Pole Dancing- A misunderstood sport

Photo by Malcolm Tam

Hey guys! I'm sorry that I've been quite absent lately, I've had a lot of things going on in my personal life and just haven't really been feeling myself recently. Today I wanted to talk to you about something that always helps me to get through difficult times- pole dancing.
Now I understand that this might sound strange to you, but pole has been my passion for almost two years now and I always feel a lot better after a good training session. There's no better feeling than nailing a new move or coming up with a really good combo. I've been incredibly lucky to be the part of my university's pole society and they have become such an important part of my life. A few weeks ago I was voted president of the society which was honestly one of the proudest moments of my life. I first started pole when I started university and I met so many of my good friends in classes. This year I have been on committee and teaching some of the beginners classes, which is incredibly rewarding because you see your students going from not being able to do a simple spin and being terrified of the pole, so casually hanging upside down and doing performances. Three weeks ago one of my students had his first solo performance and I was standing in the wings crying because it was so beautiful and I couldn't believe how far he had come.
Enough for the soppy part, there's a lot of things that people don't understand about pole dancing, pole fitness, whatever you want to call it. It's still incredibly stigmatised even though women and men all around the world pursue it as a sport and it is so incredibly physically challenging. I am constantly covered in bruises but I've never been in better shape than I am now, not even when I was doing competitive dancing. We do acknowledge that pole dancing has some roots in strip clubs, but there is so much more to it. We don't wear short shorts and crop tops because we like it, we wear them because you need your skin to grip the pole, otherwise you will just fall. Many people criticise pole for objectifying women but personally I have never felt more empowered and confident in my own skin. I'm physically strong, I don't need people to help me carry my suitcase up the stairs or put my bag in the overhead compartment on a plane. I am strong enough to do most things myself now and I feel more confident with my body than I ever have before. 
I want to continue to do pole and get better at it, as well as starting silks, hoop and other similar aerial sports because I think they're a beautiful art form. I've been a dancer for as long as I can remember and pole has given me incredible new performance opportunities and the chance to learn something new while still incorporating my old skills.
If you're interested in starting pole, then do it! It doesn't matter what size you are or if you think you have upper body strength, the pole world is extremely welcoming to everyone. We all love our sport and we appreciate everyone who is interested in it and wants to try it! I am now going to leave you with a picture of me being incredibly happy about finally getting a move called 'Genevieve'.

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