Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pole Teacher Certification - Where Should You Go? Part IV

Day 3 of Training:
 I mean it’s past the point of me complaining how SORE my body is.  I’m presently numbing some of that soreness with a margarita. 

Today I started my day by assisting Collette in an Intro to Pole Class.  I had SO much fun.  Collette has a very upbeat style of teaching, and she keeps the energy in the room high, which I think is good for beginners.  She also takes a lot of time to explain why she is doing what she is doing.  She does not take it for granted that her students will understand why they are spending class time learning floor moves. She explains to them that this will help them to learn sensuality and “swagger” as she likes to call it.   I am not used to classes where the warm ups are broken down with explanations and a part of me just wanted to get lost in the flow of movement.  But I have to say, it seemed to work for this class, and a lot of the students loosened up and were having fun.  I was surprised at how few moves were taught from a curriculum standpoint, and yet how much material it seemed like the students were being given.  And I loved, loved, loved assisting.  There is nothing more satisfying to me than helping a student and watching her face light up when she gets a move.  I also loved showing the students how to embrace their sensual side and enjoy their bodies.  It truly made my day.  I noticed too how much the language that Collette had taught me for pole moves came in helpful for finding small mistakes in the student’s movements and correcting them.  I have primarily studied pole dancing in a studio that has no mirrors, which I always thought was great.  But I must say, I was fascinated (and surprised) by how little the mirrors were used by the students during the floor moves portion.  Partly this is because Collette had everyone facing each other in a circle.  But I also think the students were more absorbed in their movement then in the image of their movement, which is lovely.  On the other hand, I think the mirrors were a great tool for learning pole tricks because pole requires precise and proper body positioning in order to avoid injuries.  Collette finished class with a beautiful demo that had all the students’ jaws on the floor.

After assisting, I got to “teach” my fellow pole students, which was far more challenging.  Each of us took turns being the teacher and Collette came up with a number of student problems for us to tackle; everything from improper positioning to dead pets.  My “students” included someone with a serious cold, another person who couldn’t deal with the sick student, a student whose pet iguana had just passed away and two students who were improperly positioned on the pole for the trick they were about to learn.  I did ok.  I didn’t catch everything, but I taught the trick properly.  The role-playing was extremely valuable.  The amount of stuff going on in a classroom at one time can be overwhelming, and it sometimes feels like you need eyes in the back of your head, a phenomenal memory bank, a ton of empathy and a long fuse.  These scenarios did a great job of preparing us for what to expect in the classroom.

Last, and CERTAINLY not least in my day, I finally learned to do the Shoulder Mount!  I have been practicing that move for months and months and months…improperly it turns out!   No wonder I couldn’t get it.  With a few small, but important adjustments (here is a hint: you will never, ever get your legs over if you are in a back bend) I was able to get my legs over my head flip up onto the pole.  I am ecstatic!! Here is the best part (and it’s kind of a story): When I was little, I was terrible at gymnastics.  I used to take dance and tumbling classes and in spite of my intense love of ballet and tap, at the young and tender age of five, I quit all of it because I couldn’t do a cartwheel.  Everyone in the class could do one except for me, and I was devastated.  My teacher came to the house to talk to me and reassured me that he could teach me a cartwheel and that it would be his priority, but I had already decided that I was a failure and would never accomplish such a feat.  It’s kind of heartbreaking in retrospective.  And today, while trying to figure out the shoulder mount, that old feeling came creeping back in, and I felt like the five year old who couldn’t do the cartwheel.  But no one was going to let me give up – least of all Collette.  She made it her personal goal to teach me that trick.  And I got it.  After five or six tries and some additional adjustments and a lot of encouragement from the women around me, I got it.  And I have to say, whenever I overcome a challenge like that, a little piece of that five year old feels a whole lot better about herself.  And that is priceless.
Last day of training tomorrow!  Oh and I’m taking some sort of Chinese Splits class in the morning…if I can move.


  1. I loved reading your blog posts about certification! I feel very lucky to have Collette right in my backyard because she truly is amazing. It was wonderful to have met you and put a face to a blog, so to speak! :)

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