I just read the hoop thread because it was topped, which made me think to search for a pole dancing thread because my studio has both.. and here it is at the top.. funny coincidence. I have been pole dancing for about a year.. maybe a little less. The studio where I take classes also offers burlesque, striptease, hooping, as well as yoga, zumba and bunches of dance/cardio/fitness classes.. but I generally stick to pole classes since I get my cardio elsewhere.
Anyway pole dancing is seriously awesome and I just thought I'd point out that if you're even mildly interested, you should try it. Odds are you'll be hooked. When I first tried it, I had a Groupon and had always thought it looked kind of fun but I was VERY skeptical about whether I'd enjoy or stick to it long term- and now I have my own pole at home. The studio I go to has an absurd name (Oh My You're Gorgeous) and I was expecting everyone there to be actual dancers/strippers or for the whole thing to be in someone's basement.. but it's quite the opposite- there were soccer moms and college girls and average people like me. Skinny, medium and fat. And at least where I go, the instructors (there are a couple but the owner is the main pole instructor; she has a million certifications) really know how to modify exercises and moves to start at the bottom, possible for everyone, and work up as you get stronger/better. I was shocked how quickly I was able to do things I couldn't do the week prior, going to class only once a week with no practice in between! I eventually bought a pole for my house because it's so much fun.. and it's a super upper body workout that balances my lower body being worked so hard with ice hockey, which I play recreationally.
It does seem each studio/gym has their own focus.. some places seem more focused on the exercise/fitness angle and girls wear tennis shoes and do a lot of toning work.. others more the dance/sexy side where you where heels.. but the studio I go to is a nice blend of both- the sexy side makes it fun, and for a tomboy like me, a little me-time in front of the mirror sticking my asparagus out and getting used to doing things in an intentionally sexy way is so out of character and alien that it probably does me good. We wear heels and boots because it's fun, but sometimes we go barefoot if we're working on new moves. But it's not all just walking around the pole rubbing your hands in your hair either; there's so much strength and power involved in a lot of spins and holds that you'll definitely get sore and build muscle if you work hard.
For people who think they'll embarrassed- you might be, but so was everyone else when they started, and trust me, most people are paying attention to themselves, not you..
For people considering buying a pole for home- SO WORTH IT. There are two super reputable companies: X-pole and Platinum Stages. I probably wouldn't consider a pole made by anyone else; these are going to be safe and what's more- they are moveable.. I can put my pole up and take it town in 20 minutes with another person to help. They are tension mounted against the ceiling and don't leave marks or anything.. so I can take mine down when I don't want guests to see it or I need the open space. Plus you will have so many friends who want to jump on it when they see it.. Plus there will be awkward questions about whether your boyfriend/husband/partner "likes it" and then you'll laugh and tell them your husband actually tries to do moves on it too and that you have never actually "danced" for him because that would be too funny!
If anyone's in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend:http://ohmyyouregorgeous.com/
(Again, try to get past the website and name...)
She had to enlist the ACLU to fight for the right to open her studio; there was some pretty serious press coverage at the time. She's great.