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Just Like a Circus

You're probably reading this because you attend pole classes. If you don't, welcome to the world of pole. Either way, have you ever looked outside the pole world at other classes?

I remember once mentioning to an old colleague that I was attending a hoop workshop. Her first reaction was to mention she too performed hoop. This was promptly followed by "isn't it easy, cant believe people find it hard!!" I immediately remember thinking this lady was confident, and a bit arrogant, but persisted with the conversation. I soon realised we were on a different page when she asked how long I could keep the hoop up and I understood she was talking about hula-hoops not aerial hoop!

I soon learnt that actually the world of aerial arts is really quite vast and hugely exciting. I was introduced to hoop, trapeze and silks. It's really interesting to use the skills you may have already learnt for pole and apply them to these other arts. It doesn't mean they're instantly easy, but if you've already gained some upper body strength or conditioning then you will find it less demanding on the biceps and shoulders.

You can certainly see the similarities, for example, silks requires being able to pull up on your arms. It doesn't mean in anyway is it repetitive or simple. In fact, I found silks to still be rather difficult as my strength lies more in my legs and there is not as much to grip on using legs.

Jodie Golby on silks at Bersted Park

Hoops and trapeze although requiring similar skills, are both so different still. I definitely found hoop to be more painful, as there is a lot pf hanging at the back of the knee, and the texture of a hoop resembles more of a sandpaper feel, so be prepared for extra calluses than your average pole lesson. Nonetheless hoop is my favourite. Trapeze made me feel like a true circus performer, and there are hundreds of exciting and new moves you can perform on it, but hoop to me felt far more fun and exciting.

The thing I enjoyed most about hoop was the security. Now, this may sound very strange considering I am currently talking about a thin, circular object suspended from the ceiling (or frame) which is able to swing freely from side to side, but once you sit in there, or get in a move which enables you to use counterbalance it's a pretty safe feeling.

I was lucky enough to try hoops doubles with my friend Marie, where we both shared a hoop and performed moves and tricks. It's even more fun and clever to do when you and your partner must trust each other and talk to each other to enable moving at the right time and supporting one another.

Leggings and legwarmers or something to protect the backs of your knees are a must in any of these arts, unlike pole, you don't need skin contact to stay stuck!

If you get the opportunity to try a different class, such as hoops, silks or trapeze then give it a shot, it's worth hanging about for!!!

Marie performing on a hoop at Bersted Park with Paradise Fitness instructor, Angela Hawkes.

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