Last year our studio had the PLEASURE of getting to know MISS Julie! What a gem... her courage, sense of humor and beautiful soul is what made us fall in love with her. Julie began her Pole Dance Journey with us in Nov 2014 during her Intro to Pole Series with Kirstie Chan. She has since become a favorite student at the studio. Julie's enthusiasm and witty personality make her both a pleasure to teach and have as a fellow classmate.
When she asked to write an article for her Transgender Magazine about us we were honored. I received the first draft in my email last week and my eyes started to water. Pole Fitness Seattle was founded on the idea that everyone can benefit from pole.
Julie is a 54 year old transgender woman and below is her experience in Pole Dancing thus far. Her journey has just begun and will continue to inspire us and anyone who gets the opportunity to know her.
- Emily Lester
After I began my transition and since I have been out and about, I decided I needed some additional exercise. I recalled at Esprit last year there was a beginning belly dancing class I thoroughly enjoyed, so my search was on for dancing classes. I wanted something a little exotic, like maybe belly dancing and began to wear out my Google welcome. I was getting down a bit when I started using some discount web sites such as Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local. Occasionally they had some good discounts available.
After a lot of searching I found a coupon for beginning dance lessons, pole dancing lessons!?!? Could I? Would I? Both fear and excitement gripped me at this point. I found the company’s website and began to read about the classes offered. They had quite an assortment of classes, my heart soared and then I noticed some small print: “For Women Only”. This threw me for a loop. Did this include all those born genetically male? My driver’s license said “F”, perhaps I could make a stand…..but I wouldn’t want to cause any undue concerns from other students. I went back to my search.
A couple of days later I found another coupon for pole dancing classes and again went to the company website. Everything looked so good and it was fairly convenient! A double plus! I scoured the website quite close and couldn’t find anything related to a specific gender. I was still concerned so on the website there was a contact email address for questions. I wrote the company explaining I was an older transgender woman, obese and out of shape – though working at getting better. I hoped for the best!
I received an email the next day – that points to a responsive company. Cynthia said they welcomed everyone and suggested I give it a try, I might just like it! Well, it took me a little time but I found the coupon. I could have signed up for a single workshop, but I figured – in for a penny, in for a pound and went for the entire series, I signed up for a series called “Intro to Pole Dancing” from Pole Fitness Seattle. I live in Kent and work in Seattle, so the SODO location worked well for my situation. I found it on Google maps (I use Google so much!) and scoped out the general area. The class was scheduled for four Saturday mornings from late November to just before Christmas.
The first day I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs! I wore some capri yoga pants and a comfortable cotton top with my colorfully striped knee socks. Boy it was cold outside that morning! I bundled up with sweatshirt and coat along with my red furry boa. I was nervous driving, I always am when going someplace for the very first time. Parked and looked for the door. And looked again….and looked once more. I had a lot of trouble finding the door at first but suddenly I noticed one door almost at the back of the building with a “Pole Fitness Seattle” sign, I found it!
I walked up the long staircase, well it seemed long to me! The studio is good sized with two rooms for classes. The main room has one wall of mirrors, a good sound system and five poles. The second smaller room has other equipment, some kind of cloth hammocks and rings where they teach Aerial yoga for instance. There were a few young women there and some introductions were made and pleasantries exchanged. Turned out there were about seven women in the class, including myself. All were quite friendly and very young! Everyone there looked to be in their early to mid-twenties, even the instructor – perhaps a little older, but not much. As I a approaching my sixtieth birthday, quite a difference!
They had mats so everyone could be comfortable doing warm-up exercises and stretching. I found this part quite a little work out for me. The first little lesson was in walking; initially we walked in a routine fashion and then the instructor gave us some pointers on how to walk more sensually, useful when approaching the pole. We were then shown a move, the firemen’s spin and given the opportunity to practice. Since there were more students than poles, we practiced in two groups. Some of the gals were excellent from the start. I’m not sure they had tried this before or were just athletically inclined, I lean towards the latter.
Not all were naturals, so I didn’t feel left behind. One particular girl was having similar issues with the moves as I was – we also both had a tendency to giggle when trying a move for the first time, I appreciated having someone at closer to my physical ability. Now she wasn’t as awkward as I and looked better in her attempts, but I felt a connection.
We were shown a number of simple moves during the first lesson. I wound both exhausted and even more exhilarated! Unfortunately I missed the second week due to being really sick, the same week I missed the December members meeting. I did make the last two lessons. During the third lesson we were shown one move, something I believe called a “spin and sit”, where you end up wrapping one leg around the pole going backwards that I found I could do fairly well from the start. I think it was because I was going backwards and didn’t think of falling. Not sure about that, but I repeated the move so often in class I wound up bruising one foot! It took a very long time before that healed up, but I still went to my next class – I wasn’t going to let my foot stop me.
The instructors were great and quite encouraging, we had a number over the four week period. As a matter of fact everyone associated with Pole Fitness Seattle has been absolutely super. All would give me encouragement when my frustration sowed and let me know when I actually got a move correct, it actually did occasionally happened! At one point in December the establishment had an open house and I was invited. I had a great time as there were demonstrations of different types of exercises, pole dancing, aerial yoga and even a little burlesque dancing! All those attending were also given the opportunity to play around with the various pieces of equipment. Unfortunately my attire wouldn’t allow for that. If I had known I might not have worn a pencil skirt!
Since my initiation to pole dancing I have become hooked. Hooked on both the classes and all the women I’ve met. I have also taken a burlesque class so far and I am signed up for a strip tease class called “Shimmy and Shake”! I will write all about them in next month’s newsletter. They also travel away from their studio and give demonstrations and classes. One place is a company called Babeland Seattle that should be quite educational – at least for me, I’ll let you Google the name for complete information. They also are traveling to ZOVO Lingerie, both Bellevue Square and the U-District. So if you are looking for some additional exercise of the more exotic variety, I highly recommend Pole Fitness Seattle.
Pole Fitness Seattle Blog