The Trick Collector
She strides into class with a list of moves she wants to conquer that day. Afterall, she follows all her idols on Instagram and is up to date on the newest trick that the latest pole champion has invented. But once she accomplishes it a few times in class, it's never performed again. Onto the next trick!
What you can learn from her: It's great to have goals. It's important to keep up with innovations in the sport. Definitely stay organized and have a list of moves you want to tackle. But learn how to use them in combination with other tricks. Keep working on your new moves until they become part of your repertoire. And if you really hate it after working on it for a few weeks, let it go. You can live a full and happy life without it.
The Private Student In a Group Class
She monopolizes the instructor's time with her questions and requests for spots. Instead of trying something on her own, she'll interrupt another students's time with the teacher to ask if she is “doing it right” and then pout if no one was watching her when she “finally got it”.
What you can learn from her: It's good to ask questions or request a spot—that's why you are in class. Don't be shy about asking for what you need. But realize that the other people in class also have needs. Be an advocate for yourself, but be generous with your fellow students.
The Selfie Snapper
“Can you take a picture of me?” “My phone ran out of juice. Can I use yours?” “Umm, I'm filming, could you step out for a second?” This one spends the entire class setting up her phone, deleting unflattering pictures, applying filters and posting to her social media.
What you can learn from her: Photos and videos are a great way to analyze your form. You may hate the way you look in a picture, but there is no better tool to help you understand that your hips aren't actually as far back as they should be in your Ayesha or your leg isn't fully extended in your butterfly. Just be mindful of why you are in class. It's not to become an Instagram superstar; it's to learn. But those “likes” sure feel good, don't they?
The Nope Mope
She says she can't. She doesn't remember. Her shoulder/back/knee/head hurts. It's not her strong side. She doesn't like that move. It's too painful! Why is she even in class???
What you can learn from her: Most of us want to say yes. We want to be strong. We want to be fearless. But you know what? Sometimes it's okay to say no. Maybe you are particularly tired. Maybe you are nursing an injury. Maybe it's one of those days where nothing sticks to the pole. You don't always have to do everything that is taught in class. Know your body, and then say yes when you are ready.
The Former Dancer/Gymnast/Diver/Skater
Her lines are gorgeous. Her toes are always pointed. She can bend herself completely in half forwards or backwards. She's only been doing this for two months and is miles ahead of you, who has been poling for six years.
What you can learn from her: Remember that people who have other movement training have been working for years. They have hundreds of hours of classes and rehearsals, teachers who chastised them for incorrect feet or bad postures. They may make it look easy, but it took work to get there--it just may not have been in your class. Think about cross training. Go to a ballet class. Try a tumbling workshop. Sign up for acro yoga with a friend. Then bring your lessons back to your pole practice. And stop comparing yourself to another student. Work to your limits--not to the former Russian gymnast who is on the pole next to you.
In the end, we've all fallen into one or more of these categories at some point. Keep coming to class. Just be mindful of your fellow students and of yourself. Happy poling!
Bio: Claudia has been poling for over 10 years and has been an instructor at Jayvee Dance Studio in Alhambra for 6 years. She loves her students - they inspire and motivate her and make her laugh every day. She trains at studios all over Los Angeles. instagram: lilkittychoi