Before you attempt to suspend your body off the ground in a sitting position by gripping a pole between your inner thighs with muscles you never knew you had, you’ve got to learn the five pillars of confidence.
Poised Posture, for example, means you stand with your shoulders back and down at all times. Gaze with Intent means focusing your eyes like you mean it, practiced by executing a booty drop while staring at the pole, and then yourself in the mirror. Primal Power is about tapping the energy in your hips, by swaying them with swagger.
This is City Pole, a new Tribeca studio where pole dancing fitness classes come with a playbook that includes confidence-building philosophy and a safe space designed for personal meditation and reflection. See how…
The difference is evident. Where some studios involve waiting for class in intimidating spaces surrounded by chiseled dancers in booty shorts, City Pole feels welcoming and intimate (despite the fact that instructors are still chiseled dancers in booty shorts).
Classes ($45) max out at five participants, all of whom get their own pole, where many studios have you share. Mine included just one other person, so I got tons of personal attention from the impressive instructor and felt less weird about how unsexy I looked attempting to learn a spin (which looked more like a “flail”).
And then there’s the meditation room…
“We encourage people to grow from the inside out, so this very much goes hand in hand with what you’re learning on the pole. You’re digging deep in here [the Rejuvenation Room], and then you’re going out there and feeling more open,” Sallak says. “And whatever you’re working on in the pole studio, you can come back in here and have cleared enough space emotionally to go even deeper.”
There’s also a ritual for releasing fears…
Warning: they may reappear during class when you’re practicing “inverting” for the first time and realize that every strength training and spin class you’ve ever taken has not prepared you for being able to grip a pole and hold your own weight hanging upside down. But there’s always next time. —Lisa Elaine Held
City Pole, 8 Beach St., at W. Broadway, Tribeca, New York, NY, 10013, www.citypolestudio.com
(Photos: Vlad Grubman and Kat Strano for City Pole)