“I’m investing in myself”, I whisper to reassuringly as I book another $110 private session with my pole coach. If you have ever chanted those words like an affirmation when clicking on a class package purchase, competition registration, convention pass, or workshop, you are among many.
We out here.
With continuous rising prices simply to exist in the muggle world while also trying to stay active in our pole journies, why would anyone want to spend the money on a one-on-one private session? Even the idea of what is essentially personal training carries an air of eliteness and is giving Real Housewives of X-Pole. Depending on geographical location and studio, privates can range anywhere from $80 – $120 an hour. This has most people leaning more towards classes or open pole practice and rightfully so. Not to mention the idea of working directly with an advanced pole beast bring an intimidation factor into the mix.
“Are they going to judge me for not being up to their level?”
“Are they going to work me to death and be too advanced?”
“Is this really a smart place to put my money?”
“I take 20 Instagram breaks a class, what are we even supposed to do for an hour?”
All valid and all questions and don’t you worry, I’m here to be your spirit guide you through the benefits and how to get the most for your buck when booking a one-on-one. Though group classes are great for moral support, inspiration, feedback, and all-around good vibes and should be a part of your practice, don’t overlook the magic of a private.
We all have a natural affinity for certain things, and not so much for others. This goes for pole instructors as well. Though most are well-rounded and can help guide and teach any style, most tend to have specialties so make sure to choose the right person for you. Take their group classes, look them up on Instagram, and check out their performances and go-to style. Some are more dynamic tricksters, some sexy and slinky, and some are bendy baes. That’s not to say that someone who specializes in Russian exotic can’t help you with your Iron X, or a Low Flow king can’t guide you in flips, but it’s best to go with someone who shares the same passion and vision you see for yourself. This is why it’s also great to take a group class with the instructor if it’s possible to get a feel of their style and if it gels with you.
Word of mouth is also gold. Ask fellow classmates or even the front desk people at the studio. They can often make suggestions based on what you are looking for.
Competitions, Showcases, and Performances. (Oh my!)
While group classes are great for learning new things in a supportive community with other students; privates are perfect for when you are trying to build a full routine. At this time, you can work on combos and choreography and map out your piece as well as really clean up specifics and musicality. The road to all my competition pieces is paved with 8 am privates with Ashley Fox. (Disclaimer, most coaches will not make you train before the sun, do not let this information hinder you!) I will attend group classes to work on some of the combos and specific moves however privates is where we put it all together. It’s also a great “Come to Jesus” time when a performance is coming up and certain things still aren’t hitting and need to be swapped out.
Pole conventions. (ever heard of them? :-P)
These events are a great opportunity for privates because it gives you a chance to train with some of your favorite pole dancers which normally wouldn’t be an option due to distance and availability. For example, I love Amy Bond, however, her home studio is in California where I reside in New York City. You better believe I was quick to take advantage of the opportunity to train with her when we were both under the same roof at this past PoleCon! Though workshops are a wonderful option, if you want more specialized attention, focus on specific skills outside their preset curriculum, or their workshop doesn’t sync with your schedule, a private is worth it. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience or something you can only do once a year so why not? Treat yo self.
Whenever You Dang Well Please. (Read that again)
Frankly, if you just want to take a private, that’s a good enough reason as any. I book one on my birthday every year because I’m a Leo and like attention.
How do I get the most out of my time?
Come with a plan, or at least an idea.
No one is saying you need to come up with a lesson plan with bullet points and a printed itinerary. (I see you, Virgo). There have been times I didn’t know exactly what I needed I just knew I was on the struggle bus to Hot Mess City and needed help! Whether it’s to map out a routine, work on something very specific, or just want to test your skills and see what level class you belong in, have some sort of idea of what you’d like to accomplish.
Bring your homework and Supplies.
Much like having a plan, it’s also good to bring whatever materials you may need to take care of business. If you are working on a routine, maybe bring the music already edited or at least a first draft. A list of moves you already have, and ones you would like to learn has always been helpful in my experience. If you’re doing a heels piece, it’s probably good to bring not only your heels but also knee pads. Also, remember to bring all your grips and the tools you need to make yourself the superstar you are meant to be.
Come on time.
No seriously. You just spent a chunk of money for an hour (or more), the choice is yours how you spend it but personally I don’t want half of it going towards waiting in a Starbucks line.
“Are they going to judge me for not being up to their level?”
First of all, no one, and I mean NO ONE, should ever make you feel less than or judge you for whatever level you are at. I do not care how many competitions they’ve won or the high-level performances they’ve done. They are not above you and should never make you feel bad about yourself. If they do, end all training with them and seek better support. I cannot stress this enough. Reach out to other polers for recommendations if you don’t know your options, you should always feel empowered, not belittled.
“Are they going to work me to death or be too advanced?”
The first time I signed up for a private I was so nervous that it would be too hard. I’d taken a few classes with my chosen instructor and absolutely loved her and was stoked to train with her. That being said, normally in class, there are plenty of breaks, and with no one else there to take her attention away I was scared I would surely perish. Just remember, you are paying for their time. It is up to you how you want to use it. Make sure to advocate for yourself. If you need a break, ask for it. Speak up if you are experiencing pain or an injury.
In summary, your pole practice is sacred and however, you want to dance is perfect. Never feel pressured to train how others do. Do not feel shamed into pushing yourself to the point pole is no longer enjoyable. In that same beat, never believe something isn’t possible. You are more capable than you think.