on Taren Point Road will be a very proud moment for me.

My journey setting up Miss Fit Sydney South has not been the smoothest, but I would not change a thing! I have the most supportive people helping along this journey and it is thanks to them that I know this project will continue to surprise and excite me each and every day. Bring on 2014!!

Carlie Purkis aka Symphony

Aerial Yoga Using Fly Gym Slings

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What is Aerial Yoga?

Most of us have attended a yoga class or three at some stage, and it undeniably is an uplifting means to nurture your body. Focussing on breathing, blocking out all the issues and pressures of the day, yoga certainly builds body awareness and a sense of feeling grounded. Aerial yoga creates that similar sense of self, but in addition there is the fun factor of swinging free in the air while comfortably close to the ground. In an aerial yoga class you are exercising while supported in soft fabric slings. At Miss Fit Dance Studio we use the Fly Gym slings which include a main body sling and loops for your legs, arms, shoulders and wrists. This creates the potential for a far more extensive array of exercises and the ability to increase the difficulty of each exercise – the fewer loops you use the harder it is.

The first thing we need to do is to trust the sling. The first question everyone asks is “Am I too heavy?” Fear not. The slings have been safety tested to up to 1000kg and in our studios they are suspended from solid metal beams. It’s very safe.

As there are so many ways to get in and out of the slings it takes a little practise till you feel comfortable with the various holds. However, that is part of the fun of learning a new skill. Our floors are carpeted so if you do exit your sling a little awkwardly it’s always a soft landing, and all the exercises are being performed close to the ground.

Once you do learn to trust the sling and to relax into the swinging motion, the whole experience is quite uplifting and very relaxing. Our students just will not leave their “cocoon” hammocks at the end of the class!

Unlike exercises performed on the floor, when you are suspended in the air it is much easier to take every joint through a 360 degree range of movement. There is no jumping or jarring so it is ideal for those with joint problems. The stretch that you feel using gravity is very natural and not as painful as forcing yourself against the floor, wall or stretching blocks. A huge range of exercises can be performed that will condition various parts of your body, either by resisting against gravity or against the fabric. One of my favourite exercises is to hang upside down for a fantastic back stretch. Allowing gravity to stretch out those tight muscles is as effective as any massage I’ve ever had (not to mention quicker and cheaper!)

While the Fly Gym exercises complement the exercises and goals of our pole dancing students, you do not need to be a pole dancer to benefit from it. It is a form of exercise that everyone can do - gentler on your body than pole dancing - and also suitable for those with joint problems who cannot partake in regular exercise classes. Fly Gym classes can be used as part of a rehabilitation programme following injury.

We wear track pants or yoga pants and a t shirt. It’s a very simple, low fuss class. The exercises are tailored according to your level of ability, but many are harder than they look. You’ll see why it’s called the “accidental workout”!

We offer Fly Gym classes on weekday mornings and Saturdays at our Castle Hill and Artarmon studios. Check it out - you won't regret it!

Stretching - The Truth

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
What are the benefits of stretching?
A lot of the guys that I have met while teaching the FaST Boys classes at Miss Fit Dance Studio either don’t or haven’t stretched since they were kids. Usually they think that adding a daily stretching routine to their workout is a waste of time. The attitude seems to be, unless they are pumping iron or pounding the pavements they aren’t getting a decent workout. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Stretching with or without your regular workout provides benefits that will serve to improve both your workouts and your health. The good thing is that it’s never too late to start. Improving your flexibility.

Neglecting stretching is just setting you up for injury and slower recovery. It is important to keep your muscles in good shape. It doesn’t need to take long - just 10 to 15 minutes per day – about the same time it takes you to drink that first cup of coffee in the morning. Ideally you should be stretching every other day.

I learnt some great tips from the anazing Evgeny Greshilov when he was last in Sydney, teaching pole dance classes at Miss Fit. Take it slowly, push until it hurts then come back just a little then hold your stretch and concentrate on your breathing. Hold your stretch for at least five normal breaths (not big or short gasps) let your body acclimatize to your stretch. Gently increase your stretch each session even if it is only a fingernails distance each time you are endeavoring to touch your toes. If you are consistent you will get to them

Check out the free eBook “Fit by Choice” on our Miss Fit Dance Studio website to learn some good stretches.

1. Good for Circulation
Lengthening and loosening the muscles (stretching) helps dramatically with your circulation. This increased blood flow also helps to prevent soreness and helps your muscles recover faster after a good pole jam allowing you back onto the pole sooner, and it will improve your overall health. Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. Your heart rate will also lessen as it doesn’t have to work as hard and your blood pressure will become more even and consistent. Improved circulation also decreases the build up of lactic acid in muscles, so that you can keep training for longer.

Stretching and walking around more frequently at work is being recognized as a simple and effective way to keep your body in better shape. Sitting at a desk for hours and hours is really bad for your butt and leg muscles – they become stiff and oxygen deprived. Force yourself to get up and move around more while you’re at work. Ergonomic offices are being designed with standing height desks to keep you on your feet more.

2. Injury Prevention and Reduction
As our bodies age, our muscles shorten and tighten. This decreases range of motion, and increases the chance of muscle, tendon, ligament or other soft tissue injuries. With the better circulation to your muscles that stretching allows you will also find your recovery from a hard exercise session will be quicker. Bruising is an unavoidable factor in pole dancing, especially if you are new to the sport or if you are trying new moves, the improved circulation that stretching brings will help to dissipate those bruises quicker.

David Owen from the USA is another expert on stretching who warns of the perils of over-stretching. Obsessively over-stretching each day makes your muscles continually stressed and eventually they tighten and shorten. You want a balance between strength and flexibility. Overly flexible joints are injury prone and lessen your control on the pole. They need to be supported by strong sling muscles. As an experienced trainer I can tell you if you are at risk.

Remember to never stretch a cold muscle – it is waste of time – 5 minutes of dynamic exercise to get your heart rate up and dilate your blood vessels are essential first.

3. Strength
Consider that pole is one of the best (if not the best) forms of resistance training available, it is definitely hard work lifting your body weight up and down a pole. Stretching increases your distance of expansion and contraction for those muscles allowing you greater range of movement. As an example; most people (especially the guys) usually want to try and rip out a flag on the pole (holding yourself horizontal with straight arms) this is probably the most difficult move you can perform on a pole from a strength point of view. Now imagine that you split your legs as wide apart as possible. You will have moved your centre of gravity closer to the pole thereby making it less work on your arms – believe it from a person who has tried this.

Stretching will improve your posture. Guys that are overly focused on building up their pecs can end up with a hunched back – you also need to stretch out those pecs guys! Can you clasp your hands behind your back with straight elbows?

4. Feel Good
Stretching makes you feel good physically and psychologically. It reduces stress through loosening the muscles and relieving built up tension. This is especially true for the muscles around your neck and shoulders. Similar to a good workout (preferably on the pole) it also releases endorphins in the brain that can cause a feeling of wellbeing and calmness, promoting a state of mindfulness. Also stretching releases natural anti-inflammatories into your tendons which make you feel good! As an example to those of us who spend long times hunched in front of our computers, what is the first thing you usually do when you have finished? Most people stand up straight and stretch their necks and arms back, this is your body automatically trying to expand your contracted back and neck muscles – take that advice for a good 15 minute stretch in the evening to help with a good nights sleep.

5. Being your Personal Best
Of course most of us are not aiming to become world champion pole dancers, but getting the balance right between strength and flexibility allows us to be the best that we can be. Check out the male finalists for the 2013 International Pole Championship. Their athleticism is a combination of flexibility and strength. They can inspire us all even if we never get close to their level of expertise. Rather than winning prizes at competitions, for most of us our reward is achieving our personal best, and seeing how far we can push our own measure of success.

Men pole dancing

Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Miss Fit Dance Studio has been running mens pole dancing classes at our Sydney studios for several terms now. Called FaST Boys, we are teaching men resistance training utilising a dance pole. Most of our male students have wives or girlfriends learning pole dancing either with us or with other studios. Knowing that my students had often been “earbashed” into coming along to a "pole dancing class" I’m always pleasantly surprised when they sign up for their second and subsequent terms and then start bringing their mates along.

While having studied and taught fitness previously, I had never taught a pole class, nor had I pole danced publicly. I had only danced for my gorgeous partner (Miss Fit) whose response was to roll around on the lounge in fits of laughter …. mmmm….. not quite the response I was hoping for. I had played on the dance poles sporadically over the last few years but, after landing head first after an unsuccessful attempt at a left leg hang, I had not been serious about it until the last 12 months. Suffice it to say, that given my non-dance background, I was probably as nervous as the boys who walked into the studio for their first class. However, I really enjoy teaching, my students get a lot out of their classes, and like every good teacher I am continuing to learn.

What happens at a boys pole dancing class? Simply put, we teach Flexibility and Strength and introduce the guys to the dance pole. It is resistance training, using your own body weight as the resistance. We concentrate on core, arms, shoulders and back for muscle development and all of the above plus hips and hamstrings for stretching. You will work up a sweat and work muscles that you would not necessarily be training at the gym. Many guys that are doing a lot of running do not realize just how tight they are in their hamstrings, so the flexibility work is really useful too. Of course being boys we cannot resist the urge to bust out a few moves and spins. Everyone wants to try the power moves with the most popular being “the flag”, sadly reality usually sets in at this time and the boys respect for what the girls are doing starts to grow rapidly. For the guys that want to put a pole routine together we are fortunate to have Andre, an elite Sydney based pole dancer, working with us to choreograph a series of pole moves and lifts performed to music in the more advanced classes.

Are the classes mixed with guys and girls? Short answer - no. Men and women dance differently - women usually have more grace and finesse than the men, while the latter generally have more power and strength.  With their naturally greater upper body strength, men can achieve some lifts quite easily that the girls would need to work on for months to be able to perform. Therefore the class curriculums are different.
Anatomical differences play a major part also, boys have to approach the moves slightly differently to the girls, so their technique is different. 
The attitudes between the sexes are different, what girls find interesting and exciting is not necessarily what the boys will find interesting. Also the camaraderie that develops in separate sex classes is really important, and the girls have some hilarious conversations that simply would not happen if the guys were around.

“Only gay guys pole dance”, is an often used comment I hear from men. This statement rates up there with “Female pole dancers must be strippers” for complete stupidity and irrelevance!
Firstly, I don’t know, nor do I care, what the sexuality of any person who walks into our studio is. My main concern is that they want to commit to the fitness programme, improve their strength, their flexibility and maybe even get to perform in public. I’m fortunate enough to know many male pole dancers both here in Australia and from overseas, and yes some of them are gay. It really doesn’t matter and has no impact on what we do in our classes.

Pole Dancing for both my partner and myself has been a life-changing experience. Not only has it allowed us to become fantastically fit and strong, but through our teachers, students and the wider pole community we have made some incredible friendships and met some amazing and inspirational people. We have seen so many people take on the physical and psychological challenge of pole dancing and become better and happier for it. For us it has been all about Empowerment through Fitness – the Miss Fit mantra.

Pole Dancing Classes - FAQs

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Pole Dancing?
Pole Dancing is an increasingly popular fitness activity enjoyed by women of all ages all around the world. Fundamentally, it is resistance training  - you are carrying your body weight on your arms as you lift or spin around a pole. Not just an upper body workout, pole dancing requires you to develop your core muscles to be able to do more advanced moves. Pole dancing is a great all over body work out that requires strength, fitness, flexibility, co-ordination and balance. You get to improve your dance skills and get fitter at the same time – it’s really great fun!
However, there is much more to it than just the physical benefits. Pole dancing can be quite scary – at times you are upside down on a pole using no hands or only holding on by one knee – you challenge yourself psychologically to do things that you never imagined were possible. Pole dance instructors will ensure that anything potentially dangerous is learnt safely, but occasionally there are moments when you are pushed outside your comfort zone. Also when you are in a dance studio surrounded by mirrors, you get to see your reflection and you look beautiful on the pole. It creates a fundamental change in your self-body image. Every woman has her signature moves that she performs with grace and control. Pole dancing is very aesthetic – we are wanting to create beautiful lines with our body using the pole.
Pole classes may have more of a fitness focus or more of a dance focus. Some women enjoy more the physical challenges that the dance pole provides, others prefer more creativity and self-expression, hence the dance side appeals. It really doesn’t matter – try both. You can dance in bare feet or pole shoes (just don’t call them stripper heels as very few pole dancers are strippers). Even without a dance background you will enjoy pole dancing, it’s not as strict and technical as ballet, and slower than hip hop.
It is an activity that appeals to a broad range of women – many of whom are bored with the gym and are looking for a different challenge. Pole classes are about female empowerment – they are non-competitive, supportive and non-judgemental. All shapes and sizes are welcome, and no dance or fitness experience is assumed.

What are the benefits of pole dancing for fitness?
Pole dancers need to develop specific muscles that will allow them to lift and control their body using a dance pole. Upper body and core strength are developed in particular, but the dance moves also give your legs a great work out. Pole dancers also need to be flexible, so by stretching those developing muscles you end up with a long lean physique, similar to a gymnast. Pole dancing will also improve your posture, balance, co-ordination, sense of timing and dance skills.

Are there any skills one needs before beginning?
Not really, just a desire to try something new and give it a really good go. None of us were born knowing how to pole dance, so we all start as beginners, and the classes are structured accordingly. Likewise, because the muscles used in pole dancing are quite specific there is not a lot of cross over with exercises that you may be performing at the gym, or in other forms of dance classes. At Miss Fit Dance Studio our Beginners classes are called 1 STAR.

Are there any exercises that people can do at home or in the gym (away from the pole) that will help them with pole dancing?
We always advise our students to repeat as many of our strengthening and toning exercises between classes as they can.
We have created an eBook Fit by Choice that provides a pictorial guide to the many exercises that you can do at home to help you to fast track your improvement with your pole dancing. However, nothing is as good as pole dancing to create the lean and toned body of a pole dancer.
You can download our eBook for free by visiting the Miss Fit website

Is there anything people should look for in an instructor to be sure they know what they are doing?
When you are researching pole dancing studios, look for a studio that has been around for a few years, that has qualified instructors and class sizes that aren’t too large (no more than 15 per class). Check that students are not required to share poles. Check that they offer a set curriculum rather than just teaching you random moves. Are they insured?

At Miss Fit Dance Studio our teachers are members of the International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA), as well as being qualified fitness instructors, and they are all up to date with their first aid training. Safety comes first at Miss Fit. Students follow a set curriculum so that as your strength and proficiency improves you are being taught progressively more demanding moves and lifts. There is no leap-frogging of levels. Our classes are small (no more than 14 per class), the teachers spend time with each student and will spot them when learning more difficult moves. Thick crash matts are available in each studio. Every student is covered under a Accident and Injury insurance policy to meet the costs of physiotherapy and other costs not covered by Medicare. We have been teaching pole dancing in Sydney since 2007 and during that time have introduced thousands of women to the joy and challenge that is pole dancing.

In addition, our students stay connected with our weekly student email newsletter, updates on our facebook page, and benefit from discounted prices on gripping solutions, Miss Fit Pole Wear, practise sessions and pole purchases. At the end of each term, students in our choreography classes have the opportunity to dress up and perform the routines they have been learning at our Grad Nights. It’s a lot of fun and a great motivation to really perfect the routine so it is good enough for a public performance.

Check out the Current Timetable  and book yourself into a class!

Encore! 2013 Sydney Pole Show – a Witches Perspective

Monday, March 04, 2013
Our final minutes prior to going on stage have arrived. With trembling hands we take a few backstage photos of ourselves. Shrouded in our dramatic satin capes, we conceal ourselves behind the stage curtains waiting for our moment in the spotlight. Hearts pounding and breathing heavily we wait for our music to start...

It has been a long road getting ourselves to this point of readiness. Encore! Pole Show is a fantastic event encouraging diversity in pole performance. Elite dancers from all over Australia and New Zealand vie for the honour to perform at Encore. Established by SarahJade from Blush Dance School and Kym from Pure Pole Angels it is building on its very successful first year. Some of the routines have a political message, some have a strong narrative, some are very funny,  some routines incorporate video or live singing – women, men, groups - all perform on the night. The one thing they all have in common is their incredible athleticism and mastery of the pole.

Selection to perform at Encore is by video audition. At Miss Fit Dance Studio we are always looking for new ways to present pole dancing. Our original concept was to put together a routine combining tango and pole dancing. Our performance group spent hours with Matthew Aker from Arthur Murray Dance Studio learning the finer points of the Promenade, Cameo and La Poetta. The challenge was then to incorporate Tango steps with our pole moves, using a cut down version of Cell Block Tango. We rehearsed every weekend for around 7 weeks to put together our finished product, and performed it at the Miss Fit Christmas parties.

A video of our tango performance was sent off with our Encore Performer Application. We were not overly confident with this audition – the video quality wasn’t great, the costumes looked a little dull, and our dance just seemed a little flat. However, we had auditioned successfully for Encore! 2012 so the organizers knew our style and our ability to put together a classy group routine. We waited nervously for their decision.

The thrill of being selected for Encore! 2013 was exhilarating – what a buzz! Particularly when we heard who the other successful performers were, we knew that we were part of an elite group. So we decided to come up with a completely new routine, using the Good vs Evil theme that we were using in our pole dancing classes that term. The teachers in our performance group, The Miss Fits, were all involved in selecting the music for the routine. Our two “bored housewives” complete with hair in curlers and polka dot dresses are seduced and corrupted by four evil and sexy witches to reveal their dark sides. Music by Queen and dramatic pieces from movie themes set the mood for our sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic pole performance.

The large contingent of Miss Fit supporters in the audience are in full voice, cheering wildly and boosting our confidence as we stand behind the curtains. The music starts and we’re off! The “bored housewives” have set the scene, then the four caped witches eerily make their way onto the stage, engulfed by smoke haze. The wives dresses are torn off, and blond wigs removed to reveal their vampish side in sexy black leather bikinis. The rest of the routine seems to fly past, a few minor glitches, but overall we are very happy with our performance. The best part is the great response from the crowd. What a thrill and a relief to have it all over. The many hours of planning, organizing, rehearsal and re-working of the routine have paid off.

Encore!!!