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9 March 2011
What do Amy Adams, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and, er, The Spice Girls all have in common?
They’ve all folded away their jogging bottoms and slipped on hot-pants to participate in 2011‘s sexiest fitness craze: pole-dancing, writes Martha de Lacey...
Happily, you don’t need a Hollywood postcode to strut your stuff around the pole in pursuit of washboard tummies.
London Bridge’s innovative dance school, Ecole de Pole, has brought the delights and health benefits of the planet’s hottest workout to the borough.
Australian ex-ballerina Justine McLucas first sampled pole-dancing four years ago and was “captivated and hooked”.
She opened Ecole de Pole’s Southwark studio last May, extolling the dance-form is “a means to both improving fitness and expressing one’s artistry through movement”. The benefits of pole-dancing are bottomless. (Just take a peek ar the super-toned bottoms of our celebrity twirlers.)
Over a standard six-week course - ranging from beginner to professional - muscle tone, cardiovascular fitness, upper body strength, core strength, stability, coordination and flexibility will improve tremendously.
“It also really builds confidence,” Justine told the ‘Weekender’. “You feel amazingly sexy, and it’s more fun than going to the gym by yourself.”
A genuine camaraderie develops between dancers during lively classes of whirling, flipping, jumping, crouching, spinning, leaping and hovering. Justine says: “I choreograph different routines to pop, rock, Latin, house.
Whenever one student gets a trick everyone claps and cheers.” (No one cheered when I was on the treadmill last night...) There are two students per pole and ‘tricks’ (special manoeuvres) are taught from day one - but you’ll have to wait until you’re intermediate to hang upside down!
While the majority of Ecole de Pole’s students are women aged between 20 and 35, Justine does have an advanced class of over-40s and a couple of 50-year-old students. And do they also wear hot-pants?
“Everyone has to wear hot-pants and vests,” she says sternly. “You can’t wear tights or you’d slide off the pole which would get very... messy.”
And as for boys who want to get in touch with your sexy side, you’re welcome to come along. Male teacher Josh, who trained with both the circus and the Russian ballet, holds intense, circus-style pole dancing classes suitable for men. “Military boot-camp... pole-style,” they tell us. “Not for the faint hearted!”
Classes - including tasters and private lessons - run throughout the week, but advanced booking is advised if you want to join a six-week course. “My students say the class is completely addictive and that the routines are incredibly rewarding,” Justine adds. “We also do aerobics and step classes in our Fulham studio, but my heart is in the pole. I’m a pole girl through and through.”
For more information contact
Ecole de Pole on 0207 460 4454
Studio address will be sent upon booking.
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