This beautiful, edgy, artistic expression of dance has gained wide popularity as a form of fitness. Not only does it demand significant body strength, flexibility and endurance for the challenging athletic moves entailed; but it promotes self-confidence in many women! We join Tessa and Caryl at their studio Flaunt, and ask them to give us the scoop on techniques behind pole dancing and how it is perceived in Hong Kong.
How did you both decide to open Flaunt?
C: [laughs] We actually met up in a bar and discussed opening a studio over drinks!
T: I didn’t think Caryl was being serious, but we continued the dialogue the next day and here we are today!
T: To be honest I Initially did not want the responsibilities of owning a studio, and having to deal with rent and the financial aspects. As a freelance pole-dancing instructor, I knew I couldn’t continue as a freelancer for a long period of time. I wanted stability, so Caryl and I opened Flaunt and hand picked some instructors to offer our clients the best possible experience.
What advice do you have for someone before taking their first pole dancing class?
T: Relax and have fun! The first couple of times will feel weird, as the movements are very unique and it takes some getting use to.
C: Try not to compare yourself to others. A lot of our clients tell us that they didn’t do as well as the others. However I think that it is important to remember that everyone is different and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses!
Why do pole dancers perform in heels?
T: We wear heels because it makes us feel sexy! It also lengthens the legs when we are performing. Nowadays many girls are wearing 8-9 inch heels!
Surely that makes it so much harder?
T: Definitely! But when you put on the heels, you become a completely different person!
Which is more important, technique or strength?
T: A combination of both is incredibly important which separates a good performance from a great. Strength allows us to hold our body weight but when combined with technique makes our movement graceful and beautiful!
How much clothing, or lack thereof is necessary?
T: Skin contact with the pole gives a person better grip allowing us to feel more confident when we are performing!
Do you use any products to help your grip?
T: I don’t personally however some students do find it helpful.
C: I use some grip powder especially during performances for that extra bit of grip which helps with my confidence!
How do you stay fit and healthy?
C: Obviously diet is incredibly important when it comes down to living a healthy lifestyle.
T: Eat cleaner! I drink protein shakes on occasion and I do weight training for lower body strength focusing on glutes and legs. I also do 30 pull-ups a day!
How often do men come to your classes?
C: We do get male participants, but not that often! I guess it must be quite intimidating for a guy to walk into a class full of girls!
T: There are men who do it for the fitness purposes, i.e. build strength in order to lift their body off the ground and do ‘The Flag’ for example.
What are you thoughts on pole dancing for fitness being associated with ‘Stripping’ and ‘Erotic Dance’ styles. Do you feel that some people may feel offended?
T: Of course. A lot of people get offended and I think it’s because they just don’t understand it. Pole dancing is appreciated by those with an open mind. It is a form of art, a way of expression that empowers women, building their self confidence and making them feel sexy whilst doing it.
We have trouble finding places to perform in because a lot of venues don’t want to be associated with pole dancing as they feel that it reflects badly on them.
I understand that there are different types of poles, such as the Static and Spin pole, can you explain what the differences are and how they are used?
T: They are used in different ways, but it really depends on what the choreographer wants to show. If you are a beginner, start off on the static pole first, then progress onto the spin pole and learn to perform different tricks!
Lastly, you recently held a performance with your students at Lightstage. How did that go?
T: The show was a huge success! We brought all our own equipment, pole and lights. We had about 40 people perform and it took about 10 weeks to put the choreography together, but it all paid off in the end because I feel it legitimised pole dancing for those who watched!
That’s wonderful, congratulations! Thank you for your time.
If you are a pole dancing enthusiast or even if you’ve never tried pole dancing you’re in for a treat! Make sure you check out Flaunt Studio for an great unorthodox workout!