Stationary poles seem safer for at least beginning through high intermediate students. Also, most women at the Studio seem to enjoy the workout aspect of pole practice, which the momentum of spinning poles removes.
Denver, CO (PRWEB) March 4, 2009
Pole dancing can be traced to ancient forms of belly dance, ballet and more. But even with its traditional roots, pole dance exercise classes are not all the same. They run the gamut from studios operated by former exotic performers to those in the dance and/or fitness industries. Dr. Lori Huett, health psychologist, former Joffrey ballet dancer, and owner of Denver's TranZenDance Studio, is responding to this situation with a new guide, designed to help women find qualified pole dance instruction. She notes that while professional pole dance programs can provide women with a whole body workout and more confidence with their curves, other workout programs for women that use poles can also be unsafe and include equipment, approaches and emphases that can cause more harm than good.
According to Dr. Huett, women should look for:
- A safe practice environment
- Specialized instructor knowledge and aptitude
- An approach that limits potential injury
- An appropriate ambience and class/session structure
In terms of a safe environment, Dr. Huett encourages women to make sure poles are securely fastened to floor and ceiling attachments. Poles must be stable or they may move, especially with frequent use by students. Women should also note the type of poles a studio uses. Referring to a current trend that uses spinning poles, Dr. Huett asserts, "Stationary poles seem safer for at least beginning through high intermediate students. Also, most women at the Studio seem to enjoy the workout aspect of pole practice, which the momentum of spinning poles removes."
Secondly, women should pay attention to a pole dance fitness instructor's credentials and formal training to be sure they understand and can relay biomechanics (anatomy of movement). Dr. Huett explains that "a professional pole dancing exercise instructor, for example, can teach that the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, and we should never try to lift or hold our own body weight with the shoulder. Rather, the larger stabilizing muscles of the latissimus-dorsi, or back, should be identified and conditioned properly before doing any lifts or turns at the pole."
Injury avoidance is a third element in her guide, and Dr. Huett encourages women to be wary of pole dance exercise classes that promote "kicking" to gain momentum. "Given the seriousness of potential injuries to the head, neck, and spine in inverted positions at the pole, moves should instead begin with the core musculature and be 'spotted' by an instructor during descents." Professional-level instruction also includes warm-up stretching and conditioning/strengthening exercises, and attention given to each student's physique, flexibility, and weak or previously injured areas of the body.
Finally, in terms of ambience and approach, Dr. Huett encourages women to look for dim lighting and an absence of mirrors, better to emphasize a felt sense of movement. "I tend to dichotomize pole dance exercise studios. Some have mirrors, bright lights and begin women in platform shoes; others teach in dim, soft lighting, without mirrors, and with a meditative, lyrical floor-move warm-up on yoga mats. Each woman is developing her own unique style, and the absence of mirrors helps her rely on her deepest intuition rather than trying to mimic the instructor or others in class. "
Dr. Huett's guidelines are intended for women everywhere who seek qualified pole dance instruction. Those interested in learning more can contact Dr. Lori Huett directly or further explore professional pole dancing at the TranZenDance Studio website.
About Dr. Lori A. Huett:
Dr. Lori A. Huett holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver and Clinical Residency from UCLA. She is also a former NYC Joffrey Ballet Apprentice. She brings to TranZenDance Studio clients more than 23 years of dance experience, helping women enhance mind, body and spirit through pole dance.