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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Pole dancing club off to an explosive start

Published: November 2, 2012
Section: Features

Laura Ben Moore ’14 first started pole dancing when she was looking for a new form of fitness. “I took classes at a fitness studio that specialized in fitness for women. So they had pole dancing and chair dancing, but of course they also had standard classes like pilates and yoga.” Now, with two years of experience under her belt, Moore launched the new pole dancing club on campus, called Firecrackers, this semester.

While it is still a new club, Firecrackers is doing very well. As president and instructor, Moore feels the first night of class, held on Oct. 25, went smoothly. “People told me they were sore [the next day] … I’m sore, and I practice for rugby seven days a week,” she said.

Pole Dancing is, after all, a full body workout. “Most people complain muscularly about their upper body and core,” Moore said. There are, however, also some other unanticipated aches and pains that come along with pole dancing. Pole burn, for instance, is one such unanticipated condition: “you’re holding onto the pole with your skin,” as well as hand pain—including muscle ache in your fingers from gripping the pole. “It’s definitely a workout,” Moore said, “and a very unique one at that.”

Moore enjoys pole dancing not only for it’s physical benefits, but for it’s emotional ones. “It creates a different relationship with your body. You’re staring at a mirror the whole time, not wearing that much … [pole dancing] is loaded for a lot of people.” She described it as an evolutionary process, that it takes awhile to build this three-way relationship between a person, his or her reflection, and his or her pole.

That is why the pole dancing club is first and foremost about fitness—it is not a performance group; Moore wants to make sure the comfort and safety, both emotionally and physically, are put first, emphasizing that it is “crucial that there is no pressure [to perform].”

In fact, Moore and her team put a lot of thought into making sure all people can feel safe and comfortable in the pole dancing classes. Every Thursday, there is an all female class, an all male class, and a gender neutral class. Reasoning for this includes the fact that male and female tricks are different, and men may be looking to learn the more typical male style of pole dance. The E-board is working to accommodate “every type of need.”

Right now, the club is strictly pole dance, but Moore hopes to have special workshops or classes in things like sexy fitness and chair dancing. “Sexy fitness and pole dancing are two different things,” Moore said. Sexy fitness, she explained, is more like your typical fitness class—boot camp, ab blast—but with a twist. An example, Moore said, is that body rolls are incorporated into sexy fitness classes.

Moore also stated that she would like the club to get more involved in events; they already have plans to be part of Club Crawl on Nov. 12. The club is also working on fundraising. Moore, however, made one thing clear: “We won’t be offering performances for money.”

So far, the club has been using Moore’s pole for classes, but the club was just approved for funding for their very own pole. The poles, however, weigh in at a costly $300, including shipping. This is the second reason that classes are small—the first reason being that it is important to create a small, comfortable group without too many people.

The classes start off with the very basics of pole dancing. Pole dancing, Moore explained, is a sequence of poses with short dance routines in between. But for beginners, dancers stay close to the floor. Dancers in classes are asked to wear a t-shirt or tank top and shorts so as to maintain a good grip on the pole.

As explained in an email sent out to the listserve, “The scant outfits are not just for show. Unlike certain other aerial arts, in which skin protection is crucial, YOUR SKIN HOLDS YOU ON THE POLE.” When a dancer gets more advanced, he or she may need the skin of their inner thighs or stomach or armpit to help grip the pole. But in the classes here at Brandeis, this is not necessary. Moore also wants to make sure her students feel safe, and does not want to ask them to wear anything that would make them feel uncomfortable, she added.

“I’m always looking for suggestions and feedback to make [the club] more inclusive.” Moore is currently the only instructor, but she said she would be thrilled to see more people get involved on that end. “Collaboration is huge … we’re trying to make it a more active and interactive community club.”