When did you start pole dancing classes?
J: I started Pole Dancing in June of 2014 at Aradia Fitness Sherwood Park with their first all-male pole dancing class!
What got you interested in trying a pole dancing class?
J: Many of my friends from work had been getting into pole fitness, including two of my closest friends. Seeing their pictures and moves inspired me to join, I had no idea how much of my life pole would take up.
How did it feel coming in to a sport that is predominately female-based? What were your feelings towards that?
J: I work as a swimming teacher and aquatics is predominately female, so this didn’t bother me. However, the societal restrictions on men to do anything considered female, pole dancing being one of those, does bother me. I have hoped to create an atmosphere that is not identity exclusive, and bring pole dancing to everyone.
What do you think are some of the main differences or challenges that men face in comparison to women in pole dancing, and vice versa?
J: I think that different challenges only exist due to the way we construct gender, but due to those contrictions many men tend to be less flexibily focused and more strength move focused. This leads to a very “Male style” of dance that is less flow and flexibility based. In contrast, I think women then are more flexibility based and tend to struggle more with gaining strength moves. However, these are generalizations based off of observations that I have seen in my classes. There is no outline and no list of what your challenges will be as a dancer. You can work towards whatever your personal goals are
What do you enjoy about being an instructor?
J: The biggest thing that I enjoy is seeing my students grow. When they succeed, I get to be proud and help them perfect their journey. I also really enjoy learning from my students. They challenge me to come up with harder and newer things everyday!
Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a “pole plateu”, or maybe even lost enjoyment in the sport? Did you find a way to overcome it? What is your advice for this?
J: Many times, and I know that this is not a unique milestone in my journey. Mine tend to occur after a performance or showcase. I have given a lot of effort and I have put in all I think I have and I get tired. The biggest thing for me is taking breaks. Pushing yourself too hard and too far in a short period of time will result in burn out. I also have to constantly remind myself of how far I have come, and to return back to some of the skills I have learned in my past, and repractice those rather than looking forward. The pole world grows so fast, it’s impossible to keep up and I don’t think we should expect ourselves to.
What have you learned about yourself through your pole journey?
J: Personally, I have learned that I can be confident in my body, and my own creativity… which is something I am still weirded out by to this day. I also learned that having a creative and physical outlet really helps me cope and maintain my mental and physical health!
-Josh V – Aradia Fitness Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and St. Albert instructor