Forums Discussions Buy a pole or take classes?

  • Buy a pole or take classes?

    Posted by Porscha on August 2, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’m brand new to pole dancing/pole fitness… I’ve had a friend teach me a little bit over 2 days, and I’ve messed around on some poles at other friend’s houses. I was a gymnast for 9 years (I stopped competing not that long ago), and have done quite a bit of dance, so in just my messing around I’ve done some inverts and whatnot. I was considering taking some classes but I live in the LA area and they are very expensive. Also, I don’t want to pay a whole lot to be stuck in a beginner class when I already know that I am quite capable of being able to invert and do stuff other than floorwork. I do worry about my form though.

    So my idea is to maybe just buy a pole and then teach myself, or purchase less expensive dvd’s and online lessons (i.e. the one’s on this site)… I’m on a fairly limited budget, so I pretty much have to choose between lessons or the pole (if I do get a pole, I’m thinking of the 45mm titanium xpole… I have ridiculously sweaty hands… to the point where it’s technically classified as a medical condition… and although I did practice once in my friend’s yellow rubber dishwashing gloves, I’m hoping the smaller size along with the titanium will allow me to get a good grip without having to wear gloves or use mighty grip).

    So finally to my question… Should I first take classes or should I get a pole and teach myself? Also, if you recommend classes, do you know of any good studios in the LA area? (And I’m wayy too broke to afford Sheila Kelly’s classes). Also… has anyone ever picked up an xpole directly from them at their LA location (they are located about 5 mins away from me, so I could have my pole within a few hours as opposed to a few days, without paying for shipping)

    TrophyWife replied 14 years, 8 months ago 15 Members · 18 Replies
  • 18 Replies
  • PoleDanceABCs

    August 2, 2009 at 10:27 am

    You don’t have to feel like you are less of a dancer if you do things at home because there are lots of self-taught dancers that are soooo good.

    I’m teaching myself watching DVD’s ("Art of Pole" set and "Vertical Dance" set) and some on-line vids. I like doing it at home because I can go on my pole whenever I want to; I can practice morning, day, night, late night… hahaha! Even if you took classes I imagine that you’d still want or need your own pole at home. You’d need some extra practice time outside of class or you might get addicted and class time would not be enough! The only downside to doing stuff by yourself is that you don’t have someone to correct you as you do things or have a spotter once you get more advanced.

    I got my own pole with the plan that I could do basic stuff at home watching vids and once I got stronger or saved up money I’d take a class. My only problem is that the closest dance schools are at least 2 hours away.

    Oh and I’d jump on BeSpun classes if you are in the LA area. I love their style of dancing and they have lots of classes to offer! Your lucky because that area seems to have lots pole dance schools.

  • miss fern

    August 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I recommend classes first. And perhaps after your 6 week course, or whatever you choose to do, you can THEN save up for your own pole. So you get both, but don’t bust the bank doing them at the same time.

    Being self taught is a lot harder, so you’ll really have to push yourself. If you’re good with self discipline and have learnt other things that way in the past (musical instruments for example), or have a pole buddy to help then go for it! Get your own pole – check out loads of the free tutorials on ivillage, and youtube, or buy Veena’s cheap lessons.

    But if you think you’d benefit from a regular routine, with a teacher to guide, help and encourage you, other students, a studio with big mirrors and all that jazz – then I full recommend lessons. They’re the fastest and safest way to learn IMO, at a beginner level.

    Once you get more advanced, it’s essential to have your own pole, coz 1 or 2 hours a week is not enough practice time

  • PoleDanceABCs

    August 2, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Yeah I would take classes if I had any near me. I would love to have someone show me all the little things that make a move "work" and look good. When you watch a video you really have to pay attention to hand placement and all that. Art of Pole is good for that though, Jamilla shows where to place your fingers and everything.

    My hubby was so worried I was going to drop a couple hundred on a pole and stop using it after the first week. He thought I wasn’t going to like it or something but boy was he wrong!

  • Charley

    August 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Classes first

    I really think it’s a good idea to take a course and see how you like it before you spend all that money on a pole. Plus if you get a good instructor you’ll have a great foundation to start from. You’ll have good posture a good set of basics and some confidence.

  • Jenn

    August 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    If you are sure you are going to stick with pole dancing, I would go ahead and buy a pole. When I first started, I made the mistake of paying for a course before purchasing my pole. I feel like I got ripped off, because the instructor was not very experienced herself, and within a couple lessons, I was already beyond what she was even able to teach me. I decided to buy my own pole and learned better from watching youtube videos and following the forums. I never even finished the course. To me it sounds like, with your previous dance/gymnastics experience, you would probably be past a lot of the beginner’s moves already. Plus, if you have friends with poles, they may be able to help you a lot of those.

    Getting an instructor is also a good idea, however. Having a good instructor can be invaluable to not only learning how to execute the moves safely, but also how to put them together and create a flow. Perhaps you could call a studio and see if they might be able to assess your abilities first, and then perhaps they may allow you to level up. I would probably call around and see if any of the the studios would be willing to meet with you first, then see what they would recommend as far as classes go. I think there are a few reputable studios in Cali, not sure how close they are to you, but here are some of the studios I would like to visit next time I go on a vacation there. ( ( ( (

  • Veena

    August 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I would say classes first, but only if you find a good studio that will make sure form is a focus. There are tons of studios out there and I believe Sheila Kelly’s classes are more about sensuality and not tricks. I"m not saying she’s not good, but I don’t think that’s what your looking for. The first and only class I ever took for pole, they didn’t go over proper form and I became very board not only that, the instructor ended up having me teach the girl that I was sharing a pole with. Not a good use of my money or time!! I believe Polecat Power is in the LA area and I THINKthey really focus on injury prevention and form. I would try a class or 2 they you will know if you really love it. If your like all of us here, you’ll be addicted and have to buy a home pole anyway. LOL

    Anyone with a background in gymnastics, fitness industry or dance, really seem to do well by training in home. Many of the principles you already know can be applied to pole! If you go with at home learning, get a quality pole and lessons, or dvd, I only own one dvd and its crap! I have seen a few others and I would say Jamillas Art of Pole is great because she covers form and safety, (at least in the parts I have seen.) In my online lessons I always go over proper form in my lessons and I include strength work and if you ever have any question you can always email me. We can also meet in the chat room and I walk you through any trouble spots.

    The whole point of is to make pole dance as accessible and safe as possible for the busy home poler

  • kasanya

    August 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Doesn’t Yannori teach in the LA area as well? I’ve heard good things about her.

  • New_Dancer

    August 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm


    I am taking lessons and my instructor is AMAZING!!! Once I get my pole I plan on signing up for Veena’s lessons too. However, as you already have a dance background I would agree with Veena. I would buy the pole and register for her online lessons. It sounds like you’ll progress really well like that. As for form, you can post videos and get feedback right on here.

    New Dancer

  • drkfaery

    August 2, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Hi! I would encourage you to take at least a few classes. If you’re interested and are around the San Fernando Valley there is a really great studio in Woodland Hills. A couple of the teachers are on this site. Stella" onclick=";return false; is our Thursday teacher, Anjel" onclick=";return false; teaches on Tuesday and Erica, who is in my July challenge vid with me, teaches Sunday nights. All the classes are taught based on who is there. It’s really laid back and we don’t have levels. Let me know if you need more details. The prices are really reasonable and the owner is usually willing to work with people who want to buy a series. Either way you decide to go, Veena’s lessons are amazing and I still use them almost every day!! Happy poling!!

  • witeroze

    August 5, 2009 at 1:01 am

    I took 6 beginner classes and learned almost nothing. Most of the hour-class would be spent doing warm-ups and "sensual" body moves that I wasn’t interested in. All we learned was 2 basic spins, but worse: they were very unhelpful, they would demonstrate the trick and wouldn’t break it down well or teach you how to do it. Now, I’m sure there are awsome schools/instructors as well but be careful, maybe try getting a trial demonstration before you register.

    Also I don’t understand how you would take classes without having a pole at home to try on, because there’s never enough class time & it’s not in the comfort of your own home. I think getting a pole is kind of a must if you plan to be really good.

    Therefore I’d say get a pole first. I’m new on this site but the girls here seem really helpful with tips & advice, so you can always ask or watch free tutorial videos on youtube. THEN you can consider taking classes, if self-learning isn’t working for you as well. (or get cheaper tutorial vids, like from this site).

    Just my 2 cents

  • New_Dancer

    August 5, 2009 at 1:31 am


    I did take classes before I got a pole. I started classes right away. I researched what pole to buy for 1 week and it took about 3 by the time I got my pole ordered and it came in. I learned SOO much in 4 weeks of classes, but then again I took private lessons and my instructor really kicked my behind into shape

    New Dancer

  • Porscha

    August 5, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Thank you so much everyone! You guys have all been incredibly helpful =) This was my first time posting on this website and the reception has been amazing.

    So on Sunday I went and took a class at one of the studios that was recommended in this post. And although I found it fun, it really didn’t seem challenging enough for me. All we did was floorwork and spins, and I really wanted to work on climbing and inverts and whatnot. Also, I was hoping to get a kick a** workout (like I get when I mess around on my friend’s pole), and I definitely didn’t get that at all. I did meet some really amazing girls though!

    Veena had suggested Polecat Power, and after looking around on their website, I think those might be some classes that I really enjoy. Unfortunately, I need to wait for one of their sessions to role over so I can start with a new one.

    I think for now though I might just buy a pole. I was worried that I may not be able to self-motivate and that I may stop using it after a month, but I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen. I’m extremely motivated when it comes to fitness (working on my NSCA personal training cert. right now), so I think that if I can get a good workout from the pole I will fall in love with it.

    So I think I am going to get my pole, and teach myself the basic moves and what I can learn from the Art of Pole DVDs, and then in that time, save up some money to take some good classes for when I start doing more complicated tricks and really need the advice on form.

    And now I just have to decide between a 45mm and a 50mm pole. If I can figure out how to somehow get my hands to stop sweating I will get the 50, but I think I may have to get the 45 if I have any hope of ever being able to dance w/out grip aids.

  • PoleDanceABCs

    August 5, 2009 at 7:32 am

    You shouldn’t be inverting in a beginner class! If the teacher threw you guys straight into advanced stuff in your first class I would have advised you to go to another school. And you need those basic spins and transitions later on or your pole dance will not look like a dance but a succession of tricks.

    Have you read "Am I ready for an inversion?" by Fleur in the Pole Moves section of the forum? She made some good points and guidelines for pole dancers looking into inverting.

  • simulpole

    August 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I took about 10 classes or so from a local dance studio (Annapolis, MD) before I committed to a pole. I definitely wanted the classes before a pole so that I could ensure that I was genuinely interested and so that I could get some help w/ grace. I do not have a dancing background. In stead, my fitness has come from team sports like softball and basketball. I’m also really into cycling and rock climbing. So while I’m strong and excited about the tricks, I definitely need to refine my grace and style. I have a pole now, but I continue to go to classes for further instruction. Best of both worlds!

  • PoleSkivvies

    August 25, 2009 at 1:06 am

    With your background, have you considered getting a pole and just getting the occasional private lesson to check your posture and teach you the advanced stuff?

    PoleCat Power and Yannori are both excellent – tricks and sexy stuff, both, plus lots of safety training. I hear S Factor is good, but less about the tricks.

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