No longer confined to seedy gentlemen's clubs, pole dancing has lost some of its notoriety and has now become one of the latest fitness crazes to sweep the nation, with studios devoted to learning this sensual art popping up all over town. Launched in 2004, Pole Divas was Melbourne's first – and is now the largest – pole dancing studio, offering pole and exotic dance classes for women in an all-female environment.
Poledancing @ Pole Divas - image courtesy of poledivas.com.au
Poles apart from your regular run-of-the-(tread)mill gym session, Pole Divas' hugely popular classes are guaranteed to make you feel sexy and give you a fantastic workout. The pole dancing courses are usually eight weeks in length and span all levels, ranging from basic never-pole-danced-before beginners to the super elite. As well as being a great addition to your fitness schedule, they're also incredibly fun, which means that you'll barely notice those calories burning.
And burn calories you will.
The hour-long classes begin with an intense 10-15 minute aerobic warm-up to fast-paced dance tunes to get the blood pumping. What then follows is a session jam packed with gravity-defying tricks on static or spinning poles, as well as doing various toning and strengthening exercises to get fit and stay in shape. A sexy dance routine (meow!) and cool-down then finishes off the class.
And what's the best part about all of this? Being able to do it all in stiletto heels!
Pole dancing @ Pole Divas - image courtesy of poledivas.com.au
If you're just starting out, Pole Divas' pole dancing classes begin with introducing you to the basic mounts, holds and spins. Class sizes vary depending on studio size and popularity but generally average around 8-10 students, and are usually small enough for the enthusiastic instructors to give students some individual attention.
Pole Divas' studios can be found in four different locations – Prahran, Richmond, Moonee Ponds and Mornington. The studios are spacious, with mirrors spanning the length of the room so you can check out how awesome you look while dancing. The lighting is also dim and flattering, so there's no need to avoid your reflection if you're a bit self-conscious!
In addition to the eight week courses, Pole Divas also offers various casual classes throughout the week, such as "Pole Power" (to tone and strengthen your body enough to do all of those jaw-dropping tricks) and "Stretch Technique" (to work deep into those muscle groups to improve overall flexibility). "Polestations" is also a great introductory class for anyone keen to give pole dancing a go for the first time, particularly if you can't attend or are hesitant about committing to a full eight week course. The classes are popular and places are limited, so book ahead to guarantee a spot.
Various workshops are also held throughout the term. Although some are specifically designed to help you master those trickier pole dancing moves, there is a wider range of other exotic and dance short courses to choose from. Do you secretly want to master the sexy striptease? Or learn how to booty-shake like a hip hop queen? Then give some of these workshops a go and get a workout to boot.
Dance workshops @ Pole Divas - image courtesy of poledivas.com.au
The Richmond studio also offers aerial hoop courses, which are circus-style fitness classes inspired by the likes of Cirque Du Soleil (the principal instructor is actually an ex-Cirque Du Soleil performer!). These classes will teach you how to manipulate your body in the air and work with the movement of the hoop to create beautiful and fluid lines. If you're after an intense core workout, this is the class for you. Try the casual class "Hoopestations" for an aerial hoop class taster.
Aerial hoop @ Pole Divas - image courtesy of poledivas.com.au
Compared to other pole dancing studios that I've been to around town, there tends to be more of a focus on learning the individual tricks rather than actually dancing (especially during the eight week courses), which is a shame. But for those that like to dance, Pole Divas hosts "Unleashed" – an annual student competition during the year where students can audition to showcase their hard-earned skills by performing their own choreographed dance routine. There are also casual performance opportunities at the end of each term where students can perform for family and friends, as well as a Christmas Showcase for each studio.
Not just for dance classes, get all "poled" up for Pole Divas' raunchy and fun hens night packages. Pole Divas also offers the services of the Diva Dancers for performances at your event or function if you're looking for that extra "wow" factor.
Hens night @ Pole Divas - image courtesy of poledivas.com.au
So don't be shy - give some of Pole Divas' rawr-some classes a go and try something different. Pole Divas is bound to make you feel welcome and challenge you with their unique classes. But even if pole dancing really isn't for you, maybe it is for someone you know – Pole Divas' courses, workshops and merchandise do make for excellent (and slightly naughty) gifts for your lady friends…
Other useful information:
- Classes are women-only (sorry, gentlemen!).
- You must be 18 and over to attend a class.
- The second-last class of each eight week pole course is an assessment which you must pass in order to move up a level.
- The website has all sorts of useful information about what to wear for a class, what the class involves etc.
- Different classes and workshops are offered at each studio and change frequently, so check the term timetable to find out what's being held and where.
- Practice times are also available for students to come in and consolidate what they've learnt in a supervised environment.
- If you enrol in two eight-week courses, your second class is discounted by $50. Student discounts also apply to some classes.
- If you're after a spinning pole course, you must complete a static pole course of an equivalent level first. Note that the Richmond studio does not offer spinning pole courses.