Our lovely makeup artist, Bambi de la Cruz shares her personal take on the art of pole dancing. If you want to learn more about Bambi, you can visit her blog at
Spinning My Way To Fitness
I’d like everyone to meet my dance partner, he’s tall, he’s thin, and he won’t complain even if I wear the skimpiest of all skimpiest shorts. In fact, he doesn’t move at all.
Everyone, meet the pole.
I’ve been taking pole classes from the pole dance company Polecats for a few sessions now. Now before you think dim lights and gyrations and body waves, pole dancing is not just for strip or gentlemen’s clubs. Pole dancing is a kind of performing art combining dance and gymnastics. It’s not your usual gym with complicated machines or high-impact running nor is it for those who want the easy way out to a perfect dancer’s body. Usually seen in strip clubs or in circus performances, pole dancing requires skill, strength, and a lot of body coordination. And you thought it was just gyrating on a steel pole fastened from floor-to-ceiling right?
Prior to my first day in pole, I was given guidelines.
One was the outfit. Shorts isn’t just a suggested outfit, but a highly-recommended outfit. And it was funny, they told me to bring the shortest shorts I possibly have (i.e. commonly known as p.p. shorts.). As I’m notorious to have every pair of shorts be too short for me, I thought that it was going to be an easy task to just grab a pair or two from my shorts collection. Well, whadya know? They were still too long. The shorts for pole dancing are usually boyleg shorts, just like boyleg bikini bottoms, or the shorts worn by volleyball players. They should hug the skin tight so as to avoid any accidental stuff peeking through or wardrobe malfunction when you do your climbs or inverts. The requirement for it for being really short is that in pole dancing, it’s the skin and strong limb muscles that are used to grip the pole so the dancer doesn’t fall off the pole as fabrics get slippery. Of course in time, as the dancer becomes stronger, she could wear tights, leotards, and sometimes pants, like the dancers in YouTube. But while being a beginner, short shorts are the way to go.
For the top, it’s any top actually that you’re comfy dancing in. Personally, I like tops that aren’t too loose. I was wearing a tank on my first day then finally graduated to a midriff top so I get a better feel. (Yes, nice outfits really help get the inspiration going)
Also, it’s important for my skin to be devoid of any moisturizer and oils. No sunscreen too, even the spray kind. Lotion on the skin could cause the dancer to be slipping off the pole even before they start to grip and hold the pose. And lotion in the morning does not wear off by the time the class starts in the afternoon. A big bottle of rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl with no moisturizer) rubbed onto skin helps dry it up a bit, but it’s better to be moisturizer or oil-free beforehand. My moisturizing butters, lotions, and oils could be still used when I’m not up the pole, like during the night. Pole attire is very simple: short shorts, a comfortable top, a sports bra for support, and bare feet. Hair? Ponytail it up then let it loose.
The first thing of course in every exercise is to warm our muscles so they don’t get all shocked with the spins and climbs we do. Warm up gives the muscles a headstart and that also includes jumping jacks and lunges to get the heart rate going plus core exercises to strengthen the core. Muscles and limbs are stretched as we familiarize ourselves with the pole.
Beginners learn first how to check the stability of the pole. The pole first has to be shaken hard to see that it doesn’t come off. After that, the instructors teach you basic moves. The first spin I learned ever was The Fireman, which involved spinning around the pole inspired by how a fireman gets down the pole during a fire drill. It was scary at first, especially when it’s time to let go on the second leg. I was scared that I’ll be falling flat on my back (i.e. my weak area) or I’ll be rushing myself to the ER or stuff like that.
It was okay to get scared at first, but eventually (like on my second day), I was starting to get used to the spin. It was actually quite fun! Think vertical monkey bars with hips moving, letting the ponytail loose, with Britney Spears’ I’m a Slave for You as your background music. A few other spins such as the Chair, Sexy Secretary, Martini, and Sun Wheel (my personal favorite) followed, all depending on each person’s fitness level. Talk about endorphin rush!
Spins aren’t the only thing we learned. We learned another challenge – CLIMBS. During climbs, we get to understand the need why it’s important that our skin not have moisturizer. Because we need all the grip we need. Climbs are quite challenging because we need stronger muscles. I currently have a hard time climbing too, but of course, it will develop with time. It’s fun to finally get to climb up the pole because with the climbs, we get to do a series of amazing tricks.
Of course all these tricks are done under close supervision, and the instructors really guide you to make sure you’re doing it right. Guiding is important so the student doesn’t injure herself during the process.
Here’s Myla. She teaches the 6-7 p.m. beginner’s class. She went around the classroom…err…dance studio and checked on our climbs and spins.
CD teaches the students the correct way to do The Skater.
It’s fun when you get to accomplish a trick. However, of course it’s understandable that not all students could successfully do a step on the first (or second or so on) try. Each person’s fitness level and body is different. Take me for example. This is my first time to actually join a class, since like I’ve said my fitness regimen is usually a collection of workout DVDs, so it really takes quite a while. There are some students who are already strong beforehand since they do other fitness programs too, so it really depends. What matters is to just have fun. The strength, with training and practice will develop. I guess the hope for me to do inverts is possible!
And speaking of fun, here are some pictures.
Me prepping before a spin.
Dances. Of course that’s why it’s a dance class, and dance steps are good transitions to all those tricks you learned in class right? Otherwise if it’s just trick after trick, it would look funny.
Here’s me with Myla after class. Teaching 10 students and demonstrating routines an hour after and still looking fresh.
Yes, we do get blisters after. I proudly call them my battle scars. I love them!
While the 7-8 class warms up, I did a bit of practice and drills .
The planks I learned at Pilates are different from this type of plank. I love that this picture made me look amazingly long.
Is pole dancing only for those who are thin and fit beforehand? Uhm no. It’s for anyone who’s interested and would like to get into a fitness program that’s fun, fabulous, and sexy. I was actually inspired that some of the enrollees also have the same condition as I do with my back and they were able to do inverts and climbs like a pro. I like how the classes are made to be fun and easy and the instructors really hands-on with the student so each student gets it right. What’s best is that it’s a fun and encouraging atmosphere.
So do I get to do an invert soon? Let’s see!
For those interested, Polecats holds classes at Gen Studios, located at 3/F Pearl Plaza Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center. You could call them at 0917-700 POLE for inquiries or feel free to check out their blog at
for announcements. They also have Facebook page.
Article by Bambi Dela Cruz