Pole class v. online instruction

July 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

We’re all different; we all think differently, learn differently, and experience life differently.  We live in different places and have access to different resources.  So it stands to reason that, when looking for pole instruction, different options are going to suit different people’s needs.

As pole dancing is becoming more popular, we’re lucky that there is a growing number of sources becoming available that offer instructional resources for the new dancer and veteran student alike.  Pole studios are opening up around the world, online communities, websites, and blogs are springing into existence, and YouTube continues to be a source of inspiring videos to gawk at and drool over.  Whether you learn best from a particular type or combination of resources, here are some pros and cons to think about when considering each option…

Taking classes at a studio

Pros:

  • Instruction is usually much clearer and more personalized than you can find online for free.
  • You don’t have to commit to buying a pole of your own (although it is helpful to have one at home to practice on).
  • You can take classes in a wide range of levels.
  • Committing to a schedule of classes gives you an easy excuse to work out.
  • You learn a consistent language that you can use to refer to moves in class.
  • You are in a class with other students, and it can be an encouraging and supportive environment.
  • You know the instructor on a more personal level than you would if you were taking lessons online or learning from YouTube videos.
  • You have a teacher in the room to spot you and tell you what you’re doing wrong.
  • A teacher can show you the same move from many different angles, and you can closely observe the body positioning.
  • A good teacher will show you proper form, placement, and muscle engagement.
  • A good teacher will guide your progress and will not teach you what you aren’t ready for.
  • A good teacher will teach conditioning moves along with pole moves to help build your strength safely.

Cons:

  • Pole classes can be expensive.
  • A weekly pole class might not fit into your schedule.
  • You might not be in a location where pole classes are offered.
  • You might have to share a pole with another, or several other students.
  • Different studios have different names for the same move, which can be confusing.
  • Depending on how you progress, you may be frustrated if a class is moving to quickly or too slowly.
  • You might be tempted to compare yourself to other students, which can lead to negativity and frustration.

Taking lessons from online communities

Pros:

  • Online lessons are usually cheaper overall than lessons offered in a studio.
  • You can control your own progress.
  • You can learn to pole in the privacy of your own home, and you don’t have to share your pole with other students or drive to a studio each week (you may not even have a studio nearby).
  • Lessons may be grouped according to difficulty, like they would be at a studio (unlike many pole lesson series on YouTube).
  • Several online pole communities allow you to be a member of the forums without paying for lessons.  That means you are able to connect with other dancers and ask advice about a wide variety of topics without needing to attend a studio; you can also share your progress and get feedback from others.
  • You can pause and re-watch lessons whenever you feel like it.

Cons:

  • You have to have a pole at home (or know someone who owns one that you can use).
  • You’re on your own schedule, so it might be easy to neglect practice time if you don’t feel 100% up to it.
  • You don’t have a teacher there to spot you and show you what you’re doing wrong (unless the site comes with special features, like live chats).
  • Depending on your personality, it may be harder to connect with your instructor and other dancers than it would be in a class environment.
  • You may be tempted to rush ahead and try moves that are unsafe for your current strength and skill level.

YouTube

Pros:

  • YouTube videos are free.
  • You can learn to pole in the privacy of your own home.
  • You have access to videos wherever you can get online; you don’t have to live in a certain area.
  • You can control your own progress.
  • You can watch videos and learn new moves on your own time, no matter how busy you are.

Cons:

  • You have to have a pole at home (or know someone who owns one that you can use).
  • Lessons are disjointed; even if they come in a series, they are often in no particular order.
  • It is difficult to get a sense of how advanced a move actually is.
  • It is difficult to find quality instruction; many videos show but don’t teach.
  • Good form and proper muscle engagement are not always stressed.
  • It is difficult to find lessons above a beginner level.
  • Because a move can have more than one name, it is difficult to find what you are looking for; often I have searched for a move and found something completely different that has the same name.
  • You don’t have a teacher in the room to spot you and show you what you’re doing wrong.
  • Videos can show misleading angles of a move that can leave you in a confused pretzel.

Do you take lessons at a studio, use online resources, or both?  Can you think of other pros and cons for each option?

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