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.