A pole virgin’s first class is intimidating enough without having the instructor or fellow students pile on the scariness! So unless you want them running for door make sure to NEVER say or do these 5 things:
1. Let them know how EASY each move is!
New students just love to hear how easy each new pole trick or move is, especially when they are learning to pole dance for the first time … NOT! Try to remember what it was like for you your first time – it was scary, intimidating, and you certainly didn’t want the instructor reinforcing those feelings. If you want to keep your students coming back be sure to support each dancer at their pace. Let them know what they are learning IS difficult and while progress might be slow each step they take is in a positive direction!
2. Do not prepare multiple levels of difficulty for each move!
Most pole virgins just want to make it through their first pole class, have a little fun, and gain the confidence to come back again. However, nothing will have them running for the exit like being taught a move that they can’t possibly achieve. You might end up with a class full of intermediate students with only a single new student, but you still have to make sure to cater moves to the lowest level. Use the newbie’s presence to have more established dancers work on fundamentals or take a more difficult move and break it down into steps so that the newbie can achieve at least part of it. Most importantly you want to make sure they don’t leave the class feeling discouraged, but excited to come back next week!
3. Play favorites and encourage cliques!
The amazing and unique part of being a pole dancer is the supportive pole community that welcomes you in. As a pole instructor you are the pole community’s ambassador to newbie dancers! There is nothing worse as a pole virgin than to walk into a room of laughing, chatty dancers and be completely shut out and ignored. No, not everyone is going to be your cup of tea and others will take longer to come out of their shell (that’s me), but everyone deserves to feel like they belong in pole class! Lead by example by introducing yourself to new students at the start of class and encouraging your regulars to do so too.
4. Make sure to ignore students past injuries and concerns!
Yes, there are definitely students who like to complain for the sake of complaining, but I promise you far more students are downplaying their injuries so as to not disrupt class or disappoint instructors. Trust that your students know their bodies well enough and don’t force them past their breaking point. Use your first introduction at the beginning of class to ask first time students about any injuries or concerns they may have. Assure them their issues are not a disruption and provide them with variations or adjustments to moves that might aggravate those injuries. If it’s a case where you really don’t know how to adjust to their injuries or concerns, be honest. Let them know that if they choose to stay for class to go at their own pace and check in with them along the way.
5. Tell them know what and who a REAL pole dancer is!
As an instructor or established student you have your preference in the world of pole, perhaps you have a very strong opinions about the world of pole, but a virgin poler is the last person you need to share it with. Don’t kill someones love for pole before it has a chance to grow! By proclaiming what and who you think a REAL pole dancer is and going on to badmouth other styles, body types, or goals you are guaranteeing they don’t come back. Everyone gets into pole for different reasons, maybe for the sexy, or the artistic expression, or to get back to gymnastic roots. We all have different body types, backgrounds, and dreams within the community. That diversity is what makes pole the ever changing creative endeavor we all love.
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