We’re delighted to bring you another inspirational Member Spotlight: this month Larissa tells her story!
In our opinion here at IPDA, pole dancing should not only make you stronger and fitter as you become a gravity-defying superhero, but it should be about inclusivity, non-judgement and creating community spirit, which let’s face it, can be hard to find sometimes in more traditional fitness settings.
Larissa already had some experience with pole dancing before she joined our improver level classes; she will explain in her own words how pole dancing has helped her to nail her goal of taking better care of her body but also in stepping out of her comfort zone and into a more confident version of herself (as well as stepping into a pair of 7-inch heels!):
“Last year I decided that I needed to look after myself more than I was actually doing. Between medical and dentist appointments that we all always postpone, I had written down on my to-do list that I wanted to take up more physical activity. I thought about going to the gym or taking swimming classes but none of those really sounded interesting to me. I always wanted to try pole dancing but in my head it seemed that classes were really hard to find or it was something that I could never do but then I saw a flyer of a local studio close to my work place and I signed up for a pole fitness term.
My first class was just a disaster. I was very very very unfit, had bruises all over my knees and legs and I couldn’t hold myself on the pole at all. On the following day I wasn’t able to move or even lift my arms but after all I really enjoyed the class and had fun. I like trying and giving my best in everything I do in life, so I decided to keep it up as giving up on the first try didn’t sound fair to me. I’m very determined and sometimes stubborn so I think that mainly the thought of not getting something right and not reaching the original goal of looking after myself was important to me.
Looking back I don’t think there was anything that initially held me back from joining classes, but after going to them for a few months I started to compare myself and my progress to all other girls or how weak, not-graceful or not-bendy I was. The way we were taught at that venue was that what we were doing was pole fitness and not pole dance, it was just exercising and we were not there to dance to sexy songs. This started to bother me and I thought about giving up as I was never really good at sports and maybe pole dancing wasn’t for me or wasn’t even a right thing to do.
I was never really good at sports as I mentioned before and don’t have a dance background. I’ve tried in and out going to the gym, swimming classes, running, but I never really liked the atmosphere, the competitiveness or the way it looked like everyone was judging everyone else’s bodies / skills.
Before I joined Irish Pole Dance Academy, I was going to a studio before but I wasn’t happy with it for a few reasons and I was not improving as I liked so I decided to look for another venue and give pole dance one more chance. When I googled about another pole dance studio the first result that came up was the Irish Pole Dance Academy. I loved the pictures and videos I saw on instagram and I thought I wanted to be able to dance like those amazing girls! Something on my mind was just telling me: that is the place that you need to go. I booked one class to get to know the studio and never looked back since.
I have noticed changes not only in my body but in my mind also. I feel stronger than ever, motivated and more self confident. I know that if I don’t get a move today I’ll get it another day because I trust in my body now and I’ve learnt to listen to it and to give it time to learn and recover. I also embraced my sensuality. Before joining the Irish Pole Dance Academy I could never imagine I’d be able to dance in heels or even that I’d want to as I never owned a pair of high heels in my life!
My goals are just to keep improving, getting stronger, going upside down more often and I can’t wait to see what crazy stuff I will get up to in the next while. I also would like to one day perform in one of the Irish Pole Dance Academy showcases, but for the moment I’m happy just helping around! I think I just want never give up poling!
The community and the members are my favourite thing about Irish Pole Dance Academy. I’ve met so many incredible people. The way that no one is judging you and they are all just genuinely happy for everyone else’s achievements. I love the way that all the instructors respect my limits, listen to my concerns and encourage me to try new things and go out of my comfort zone (thank you Arlene for telling me I was ready to move to a more advanced spinny pole class!). The way we are taught is that there is no right or wrong pole style, that there’s a safe environment to discover what you like or don’t like, what makes you feel sexy or not and no one is criticising you.
I’d say to anyone who wants to try pole dancing to just go for it and don’t give up at the first challenge! For myself on my first day I’d say give yourself time to learn and experiment, pole dance is for everyone, it is for you and YOU WILL eventually get that move.”