Article by Mai Phan
Occasionally we love to attend a pole dance master class or workshop held by a well-known world champion. But not every workshop leaves you feeling blissful, refreshed and motivated. I once attended a workshop in which I felt completely defeated and learned almost nothing, after having paid almost 100 USD for the class. So what makes one class feel like an enlightenment, and another a forever struggle to get through? Perhaps it isn’t so much about the instructor or the organizer, but about what we do to get the most out of the workshop. Here are a few tips:
Research in advance
Research thoroughly which workshop and instructor is suitable for you. Define a specific goal: what you hope to learn from the workshop. Not all workshops are worth attending, as they may not suit your level or style. Find out carefully which level it is, as some instructors define ‘basic invert’ as intermediate level while others consider it a beginner trick. There are also different styles in pole dancing: acrobatics with lots of flips and handstand, flexibility with splits and back bending, lyrical/contemporary, sensual & exotic, and so on. If you prefer jade splits and ballerina on spinning pole, attending a workshop with an instructor who loves flips and drops on static may not be the best fit.
Disclose physical limitations to instructor & clarify any expectations
Tell him/her about your injuries and pain so he/she can make modifications for you. Arrive early so you can ask questions in advance. An even better way is to contact your instructor or studio organizer prior to booking the workshop to clarify any expectations, level required and content of the workshop.
Write down tips you learn from your teacher during class. Some tricks are not as difficult as they look, as long as you get the correct body alignment. A lot of these tips may not be easily found elsewhere, not even on Instagram videos. Plus some teachers do not allow videos in their classes, so do write down what you have learned for later review.
Focus on your current being
Focus on your current being and the learning process, not about the final result. Not all tricks and combos can be nailed immediately after the first try. Concentrate on what you can do and listen to your body. Ask for modifications if necessary. Don’t ruin your experience by comparing yourself with others in the class.
Breathe, have fun & be grateful
Breathe, enjoy the moment and have fun. This is your opportunity to learn something new from your favorite pole star, explore yourself and challenge your limits. Feel thankful for getting to the workshop and making this investment for yourself. You deserve it!
Mai Phan is the owner of Pole in Style, an online store providing apparel and training tools for pole dance (www.poleinstyle.com). She also works as a personal trainer in Oslo, Norway and is a certified pole fitness instructor, IPSF judge and President of the Norwegian Pole Sport Federation. Mai has been doing pole dance since 2012 and loves how it has given her self confidence and belief in herself.