1. You can’t wear moisturiser. On your legs, on your hands, nowhere. This is the first thing Michelle Shimmy tells us when my colleague Anthea and I enter one of the studios, Pole Dance Academy, that she owns with her sister Maddy Sparkle. Unfortunately Anthea covered herself in the stuff this morning (#rookieerror) so she finds it hard to get a grip on the pole. We’re given this chalky hand santiser-like stuff to rub on our hands and some metho to rub on the pole to help. She still slips around a bit more than I do.
2. You’ll need a bit of flexibility. Michelle tells us that although you need both strength and flexibility, the strength tends to develop faster. So if you’re a bendy babe, this sport is more likely to come naturally to you.
3. It can give you a #goals body. When Michelle does a little demo for us, we discover that the decade of pole dancing has given her both flexibility and strength in bucketloads. The girl is FIT. Like, ultra fit, ultra hot, just ultra. We want to be her. It helps that she has fit brains too. She may be the first person to have put herself through pole school by working in a law firm.
4. It feels less indecent than you’d expect. We were feeling a bit awks about pole dancing as colleagues. But really, it just felt like doing any other type of fitness class with a mate. With slightly more LOLs. Granted, there was no full-frontal panty flashing going on, but watching Michelle was like watching a pro athlete doing her thing. In fact, pole-dancing has branched so far beyond just strip clubs and fire stations that there are now international comps called Pole Theatre (dramatic pole choreography, established by Michelle and Maddie) and Pole Sports (with the goal of getting pole dancing into the Olympics – why not?).
5. You’ll feel the burn. Muscle burn, especially in your abs and arms, but also skin burn. You have to wear shorts so that your skin grips to the pole, which means you have to cop a bit of Chinese burn between your thighs. Michelle promises that stops happening after a while.
6. You’ll get some cute vids. As Anthea and I followed Michelle’s lead we felt pretty unco. It’s not like doing F45, there’s a fair bit of choreography you’ve got to get your head and legs around. But Michelle said we aced it, and when we watched the vids back we looked a bit OK really. For our first go at it.
There are Pole Dancing Academy studios at Bondi Junction, Redfern and Crows Nest in Sydney. Find out more at poledanceacademy.com.au.