If you were anything like me as a kid, the worst thing ever was standing over the bin, sharpening your pencil when, suddenly... you drop the sharpener into the bin. Then, if you're having a really bad day, your pencil lead breaks and you have to go and borrow your friend's sharpener and hope to God you don't drop that one too! I still remember the joy of finally getting my pen licence.
In pole dancing, we have pencils too, although we make them with our bodies and points come from our toes. The pencil hold isn't unique to pole dancing either, it appears in a variety of floor and danced based sports, such as gymnastics, and is a fantastic core workout in of itself. When done right, it utilises all the muscles in both legs, as well as the core and back muscles. Depending on how strong your core is will depend on how hard your arms work, but, generally, as your arms help to hoist and hold you up, they will be working too.
I have always been in love with this position, but terrified of doing it. I have a terrible fear of going backwards that not even going upside down as been able to cure. I get to a certain point in this position and start to freak out that I'm going to roll backwards and so come out of it as fast as I can. Lately, however, I have been confronting this fear and practising my pencil hold. Today, during a dance workshop, I used a quiet period to work on it further and was delighted when, for the first time ever, I managed to get my hips and legs up and hold them there. Now, my hands aren't in the right place and my legs are tipping back, but now that I know I can get up without falling, I can start working on getting my hands onto the small of my back and pointing my legs high. The pole behind me illustrates the angle I'm at and what I'm trying to achieve. Watch this space for pencil progression!
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.