How Good Are You… Really?

When it comes to most things, people seem to down play their talents. What would you say if someone asked you if you were a good singer, if you have good computer skills or if you were a good driver?

A lot of people tend to say that they are okay, rather than saying how good they really are.

I wonder if this is the same for Pole Dancing?

Apparently men are much better at selling themselves than women. And I don’t mean this literally! On CVs and in interviews men tend to take small achievements and turn them into ‘The Day I Saved The World’ type stories. I know I tend to say that I’m okay at things that I’m actually quite good at, but for some reason I don’t want to brag about my skills – I suppose in case someone I tell is better than me and I’ll end up feeling inadequate.

So I wonder if Pole Dancers are good at telling how great they are or whether they tend to down play their talents, male or female.

Pole Dancing is Different

Someone once asked me if I was good at Pole Dancing. It’s a hard one to answer. Considering that most of the population do not Pole Dance (sadly) then yes, I suppose I am good compared to most. But compared to the rest of the Pole Dancing population, I really don’t know.

It’s hard to tell how the general population see Pole Dancing in terms of what’s a difficult move and what isn’t. When I show someone a picture of my Cross Leg Release they are amazed yet when I show them a picture of a Gemini Plank they just think it looks nice… nothing special. I’m thinking that “It took so long to learn and so many bruises to injure that it should be appreciated!

I remember back to my first lessons when I got so excited every time my instructor showed me a spin. I was mesmerised. A lot of the time I would think that I would never be able to do that move. Things like a Carousel to a Back Hook Spin looked so beautiful, and now I can do them with my eyes closed. Literally! You have so much more perspective of how difficult moves can be after you’ve tried them.

Does It Matter?

If you say you’re not as good as you actually are, does it really matter? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I honestly think it does! Saying that you are a good Pole Dancer really boosts your confidence and will really have a great impact on your training.

Saying and thinking that you’re a good Pole Dancer is not for anybody’s benefit but your own. Imaging walking into your next pole session thinking ‘I’m going to nail that Shoulder Mount.’ It is much more likely that you will get closer to your goals. Thinking positively is exactly how I managed to finally get my shoulder mount. Now imagine walking in to that same room but thinking ‘I can’t do this, I’m not good enough.‘ You are much more likely to fail.

If you think that you can’t do a move your body will try and protect you by stopping you from doing the move. You won’t get high enough, and you will be afraid that you’ll fail. But you’re still the same person that could have walked in that room and got closer to that move.

Of course confidence isn’t the one and only thing you need to get any Pole Dancing move but it’s a great start. It’s time to start thinking of the positives.

You Are Good!

How many pole moves can you do? I bet it’s more than you think!

Think of your first move – probably the Fireman Spin. Remember back to when you couldn’t do it and probably thought you wouldn’t be able to. And look at you now! Even if you’ve only just had your first lesson I bet you can do more moves than you could before you walked in. You can probably walk around the pole and do a Pirouette. This may seem simple to you but think of all those people who couldn’t have got up there to the pole in the first place.

Pole Dancing is not a competition of who is the best. There is no point in competing with the person next to you. One of you is bound to be stronger than the other, and one more flexible. With any group of Pole Dancers some will find moves easier than others. You may struggle with moves that others do not. By comparing yourself with other polers, you are only harming your training by focusing on people other than yourself. Of course you can learn by watching other people and see how they do tricks – rather than wanting to get a certain trick before they do.

That said, obviously there are Pole Dancing competitions. Whenever I watch these, whether it is live and in person or on YouTube, I’m never watching to see who is better than the others or who will fail. I’m watching to see all of the amazing skill, strength and grace. I’m looking to learn more moves and remember why I fell in love with Pole Dancing in the first place. I have never felt a sense of competition at these competitions – everyone cheers for each other. And that’s the beauty of the Pole Dancing community.

When I’m Being Watched

When other people who aren’t Pole Dancers watch me in the studio I tend to go into pole overdrive. I either grab the pole, invert and hang on with the smallest body part that I can, or I stare at the pole as if I’ve never seen one before.

I feel a strange need to either impress or pretend I’m completely new to this and I’m not too sure why. I don’t want to fail in front of others so if I’m practising a move that I’m still learning I just stop and stare at the pole and wait for them to go, rather than to try and risk failing. Other times if I’m warming up or going over some tricks I think of the hardest move I can do and really try and show off. Regardless of what my response is, people usually end up watching as it’s not everyday you see someone on a pole. I’m exactly the same. I always stop and watch if someone is on the pole, I just love it!

Pole Confidence

I’ve realised that if people want to watch you in your Pole Dance class, they will. People are intrigued and rightly so.

It’s really great to see people sharing their videos oftheir moves and all of the attempts to get these moves right. It not only boosts your confidence but it is great for others to see that they are not alone in all the attempts that they have made.

Whether you’ve been a pole dancer for 1 week or 100 years you should be proud of all of the moves, tricks and spins you have achieved. Pole Dancing should make you as happy as when you first began.

So when the next person asks ‘Are You A Good Pole Dancer?‘ What are you going to say?

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Comments From the PoleFreaks Community:

  1. Hi Holly, thank you for writing your piece. I’m quite glad you did because it’s rung true for me in so many ways. I am guilty of downplaying topped with bravado. I’m a bit of a pole paradox.

    Anyway, just want to share and say thank you.

    Wellington, NZ

  2. Thank you for this article a few days before I perform a pole work as part of a dance concert! I compare myself frequently as a beginner, and was losing my nerve with a few days before opening night. I am only working to improve and grow. Only a few in the audience will be pole dancers who know where I do well or make mistakes. The rest will be inspired by the strength and skill this takes. And the pole community in the year that I have been working at this have been warm and welcoming. No one has ever been anything other than encouraging to me. SO it’s time I encourage and strengthen the way I speak to myself about my work. Thank you!

  3. It’s strange how many of us often downplay our skill when it comes to pole dancing. As you quite rightly pointed out, I think as women we tend to be more self conscious of what other women think and are often afraid of being proven to ‘not be what we say we are’. The one thing that I found with the pole community is that everyone is so supportive of each other. That’s not to say that I have never felt inadequate beside a fellow dancer but this is generally because of my own opinion of myself – not a reflection on the other dancer.

    I’ve found that the best competion is competing with yourself to constantly improve. So your friend can pull off a perfect Iron X but you might be a lot more graceful and flexible when it comes to transitioning between moves. It’s best not to compare to other people. Just this past weekend I moved all of my pole related photographs into one folder in my computer. When I started looking through them I was almost embarrassed at my earlier pics but then it dawned on me that at that point in time I was so proud of myself and I worked really hard to get those moves – even my spins. I enjoy looking at my progress, finding pictures of that move I was NEVER going to get but now its second nature.

    When people ask me if I’m any good I tell them I’m better than I thought I ever would be – I’m no Felix Cane and never will be. I invite my non-poling friends to charity nights and show cases and they think I’m amazing. Its all in your perspective and the better you feel about yourself and how you’ve overcome your obstacles – no matter how small – the more you can stand up and happily tell people that yes- you are good!

  4. t wanna say that i Love you from my deeeeep heart…… thanks for writing this

    every word you wrote felt it was me.. from today i will be positive & push my self more have confident …

    being negative makes me fail true !!……. when i’m very positive i simply can do everything 😀

    every single thing u said made me wooow. specially i live in society that think that pole dancers for Bitches & strippers :(. also they think western people can be flexible & can be woooow and we cant be looool, they don’t believe in them selves and always put me down (BTW Im ARAB). The only person supports me is My husband always push me to be the best <3
    Thanks for this article you are amazing <3

  5. Thank you so much for all of your positive comments to my article. I’m really glad that it has made us (I include myself!) feel more positive about ourselves and what we can achieve.

    We may not be able to all physically sit down and have a cup of tea together but the pole community is strong and can bring us all together, all over the world.

    Is it too cheesy to say Pole Power?! 😉

    1. i wish to meet every1 who pole dance n this community makes me feels we are close , cheers to pole power ….

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