I am guilty of ploughing along at my own pace. Repeatedly staying in my comfort zone by performing the moves I know and squirming when my instructor asks me to do something a little bit tricky. I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with perfecting moves. In fact, sometimes we can find ourselves at the opposite end of the scale and be a bit guilty of trying a move once, ticking it off in our imaginary list and asking for something else new. It's almost as if quantity overtakes quality.
When my instructor first told me about masterclasses I felt my jaw clench and my muscles tighten. How on earth would me attending a masterclass workshop taught by a world champion benefit me in the slightest? Yes, they hold different classes for different levels, or one and adapt it to the students, but still, these polers are professionals, elites, champions....
I'll be brutally honest, I was put off attending the classes several times. I made the usual excuses, such as money, headache, an old injury playing up, the list was endless yet repetitive. Eventually I "gave in" and I have never looked back.
My first masterclass was a few years back with a former champion. I had, admittedly been poling for around 3-4 years so I was comfortable inverting. There were 8 of us, two to a pole, and I had opted for the intermediate class. At the time, I was feeling a bit self conscious and felt really uncomfortable, but the instructor immediately made me feel at ease. We were shown various tricks, some too advanced for me but that I could adapt and some which I managed to perform after a few attempts. I took videos and photos of the moves which felt a bit far out of reach and these were ones to take away to work on.
So, masterclasses with professionals and champions of pole are amazing. I now attend, taking a notebook and armed with my trusty smartphone and find them beneficial. They give you moves to work toward and grow your confidence. Instructors rarely make any money from these masterclasses and workshops, but take pride watching their students grow, learn new tricks and skills and it provides a push from the comfort zone you may not necessarily get in your weekly lessons. But, what about other aerial arts? Isn't variety the spice of life?
I first tried hoop a few years ago, when I attended a special "Aerial Playground" - trying out hoops, silks, trapeze and rings. I have to admit, at first I was extremely apprehensive, unsure of the equipment, but now I am first in line for every workshop.
I won't touch too much on this subject, I feel like this is obviously a whole new blog in the planning, but I will say, don't knock it until you've tried it.
Aerial arts (excluding pole) give you new strengths and help you to push yourself further. I mean, I have to be honest with you, I bruise like a complete peach, I even visited the doctors about my persistent and very sore purple skin and hoops in particular can be pretty relentless. The grip required can be fairly heavy going on the backs of your knees and hands, but didn't pole once feel similar?
So, I say, if you're having doubts about attending the latest master class with the current Miss Pole Dance Champion or worrying about trying silks for the first time, then why not bite the bullet and sign up? The worst case scenario is you struggle to get some of the moves, but you can take away the knowledge and have a new goal to work to. And the best case? You fall in love with a new aerial art form or find your new signature move!