I’m delighted to bring you our Member Spotlight: this month it’s Suzanne!
Suzanne is a quiet force of nature, easily recognisable by her impressive abs of steel and usually executing a complicated sequence of inverted tricks with ease. Not only this, Suzanne is extremely thoughtful and puts a great amount of care not only into her own pole dance training, but in how she views herself, the world around her and her place in it. She is the embodiment of our community spirit here at IPDA and makes every day an opportunity to improve herself and the world at large. Allow her story to inspire you!
“I first started pole dancing in my second year of college, about 8 years ago. I was studying maths – one of the only girls of my course – and had been a straight-A student my whole life. At the time, I felt very insular after years of being considered a nerd and felt a struggle to get out of my head and in touch with my body.
For a while, I had admired pole and the idea of doing it for yourself from afar. But back then, the idea of taking up pole felt taboo, and I also felt because of my field of study and how people perceived me, it wasn’t something I could get into. However, after a relationship left me feeling even more insecure and awkward, I decided to do something for myself and try it out. I wanted more than ever to reconnect to my body and my more playful side. I also wanted to build confidence in myself that was independent of other people’s opinions and ideas of me.
I joined a small studio and fell in love with pole during my first lesson. I loved the challenge, reacquainting with all my limbs and also the feeling of breaking out of the pigeon-hole I’d been in. I really enjoyed embracing the other sides to me and truly tapping into my spirit with all its quirks and imperfections. I also felt an overwhelming joy when we tried inverts for the first time. I realised my arm and core strength from years of sailing as a child really played in my favour to progress quickly. It was such a funny realisation, since I’d previously been self-conscious about how muscly my arms looked. Now I loved them for their strength and wanted them even stronger. The lessons also reminded me of when I was younger playing on monkey bars and how I felt so free and happy. Taking up pole was like an awakening and a reconnection with my inner-child.
There were 2-3 years where I stopped taking lessons due to final year exams and trying to start a career in London. I also didn’t notice myself fall into a deep depression and burn-out. That was until an incident where I was assaulted on my first holiday in years. All the factors involved floored me, mentally more so than physically; I was forced to stop and accept help. After that incident I underwent therapy and received medication and I deeply appreciate both resources for getting me clinically better. Surprisingly, pole has also played a huge part in my recovery, healing and maintaining my progression. I took it back up with my best friend in London and it felt like coming home again. Since I’d not taken a lesson in so long, we both started in beginners together, and we had the best time laughing, doing choreography and learning new moves.
I am now a lot more conscious about my health and creating positive endorphins in the body, so taking back up pole meant I’d be getting the exercise I needed to stay healthy. Pole also helps me be literally stronger in all aspects of the word. And it does feel like I’m taking back control of myself and body especially when paying attention to relax my shoulders and point my toes! My experience has also taught me to be aware and careful of the people and energy I surround myself with. This is why I honestly love the Irish Pole Dance Academy. It offers a beautiful safe-haven, filled with fairy lights and a community that is truly inspiring and supportive.
When I came back to Dublin, I was particularly looking for a pole studio that embraced all aspects of pole from the fitness and fluidity to the sensual and sexy. I really wanted a place I can truly be myself, let go and have fun. In my search I came across Irish Pole Dance Academy about 2.5 years ago and have been hooked since.
Pole has helped me so much to find myself again and continues to be the key to finding balance, pun intended, in life. It also brings me so much joy to see my progress. I think my pole journey will continue even into my 70’s & 80’s. By then, I hope to have mastered the splits to showcase in my nursing home. I highly recommend it to anyone, and I think the world would be a truly beautiful place with more and more people spreading self-love, positivity and supporting each-other as we invert and transition to life again and again.”