When I was asked if I wanted to review a class that would ‘increase my cardio stamina, improve my muscle tone, build my core strength and confidence and be a great workout for [my] legs, tums and bums’, I of course jumped at the opportunity. God knows I really need help in all those areas!
Enter the fine print: turns out that the class I had propelled myself into was a pole dancing class. Me … on a pole?! With my thunder thighs and overgrown derriere? How was I ever going to haul that much weight off the ground, whilst trying to swing gracefully on a pole? Never mind looking sensual and sultry while doing it.
But a challenge is a challenge and off I went to enrol myself in a lunchtime class at the new SLAP (Singapore Lap and Pole) Dance Studio, conveniently located at Telok Ayer Street in the CBD. Sought after by celebrities, supermodels and thousands of women around the world (if it’s good enough for The Kardashians…), pole dancing has steadily become the chosen workout of today’s modern woman.
And by the looks of it, Singapore’s women are right on trend, with all classes running almost completely full. SLAP workouts mix the athleticism and grace of pole dancing with targeted stretches and exercises that sculpt a dancer’s lean and toned physique, and its classes deliver a great cardiovascular workout, strength training, fun dance routines and acrobatics.
SLAP’s professionally trained instructors (most of them are professional dancers or choreographers) conduct classes for five different levels of pole techniques, pole choreography, strip tease and lap dance classes, along with other specialised classes such as Pilates for Pole, Stretch, Floorwork and Hot in Heels.
My trainer for the hour was one of SLAP’s founders, Jasmine Han, an experienced professional pole & exotic dancer and choreographer (not to mention a former That Mama!). Jasmine quickly assured me that I’d fit right in and it was “easy stuff”. Yeah, right!
So imagine a yoga studio … but with poles. Here’s something that most people don’t know about pole dancing: it’s the pole itself that spins! It’s not an immovable rod in the middle of the room, but if you’re holding on tight and give it a little momentum, the pole will actually do all the spinning work for you!
When you enter the classroom, be sure to leave your inhibitions at the door – this is a place to have fun! In my class of 12 women, most shed their outer layers of clothes down to a choice of lingerie, bikinis or simple shorts and tank tops. Oh, and then to add that sensual touch were the 6-inch heels (conveniently available for purchase from SLAP).
I can barely walk straight with 4-inch heels, but these amazing women were twirling and strutting as if they were in flip-flops. The routine started out pretty easy; put a leg up against the pole here, swing on the pole there and just relax. Of course as the minutes progressed, things got more challenging. Like, “wrap your leg around the pole and pull yourself up and then swing yourself’… not likely in my case, given that my centre of gravity hinges somewhere around my bum area. But I found Jasmine to be full of energy and extremely patient and encouraging, happy to repeat the routine over and over till everyone felt comfortable with it.
Leaving class an hour later, I didn’t feel a single ache. I’m in pretty good shape, I thought. Fast forward to 24 hours later, and muscles that haven’t been used in years were starting to respond. Sorely! But that just goes to show how much you’re working out without realising – and gaining the added benefit of learning something exotic. Seriously, how many people do you know who can say that they’ve learnt how to pole dance?
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not spice things up a little for yourself and your partner, whilst toning up your muscles at the same time?
Sassy Mama Perk:
Mention Sassy Mama when you call to book a trial class (regularly $15 per person), and you can bring a friend for free, mama. Safety in numbers!
SLAP Dance Studio courses run from $180 – $250 per term (8 weeks course, 1 hour per week), with Pole, Striptease & Lap, and Pilates/Stretch classes available. A onetime free trial class is $15, with 4-week “Baby Pole” or “Baby Lap” intro course available for $130.