Remember in PE class when you had to heave your tiny body up a rope attached to a wooden frame wearing shorts and a vest? Do you remember the feeling of dismounting, exhausted, suffering from rope burns but exhilarated at having been up so high? That’s what a pole class feels like, but set to music and choreographed into a dance. And, once you’ve mastered a basic spin, it actually feels like flying.
For those uninitiated, pole work is an incredibly skilled sport that requires as much strength as grace. It’s a fantastic workout (you can burn up to 400 calories an hour) that tones, builds core and upper body strength, flexibility, stamina and most importantly, confidence. The zen you feel leaving a yoga class is nice, sure, but the adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment after a pole lesson is better. And you'd be surprised how much you can pick up in an hour.
We spoke to four pole teachers from the London Dance Academy, all of whom compete at national and international level, about how they got into the sport, how it's changed their bodies and how they feel up there.