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Photos and videos are a great way to monitor your progress with pole dancing or any other form of fitness. However, there are certain times when picture taking is highly inappropriate, such as the middle of a pole dancing class.
So, here’s a story which has further encouraged my hatred of being asked to take pole pictures mid-class.
Confessions Of A Pole Dance Instructor: Volume Two – An Inconvenient Photoshoot
Names and locations have been changed for the sake of privacy.
I was teaching my regular weekly class for intermediate-advanced students. It was a lovely class with a great community – everyone supported each other And there was no bitchiness.
One week, a walk-in showed up for class, which isn’t usually allowed. We ensure all students have registered for classes in advance.
This walk-in, however, was a former student of ours. She had moved cross-country and was back to visit for a few weeks. Her name was Jessica.
Now, I had seen Jessica for several years, but there was one thing I knew for sure: she was not intermediate-advanced level (and you know how much us pole instructors hate being lied to).
She was more like.. expert-pro-competition standard good.
How did I know this?
I knew she was a pro because she was achieving a very high standard of pole dance when she moved away, and that was 3 years ago.
She has certainly honed her skills since then. I also knew the pole moves she was capable of performing due to her millions of photos on Instagram.
Oh yes – she was a classic pole Instagrammer. Nothing went unpublished, unshared or unfiltered with Jessica’s pole fitness journey.
Every. Single. Step. Of her learning new pole dancing tricks were documented on Instagram. In great detail. Numerous times a day.
She certainly did like pictures of herself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that per se – as I mentioned, photos and videos of your progress can really help.
The problem with Jessica’s feed was that there were often other people in the background of her photos. People who were quite obviously oblivious to their photo being taken. That’s not cool.
Just like, it’s not cool to do this in a regular gym, so why do it in a pole studio?
“I hope you don’t mind me crashing your class!” beamed Jessica, “I’m bored as hell and this gives me something to do during the evenings.”
Fine. I thought. She doesn’t miss us then! She’s just bored.
“No problem hun, it’s nice to see you!”
“Yeah… it’s been ages…” She trailed off as she aimlessly-but-purposefully strutted over to one of our poles and threw herself into a tuck spin-invert-Ayesha combo, fully clothed, although she wasn’t wearing that much.
So… what was she really doing in my class, which was clearly way beneath her ability?
“Hah,” I let out a little laugh, “You’re welcome in class hun, it’s $15, and this class is mostly intermediate, is that OK for you?”
“Sure, sure, no problem. I won’t get in your way I’ll just blend in. As I said, I just want something to do while I’m back.”
She didn’t come here for a lesson. She came here for a practice session or studio time AT THE SAME TIME as I was teaching the class.
Our warm-up was uneventful. This lesson we were practicing holding our flags for longer. Everyone was working hard and giving each other tips and pointers.
“Oh, I love this trick!” Jessica chimed up. “Hang on!” she said as she hastily tip-toed to get something from her bag.
I assume she was going to get some grip or something, so I turned my attention to a struggling student.
What happened next was unbelievable
Then Jessica came sauntering up behind me. “I have got one of this move, I haven’t done it for ages, would you mind?” She asked as she handed me her sparkly iPhone.
I didn’t really have a choice. By the time I had to answer she was halfway up the pole, performing her perfect flag pose from a good height.
I obeyingly took the photo, doing my best to ensure others weren’t captured in the background.
She turned to face me, still holding the perfect pose and asked: “Did you get it?”
“Yeah! Got three. Well done, Jessica!”
At that point, she realized a few other students were staring up at her, in awe of her perfect, effortless flag-hold.
“Hang on,” she said preemptively as she then inverted her entire body from the flag she’s been holding for a good 15 seconds. “Let’s do one more.”
She then effortlessly inverted from the flag, wrapped her leg into a perfect brass monkey pose.
“Got it?” She said, with her voice under strain while she descended from the move.
“Yes all done. Now then everyone, that’s some inspiration for you all…”
I went on to talk people through improving their flag technique. You know, doing my job as an instructor.
Jessica has her head down and was swiping at her phone screen. I was mid-sentence when she interrupted me,
“Can we do one more? My head is at a strange angle in this one!”
“Um, sorry Jess, not now,” I stumbled out. “Maybe at the end. We’ve got a lot to get through today.”
She looked genuinely disappointed. She turned to another student, handed her the phone and said: “would you mind?”
The student cautiously accepted ger request.
Oh no. This wasn’t fair.
This was a pole class and not a photo shoot and I wasn’t happy about her wasting the other students’ lesson time. She wasn’t registered to attend the class that day and this whole photo fiasco was taking up too much time.
I did want to make a big deal of it, so I waited for her mini photoshoot to end. I decided to talk to her as soon as her feet touched the floor. In the meantime, I had everyone else practice their flag-holds one last time.
“Hey, Jessica. The thing is, we don’t really do photos during the lesson, it’s not fair to the others. You can either wait until the end or hire the studio for yourself. I hope you don’t mind…”
Jessica butted in with “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I just wasn’t thinking. Here…” she put her phone on top of a pile of yoga blocks in the corner. “No more photos until the end!” and she smiled and turned back to her pole.
Great. I thought that was too easy.
20 minutes later
I was supporting a student in a new trick when I heard a couple of “ooooooohs” coming from the other side of the studio. I looked up and there was Jessica, performing some extreme combination of highly advanced moves.
I knew she was here for a private practice/show-off session.
As I got closer to her I could see that her phone was propped up on the yoga blocks. She was recording herself. She was recording herself doing an advanced combo in a fairly intermediate class.
By now, everyone was distracted by what she was doing. One woman, in particular, had a serious aversion to being photographed. Why? She was a victim of domestic violence and had a restraining order against her former partner. If he was to see a photo of her in a pole class then he wouldn’t be very happy and may react violently.
This is just one of the many reasons why we have a no photo policy, which applies to all students and Jessica knew this. We have a large sign on the changing room wall and every student who registers accepts the terms and conditions.
Sure, you may be like ‘Jessica didn’t register, she was a walk-in,’ but that doesn’t matter. She was registered in the past and we’ve always had the same policy.
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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