I’ve seen a few tips around the internet about what to expect from a first lesson at Pole and Aerial classes, but all these tips are coming from professionals or people that have been doing the sports for years and years.. not someone who is still a beginner. It’s easy for me to look back on my first lessons and reminisce as they weren’t that long ago, I’ve been at Pole for a year and a half but only at aerial for a few months. So here’s my tips for your first set of Pole and/or Aerial lessons, I hope you learn from my mistakes!
Don’t moisturise before classes (you’ll regret it):
Rule #1 for Pole Dancers and Aerialists alike.. DO NOT MOISTURISE BEFORE A LESSON. Don’t be afraid to get out your dry legs as no-one will be looking at them, it is better than not being able to nail any moves and slide down and off the equipment. Grip is everything in these sports, that hand or that leg grip will always stop you from falling so do yourself a favour and skip your post bath routine.
Invest in some chalk:
Chalk is a small gift from the aerial Gods, it stops sliding on particularly hot days and stops you wrecking your hands on all the other days. I always use a mixture of Dry Hands that I get from Amazon and Chalk balls that I pick up from my local Go Outdoors shop. Be careful if you have allergies or asthma as the dust from the chalk gets everywhere if you aren’t careful.
Don’t compare yourself to the others:
I did the ultimate sin at aerial last month.. I quit for a few weeks as I kept comparing myself and got down on myself about it. This is the worst thing you can possibly do, just because someone is doing drops or shoulder mounting already doesn’t mean you are shit because you are struggling with some beginner moves still. Everyone progresses at a different rate, I know people that can do crazy inverting moves but still struggle to do beginner spins and I know others than can spin like a boss but struggle at inverting.. no-one is good at everything, you’ll find you niche as you continue through your journey.
It’s okay to have days off:
I have the ultimate guilt when I’m ill or busy and miss lessons, I always stare at my phone thinking “I could have been at pole/aerial right now”. Although it sucks to miss lessons when you are ill, you need that time to recover as going to a lesson will push your body to exhaustion and it will take 10x longer to recover. Even if you aren’t ill and are busy or just need a day to stay home and chill.. that is 100% okay! We all need a chill day every now and then, also I find I go back to lessons feeling refreshed and ready to go after breaks.
You will hit a plateau some time in your journey and that’s okay:
Oh the dreaded plateau.. I feel like I’m in that plateau now with Pole. The past 6 months I’ve been nailing moves and feeling fit and ready to go, but all of a sudden, it’s stopped. It’s beyond frustrating, but push through it and keep positive! I feel the plateau happens when you are in the middle of Beginner and Intermediate classes, beginner moves are easier and you want to learn harder stuff but intermediate still seems so out of reach.. like a pole purgatory. Just keep nailing the beginner moves and adding slighter harder stuff on to these moves, take it slow and you’ll soon push past it.
Get some proper pole and aerial clothing:
The best thing I ever did was get some tight fitting pole shorts and tops, my 6 year old baggy gym shorts just weren’t cutting it anymore. My first pair of pole shorts was from Pole Junkie, they were tight like bicycle shorts but high waisted which helped if my top ever slipped up and I was feeling self conscious. Don’t fret, you don’t have to fork out a stupid amount of £££ for pole gear, I also bought a couple of mermaid styled shorts from Amazon for £6 each and they work a treat. Aerial is similar but don’t wear shorts as you will feel all the burns! I bought a tight fitting Nike top from a sports shop for like £10 and some Puma leggings for around £13.. sport on a budget. It always best to wear tight fitting clothes for Aerial as you are less likely to get clothing items caught in the silks or under the hoop during moves.
Don’t run before you can walk:
If you rush into a move before you are fully ready, you will either fail and have a bruised ego or even worse.. actually really hurt yourself. By all means, if you’ve been training a move like Butterfly and want to start practising Extended Butterfly then go ahead as you’ve already got the base move. However if you’ve only just started doing basic spins, it’s not the best idea to try Extended Butterfly before even getting the base invert nailed. Same with aerial, don’t try some crazy top of bar moves until you know you can safely dismount. It’s common sense really, but people do get cocky. I feel I did this with Shoulder Mounting, I got someone to flip me up without really knowing where to put my hands and legs.. which resulted in a bruised collarbone and a fear of shoulder mounting ever again (I’m working on it though even though I’m shit scared haha).
It’s okay to change schools/instructors:
Not every instructor teaches the same way, some have a more stern approach to teaching and others are more jokey.. but there is an instructor for everyone. I always felt that when you join a pole or aerial school you have to stay with that school throughout your entire journey, this really isn’t the case. I changed aerial schools once even after two lessons as I knew their teaching style just wasn’t for me and now I’m super happy and progressing well at the new school. You are paying money to do a hard sport.. you need to be happy and comfortable to progress well.
I hope these tips helped! Enjoy the journey, both pole and aerial are one hell of a ride and you’ll enjoy everything about it (yes, even the bruises!).