So I’m writing this Post today in light of recent unpleasant goings on in the online Pole Community which seems to have come to some sort of head at the moment. I have used extracts of my book in this as this is actually a topic I wrote about last year, so to be honest this negativity is by no means a new phenomenon, which makes me very sad, but some of the angles seemed to have changed and therefore maybe it needs to be addressed?
The primary arguments that seem to be surfacing are rows over names and teaching techniques, but the big Issues seem to be health and safety related.
Such issues are not cut and dried when it comes to solutions. There is much to pole dancing that simply cannot be put in a conventional straitjacket. This (our) calling is all about pushing boundaries, inventiveness and initiative. Matters pertaining to health and safety are, although necessary, sometimes felt to be restrictive to all the essential elements of pole dancing.
Some things are common sense and you would think one doesn’t need a formal Health and Safety instruction to apply them. There are certain things I do and don’t agree with. For example, I do not feel the need to have thick crash mats in place ALL the time but some studios insist on their being in place. YES, when you are starting on a demanding new move or inverts for the first time it is sensible to have a mat in place and a spotter attending. My view however, is that later as you progress the use of a mat brings with it a dependence that is restrictive to performance and gives a false sense of security.
A perfect example was when one of my students, who had been a performing a move perfectly well in my studio for years, went to another studio abroad. There, they would not allow her to train without the mat. The outcome was that she knocked and twisted her ankle on the edge of the mat when descending. As a direct consequence she was out of action for weeks. The road to ankle hell is paved with overzealous Health and Safety good intentions. Please don’t misunderstand my comments, the need for safe teaching and training is paramount when working with other peoples bodies, recently there has been a rise of Pole related muscular problems due to incorrect teaching techniques and grossly insufficient warming up. I have found areas such as the shoulders are particularly vulnerable. There is a very good ‘#Train safe, #pole safe, #teach safe’ campaign that’s well worth a look up.
I just feel that sometimes a ‘little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing’ if you’re doing things just out of repetition and imitation rather than understanding the real ‘Why? Or how?’ behind it.
Back in the online world I see people starting to feel fed up, it reached the point where I didn’t want to comment on some posts in forums or groups for fear of my reputation being tarnished by the ignorance of armchair critics. (I see many people saying this now, but this is how I felt over a year ago) Some of the girls and guys were being unjustly shot down over minor subjects or errors, whereas on the other side, well know Instructors were being severely attacked for trying to administer help and advice to fellow polers. This was no longer the family-friendly pole community I had nurtured and grown up with. I was disheartened by this. There were horror stories of ill run pole classes causing untold problems to students and damaging the hard work us primary polers had been striving to achieve.
The bitchiness reached an all time high, even peoples personal comments on their own pages were being pulled back into the Facebook groups. (I’ve seen it more in one particular group than the others) The newbie or self taught polers should take the advice from the more advanced members, (I was both of these at one point) I know criticism is hard to accept sometimes, you’re excited and want to show this and get a bit of acknowledgement & acceptance within the community, but quietly take the advice, it will help in the long run. DON’T get disheartened but DO seek professional guidence in the form of a few studio classes or official online classes (i’ve heard studio Veena to be highly recommended). However, Instructors need to realise that sometimes their well meant help and advice will not be taken gratefully. Think of it like a child.. many times a mother will say, ‘Don’t do that, you’ll fall!’ The child will, 9 times out of 10, keep doing it until they eventually fall. Sometimes they just need to learn and find things out for themselves, however frustrating it may seem. Also don’t criticize too much on the small things, their splits might not be perfect yet, but I’m sure they are already working on it, you were there one day too. Again Like children, if you are constantly criticizing the small stuff if will have less impact when you try and make a comment about something really important, and try and back it up with encouragement. Key rule when giving feedback. (Which I have seen many of you do). Part of the problem is wording, we have a need to express ourselves and be heard, but when we read a phrase or sentence you can’t hear how it’s said so can sometimes be misconstrued or taken totally out of context as to how it was meant. Please note I am talking generally here with this post, there are lots of different situations, I can’t say in each situation who was wrong and who was right, but at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be about that… it should be about us working together doing the thing we love the most. However, realistically speaking personalities still do, and always will, clash. Just because we have a common passion doesn’t mean we all have to be best friends but at least try and be polite human beings. On a plus note… at least we’ve moved away from the ‘Sporties V’s Sexy’s’ argument (Wink)…. Peace out people!
Love Pole, Keep Spinning!
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