I remember my first aerial class here in Las Vegas like it was yesterday. I was nervous, worried, and PMSing. I didn’t know anyone at the studio I chose to go to — I barely knew anyone in Las Vegas at the time. We had relocated recently and I work from home, which isn’t the best way to meet new people.
I did some research on the best pole studios in Las Vegas and bought a couple of GroupOns to try out some classes. The first was called Polecats Aerial Fitness and it had Aerial Silks, Pole, and Lyra (Hoop) classes, among other things so I was super excited… and super nervous. It’s hard to go experience new things when you know no one there. I called and made a reservation for class.
The Big Day came and I was nervous… like to the point of nausea. I went in and sat down where the manager had told me to sit and just sat there, looking and feeling anxious. My nerves began fraying and I just stood up and walked out in tears. (Remember, I was PMSing and I am a little on the shy side and have a bit of anxiety in new situations)
The owner, Karley, saw me leaving and immediately caught me. She was very supportive and understanding and convinced me to stay and stretch with her — just her in the lobby. We chatted (after I was calm) and I had a good time. I thanked her and left.
A couple of weeks later, I found my nerve and went back to the studio. This time, I stayed for class and had an incredible time. I’m now a happy member of the studio and performed in my first showcase at Polecats recently. This only happened because Karley stopped me and won me over with her kindness.
What’s the moral of the story? Try to keep calm in a new studio. Everyone, from your instructors to your fellow aerialists, started their journey as a beginner. There is no shame in being a beginner. Everyone progresses at their own rate. Don’t worry about what your pole neighbor is doing. Instead, concentrate on being a stronger version of yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you can do in the future!
What makes a studio great? Here are some things that I think are important:
- Welcoming environment
- Nonjudgmental teachers and students
- Teachers who can offer modifications or progressions for those of different skill levels within a class
- Teachers who are concerned with safety, because pole dancing and other aerial workouts can be dangerous
Find out if your pole studio is women-only or if men are allowed to attend and decide which you would prefer. There are different types of pole dancing. Most of us tend to think of strip clubs but there are a few different types: fitness, sexy and art. Experiment with different styles and different instructors until you find your niche.
While it is fine, and encouraged, to wear leggings to aerial silks, Lyra, and aerial yoga, pole requires skin…and lots of it to be successful. It is not always easy to leave body image problems at the door, but your pole studio teachers and students should be supportive. Wear your shorts! Yank off your shirt when you need to. Your tricks will be very limited in leggings. If you like, wear loose shorts you can pull up when you need exposed thighs on the pole.
Leave your inhibitions at the door and just have a good time!