Rock Bottom To Stronger Than Ever – Sarah’s Story

How pole dance restored Sarah’s ability to love who she was, and her body.

The minute Sarah walked into The Pole Room, she fell instantly in love and has never looked back. Within a year of starting pole dance classes, the young mum improved her upper body strength and flexibility, which enabled her to perform in the studio competition, Shine. “The TPR environment is nothing like I have ever experienced. I can walk into any class and feel at home. Even if I suck, even if I don’t know anyone, no-one judges and everyone supports each other.”

But her journey to find the TPR family wasn’t an easy one. At only 15, Sarah fell pregnant with her beautiful daughter. The experience of pregnancy and childbirth proved life-threatening to both Sarah and her daughter. It left the teen mum suffering Post Traumatic Stress, Post Natal Depression and anxiety. Self hatred soon set in and Sarah found it hard to get out of bed every day.

“Pregnancy destroyed my body, externally and internally. We barely survived the birth which left me with PTSD, PND and anxiety” she said. Alone and isolated at home with a baby, Sarah said her self esteem dropped to zero. “I hated myself, my body, my inability to fit in,” Sarah said. That was, until she found The Pole Room…

“Early last year my friend Ash mentioned she’d signed up at The Pole Room and loved it. I hated the gym and was struggling to get out of bed and get moving. She convinced me to join her for a week…she had to call and sign me up because I couldn’t even do that.”

Today, everything has changed.

“I love my body and everything it can do. TPR (The Pole Room) turned my life around. When I’m having a bad day I still make sure I get to class and it pushes me to fight through it. I really can’t put into words what my friends and teachers at pole have done for me.”

From Bullied To Built-Up – Lauren’s Story

Lauren speaks about how The Pole Room family and Pole rekindled her love of dance

Lauren’s love for dance had dwindled to the point where she no longer enjoyed what had previously been a great passion. The 23-year-old had been dancing at a toxic school, for most of her life before discovering aerial fitness – both Lyra and Pole dancing. “Pole honestly saved me, gave me confidence, showed me love and gave me a whole new life. Pole helped restore my love of health and fitness because it really doesn’t feel like exercise.” she said.

Before finding The Pole Room, the young dancer felt like she hit rock bottom. “Even when I started going to the gym I felt judged. I didn’t feel confident. I felt weak, fat and out of place. I hated that. Because of all this happening around me on a constant basis, I eventually got such a negative association with fitness”. It was after Lauren travelled overseas, she decided she needed a new challenge. That’s when she decided to look into The Pole Room studio in Kilsyth, which she had driven past so many times. “I thought, maybe this could be fun,” she said.

The young dancer tried lyra – aerial hoops – which she instantly loved. “I thought this studio is going to be the same, I’m going to hate it. But that was not the case,” she said.
“I looked forward to going back to the studio each week. I felt so included, which I wasn’t used to.” Soon, Lauren decided to try out pole dancing. “After being encouraged by numerous new friends and a few teachers, I decided to start pole,” she said. “I didn’t feel 100 per cent confident for months. It took a lot for me to get the courage to wear booty shorts and just a crop.

“But everyone was amazing. I didn’t feel judged, get evil looks or anything. I was being loved and supported. It was amazing”. What went from one class a week, turned into three, which turned into five and soon Lauren was at the studio almost every day. “I’ve gained so much strength without even knowing,” she said. “I look forward to exercising, I look forward to going to pole each day, every week.” “Pole even gave me the courage to compete in Shine – the studio competition – and most recently I performed a solo dance, which I thought was never possible.”

A Male Pole Dancer Story

“You are an artist of the spirit.

Find yourself.

And express yourself in your own particular way.”

After mesmerizing us all at the end of term performance night I thought it was the perfect time to share this short piece about Damien one of the few male pole dancers at The Pole Room.

For those who know him well, it would come as no surprise that what started out as a simple student interview on his pole journey soon transformed into an exploration of dance philosophy, smashing stereotypes and the art of letting go…

So how did you start pole dancing? Where did it all begin?

So, I was doing cheerleading and, normally, when I see something cool, I’m the sort of person who just goes and does it. So, I saw cheerleading and I thought ‘Oh that’s cool’, so I went and did it. And then I saw pole dancing and I though ‘Oh that’s really cool!’ so now I’m doing it.

And why pole dancing, what was it about it that intrigued you?

Because it’s beautiful. Because in the world certain things hold objective beauty and, I don’t know, I think it’s the greatest thing to be able to emulate that beauty and the natural flow of the Universe. I don’t know. I just want to be part of emulating that beauty.

And do you feel that when you dance you are?


That’s what I like about pole dancing. I don’t want to get lost in being the best and doing the next trick, because – when it comes down to it – the best thing in the world is just flowing; and you don’t try to dance the dance, you just let the dance dance you. If that makes any sense? So, it’s kind of like… Wait, I got a metaphor; it’s on the tip of my tongue… So, when you see leaves blowing in the wind, you can almost see that they’re dancing. So, I want to be the leaves. But I don’t want to try and be the best leaf dancing in the wind, I simply want to feel the dance flow through me. I think it’s really cool when that happens.

And I find that when the dance flows through me, when I completely let myself go – like the leaves in the breeze – I become mindless. It’s hard to express exactly how it feels, because in that moment I lose all words, I lose all mind and just become nothing but, I become everything at the same time. And that’s really cool.

Just give me a second to think of the next question. I feel so touched by what you just said. Um, okay… so what’s your favourite pole move?

Hmm, I don’t know. I still like the Janeiro most. It’s really back bendy and your chest is really open and it’s nice when you relax into it and it looks really pretty.

And how long have you been pole dancing for now?

Hmm, probably over a year and a bit. So it seems like I’ve been doing it for a while. But when you think about it it’s only been over a year now.

Wow, you’ve come so far so quickly.

Yeah, but it’s not about the difficulty, or getting the next skill; it’s about loving to dance.

Why do you think people like to watch dancing? What do you think it does for the observer?

So, dancing is like a fractal of the Universe. It is a small reflection of what the entire Universe is, so when you watch dancing you get a taste of the infinite, or God, whatever you want to call it.

What do your friends and family think of you pole dancing?

I think they find it interesting. I think they’re really impressed with the acrobatic nature of it, the physical strength behind it and the flexibility. I haven’t really had any negative reactions; I think it’s the people I choose to be around. If I ask a random person I’ll probably get a different answer, but anyone who I don’t really resonate with I just don’t see, or don’t talk to. Those people aren’t in my life anymore.

I find it interesting because society wants people to be more favoured towards the masculine or the feminine. And the way our society works we push people to be either one or the other and often people identify with being masculine and then completely reject all their feminine aspects of themselves, but – for some reason – I don’t really care what society thinks. So I just be whoever I want to be, and it just so happens to be that I’m comfortable with expressing both the masculine female aspects of myself, and that draws me to pole dancing.

What would you say to people that want to start pole dancing, but are maybe feeling apprehensive?

Pole dancing is an awesome expression of who you are. It’s really empowering to have an outlet to express yourself, and I find that people who start pole dancing become self-empowered to do things they haven’t done before, and express themselves in ways that haven’t done before. So I think it’s a really good way to express yourself and become empowered.

That’s perfect, thanks love.

Sue Crute, a TPR student story

Sitting opposite me in the foyer of The Pole Room is a woman as graceful and delicate as the white rose on the table in front of her although, with Sue, there is always more than meets the eye. Outside of The Pole Room Sue is a 62 year old community care attendant who loves to read, be in the garden and spend time with her two whippet dogs and cat, but inside the studio Sue is much more than many people her age dare to be – she’s an inspiring pole artist; as fierce, strong and sexy as any person that steps foot into a TPR pole dancing class. As the gentle morning sun lights up the room, I watch as Sue’s eyes light up similarly when she talks about her deep love of Pole Dancing.

So why did you start pole dancing Sue?

I guess because I was getting bored at the gym and I wanted to incorporate some beauty, style, grace and finesse into my workout and at the same time make it fun and hang onto what sexiness I still have left (laughs).

I want to do pole dancing now because the time will come when I can’t do it anymore because I’ll be far too old. So this is a big priority in my life at the moment.

What do your friends think of you doing pole dancing?

Well, some of them are a bit, you know, (putting on a hilariously patronizing face) “Ohhh yeah?” But most people are supportive because they realise that I’ve become very focused and that if I go for something I go in – boots and all – and that’s it. I can really latch onto something. I’ve had some people in my age group sort of literally look me up and down and go “Pffft”, you know?

And what do you say to that?

Well, I say to them: “What’s the alternative? Be like YOU?” (Laughs). No I don’t say that, I don’t say that. But I do say, “Well, you know what, I’m quite happy about it; I’m happy and comfortable with what I do, so make your own arrangements bud.” Basically, I think you get to a certain age, well I know I did, where I don’t really give a damn anymore. Honestly, I know that there’s nothing I can do to change anyone else’s mind; all I’m responsible for is me.

Absolutely, whatever makes you happy. And what do you think about people that criticize pole dancing in general?

What I try to do is, I try to find a nice opportunity to politely let them know that it is a fitness modality. Yes, it may well have started out in strip clubs years ago and it might still be in strip clubs, however, it is now a bona fide fitness modality and it is gaining worldwide recognition and I think there is even a move to push it into the Olympic arena.

So why do you come to The Pole Room?

Because it’s just a great community, its very supportive, very nurturing, and everybody really is out for everybody, you know. No ones nasty; it’s a very nurturing place.

Which pole dancer inspires you the most?

Well, Jas (Owner) obviously is one. And Mel, my instructor; and Jules (another instructor) too. There’s too many to name! Each dancer has their own style that’s quite distinctive.

Anybody that can do better than me inspires me. Anybody who is doing the best they can and I can see improvement in, inspires me. Even if they’re in a lower level than I am, I get inspired by their dedication and efforts and the motivation that they have.

And in the same way do you feel like you inspire others that aren’t yet at your level?

Apparently I do. It’s only recently that it’s come to my attention though, and I was really quite gob-smacked, and also very touched.

I don’t think you realise just how much everyone here is so moved by you. Not just by your pole progression, but who you are as a person; the positivity you bring to this space and the spirit you bring to this community.

Stop it, you’ll make me cry.

It’s true! We absolutely love you here because what you bring to this space is something that every single person here looks up to as women of all ages. Even these teachers that inspire you, you inspire them in return.

It makes me cry when I think that there are people here that really look up to me, you know, I just feel so ordinary.

But you’re not, you know?

Yeah, I’m just an ordinary person that goes home to a messy house and has to shower and wash the dishes and all that.

But you forgot to add that you’re also an inspirational pole dancer. I heard that you are going to perform a routine in front of everyone soon, even though being in front of an audience is hard for you?

Well it is because I’m, not really a centre-of-attention type of person. I know I’m a bit loud and brassy at times (laughs), but yeah, this performance is kind of a personal challenge I’ve had for quite a long time.

What’s the song and how would you describe the dance?

Everybody wants to rule the world, by Lorde. And it’s dramatic; dramatic and sexy.

Amazing, and what would you say to anyone of any age that is thinking of starting a pole journey?

Do it!

Simply, do it?

Yes, do it! Because at the end of the day we all have the same insecurities and anxieties and everybody else around you has got the same difficulties. We are all really the same so you may as well just get in there and do it. And honestly, you never know where it might take you…

Are Pole Bruises Bragging Rights?

I bruise easily. But in the pole world, that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

I remember my very first pole bruise. It had found me after many failed attempts at mounting the pole in my first beginner class. It was big. And sore. And ugly. My poor inner thigh looked like it had been used as a punching bag for a team of angry boxers. I was so embarrassed. Surely I had done something wrong?

Week after week those pole bruises found me, from my hips to my feet, my thighs to my arms. Over the years that followed I became used to my bruises. They were a part of me. There was the big “I bashed the pole” bruise that resembled somewhat of a big, dark puddle. The “I chinese-burned the pole” bruise that looked like a new breed of red freckle, which had started a mini infestation. The “I didn’t want to fall and die” bruise that resembled a paint brush stroke across my leg. And then of course the “I have NFI how that happened” bruise – commonly found on a body part that was never intended to touch the pole, and often leaves you wondering if you do in fact sleep walk.

As my pole journey continued into teaching and I became less self conscious about my bruises, a strange thing started happening… fellow teachers and students begun complimenting my bruises. “OMG! Is that from pole?”.. “Yeah”, I’d say.
“Woah, what were you trying to do?”
“Uhhh I can’t really remember”
“Well, it must’ve been really hard?!!”

Most of the time it wasn’t. Usually, I would be practicing an outside leg hang on my non-preferred side and my poor virgin skin behind that knee just couldn’t handle the friction… but hey, if it looked like I was trying to do a Russian layback then that was OK with me!

You see, sometimes it really doesn’t matter what you do but how hard your bruises make it look. In most cases however, the bigger the bruise, the more kick ass the trick. It’s the silent language between us Polers, “Oh god, it’s no hands Jade week, check out her stomach!”… Kind of like the Morse code of the pole world and no matter how long you’ve been poling for, you never seem to get “better” at avoiding the bruises.

On the bright side, you do become an expert in matching the bruise to the trick and your local pharmacist will become your new best friend, albeit he probably thinks you have haemorrhoids!

So tell us… are Pole bruises bragging rights?



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