Second week of term in Beginner Static, you learn to climb. If you're a newbie, that means you've been pole dancing for an hour and, all of a sudden, the pole looks very high, you feel very weak and you're not sure how all these other fit, amazing ladies are scrambling four meters up (in their heels, no less!) and you're quite certain you have no hope of doing anything but falling to your death, should you try any such thing.
This was how I felt in my first term of Beginners when Kristy showed us how to climb. It looked utterly terrifying, not to mention painful, and I couldn't see how I'd ever be able to do it.
As it turned out, it was painful (everything is painful the first few times) but not nearly as terrifying as I first thought. For one, Kristy was always there to spot me the first few times I learned, helping ensure I had correct leg grip and wasn't putting my hands too high.
FUN FACT: It often feels more secure to have your hands as high as they can reach in pole, but it makes climbing and aerial tricks so much harder. Having your hands at face, or even chin height, makes it so much easier.
To climb, of course, you do have to have your hands a little bit above your head as you move up, but that's something that comes (as I discovered) with time and practice. It took me three terms, a total of 24 weeks, to learn how to climb and it is one trick I am still so proud of myself for getting, given all the terror it inspired in me when I first saw it and how freaking hard it is to actually do it. However, once I could do it, it just became standard to climb into all of my tricks, or to scramble up the pole and touch the roof during strengthening and tuck slide all the way down. Below is a video of me doing a standard climb as part of a choreographed routine. This was filmed during my last term of Beginners before I graded up to Inters, when I had long mastered the technique (the Diva Pose on the end is optional, it was just part of my choreography). Watch my feet to see what I mean when I say shoes make climbing so much easier, if I wasn't wearing them I'd rub the top of my foot raw, which I have done on at least one occasion.
But once I graded up into Inters, climbing turned into something else entirely: spider climbs.
Spider climbs are hard to explain; part aerial trick, part full-body inversion, they incorporate both front straddles and ballerina holds, as well as aerial versions of both and involve moving from one side of the pole to the other as you go up.
I learned how to do these three weeks ago and, accounting for the week I had to take off due to my elbow injury, I've only been practising these for two weeks. So I stunned myself on Thursday night when I managed to lift myself through the climb and come around to the other side of the pole! Watch the video below to see what I mean.
This is a single spider climb, and, yes, I am jumping for joy and clapping because I DID IT! If I was to continue my spider climb, there would be another front straddle, this time aerially, another ballerina, also aerial, and then I'd lift myself through it again and keep going up like that.
This spider climb was exciting for me because, not only have I only known they've existed for three weeks, but this was the first time I'd ever done one without a spot. Previously, when I've been practising, I've got my top hand stuck underneath my hooked leg and have been too afraid to pull it out, so my instructor has had to come and hold onto me and help me pull my hand out and climb up and through. But last night I did it all myself, and twice at that, and practised some aerial straddles into the bargain.
Expect to see more spider climb progress as I continue through Intermediate Static and look out for some aerial straddle practice coming your way very soon.
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.