Ever heard of a brass monkey, inverted crucifix or Reiko split? No? Well, then it’s about time! In the last ten years, pole dance has established itself as one the most trendy sports of a whole generation and is fascinating women (and men!) around the globe. Having traveled from India’s ‘mallakhamb’ wrestling trainings through the circus tents of the 1920s and burlesque clubs of America, pole dance has finally found its way into the dance studios and athletic centers of the world. If still sometimes associated with the slightly disreputable performances in strip bars, the sport is no longer a niche activity for the wicked, but has gained popularity among all strata of society. From nurse to banker, from housewife to high school teacher – anyone can become a pole addict, you just need to know where to start. Madi shows you the three places to be in Luxembourg, if you just can’t get enough of that pole!
A flirty business
As a former gymnast, Jenny Liebert was the first to come looking for pole dance in Luxembourg almost a decade ago. It was in London that she had discovered the acrobatic discipline and fallen in love with the sport at once. “At the beginning the movements and figures weren’t comfortable and it took some time, but once you’ve got it worked out you get this amazing feeling of being a superwoman”, Jenny remembers. After leaving London and looking for a new job in Luxembourg, the young French girl couldn’t find a place to continue her passion and thus started teaching at home, just for fun. “I created a webpage and started with just a few girls, but after six classes they wanted to continue, so I told them we would do so”, she says. And that’s when Flirty Fitness was born.
Today, the studio in the heart of Luxembourg offers a variety of classes reaching from Beginner’s to Advanced. “Mathilde is our professional when it comes to spinning and flexibility. Then there’s Muriel who’s more into the sporty side of pole dance, focusing on static figures and strength. The last one in our team is Kendra, she does a mix of both and is a really good teacher for more advanced students. She does great combos, also in exotic pole and with many flips”, Jenny explains.
But what are the requirements to become an actual ‘polegirl’? “First, if you watch a video you really have to want to become that girl flying around the pole. Second, you need the desire to be coached. And third, you need to understand that to be able to do great things, you have to make sacrifices. Some figures may scare you, some really hurt and most of all, it takes a hell of a lot of time and regularity to become a good pole dancer”, the 33-year-old explains. However, pole dance can also be a true boost for a woman’s self-confidence. “It can be really life-changing for some people, I have seen girls turn from shy gray mice passing by unnoticed into strong women stepping out of their comfort zone and making themselves be heard, and that’s the beauty of it”, Jenny says.
Make two from one
Once pole dance had successfully been introduced to Luxembourg’s art scene, a second studio was soon to follow. As one of Jenny Liebert’s former students, Sandrine Pompidou quickly felt the desire to become a teacher herself. “I went to my very first class at Flirty Fitness and was immediately hooked. So I decided to do the training course with the French Pole Dance Champion Doris Arnold in Paris, that was in 2010”, Sandrine remembers. After teaching first at Flirty Fitness and then at her home in Niederkorn, Sandrine found the perfect venue to open her own studio in Differdange, where today’s Pole and Aerial Art was born.
If you look up Sandrine online you’ll quickly discover that you’ll meet a different person named Melle Mia. “When I started pole dance I was working as a lawyer and in that particular surrounding I didn’t feel comfortable talking about my passion. The sport wasn’t known as such back then. But today I don’t hide anymore”, Sandrine says. One of her biggest prides are the three showcases she brought to life with her students: “You have to imagine 30 chicks in shorts and tops coming from every possible background, standing on stage in front of a crowd of over 400 spectators, because that’s how many there were for our last show. That’s something to do”, the 38-year-old says proudly.
And it’s exactly this feeling that makes pole dance so special for Sandrine: “Sometimes you walk out of class proud of yourself, sometimes you go home crying because you slipped and you get really frustrated, and sometimes you can just let it all go. In any case it’s really team-building and to me it’s more than just a sport, it’s an art of living”.
Creating a whole
Last but not least there’s the freshest of Luxembourg’s pole dance studios: Aerial Lab. Having opened its doors just a few months ago, the large room including eight poles invites pole addicts and those wanting to become one into the shopping center Zolwer Eck in Soleuvre. Former gymnast Danielle Jung discovered her passion for pole during her psychology studies in Innsbruck and was instructed by three times Austrian pole dance champion Britt Bloem. After recovering from a severe shoulder injury, Danielle completed her formation as fitness coach and started working out at Maximouss Gym in Luxembourg, where she got asked to open a pole dance studio.
And that’s where it all started. As the only professional pole dance instructor in Luxembourg doing her job on a full-time basis, Danielle’s plans for the future are far from being low-key: “The idea is to offer six levels of classes, reaching from Beginner to Master courses. From next year on I want to really start, offering lots of acrobatics, hand balance, aerial hoop and aerial strings courses, but the main focus will always remain on pole dance. I think that pole is somehow magical.”
But besides showing other girls how to move gracefully around the pole, Danielle wants to offer an all-around package: “My classes are built onto one another and thus successively structured, they are purposefully designed to guarantee a slow but steady progress. For me, the be-all and end-all of pole dancing is stretching. Without flexibility there’s no way of doing it properly. That’s why I offer stretching classes four times a week, and I highly recommend my students to take those or do some stretching in their free time.”
It needs no more than one look into the owner’s eyes to see that the fire is definitely catching. “To me, pole dance is an art. There’s of course a lot of different approaches, it can be more dance-like, including lots of gymnastics or be really fitness-based. But what I love about pole dance is that there are no limits, it’s a way of expressing yourself”, she says.
Now, whether it’s fairy-like movements on a spinning pole or dangerous looking figures in static that you’re looking for, pole dance is definitely worth the try. And if you were wondering about the rather high prices, Sandrine Pompidou has got the answer for you: “We cannot fill our studios with 20 or more students, as is the case for Zumba lessons for example. If you have six poles, the maximum of people you can allow into one class is twelve, and even then the girls have to share their pole. So in order to be able to pay the rent we automatically have to ask more.” So no more excuses – get off your sofa and give yourself the chance to become a real superwoman!