In the breakout film Hustlers, Jennifer Lopez plays a stripper named Ramona. She’s an old pro at the pole dancing game, and shows Constant Wu’s character, Destiny, how to do various intricate techniques on a shiny gold pole, including the “carousel,” the “martini,” and the “Peter Pan.”
If they look complicated and crazy intense, it’s because they are. J Lo even released a two-part YouTube video about how difficult it was to learn the aerial moves. She makes it sound intimidating — but also sexy and fun.
The art of working a pole has long been hailed in popular Akon songs, and, thanks to Hustlers, now it’s really gaining steam. The art of winding your way around pole like it’s your job isn’t easy, but it’s a great way to build muscle and create a majestic-looking workout routine, explains NYC’s Body & Pole Instructor Zoe Kantor. If you’re wondering which muscles, Kantor’s answer is all of them. The most important are the latissimus dorsi, or “lats,” which are are in your back stretching to your sides. “It’s where most of our pulling and pushing strength comes from,” she explains.
And this kind of workout takes serious grip, gravitas, and a willingness to have fun. If you’re nervous to try it, don’t think you’ll be the only one just getting started, Kantor says. “Literally everyone starts at square one – nobody grew up pole dancing,” she points out. People get that it’s tough, and it takes courage to try, often making the classes more “supportive and inclusive” than your average spinning session.
If you’re curious about dipping a high-heel-clad toe in the art of pole dancing, Kantor recommends finding studio with clean hardwood floors and sexy lighting. You can start with these options in the New York City area.
If length is your thing, this studio’s claim to fame is that it’s home to the tallest pole in New York City. It’s also owned and operated by women, and their mission is to offer a fun, body-positive experiences to customers. They offer various kinds of experiences, including intro to pole, “sunrise tribe,” which involves pole-fitness and dance, and conditioning classes that work all muscles you need for this kind of workout.
Reviewers say: “Overall, loved the experience. As I’m sitting here typing while watching my legs sprout bruises, I recommend this place to anyone who wants to have a fun exercise while feeling your oats.”
Where: 145 Java St #2R, Brooklyn, NY, 11222
Price: First time students can get the first class for $25, and pricing varies, based on which kind of class you’re taking. It can range from $16 for one class to $1160 for monthly unlimited paid upfront.
This Brooklyn based facility offers women’s wellness workshops about health and sexuality, as well as classes tailored to “Poletry Newbies,” intermediates, and advanced students. They have one class called Booty POP, that teaches you the art of “isolating the booty and making it dance.”
Reviewers say: “After my first class my body felt like it got hit by a bus, but it was because I worked EVERY muscle in my body (even the ones I didn’t even know I had). My teacher… is amazing, she is very patient with each student no matter if it’s your first time or your 6th, and the atmosphere is welcoming and judge-free.”
Where: 1492 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Price: Varies. Some individual classes are as low as $20, and unlimited VIP offers are as much as $299 per month.
In the five studios in their facility, B&P offers pole and aerial dance classes with direction from hands-on instructors. They serve clients who are both advanced and new to the craft.
Reviewers say: “It’s not cheap. But for me, it’s worth every penny… I’m not super fit. I’m not a fan of exercise in general. I can’t dance, I’m self conscious and a bit shy. I STILL LOVE IT. Why? It’s just really fun. I like aerial work a lot, so I was happy to find B&P. And they had aerial hoop and silks!”
Where: 115 W 27th St NY, NY 10001
Price: Varies. Your first class is $25 and then it’s $40 per class. They offer packs of five classes for $165, 15 for $450, and 10 for $320.
This is a choreography-based class where they work with you on both the athletic and artistic aspects of dancing.
Reviewers say: “I loved the open level class structure. There were only about 5 or 6 of us and we had the freedom to work on whatever we felt we needed to in our level. So, it was like having open pole but with an instructor helping you (if you’re familiar with pole studios, instructors are not allowed to instruct you during an open pole session).”
Where: 355 7th Ave, Suite 306, New York, NY 10001 and 591 60th Street, West New York, NJ 07093
Price: The first class is $20. Then, it depends on the location and class type. In general they have new student offers, and different experiences range from $15 to $399.
They offer three programs including Pole 360 Wellness, Aerial Hoop 360 Wellness, and Ground-Only Classes. In the aerial classes, you’ll work on coordination, strength, and self-expression, while the ground classes work your upper body and core muscles. They have no mirrors and try to create a judgement-free atmosphere.
Reviewers say: “How do I love this studio? Let me count the ways. I never knew a studio for “fitness” could be a sanctuary and a place that I could and want to seek, even on my worst days.”
Where: 43 Schermerhorn Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Price: Introductory offer classes are $20 each, and you can become a member or get class packages at varying prices. One offer for six sessions is $150 and some of the membership offers for aerial programs are $199 for the first month.
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