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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Photo Credit: Katerina Pappas Pole Fitness instructor Artemis shows off some of the moves she taught in the class.  

My night in a D.C. pole dancing class

Correction appended. 

The class instructor slithered down a pole dangling from the pipe exposed ceiling. I introduced myself to her, revealing I knew her name from the website — but she interjected. “My pole name is Artemis,” she said. I was in my first pole dance class.

Jordin’s Paradise dance studio offers classes for Zumba, belly dance, Doonya and pole dancing. Washington City Paper named Jordin’s Paradise the best D.C. dance company in 2014. On a Wednesday in September, my friend and I took the introductory pole fitness class called “Flirtyfied Pole Intro.”

Jordin’s Paradise advertises its introductory pole dance class as requiring no prior experience. The websites blurb on the class says “Get comfortable on the pole! Learn some sexy moves, proper form, and introduce yourself to the fabulous pole community! 18+ Please wear shorts and a tank top. NO body lotion or jewelry. High Heels optional.”

My hoop earrings, black and white checkered leggings, a short-sleeved shirt and sneakers clearly proved that I neglected to read the dress code before entering the class..

Artemis said she started dancing in  in August 2014. The three other girls in the class practiced before the class started, proving their experience. Their bodies defied gravity by hovering around the pole and off the ground with ease. It was clear this wasn’t their first class.

Once each student acquainted themselves with a pole, Artemis led stretching exercises. After warming up our muscles (or in my case, whatever muscles I have), we began working with the pole. The first move involved gripping the pole and holding our bodies up, static and off the ground. Artemis made the position look easy. The three girls behind me made it look even easier. My friend gripped the pole and lifted off the ground in no time. She even raised her legs into an outstretched position.

I thought, “How hard could this be?” When you don’t work out and have recently made a hobby out of eating alone in the Tavern… hard. I gripped the pole while on my tip toes and then flattened my feet, which should have left me levitating in the air. Instead, I slid right down the pole.

I figured my lack of agility wasn’t a muscle issue but rather a sweaty hand issue. The first time I realized I had sweaty hands was in middle school science class. Each class, I would leave a perfect wet handprint on the black lab tables. Unfortunately, my hands still haven’t dried out. Artemis suggested I use chalk on my hands and if that didn’t work, to use a solution called “dry-hands.” After using both, I figured I’d be a natural on the pole. I was wrong.

Artemis showcasing her version of the butterfly double grip. Photo taken by Katerina Pappas.

The class ended with Artemis asking us if we had any moves we wanted to learn. She then unhinged one pole, enabling it to swirl, in hopes of making some moves easier. Everyone, including my friend, whirled around the pole. I stood on the side and applied more “dry-hands.”

When the class was over, I walked over to my cubby to find Lara, a girl who had excelled all class, waiting for me. She had watched me flounder on the pole and assured me the moves become easier after your first time. When I asked her if she had any upper arm strength practice in the past, she said she’s an avid rock climber.

Artemis joined our conversation and agreed with Lara. She then told us about “Sensual Pole,” a less structured class that requires high heels. The “sensual pole” class takes place twice a week and has a “pole party” option. A pole party, which starts at $299 can be held in the studio or at home. To my interest, and then eventual fear of danger, you can bring alcohol to them. Artemis said the pole parties are usually thrown for bachelorette parties.

A bucket of heels that can be used in the Sensual Pole class. Photo taken by Katerina Pappas.

I’m interested in going again. I recommend the class for anyone interested in a full body workout and some fun. A one time class is $30 and month long packages start at $49. I did 10 push-ups against my couch (okay, two) in preparation for my next class. I should also buy some dry-hands.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the instructor of the class. The instructor's pole name is Artemis. A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated when Artemis started dancing, and this version has been corrected to state that she started dancing in August 2014. 

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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