I Can't Get No Satisfaction....Frustrated With Slow Progress?

Dec 23, 2015
Hello all! I’m not writing this to upset anyone but my hope is that it will offer insight into some of the common frustrations among pole dancers.

Pole stars are wonderful, crazy tricks are fun, and its great to have people out there who inspire, amaze and represent. There is, however, a trend in our young community that leaves many pole dancers feeling unsatisfied and maybe like quitting altogether. I see that we start off with visions of rainbows and cupcakes but end up in a cloudy and unsatisfied haze of feeling left out, behind or just not good enough. Why is that?

I’ve been in the pole industry for eight years now, and the fitness industry for fifteen years. In that time I’ve seen a lot and there are some observations I’ve made over the years so let's dig into this a bit!

While pole dancing has been around for longer than most people know pole dance practiced in an organized manner is relatively new. We have competitions around the world, magazines, organizations, websites, blogs and studios starting and failing, left and right. There are even products and clothing made just for pole dancers. This is exciting and makes our community seem large and established, but the reality is we’re still pretty darn new and if we continue to only focus on achieving and promoting the greatest feats of strength and flexibility, I fear, we will become a dying breed. Too many studios jump on the social media trick bandwagon, allowing or sometimes encouraging students to try everything that’s out there. This is not reasonable or safe and allowing students to dictate what is taught not only confuses who is in charge but lends to a mentality that all moves out there should be taught and learned by everyone.

I have been saying for years, not every move is right for everyone. Please help me spread the word. StudioVeena.Com fights to spread the message that pole is for everyone and that it's fun! We’re bombarded with images of perfection and high level achievement without understanding what it really takes to reach elite levels. I touch on this in my Veena Method Teacher Training Course so check that out too found at [www.studioveena.com]

As the popularity of pole dance has grown, people outside our community have become interested in this art. Because of this we now have elite dancers with backgrounds in contortion, gymnastics, and other aerial apparatus representing pole. This is great, but I think we need to become a bit more aware of what is a realistic for the average poler. We are no longer dealing with stars who learned everything while down in their basement or in the strip club. There is no need to play copy cat with every single move you see, because the level is so much higher.

I'm not saying “don’t even try!” I'm saying you need to proceed with caution and listen to your body. Set goals and work hard to reach them. Just be sure that your goals are not pushing you to the point of damaging your body. The Veena Method provides a great guideline to help you decide if a move is safe for your level. We would not take a figure skating class and assume we would learn a triple salchow within a year. Why do we see untrained individuals learning pole and feeling like they need to do Jade, twisted grip handsprings and splits? Instructors need keep things reasonable. Students need to be aware of their limits and be content with where they are and what they can do.

I've also noticed that the focus of many workshops are to learn the latest and greatest tricks and to offer signature trick workshop. These moves are "signature” moves because that performer's body is capable of performing it. It is not reasonable to expect that everyone or even most should try it. There may be exceptions where a signature move is fairly simple, but this is not usually the case.

We have a few brave souls who travel around preaching proper technique, but sadly those individuals are not nearly as popular as they SHOULD be. Here is something to think about when choosing a workshop. Winning a title doesn't mean this person is a skilled teacher. Being a skilled teacher does not mean the instructor will be famous. Being certified doesn’t mean they’re qualified! I was certified in CPR for a few years before I ever felt qualified to use it! Ask around, see what others thought of this workshop, do your research.

We all have different abilities, this is part of what make your dancing special. Most of us who pole dance are not doing it as a profession which means we cannot train like professionals. Why do we feel the need to do what the pros do. Why do we feel this pressure to learn EVERYTHING? is this really healthy? Is this the direction we really want pole dance to go?

Most of the people who enjoy pole dance are moms, dads, students an professionals in other fields. We can't expect them to pole dance 6 times a week and have the time to strengthen and stretch the body in a way that allows for twisted grips, lifts and elite pole work.

Let the professional dancers have the crazy moves. Save your body and live to pole another day. We all have different strengths some of us are naturally more flexible than others and that's ok. But we should not franticly try to shove ourselves into a split or backbends just because some big name can do it. Pole dance should be about your journey finding your sexy, your strength, finding yourself. If we are always looking to do better than the next person or even strive to be just as good, then we lose ourselves. We lose the power pole can have, which leads to self doubt, jealously, anger and finally loss of interest.

Elite dancers, circus performers and pole athletes are amazing they have worked hard and have sacrificed for their art. They share their beauty with us and for that I am grateful and in awe. So lets not forget or ignore the time that is needed to achieve that level of performance. We don't see the toll this level of performance can take on the body. This is their life, it's what they live and breathe. Its not reasonable for everyone to strive for this level of commitment.

Most of the population believes that body builders and figure competitors, are the picture of health. We believe it's why they are on magazine covers? To achieve this level of "fitness" they diet down, live in the gym and live a very different lifestyle than the average joe. The dieting down is not healthy and it can be very hard on the body and mind.

I'm one of those crazy people that believes in moderation! There are individuals who do thrive off of living a very strict lifestyle but it should not be expected or even desired by everyone.

With that, may you all have a beautiful 2016! xoxoxo

nellynutVery insightful Veena. You do have a point. I mean at my classes which i do alongside your lessons. People are always rushing to do the next best thing instead of enjoying the art of pole.

I made it a point to myself if i don't get something eventually i will. I say when i see girls doing advanced tricks that I will get there.

I've accepted pole is a journey and would rather be a graceful strong beautiful dancer than a bag of tricks.

Have a good christmas Veena and here's to 2016

Nelly xx
Dec 23, 2015
LunaLovelyThis is just the post I've needed lately as I move from intermediate to more advanced stuff. I see myself and some of my classmates feeling like we've hit a wall because we're not conquering new moves every week, but there are so many other directions to grow in. It's harder to get new tricks because the tricks are harder--it doesn't mean we're failing. It's easy to lose sight of why we all started in the first place.
Dec 24, 2015
MizMacyThanks for the reminder Veena! It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that even the intermediate moves I can do seemed unattainable at first and are a big achievement. Auditioned recently with some other dancers and the dance that I really was impressed by came from a beginner who used simple moves to tell a story with the music. i wanted to see more and she didn't even have to invert to draw me in.
Love that anyone can pole and that every persons style is different.
Dec 24, 2015
stardustLove this post, thanks for sharing, V! Have a wonderful holidays and an awesome 2016!
Dec 24, 2015
Stefana of LightVeena😘 you are a kind and well equipped guide. Your sincerity and dedication to what you create is noted by the universe!!!! You are one of my favorite people in the cosmos and I haven't even met you physically. This site is such a beautiful representation of your vision of educating and creating deeper awareness through life. What a gift !! This post is so spot on. Let's all come out of contraction and live and love a little more !! I think many brilliant and sassy woman don't post out of fear. I was and have been one. I have even posted out of the hopes of being lifted up because I found joy in the dance, and then had my heart weep because I felt members didn't "notice me ". I have to say this rarely happened and when it did it was a lesson for me of appreciating myself fully so others options could uplift me as well. It's such a personal journey , a reintroduction o to the body. But we are doing a spectacular job through the years of cultivating more and more compassion and less competition. Both of those serve purpose when balanced. 😍thanks for the brain and heart goodies Beena😍
Dec 24, 2015
VeenaI'm so happy this was helpful or at least reassuring for some! 💜💜💜💜💜
Dec 24, 2015
Phoenix HunterThank you! I sometimes feel alone when I decided to quit a certain level of classes and to progress on my own at home. The classes were going into territory that I didnt feel ready for. there is alot of pressure to just nail trick after trick and I really wanted to just master some of the more fundamental tricks before moving on. For me, some of the more flexy tricks feel more natural for my body and some of the strength based tricks are terrifying and dont feel safe at this point at all. Its so much better to progress at your own pace and do what your body naturally wants to do.
Dec 24, 2015
Dec 25, 2015
LatinPoler Paid MemberWonderful post. I consider myself a dancer, not an acrobat, and a beginner. And no shame on that, pole dancing to me is that, dancing. I am attending classes and to some extent I feel pressure to progress to the next level,but I don't feel myself ready enough. I may be able to do the beginners moves, but I haven't quite interiorized them yet. I prefer enjoying the sweet beginner level. Now I'm taking things at my own pace, thanks to online resources. But said this, many times I feel like as a rara avis :-)
Dec 25, 2015
Stacia0330I love this post!! I was hesitant to post my vid of me getting a rather sloppy Gemini by myself today. But, this was a big deal to me, and this article reaffirms my pride in myself. To most, the Gemini or Scorpio is probably old news, but I feel accomplished at getting this done today. I love seeing intermediate and advanced polers doing their thing, and I'm also happy when I get a solid invert as a beginner! Thanks for the perspective, Veena.
Dec 26, 2015
Phoenix HunterStacia, be proud of your accomplishment and post that video! :) there are so many first times I wish I would have videoed. You feel the accomplishment now but you feel the accomplishment all over again when you can look back on those videos and realize how much easier those tricks are for you later on
Dec 27, 2015
Kellye PerkinsHi Veena, I have been contemplating on this blog post. I'm afraid I've been subject to the temptation of "bigger better things" too. I've been poling 'seriously' for 2 years and have had the mind set that at age 58 if I don't do something now I never will! Age is creeping up and haunting me and I feel time is running out fast. I have hurt my shoulders and wrists pushing myself but fortunately not to the point of not healing well or requiring a doctor visit. Your blog makes so much sense and I thank you for taking the time to write it and sharing it with us. Perhaps I should accept the aging process and not push myself so hard. Should 1 arm spins and inverted split grips ever be in my repertoire? There is no way I have enough flexibility to do the 'twisted ballerina' but I can ballerina. I hurt my shoulder trying to get it behind the pole:) Do you have any additional words of wisdom for us aging poler wannabes? I need to better be able to assess a move and determine if I should consider it and/or if it would be detrimental to my health?
Dec 27, 2015
hookedonpole Paid MemberI love this post, Veena. I really believe in the progression for pole and struggle when I see students/studios bouncing around from something to something else without building upon. @Kellye, being in age range of you, I understand realizing we are in a different season of life. I do not come from a dance, gymnastic, flexible background, so am careful to stay within my physical and mental limits. And, for me, need recovery time! This site, Veena's online lessons and little tutorials here and there are very helpful to me. I never thought I'd be doing some of the things I am, but also accept and am okay with the fact, there is so much more I will never get. Having accomplished what I have is enough for me to continue enjoying pole. Just today I tried couple of things I saw others do and did NOT happen and probably will not happen, but it's okay. But then, if I keep at it, it just might, but not to the point of injuring myself (I HOPE!) I've seen your videos and you are doing very well! We rock!!!!!!! (if I do say so myself lol)
Dec 28, 2015
VeenaYou all do rock!!! Keep moving forward and you'll be surprised as to how far you can get. I've shared this to my FB page so please feel free to share if you have pole friends who might be interested in reading this! 😘
Dec 28, 2015
Phoenix HunterKellye- you just dont know what youre capable of. just keep enjoying pole and working on your strength and flexibility and those goals may be possible. I've learned that I can do so much more than I ever imagined. I keep striving for more when the time feels right. Ive learned to not have any expectations and enjoy the present but to also not put any limitations. twisted ballerina was tough for me and I really had to try it at the end of my sessions when I was really warm and do some stretches for my chest, shoulders, back and hip flexors before trying it. try it from the ground first like in the lesson. go only as far as you comfortably can and try to hold it for 15-30 seconds. repeat about 3 times each side. if you can only put your hand on the pole and not behind it, then just do that. the important thing with flexibility is holding whatever you comfortably have in a stretch so that it will eventually open up one day. dont force the end result. be where you are now and gently stretch that. I'm with you on inverted split grip and one hand spins. they may or may not be a possibility for me due to grip strength limitations. my limitations are neurological and they might get better or they might not. Im just gonna keep strengthening conditioning and enjoying where I am and keep trying when the time seems right. Im 37 and one of the older students in my class. not much of a dance background or anything like that. I struggle alot but im so amazed at what I can already do. never thought in my lifetime I would be able to do what I can already do.
Dec 28, 2015
Angeliisvery well said Veena! Thanks for posting, it's great to come to the realization that moderation is key, takes the pressure off so to speak. I've always felt similar about my hula hoop journey, comparing ourselves to others only leaves us with unrealistic goals. For me I have learned to embrace who I am... Embrace your You-ness. Happy New Year and a Blessed Pole journey to you all.
Dec 29, 2015
Kellye PerkinsPhoenix Hunter, When I was 24 I severed the ulna nerve and ulna artery in my right wrist (dominate hand). I still don't have 100% use of my hand and can't pull the ring and pinkie finger in beside the others when together. Fortunately it doesn't effect grasping or gripping as much but I do notice it is a bit weaker than my left hand. My grip has progressed enormously since starting pole. Like you said who knows what is possible and I will keep working:)
Dec 29, 2015
vinalotysThank you!! It feels good to know where I am in my pole practice is okay and that I don't have to strive to be the next Bendy Kate tomorrow.
Dec 29, 2015
Phoenix HunterKellye, I can kind of relate to your ulnar nerve issue. I have spinal cord damage and scarring at the level of my spinal cord that sends messages to my arms/hands. my grip has improved so much since I started pole. for now, inverted split grip and one handed spins just dont feel like a possibility but Im trying to remain open to the idea that it may be possible in the future. :) I've already had so many happy surprises. I hope you continue to have happy surprises along your journey too. :)
Dec 29, 2015
KittySkittlesVery smart. Thank you Veena
Dec 30, 2015
Kerstin Schmidt
Its so great and a lot of fun
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