Extremely tall pole dancers are not commonly seen within the pole community, whether male or female. The vast majority of dancers tend to be smaller in stature. Pole dancing has gained a lot of steam publicly over the past few years and as a result dancers of all shapes and sizes have happily joined the pole “collective”. While challenges for dancers of all sizes present themselves in various forms; tall dancers share some unique challenges and benefits that come with being vertically blessed. I am among the group of polers above 5’09 and thought to ask one of tallest in the business Shaina Cruea, a few questions about her experience as one of the long legged beauties of the pole world.
J: There are not very many female pole dancers taller than 5’10, so the first questions I’d like to knock out is- how tall are you?
S: I am 6’ even (maybe a smig taller but not 6’1”… 6ft is my internet height)
J: When you first started pole dancing, did you ever experience any difficulties related to your height?
S: The thing I struggled with the most when I first started was pretty typical, upper body strength. I have an extensive dance background so my legs have always been very strong, but my arms lacked the strength required for pole. BUT it did not take long for my arms to gain strength/definition, I will never forget the first “OMG look at your arms” comment from Lian Talbert at Body&Pole!
I do believe a common difficult thing for new tall polers is inverting. You do have to have an extra strong core to lift the extra weight of the lower body. I have been doing Pilates since I was in high school so came into pole with a solid core. I believe this helped a TON with inverting. I HIGHLY recommend Pilates or Core Aerial (a conditioning class offered at Body & Pole) as a cross training tool.
J: How do you manage to avoid hitting the rafters during your competition routines? Also, how do you make such full combos using the full length of the pole at your height?
S: Spatial awareness is an important thing!! Weather you are dancing with other people or a pole with rafters… you MUST be aware of your surroundings at all times! Its interesting because people always say “your so lucky you don’t have to use as much energy climbing because you are already so close to the top .“ This is true, I do not have to climb as many times to get to the top BUTTTTTT I do believe that because I am bigger and heavier that I have to use sometimes twice as much energy to do some of the same things as smaller polers.
So how do I make full combos? I think the same as any size pole dancer, utilize the space I am given. And practice on a pole that is the same height as what I will perform or compete on.
J: There are a few tricks I can think of that have been particularly challenging for some of my fellow pole friends and I, which do you believe are the hardest to adjust for?
S: I think any type of trick that requires holding on with your arms/hands as your lower half is away from the pole. For example Flags/ Flag Press/ Iron X. These are def the most challenging.
J: Do you have any tips or tricks for Iron-X, Flag Press Ups, Phoenix, Dead-Lifts, or other tricks that prove to be difficult with a heavier lower half?
S: Haha and I did not read question 5 before I answered #4!!
My answer for Iron-X/ Flag Press/ Dead-Lifts is the same as for any trick, PRACTICE/ REPETITION (but not too many times in one day). Unfortunately there is no magic cure that will help someone with longer limbs achieve these tricks. I do believe it takes more determination and dedication for a tall poler to get these than the average joe. ONE thing you can try is utilizing progressions for these tricks. I think this is SUPER important to avoid injury and build the strength at a safe pace. Keeping the legs tucked in tighter to yourself and the pole while in the arms are in position will help build the strength in a safe manner and eventually you will achieve the trick.
A phoenix is a whole different story. I believe it is technically easier for a longer legged pole dancer to achieve this. The simple yet complex answer is, use the momentum of your legs to help you!! Come take one of my workshops and I will break this down in detail 😉
J: What is your tall girl, pole nemesis move?
S: I would have to say the flag press. I have worked on it with many people but it was my pole twin Steven Retchless (we are the same size/weight… we can literally share clothing) who finally helped me get it!! I just needed to stop trying to pike up! (I was trying to do (for me) the hardest variation possible lol) THANK YOU STEVENNN!!
J: What are some benefits you’ve experienced as a tall poler?
S: There are many pros that come with being a tall pole dancer.
- Rotation Rotation Rotation! I truly believe static spins are easier for long legged polers! We can use the momentum and weight of our legs to get more rotation 😀
- Even though it often takes longer to achieve something, it is that much more impressive when it does eventually happen
- Its fun to show up at a studio or event where people have only ever followed me on IG or FB. I am ALWAYS taller in person than they expected:-D I do like being tall (most of the time)
J: What are your favorite tricks, floor-work, or flow moves to see a tall poler do?
S: I think my favorite thing to see a tall poler do is utilize dynamic movement. I try so hard to incorporate this type of movement into my pieces but I often choose slow/graceful movement.
J: Who are some of your favorite very tall polers?
S: Steven Retchless!!
J: Lastly, what are some of your favorite pole/athletic wear brands that cater to long torsos and long legs?
S: I could not find one so I made my own!!! contemPOLEary DANCEWEAR 😀
It is not only for tall peeps though. Most pieces are adjustable to fit whatever height you may be!!
The pole world is growing and becoming more diverse by the minute, dancers of all shapes and sizes perform, compete, showcase, attend classes and post their progress to Instagram. I find it very helpful to looks at videos and posts from dancers with similar build to me, as well as those who are not for different perspective and variations for a particular pole move.
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