There’s nothing more frustrating than having someone show up at your pole class and tell an outright lie about what level they are. Seriously, way to make our job more difficult! Welcome to Confessions Of A Pole Dance Instructor, a brand new weekly item on this blog which aims to document the frustrations of pole dance instructors around the world. If you would like to submit your story, please get in touch.
Confessions Of A Pole Dance Instructor: Volume One – Don’t LIE About Your Level
The first Advanced Pole Workshop I ever ran was full of class regulars, there was only one person on the list whose name I did not recognise – let’s called her Julie.
Anyway, she rocked up to the workshop 5 minutes late and we were already well into the warm-up. She was new to our lessons so we had to get her to register – it was all a bit of a hassle, to be honest with you. I had to get my co-instructor to deal with her while I carried on leading the warm-up.
So, we registered her and she joined in will the class. Again, my co-instructor had to spend extra time warming up with her.
After the warm-up, we moved onto conditioning. This was going to be a hard workshop so I decided to ease into it, doing a few basic spins and lifts to start with.
Everyone happily carried on, following my lead in doing knee-raises, climbs and repeats. I glanced over at Julie and she certainly looked like she was getting a good workout.
As I instructed the students to do a back hook spin in each direction, she suddenly called out
“Is this the advanced pole workshop?”
“Yes, you’re in the right place,” I replied. Everyone else was mid-spin.
Next, I had students do the same spin, a back-hook but straight into an invert this time.
Julie called out again.
“Only, this isn’t really an advanced move,” she said.
This was really getting annoying, and fast
In case you don’t know, this is generally classed as an intermediate-ish move (to invert from a back hook spin).
Everyone in the class managed the spin and invert without too much difficulty. Everyone except Julie.
She attempted her back hook spin and her arms immediately dropped straight – this is common for beginners.
She attempted it a second time, this time with my co-instructor talking her through it, which is her job, as Julie clearly struggled with this move.
“I don’t need your help!” Julie snapped at the other instructor. But, she failed to do the move yet again.
“Can we try something else? I always struggle with spins on this type of pole,” asked Julie.
Sure. Blame the pole, I thought. It’s the pole’ s fault, not yours. *Rolls eyes*
“OK,” I said. “Let’s move onto variations of the Twisted Grip Handspring. Let’s starts with all of us getting into the move and landing softly.”
A massive grin appeared on Julie’s face and she immediately got her arms into position. With a small amount of hesitation and a very large KICK, Julie was holding a pretty good Twisted Grip Handspring / Ayesha pose.
“Great work, Julie!” exclaimed the other instructor
Julie then landed with a massive THUD.
She had obviously practised this move, but not landing it very well. It’s very common for students to rush through moves like a tick-box exercise, or because they want the Insta photos.
Note: We no longer teach Twisted Grip Handsprings, find out why here (opens in a new tab).
I went on to say…”Now, that was really good everyone. This time, let’s do the same move but with no kicking or jumping. And let’s work towards softening our landings…”
I demonstrated a perfect deadlift and landed softly on my tippy toes.
This was going to be a real challenge, for everyone
Only one student managed to do this successfully, but everyone else was nearly there. After their first attempts, the students started commenting on how hard this move was.
Eyes turned to Julie as she enthusiastically performed the great KICKING motion yet again.
“Oh, no cheating!” Cried one of the other students in a jokey manner, glancing at Julie who looked visibly flustered by the time she THUDDED back to the floor.
“What?” She asked,
“Your handspring is really great, but let’s try it without kicking… to build up your strength some more,” I suggested to her
“I wasn’t kicking! I am strong enough” She exclaimed.
The co-instructor suggested she tried it again. This time, after she landed – the co-instructor then demonstrated the move perfectly, and what it really meant to NOT kick. She explained that this is a hard move that takes a lot of practice.
“I can’t do that!” Was her response.
Exactly, I thought.
That is why you’re here – to learn! This is a lesson after all. I am a teacher and you have paid me to teach you. A deadlift is an advanced trick, it takes practice and hard work, like most tricks.
Of course, I was too polite to actually say that to her.
The rest of the workshop was a similar story. Julie was nowhere near advanced enough to pull off any of the tricks we were teaching that day, except for an aggressive kick up into a TG handspring.
I’m happy teaching students of all levels, but it’s very frustrating when we’re trying to teach an advanced class and someone is there who put themselves at the wrong level. When we advertised this workshop we put a list of moves you should be comfortable doing in order to attend, with pictures. It was aimed at a certain level and we have plenty of other lessons and workshops for all other levels too.
The following day…
What really took it too far was when Julie emailed us the following day asking for a partial refund!!! She was citing the following reasons:
- She was late for the lesson and missed the first 5 minutes, which was entirely her fault and we actually went out of our way to accommodate her when she was late
- The moves taught weren’t challenging enough, despite her not being able to do any of them
- She felt distracted by the other students’ presence, despite it being a fully-booked class
- The poles in the studio were not to her liking, despite them being top quality X Poles.
Needless to say, we denied her refund, but we offered her a space on our intermediate course at half-price, especially for her.
She actually took us up on this offer fortunately that class was run by another instructor So I didn’t have to Have A repeat experience!
Are you a pole instructor? Do you have any similar stories? If so, leave a comment below or submit your story to us for a chance of it being featured on the site!
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