The Not So Glamorous Life Of A Pole Instructor?

When I first started taking pole dancing lessons, I was amazed by my instructor and everything that she did! She always wore amazing high heels, leg warmers, little skirts and was the perfect shape. I was always so inspired by her. Every move was performed with skill, grace and ease and I just wanted to keep learning everything I could.

I always thought that she must have such an amazing life – teaching pole most nights, having day times and evenings off. She had her own little studio. Such a good life.

5 years on and now I’m an instructor but yet my life is sadly not as glamorous as I thought it would be. There’s so many more aspects to being a pole instructor than I ever thought possible.

Looking The Part

I know it’s not all about how you look, but imaging going into a studio and being taught by some one who is wearing old scrappy clothes, hair greasy and tied back, chipped nails looking like they’ve been dragged through a bush. Not a deal breaker, but not great. The problem is that this is me on my days off!

When I started teaching I made sure that my image was always professional. I bought new sports gear (not expensive) but pole specific and appropriate. I hate feet at the best of times so I make sure I always wash my feet before class and have nicely painted toe nails – this is mostly so I can stand looking at my own feet!

That all doesn’t take too long, but for a girl who doesn’t have time to paint her nails generally, it’s another thing to fit in that day.


Timetables hurt my brain. I thought that would be the easiest part – pick a day, time and do a class. Easy!

Not so easy.. I find it so hard to figure out when to put each class on. I also want to please and accomodate my students, so if they want a class on a Wed morning, I’ll try and do it.

The issue I find, is the progression. People start in one class, and go to another level. That’s not so hard – I’ll just put a class the following hour. The studio space is generally the issue. I already teach a cardio class, then beginners pole, then have a pole jam and then the gym closes! How do I fit in another progression level? Well, I could change the beginners to the next level but then where would the new beginners go?!?! Ahh!

As you may be able to tell, I’m still figuring all of that out. Another issue I have to deal with is lack of time to teach…

Hours In The Day

I don’t really do days off. Today is a day off and yet I’m off to teach later today. For me there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need. I have a pretty much full time job (that wasn’t meant to be full time) as well as teaching on Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sun, along with a 3 hour dance class on Wed. I also have PoleFreaks and am studying to be a personal trainer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy(ish) to be filling up all of my hours. I’m just currently in that tricky in between stage where the teaching just doesn’t quite cover the rent and bills so I need both jobs, and the studying will benefit any fitness based thing I do… when I finish in about a year.

On top of that I somehow manage to fit in pole practice and lesson plans. I have to make sure that I can do every move I’m going to teach on both sides. I have to make sure the move looks good and that I know how I’m going to teach it. I plan every lesson to know what I’m going to do as well. I teach in a course structure so I have that all laid out but sometimes you’ll have a class that needs more time on the moves you’re teaching, or ones that move on quickly and need something from the next lesson. The pole practise is the thing I look forward to though. It’s like when you’re at school and colouring in, calling it homework. Pole practice is work, right?

The Set Up

I used to be a student in lessons in a few different studios – a function room in a pub, a big hall and even a self-storage unit. Somehow my instructor managed to make all of these rooms look so pretty and perfect. They had curtains and little fairy lights, the music was just right and you had all the cleaning / pole equiptment you needed. I have always wanted a space of my own to make perfect. I have so many ideas of what I’m going to do with my pole studio… but at the moment, I don’t have one.

I’m currently using two spaces – both have their good and bad points but neither are quite perfect. I’m looking for my own space, but in the mean time, I’ll keep using these.

As neither of these spaces are used solely for pole, it means I have to put up and take down the poles with every class. At first I only had a few poles and had to take them between studios which is exhausting when they weigh 40kg each. I’m also in very early to each class in one of ones the studios to put the poles up. I have to move the ceiling tiles and very carefully slide the poles in – glamorous!

In the other studio as there is a class before me, I am only allowed 15mins to put the poles up before class. This really is a struggle. At the moment, I have help in the form of a 6’6 man. We manage to do it all in about 10mins but I can’t multi-task so when students come to talk to me before class I end up very slowly putting the poles up. But somehow manage to start on time, everytime!

I’m lucky enough now to have enough poles to be able to leave them in the venues. One of my venues doesn’t have speakers in the room I use so I also have to carry speakers there. I end up walking like a snail with my bag balanced on my back as it’s so heavy.

The Pain

As every pole dancer knows, you will get aches, pains and bruises along the way. I am fine with that. Being an instructor increases all of that. It’s not really from the classes, but it’s from the practice or repetition of moves that you can easily do, but after the 10th time, your skin is not such a fan.

That said, I am getting stronger, quicker. I have actually noticed a difference in my body. I’ve been poling for almost 6 years now and teaching for about 2 yet having my own classes over the last few months has really made a difference. Imagine how strong I’ll be in a years time!

For me the hardest thing is the headaches. I have built up tension in the muscles in my shoulders to the point that I get really bad headaches after intense physical activity. So each week after a 3 hour class, as soon as the poles are packed away, my head starts pounding 🙁

I am getting acupuncture (fancy!) which is helping – but trying to squeeze it in is tricky.

This Is The Life

Now all of this doesn’t sound so fantastic – but along with all of this comes the classes and the students. And that’s the part that makes it all worth while. It’s so great to see students progressing and having a great time. Or those who initially didn’t want to touch the pole but are really coming in to their own.

I love pole fitness and I’m lucky enough to be able to call it a job. I would be miserable without it!

I’m looking forward to the day where the timetable is sorted out, and I have my own studio where the poles are set up, the speakers are ready and all my students can call it home.

In the mean time, I’ll keep up my glamorous life – I’m off to do work… and today, that means pole practice 🙂

Build Your Strength for Pole Dance
Learn More >>

Comments From the PoleFreaks Community:

  1. Love love LOVE this! I’m a pole instructor too & I have my own studio. Everything you said is so true. Sometimes I feel like all I do is work! Even during my relaxing time watching a movie I’m on my computer doing all the behind the scenes stuff (marketing, planning, programming etc). It seems I can never shut `off`. But the students & the atmosphere make it worth it. I finally found something I love doing- even with the hecticness 😀

  2. Brilliant article, Holly!

    Well done to you, and as you say, seeing the students’ progression and enjoyment of classes makes it all sooo worthwhile. Xx

  3. Agreed Elaine! I love to see the transormation of our students. I too work a full-time job, a part-time job and teach 6 days per week, sometimes 2 classes per day. Also do privates lessions & private parties when needed. And try to find time to train. UGH! Yes, it’s hectic but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m always researching new Pole Dance / Tricks & Conditioning, Flexibility, Lyra Tricks & Conditioning, Tri Fly, Fly Gym moves & techniques. It sometimes gets challenging staying ahead of the more advanced students since they get so strong. It’s a unique wonderful aerial world! Thanks for the article, it hit home. ; )-


I'd love to hear what you think...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *