April 06, 2015
Pole dancing is a concept that is often affiliated with shady, sordid, adult entertainment clubs, but worldwide it has evolved into one of the new and fun fitness trends for women. Those people with raised eyebrows about the fitness trend need not worry, as pole dancing classes are not associated with any form of stripping, nor is it practiced in smoke-filled rooms. It's a high intensity exercise that combines strength-based internal training, isometric muscle contractions and isometric muscular contractions that give the body a full workout, while having fun and building confidence. And it's this new and unique way of alternative fitness that Raphaleta Adderley has brought to mainstream Bahamian society with her Girl On Pole Dance Studio.
At the studio they teach aerial arts to women who seek alternative styles of fitness. At the newly introduced pole dance studio they teach beginner and intermediate pole levels, along with stretching and conditioning classes.
"Contrary to popular belief, pole dancing is actually a sport, a hobby and art. We teach movement and the apparatus happens to be a pole," said Adderley.
Because pole dancing is approached in many ways, they have different classes to cater to different styles of pole dancing: -- Raw (which is approached in a highly seductive manner with pole poses, tricks and techniques); Pole'etics (which tells a story and focuses on flow and body movement); Dangerous Curves (geared toward plus-sized pole dancers); Pole Fitness (suited for a high impact workout regiment encompassing fast movement) and Fixation (which is sensual and erotic).
Adderley is a testament to the benefits of pole dancing. She has lost over 100 pounds herself, after learning how to pole dance.
"I hate running, I hate jumping, I hate push-ups. I'd be at the gym working out with my personal trainer, and I would feel actually worse. I wanted a sport that did not do that. One time I was on this trip and took a pole dancing class and I liked it, and I was pretty good at it, especially for a beginner, so when I came back home, I bought a pole, started dancing and that was my outlet, my stress release and I started losing weight and building muscle doing it," she said. "But I didn't notice it because it was so much fun."
According to weightlossresoures.co.uk, one single pole dancing class can burn as many as 250 calories. Pole exercises combine weight training for building muscles and toning them. Dancers learn to support their entire body weight with one arm as they build upper body strength while using their stomach muscles. The combination of strength training, endurance and flexibility is included in pole dancing all wrapped up into one. In pole dancing, quadriceps are used to grip the pole and the triceps are used when hanging midair on the pole.
"You start to lose weight, then you start to build these muscles and you start to notice you're actually strong -- you're actually lifting yourself in the air, spinning around, and moving upside down. It's fun, and the fitness just tags along," she said.
At Girl on Pole Dance Studio they also teach passion and confidence through dance and movement in a safe and fun environment for women as they promote fitness in a modern and contemporary way.
According to a medicaldaily.com report, pole-dancing fitness is an exercise that releases endorphins -- the feel good hormone.
Adderley opened the doors to her Dowdeswell and Deveaux Streets studio on February 9, and started hosting classes 10 days later. In just a month she has had almost 200 people -- from mothers to grandmothers, walk through the doors where she also hosts pole parties and pole workshops in an environment that's nurturing, positive, and clean. She had started out teaching lessons from her home. And had actually gotten roped into teaching by people who saw her posts of her sharing the fun she was having as she went through her routines.
She helped one person, then that person brought a friend, she started charging $20 an hour, and before she knew it, she was teaching classes from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at her house. She said it got to the point where it got out of control. She had to open a studio, and idea she had thought about but put aside, being scared to venture out. She was immune to the flack that comes with doing pole.
"People would think I was a stripper," she said. "But as time went by I just brushed it off. I was like it comes with the territory. And doing it in Bahamian society where everyone is so closed in, and so used to the normal gym... imagine pole?"
In September 2014 she bit the bullet. She quit her job to open her studio. One of her most memorable so far was a 67-year-old visitor from Rhode Island who poles four times a week at home and came across Adderley's studio.
"She came in here, started doing all these advanced moves. I was so impressed. I don't get to do that stuff with other people, not unless I travel, and she came in here and we had a blast," said the pole instructor. "She was doing Superman and inverts and inverting to all these different moves... she could do a split on the pole. I was just blown away."
While Adderley was able to have fun with someone with advanced knowledge on the pole, she said she was proud that the visitor complimented her on the studio as it had a routine included in the actual workout. Those persons contemplating shaking up their routine with something a little different, or for those persons who just want to give pole dancing a try, even if it's just for the confidence boost should go into it with an open mindset.
"I like people to be open to trying what we do here on that particular day, because I think you get a better understanding, and a deeper appreciation for what's happening, as long as you come open and you're ready to try it as opposed to building this thought in your mind as to what you think it's going to be, and what you think you should expect. I think it's better when you show up and say let me see what it is that they actually do here," said Adderley.
"Just show up and be open to instructions and let us guide you through pole in the proper way. We're big on technique, and big on doing moves in the proper way. A lot of people just show up and don't expect to warm up, don't expect to stretch, don't expect to actually use proper dance moves, pivots and points, so it's surprising for a lot of people."
For those that have taken advantage of Adderley's pole lessons, she said she has seen the timid shy who ran past the windows to get indoors, evolve into more confident women who admit to feeling different.
Adderley is assisted with pole teaching by Katie Storr.
Girl On Pole Dance Studio is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. There are five classes daily on weekdays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday classes are 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sessions are $25 for an hour-and-a-half class with up to 10 persons per group session.
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