Time to climb the pole!
by Alexandra Mackie
It all started with a conversation between me, my boyfriend and his Amazon Echo.
“Alexa, where can I buy polo mints?”
Alexa answered, “Pole dancing in Birmingham?”
We both shouted, “No!” in exasperation but that’s when the idea got stuck into our heads. It made me wonder whether pole dancing was accessible to the blind. I knew that ballet was accessible to the blind as I did it as a child. So I found myself on the precipice of trying and got in contact with the Northern Pole Dance School and arranged some lessons at the Tempest Dance Studios in Durham. And so with my t-shirt, shorts and bare feet at the ready I got started!
Here’s how I got on…
Gosh I didn’t know skin burns could be such fun!
I was more than a little apprehensive for my first lesson, so much so that I was early for my pole dancing class. Beth, my trainer, welcomed me, we chatted for a while and she calmed my nerves. Although I was a bit nervous for my individual pole dancing session, the participants from the previous pole dancing class were very friendly and reassuring that the sores that I would feel from the session would definitely be worth the experience. And yes, I would definitely have to agree with them, I was straight up when it was my turn and before I knew it I was a fish in water. We tackled my first set of positions:
- Kick (I think it is called!)
I am afraid I don’t have any pictures to share with you guys from my first session however due to my poor choice of kit on this occasion, this may have been for the best! Not appropriate for an audio description, ha ha.
A good ‘tail spin’!
I was feeling confident with my new pole dancing attire! Nina, my guide dog, decided that she was smart enough to do some pole dancing herself and tell the teacher exactly where she should be to keep herself safe – underneath her paws and nose! She had her paws up begging me to let her join in the fun, sadly I had to tell her that she couldn’t join in, as pole dancing is not for dogs! After spinning down the pole, I found myself with Nina lying on top of me.
This of course was an entirely foreseeable state of affairs that was quickly resolved, by tying Nina’s lead to a pole in another room adjacent to the studio that I was in. This ensured that she was as far as away from injury as possible.
Pole dancing has certainly made me a lot stronger than I was in my upper body strength and showed me how good I actually was in terms of my balance. It has been quite surprising to see how far I have progressed. Of course in between my classes, I spent my spare time at home doing exercises that would keep me fit and limber for the sessions ahead of me. I may not have managed to get all of my limbs in the correct position up on the pole or been confident enough to allow myself to slide down the pole, but I have certainly improved. For a start, it doesn’t hurt my arms as much as it first did when I lifted myself up on the pole.
For those of you who are also keen on starting pole dancing, I would definitely recommend you to do the required research and embark on the challenge of learning pole dancing!
Written by Alexandra Mackie