I am still nervous and shaking like a leaf when I stumble into the studio and stammer out my name, adding the obligatory “I bought the living social deal?” with the inflection of my voice at the end of that sentence making clear in no uncertain terms that I am not a “regular” pole dancer, and that this is not a “career advancing” investment, but rather a brave endeavor on my part, the former ballerina turned ivy league medical student, to enhance her fitness and “think outside the box.” Yes, all of that. The assistant at the front desk asks me to sign a form saying that if I broke my neck and died, no one could legally sue them. Alright. I'm not afraid. Surely seventeen years of ballet and four years of yoga have prepared me for whatever THIS (make gesture encompassing entire studio) is.
Class starts off like a yoga class. I’m feeling pretty good, while simulataneously doing the ballerina thing of checking out the other students, and ranking myself in terms of fitness, rhythm, and flexibility. Not losing yet. Then the time comes to put away the yoga mats and take our positions at the poles. The insanely beautiful instructor tells all of us to “put our boobs on the pole, push in, and take a good baseball grip.” I am stricken with embarrassment. Despite the fact that I am not white, in certain situations I feel as emotionally repressed as any waspy girl I went to private school with. These words strike my ears, and I have no idea what to do with them. Possibly I have had a stroke, and am unable to comprehend the words that the instructor is saying. But, in true dancer form, I subtly glance about the studio and force my body mimick the position I see the other students in. What follows is a streaky blur to say the least. Spins, climbing up the pole, and sexy dance moves that would ordinarily require at least 2 glasses of wine for me to even begin to think about executing flow in quick succession. By the end I am exhausted, and every single muscle in my body is shaking, but I have this odd sense of empowerment and exhilaration that I had not felt since I was actively taking ballet class and laughing at gravity in the face.
The gory details of this class are in a subsequent entry, for all you non-dancers out there I did not want to bore you with the technicalities of the spins, grips, and leg extensions I was indundated with at that first class. But if you are curious, see: USPDF 2009 Highlights