You took the plunge–you signed up for that crazy pole class you heard about/read about. As I write this, you’ve had your first class already. You got a tour of Aerial Dance and you’re working on taking in all that amazing-ness. The instructor has started you off with some basic moves and you’re already excited/apprehensive for your next class. You could be feeling pretty solid in the moves you were taught, or you might be feeling confused and a little frustrated. I promise you, you’re going to be alright :).
I am so excited that you’re here! You might not know it yet, but you’re about to embark on a journey that will change your life. It’s a journey of empowerment, self-love, self-confidence, and strength of all kinds. You might look at some of the things your instructor does and think, “Me? Do that?! It’ll never happen!” In a term or two, you’ll realize that you’re capable of a lot more than you thought. You’ll realize that you’ve got an unlimited potential to grow and to learn. You will find out that the body you have is pretty amazing. It can perform amazing feats of strength and make beautiful shapes. You’ll have the sore muscles, “pole kisses,” and pictures to prove it!
I know you’ll get there, because I’ve been where you’ve been. Until you come to realize what I’m promising you is true, here’s my advice:
What you’re working on now is important–get good at it. It’s really exciting to be able to do complicated moves, but you can’t learn to do those well without first solidifying your basic skills. Everything that seems boring and unexciting? Make sure you’re confident in those. I always thought Fireman, Front Hook, Back Hook, Hang Slide, standing pole crunches of any sort, and all the conditioning was boring. I know now that things like that are the cornerstones from which your pole castle is built. Hang Slides build the ever-important strength for shoulder engagement. Standing pole crunches will set you up for regular and aerial inverts. All that conditioning works on muscles that need to be strong–the stronger they are, the safer you’ll be. I’m not just echoing this because I’ve been told it so many times. I promise you, I’m telling you from experience. Get powerful in those basics! 🙂

First practice back

First practice back from my break–learning how to do it all over again! Back to basics!

Practice. If you’re like me, you don’t magically nail the move the first time you do it. It takes time and practice to be good at anything–pole is no different. Whether you signed up to build muscle or to enjoy a new hobby, doesn’t matter–both require some dedication. Also, you get to meet different students from different classes and different levels at practice. This is a good time to ask questions! I can’t speak for everyone, but to me, it’s also OK to watch your cohorts. It can be inspiring, helpful, or just downright cool! Besides, if you see someone working hard on something, and they finally get it, it is perfectly acceptable to start cheering for them. It’s also perfectly acceptable to cheer when you think it’s cool and/or that they did a good job. You can even cheer just because. We’re a positive and, sometimes loud, bunch here at AD 🙂 .
Cross-Train. If you’re able, add some of AD’s other classes to your schedule. Learning another aerial art like Hoop, Fabric, or Silks will help your pole skills, and they’re super fun. There are other classes like Aerial Conditioning or Vertical Barre will help you work on your strength and endurance. Bendy Babe will help with flexibility. I could go on– but you need to check them out for yourself! Any and all of these classes will help you get better at pole, and you’ll a good (and sweaty) time!
Back Straddle Candycane collage

See? Look at all the fun you can have when you cross-train!

Please, ASK! I remember being afraid to ask anyone questions in practice. Who would want to waste their time helping me, a beginner? I asked, and I got great answers, and made some great friends! I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoy helping each other out. I have found nothing but support in my struggles! Remember— EVERY SINGLE STUDENT OR INSTRUCTOR IN THE BUILDING WAS A BEGINNER ONCE. We all know the struggle you’re going through! Sometimes, a fellow student can explain it in a way that might make more sense to you. That still happens to me to this day! It’s also important to remember that all of the instructors can help you with your aerial questions, but they’re also able to offer suggestions about how to build strength in certain muscles and such related topics.  So, if you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask.

Do NOT compare yourself to your fellow students! This is so hard to follow–I still struggle with this on occasion. It’s so important to remember that your pole/aerial journey is YOURS and no one else’s. Everyone is different, so everyone is going to progress differently. I’ve been doing this for three years, and there are people who have started after me and have far surpassed me. I started in 2012, so it appears that Instructors Paige, Nikki, Kim, Chrissy, and  Kelly W all started their pole journey after me, and are now my instructors. Even better? The first time I took Advanced, Instructor Meegan was taking it for the first time too. Guess who my instructor was for my first Advanced class back? Yep, Instructor Meegan! Full circle! My point is this: there is no particular speed at which you need to progress. The aforementioned instructors? They were able to progress through the pole curriculum quickly because it came easier to them. Though there are some things that can come easy to me, most of the curriculum requires a lot of work for me. I fight for everything, and I’m proud of everything I’ve been able to accomplish. Instead of comparing myself to my speedy instructors, I remind myself that the only thing I need to focus on is to keep improving!


See that lovely woman behind me who is owning the move (whilst I celebrate the fact that I got into it)? Pretty certain she started after me too, and now I send her videos of crazy Extreme level tricks I think she should try! She has surpassed me, and I’m very proud of her. Each journey is different!

Don’t give up! There will be times that you feel that something is impossible. You’ve tried and tried and tried, and you STILL can’t get the move. Trust me, sister, I’m there. This is part of the journey. Stick with it and don’t give up. I kid you not, I used to struggle hardcore with the basic Fireman. I was certain that I would be doomed to suck at it forever. WRONG. I practiced and practiced and heeded the advice I was given. I did repetition after repetition–and it FINALLY came to me. Now I have no problem with it. You will climb that “struggle mountain” every single time you do pole. It might take one try, ten tries, or it might take a thousand— BUT, when you finally achieve what you’ve worked so hard for, you’ll realize all the trouble was worth it. That awesome feeling of accomplishment? Every aerialist chases that feeling. It’s also important to remember that you can’t accomplish something without trying it first! You came, you tried, you conquered. Personally, chasing that feeling has expanded to other parts of my life. I’m willing to try things, learn new skills, and take on new projects knowing that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I also know that if I had given up, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.
4 shows

If I had given up early on, I wouldn’t have had these memories!

So, my Beginner friends, welcome to the Aerial Dance family, and welcome to the wonderful world of pole and aerial fitness.  We’re so glad you’re here! 🙂
**Note: I’ve littered this post with links to other articles from my and Paula’s journey, so you can get more perspective. Browse away!