Updated: Aug 9
You've recently learned about this fun-sounding fitness craze called "pole dancing". You might have stumbled across some inspiring videos on YouTube or Instagram, or maybe a friend of yours started classes and is trying to convince you to join them. Maybe you saw it on a reality TV show talent contest, or perhaps after a big night of partying found yourself in a strip club late at night, and wanted to look as amazing as the women dancing up on the podium. Or it could be that you're just bored of the treadmill and want to add some spice to your workout!
What Studio Should I Choose?
Choosing the right pole studio is not as straightforward as hitting up Google and giving the closest studio a call. The standard of teaching varies wildly across studios, and in addition, studios all have their own flavour and style. Some are very sports-based, some are more dance-based, some embrace the sexier side of pole, and some shun the sensual side of pole completely. It's worth spending some time researching your options to find out which studio will suit you best.
Lexy and Siggy, two of our awesome PDA Instructors
Questions to consider about your new studio
It's important to get to know your options before you sign up. It's a big decision! You want to make sure you have chosen a studio that you can trust to guide you safely on your pole journey. Below are some questions you might consider asking before choosing a studio.
And in case you found your way to this blog because you're considering our studio, Pole Dance Academy, as one of your options - below are the answers to those questions as they relate to our studio!
1. How long has the studio been open?
The longer a studio has been around, the more likely it is that you can trust that they are an established and reputable studio. There have been a couple of cases of studios suddenly closing down, leaving students out of pocket. Check that your studio has a solid reputation before signing up. Check the reviews on their Facebook page - although not always 100% reliable, you can get a bit of a feel for how students are enjoying their classes. If there are bad reviews, read them - sometimes they are just internet trolls, but if they are real complaints it can give you an insight into how the studio is run.
At Pole Dance Academy, we have been open since 2009, and we have over 100 5 star reviews on our Facebook page. We are constantly striving to grow and improve, and give our students the best pole training in the world!
Some of the OG instructors at PDA - we've been going strong since 2009!
2. What training do the instructors have? Have they been trained specifically in pole dance?
There are many pole certification programs, but there is no official pole dance training required by law to be a pole instructor. Nonetheless, its important to find out a bit about your instructors, and how they came to be teachers at the studio you're thinking about signing up to.
At Pole Dance Academy, we hand select our instructors not only for their experience as pole dancers, but also their abilities as instructors. Not every great pole dancer makes a great instructor! We look for particular skills and abilities above and beyond pole skills to make sure your instructors give you the best support and training possible.
Our instructors have all undertaken our inhouse training certification, the Pole Dance Academy Instructor Training Program, which was developed by Maddie Sparkle, Malinda Yep and myself, based on our experience gleaned from over 10 years in the pole dance industry, and our combined backgrounds in dance and gymnastics. Some of our instructors possess additional qualifications as personal trainers, and some have also completed XPert training. You can be sure that you are in safe hands with us.
3. What style of pole is taught?
Do you love sexy pole? Do you love choreography? Do you love tricks? What's your personal style?
I really recommend learning from a range of different instructors, with different styles. It's the best way to develop your own personal style, by drawing inspiration from a number of different influences.
Whatever your personal style or taste in pole dance, make sure that you don't neglect choreography as part of your training. Learning tricks alone will not make you a strong pole dancer. Choreography and routines-based training helps you to develop greater endurance, stamina and is an excellent cardiovascular workout. If you aren't regularly completing 3-5 minute pole dance routines or freestyles, then you are missing out on an important part of pole dance training.
Anyone who has ever tried to pole dance for 3-5 minutes straight will know exactly what I'm talking about - it's one of the toughest but most incredible work outs ever!
Our instructors at PDA come from a range of different backgrounds - our pole teachers are personal trainers, classically trained ballerinas and dancers, yoga instructors, contortionists, ex-gymnasts, samba dancers, showgirls - so you can be sure that you will be exposed to different styles at PDA. Take a look at our instructors' profiles here.
PDA instructor Cami is an ex ballerina who swapped her pointe shoes for pole shoes! She loves the gracefulness of ballet, and the sexiness of pole - and she's amazing at both.
4. Do your instructors encourage good technique?
This is so important! Make sure your instructor is only permitting you to attempt moves that you are ready for, in a safe and controlled manner. Some points to consider:
Does your instructor teach students to train evenly on both sides, or do they train one side only?
Does your instructor allow students to "jump" into inverted moves, or do they incorporate strength-training into the classes so that students can use their core and upper body strength to safely lift themselves into moves with control?
Does your instructor teach from a structured syllabus, or do they make up the class plan as they go?
Does your instructor spot you properly in moves? Do they know how to provide support safely when you try a new move?
At Pole Dance Academy, our instructors are trained to safely assist and spot you in and out of moves. Students build strength week by week, and our instructors teach from our specially developed syllabus, ensuring that students are only taught moves appropriate to their level, gradually becoming more challenging as their strength and skill base progresses.
Michelle Shimmy, PDA co-owner, spotting at studio at a workshop in Mallorca, Spain
5. Does your studio offer a range of different classes, including flexibility classes?
It's so important to train your flexibility for pole! Otherwise you'll never be able to achieve the beautiful advanced tricks requiring flexibility. And it's equally important to cross-train, because as much as we'd like to, it's not a good idea to train pole every single day of the week. Your body needs time off the pole, and a variety of classes to mix up your training regime. Make sure you're able to take classes that help you develop your strength and flexibility off the pole, so that you make safe and steady progress on the pole.
At Pole Dance Academy, we offer a range of different classes, including Floorwork, Stretch & Flex, AAA (Abs, Ass and Arms), Handstands, Acro, Yoga for Pole, Booty/Twerk, and much more! Check the timetable regularly for the latest classes, and also for our special workshops.
Good luck on your search for the perfect pole studio!
Choosing the right studio is so important! Hopefully this little article will help you to make the right decision for you. We hope to welcome you to Pole Dance Academy soon! Come take a class with us - we're sure you'll love pole dance as much as we all do!