Forums Discussions Self taught vs classses

  • Self taught vs classses

    Posted by Sabrina27 on February 15, 2010 at 11:05 am


    I’m just curious as to know how many of you take pole dancing lessons and how many teach yourselves at home?

    I appreciate that you save money by not forking out on classes and it’s in the privacy of your own home, but I can’t help but feel that attending lessons adds that fun factor in learning the pole. A chance to get yourself out there, meet new people and be social with other pole addicts.

    Runemist34 replied 14 years, 3 months ago 18 Members · 24 Replies
  • 24 Replies
  • polergirl

    February 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I think classes and safety training are crucial, at least until one gets to a certain point. Building a good base is, IMO anyway, a lot tougher to do when you don’t have someone explaining hand positioning, making sure you’re not throwing yourself into moves, etc.

    Regular class time maybe isn’t as necessary after a dancer reaches a certain level, but this is where pole jams and the like are a huge positive.

    Plus, as you mentioned, classes are fun and inspiring!!

  • chemgoddess1

    February 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    When I started out there were no classes in my area.

    I think just the opposite…much of the beginner stuff can be learned from videos and the like, it is when you start getting into the advanced moves that I feel it is better to get to a studio. There are so many little nuances that simply cannot be taught via video and unless you are taping yourself you really cannot see where you may be having issues. I also like getting out amongst others that enjoy pole as much as I do.

  • Mary Ellyn

    February 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I was pretty much self taught (internet, friends videos and advice but no live teacher) for the first two years. Then I was fortunate enough to learn more from some of the best pole dancers known at that time.

    I learned a LOT on my own from basic through advanced…but I was also dedicated to investigating everything I could about form, function, body mechanics, and safety. Still when I started the main safety points were crashmats and spotters. MOST people didn’t talk about engaging the shoulder girdle, keeping the wrist in neutral alignment, etc.

    As a result I developed carpal tunnel and an inflammed rotator cuff along the way.

    So I find it difficult to recommend self learning at ANY point along the way unless you know you are learning proper body mechanics/safety by investigating or getting good starter DVDs that address these.

    However there are plenty of studios, even some of the major ones, that don’t bother with any of this so even taking lessons isn’t a guarantee that you will learn correctly!

    Whether learning basic or advanced you will learn safer and much quicker how to do a move when you learn through a "good" instructor. Not that you can or should rush through learning but learning to execute a perfect fireman spin will likely come quicker when you have a good instructor….and of course, as Chemmie said, even subtle points can make a huge difference in learning advanced moves.

    I also think you do not get the variety from watching youtube which you can from an instructor. For example, we have about 12 distinctly different versions of the fireman spin we can teach our students!

  • RoxyPink

    February 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I am 99% self taught…I have been lucky enough to have lessons/workshops with Karol, Alethea, Jessalyn and Jenyne. Personally I would recommend to a newbi to take lessons if possible!! I have suffered through many injuries that probably would have been prevented had I known proper placement to begin with. Having said that…I do feel that I am much more aware of my body placement because I have figured out correct placement/positioning on my own. Unfortunately there are studios out there that do not teach proper technique and safety so you really have to be careful. I actually know of a studio that was/is teaching their students to RUN into an invert and RUN into a corkscrew….IDIOTS! So honestly….the girls who go there might actually be better off learning at home from say Jamilla’s dvd’s (fantastic investment for anyone)

  • poledanceromance

    February 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t think there’s enough distinction here. There’s a huge difference between just watching youtube videos and trying to "figure it out" and taking lessons from Veena or working with good instructional dvds that focus on building a safe groundwork.

    I also think we have to be fair in considering that pole is not an everywhere thing yet. In fact I consider it to be a very metropolitan sport in terms of what demographic has really bitten into the popularity/fitness aspect of it. Seems like all these studios are in major cities. There’s nothing near me in central IL as far as I am aware. If there were, I’d probably go. There’s clearly no substitute for the in person interaction of classes with a qualified instructor with a great attitude. But I think as a poling community we have a responsibility to all newcomers to not get an attitude that everyone should/must go to a studio from day 1 and instead focus on providing really, really good electronic resources up to and including video chat based one-on-one lessons with instructors that take into consideration the many price ranges and locations of people who pole. We come from every demographic and walk of life, and everyone should be able to find access to basic training materials that will keep them safe and teach them in a way that is fun and rewarding. Anyone who wants to pole deserves to be safe, no matter what their level of access to a studio and formal instruction is.

    (By the way, I’ve only ever used Veena’s lessons at home and I haven’t yet suffered any injuries from improper placement or anything of the sort. Follow good advice, get good results. I also know my limits and what I most surely cannot do. I make no promises for lack of common sense.)

  • Veena

    February 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    While there are some great studios out there…its a sad fact that many pole studios are not teaching safe pole dancing!! I always get emails here with complaints and injuries do to their instructors poor understanding of body mechanics. Live classes are great, but for those who live too far away from studios, don’t have time, or need a reminder of how to perform a move when their can’t get to the studio for help, the online lessons are a great choice.

    I have seen bits and pieces of the top recommended dvds and to be honest I’ll say they are….um… OK. One of them I purchased as a new dancer and it was soooo disappointing, they didn’t explain things, it was just video and the narrator saying place hands here now do it. LOL I finally had a chance to watch 3 of Jamillas advanced dvds a few weeks ago, and they are one of the best that I have seen.

    The beauty of of my online lessons is that we are continuously adding NEW LESSONS And unlike a dvd….. you can leave questions and comments on each individual lesson for me. In addition to that, I make time to meet anyone who needs one on one help in the chat room for FREE. My lessons are always focused on proper form. I have MANY instructors who also take the online lessons so they can teach their students what I have taught them.

  • polergirl

    February 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I should clarify my post–I still absolutely think that classes and safety training are crucial, especially for beginners. BUT, they don’t necessarily have to be in-person classes/training. Jamilla’s DVDs are safety-oriented and explain proper technique, and I have heard Veena and others discussing her online lessons and it’s clear that they are very safety-oriented and that they also emphasize proper technique.

    I guess for me the key is to learn safe techniques for pole and for understanding the muscle groups of the body and how they can work with a person instead of against. To my mind, if a beginner learns those, then as she/he advances, she/he will have a good understanding of how the body works and supports itself, and the advanced moves are less likely to end in disaster.

    Watching pole dancing on youtube is often such a study in contrasts; either the dancers are very good and many times (not always, but a lot of the time) are doing things newbies shouldn’t even think about (not good for self-taught dancers, IMO), or the dancers are unsafe and/or unaware that what they are doing is beyond their personal level. That’s not to say there aren’t vids on youtube that are very helpful, because there are some GREAT tutorials. It’s just that I find them to be the exception rather than the rule. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places.

  • Foxy_Rei

    February 15, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I’m a DIYer of learning pole. There are no studios where I live, and I also can’t afford the online lessons at this point in my life. Everything I’ve learned has been from YouTube, videos here and forum posts here.

    I have mixed feelings about studios vs. self-taught, though, when one has the option of either or.

    Pros of Self-taught: You can move at your own pace and pick which moves that you want to work on. You’re in your own home and don’t have to be self-conscious in front of a class (that would be a problem for me, but obviously not for everyone). You can pole as long as you want, whenever you want. It’s also cheap – the only thing you really need to buy is the pole. And you get to learn your own style – some studios are geared more for fitness, others for the sexy angle, etc.

    Cons of Self-taught: Not learning body mechanics (shoulders back and down is my nemesis ) or proper form for moves, which can result in injury. Also proper progression of moves – some moves look easier than they are and may lead someone to trying it before they’re ready. And there’s just the fun of having pole pals to share the adventure with. Oh, and some people are limited in their home pole space while a studio would probably have higher poles and more space around them.

    Pros of Studios: Being shown how to do things instead of trying to figure them out for yourself. Warm-ups, cool-downs (both of which are often skipped easily if you’re going solo), proper body mechanics are included and can reduce the risk of injury. Having scheduled classes and an itinerary of moves helps the student stay disciplined. And there are other people to keep you company (and spot you, lol), as well as access to what’s hopefully a large pole space and crash mats, etc. Not to mention that you may learn more choreography and transitions than you would on your own.

    Cons of Studios: Unfortunately, most of the bad things about going to a studio can be chalked up to the industry being not very uniform, regulated or monitored. At this point in time, anyone can open up a studio, it seems. Instructors don’t have to be certified in anything, studios don’t have to be equipped with "real" poles and good equipment, etc. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about a studio opening and it being some run-down building with rough, painted poles and instructors that don’t do anything but say "here’s the move, now you try."

    But even if the studio is top-notch, there is always still some drawbacks, I think. If you’re a fast learner, you may be held back by being in a class. If you have self-esteem issues then dancing in front of other people may be stressful. Having the schedule of classes may be bothersome if you want to pole more often. And sometimes, just like with learning at school, having the formal setting and regimen might suck some of the fun out of it (but everyone’s different).

    Personally, I like being self-taught… at least to start with. I might go to a studio if there was one here someday just for the company and to expand a bit. I like having my own schedule and list of moves to work on, as well as being able to do it without an audience. I’ve also been blessed that I’m a quick learner and I’ve never had a serious injury and only one minor fall even though I never work with a spotter or use mats (yes I know I’m a horrible example). However, I’ve never even met another person that poles in person and it’s kinda lonely. Plus it would be nice to have some direction whenever I hit a wall of what moves to tackle next, and I also suck with choreography and transitions. And my pole space is very cramped, too. So I could definitely gain something from going to a studio, but I wouldn’t want to do it exclusively.

    I do want to put in the good word for Studio Veena, though, for both the lessons and the forums. I don’t have the lessons, but even the forums make it so much easier for people that are self-taught to get some feedback.

  • Audball

    February 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I’m going to agree with poledanceromance here that we need to make a distinction between being self taught (i.e. youtube taught!) or using Veena’s lessons. I’ve never been to a pole dancing class, but I wouldn’t consider myself self taught. Veena taught me!

    I understand that lessons would be great for meeting people. However, it’s the safety thing I don’t wholly agree with. I feel safe on my pole at home. With my cushions, and boyfriend nearby if necessary. I know the pole won’t be slippy (no ones been on it with fake tan etc!), I know he’s there if I need to shout and get help, and most of all, I don’t feel I need to hurry up, as there’s no one waiting to use the pole. Wheras, at lessons near me anyway, there is one instructor for up to 20 people, how can that be more safe?

    There is a level of self control for beginners with a pole at home whether you take lessons or not. I have been taking Veena’s advice and not poling everyday, warming up, cooling down etc. The one time I ignored that, I pushed myself to far and hurt my arm, but it wasn’t serious and I learned from that!

    In terms of feedback, I feel that recording myself is satisfactory. I watch myself and I can tell when it looks wrong by comparing myself to how it looks in the lessons. Sometimes it’s even more obvious. Also, I can upload the videos to get feedback, eg. when I first inverted.

    Another pro of being ‘home-taught’ I’ll call it! You can move at your own pace. I was afraid to fork out 80eur after buying my 250eur pole as I know that I have some dancing experience, and may get bored, being in a class where most people can’t practice at home. So in a few weeks I had most of the beginner moves down, but it may have taken me more time to invert, for example. This also allows me to fit in poling around my busy schedule, and there’s the obvious lack of travel time.

    Having said that, I would like to attend a regular pole class, but I can’t due to my schedule. However, I’m hoping to get to a pay as you go sort of lesson in the next few weeks. Just wanted to put a word in for us people who pole alone!

  • jeng

    February 16, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I originally took a 6 week beginner course with a studio then purchased my own pole and Jamila’s Art of Pole. Looking back at the classes I took they were helpful however they taught us to invert on our last class and I realized very soon afterwards I was definately not ready and suffered alot of back pain under my shoulders because of that.

    If you are going to go to a studio make sure they have people teaching that truely know their stuff. Even studios that have competent staff may not be the greatest at teaching. Doing and teaching are completely different.

    If you do plan on learning on your own I recommend taping yourself so you can see what you are doing right and wrong, get a good set of CDs such as Jamila art of pole that break down the moves clearly rather than just watching youtube videos and have crashmats and someone to spot you.

  • Sabrina27

    February 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I actually take classes and also own a pole.

    As I am starting out going to classes is a better option as opposed to teaching myself at home. While it’s all well and good recording yourself and anaylsing where you may be going wrong for me I would not be able to judge for myself what I could do to improve on a particular move or spin without someone who is a professional telling me. I made sure that the school I learn with are certified, which they are under the PDC. I was very fortunate to have a teacher who was excellent, very encouraging and importantly safety conscious.

    I have learned from Veena’s videos as well which have been very helpful and can proudly say I can invert safely but personally attending classes, interacting with others and being shown the do’s and don’t is better for me.

    There is the added bonus in practicing what I have learnt at home, whereby I feel more confident in exeucting the moves safely and in the correcr manner. So in essence I guess I do have the best of both worlds.

  • Poleluver

    February 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I have to say I have DVDs and take a weekly class. My class is conditioning and tricks. meanwhile in the next town over there is a class where dancing is more involved. I’ve thought about maybe doing both. I can do what I think looks good but I love the idea of a class where there is repition and explanation, variations. I think it would take a strong person to be able to look very professional without lessons and someone saying that leg should be straighter ect. however with that being said I’m not sure my form is corrected enough either with classes! I’m also a slow learner.

  • Sarahallman

    February 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I am pretty new to pole dancing, and I started off with classes, until the woman who did them just disappeared. At that point I decided to buy my own pole and teach myself.

    I’ve done pretty well so far, but it would be really useful to be able to take classes, but there are no studios anywhere around me. And sometimes I find myself reaching a block, where I can’t get anything or dance at all! It’s so frustrating. Plus I’d like to meet some other like-minded people, as when people find out that I pole dance, they tend to judge, especially as I’m 18. They seem to think that I’m going to turn to prostitution, and it drives me insane!

  • SandyBrown

    February 19, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I started pole dancing in studios. The very first class I took had 16 people in it, all of whom were beginners like me. I don’t have a pole at home, so I try to get into the studio whenever I can. I’m glad that there are DVDs like Jamilla and online lessons like Venna’s out there so that people can truly see how it’s done if they would prefer to learn solo or if geographic prevent them from going to a studio.

    I can’t remember who commented on this, but it was mentioned that students were being taught at one particular studio to run into one of their spins/tricks. At the studio I started off at, we were taught to jump into an invert. I saw a recital video of a friend who is still at that studio, and I saw her not only do a running motion into her invert, but also the same motion while going into a shoulder mount. At my current studio, that would not fly at all, plus it gives you back problems as well. I also definitely agree that just because someone knows how to do a move doesn’t mean that they’re good at instructing others.

  • polebunny

    February 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I’ve got to say that I don’t think ppl should look down on ppl who want to learn alone. Think of it this way, someone has been the first person to do everything at some point in time….I just feel on here sometimes theres an attitude of pole is so hard and we need to take bitsy baby steps now I’m all for safety and I know some ppl do need teachers to learn but what about an attitude of yeah I pole and I’m naturally good not "oh maybe one day if I work really really hard I can do it and look good" I just think some of us need confidence there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Just my two cents on what I’ve been thinking for a while

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