Back in 2009 when I first started pole dancing, there weren’t many formal pole dance instructor qualifications available.
In fact, there didn’t seem to be too much in the way of regulation. I suppose in someways, there still isn’t.
Levels can vary hugely from school to school; some schools only have 4 levels, whereas I’ve seen some that go up to the 20’s.
Other pole schools simply have beginners, intermediate and advanced classes.
When I started taking pole dance lessons, I didn’t really think about who was going to teach me.
I searched the internet and found the first (and only) pole school near me.
Someone I knew had taken lessons with my soon-to-be instructor and thought it was the best way to go.
I stayed there for years!
Pole Dance Instructor Training Has Come a Long Way
Pole dance is a funny old world.
When you study to be a personal trainer through a recognised training provider, there are so many modules to cover, and different aspects to your study, and lots of assessments along the way.
It’s this structure that means (once qualified) your clients can be confident in the knowledge that you have the appropriate skills to help them, both effectively and safely.
Other genres of dance, and established fitness programs have pre-requisite levels of knowledge and participation before you can even begin instructor qualification.
My early experiences of how things are done in the pole world were…
In the early days, I once worked for a company (who have subsequently gone bust) teaching hen parties.
I initially started working for them as I had already achieved a few years of pole dance experience and was promised “full training”.
I had to work for them for a certain length of time or risk paying back a percentage of £1000 to cover training costs.
I thought: “Great! Formal training is going to be brilliant.”
When I went to my ‘training’, I was shocked to discover that it was merely a case of me watching someone else teaching a class.
After that, I and was then left to my own devices, and booked to teach parties on my own.
Looking back, I didn’t really mind too much as I’m quite capable (I think!) and had been teaching others (non-pole) dance classes before then.
They provided a DVD of a ‘routine’ to teach.
Back then, I already had a pole at home so I was able to do practice this routine.
I thought a few of the moves would be too difficult for absolute beginners and so changed them for slightly more appropriate ones.
Naively, I assumed that they would only use instructors for pole dancing who already had some pole dancing experience.
Once again I was wrong!
I had a trainee instructor come along to one of my pole classes. I had some extra time and so decided to show her how to do a few basic pole moves. She came back a month later and was meant to be the class instructor and it was up to me to let the company know how her teaching was.
That was awkward.
In my opinion, one month of pole dance experience is simply NOT enough to allow you to teach.
In this case I think it may have been about 3 or 4 hours of pole dance experience over that month.
After attempting to get through the warm-up, we were on to the spins. I had to take over almost immediately to demonstrate the moves.
It was more than a little worrying to think that the company thought that those few hours were enough to become trained and hopefully qualified to teach pole!
How to become a qualified pole dance instructor
Fast forward a few years, to the point where I wanted to start my very own pole dance school.
Before I went on my first ever instructors course, I had very little real knowledge about the different types of training and qualifications that existed.
Simplistically, I thought that getting any pole qualification was better than no qualification!
I looked at quite a lot of courses all of the country – I was willing to travel if the qualification was worth it.
To my surprise, a lot of providers only offered online qualifications. You would do some online learning and then send videos across.
My view was that if I was going to pay money for a qualification, I wanted to physically be in a pole studio.
I wanted to be taught something “real”. I wanted to have a proper, recognised qualification.
In the end, my decision of which course to choose, largely came down to timing.
Spin City had a beginners instructor training course a few hours drive away from me, on dates that worked… so I want for it.
Subsequently, I’ve done qualifications with both Spin City and XPERT over recent years, and no doubt will do many more as they come available!
How To Choose Your Course
When it comes to choosing the right course, you have to make sure that it suits you.
There are lots of factors to consider:
- Course dates
- Level of qualification
- Whether it’s a recognised course for your insurance provider
- What you have to do to actually get your qualification (face-to-face vs video assessment for example)
If you’re going to spend money on something, you need to be selfish and make sure it suits your needs.
Qualifications are great. They give (you and) your clients confidence in your abilities.
As long as you’re on a recognised course, you will be properly trained on how to teach a class.
If you are self-employed you will find out everything you need to know about licenses and an intro to taxes.
Possibly most importantly, you will get a pole dance syllabus to make sure that you teach all of the moves and teach them correctly.
You will be better equipt to keep all of your students safe and happy.
How I Found My Training
I’ve been was pleasantly surprised by the level of training I’ve received on courses from both the providers mentioned above.
Usually, this included breaking down all of the moves, going through strength training exercises, flexibility work, how to structure a class, teaching a class and even choreography.
My qualifications have required me to do some written work as well, and in some cases (when not face-to-face) send in some footage to then be assessed remotely.
Now that I’ve been through this training I have realised that the standard of qualified instructors with these courses are very high.
I can’t speak for courses from other providers but I’d certainly recommend courses from both Spin City and XPERT.
The best thing about these courses have been that I’ve to meet a lot of new people with a passion for pole dance.
Sure, I come away with a lot of bruises from intensive weekend courses but I also learn a lot too.
Money well spent, I’d say! 🙂