In Soton Tab’s latest WHATSOC, we address the vital question of what fun, exciting activity you can do to renew your broken New Year’s fitness resolutions. Louisa Best (President) and Jessica Andrews (Treasurer) talked us through Pole Fitness society.
So, for starters, what is “pole fitness”? What does it involve?
We like to describe it as gymnastics, but on a vertical bar! It involves a lot of strength and it’s very versatile. Some of our members focus on handstands and the bendy stuff, others see it more as a form of dance, and some of us do it so we don’t have to go to the gym! It’s really fun, friendly and sociable and there’s a great atmosphere: we’re always happy to laugh at ourselves if we fall off. It’s not always particularly graceful!
Sounds fun! So is the focus mostly on the fitness side or mostly as a performance art?
It’s really up to the individual! Personally, we like the fitness side of it but others love to perform. If you really don’t want to be in front of an audience or you’re self conscious you can do it purely as a fitness hobby to have fun.
What’s a typical night for Pole Fitness Soc?
There’s never really one typical evening. We have lessons throughout the week, trips to Sprinkles, socials, and big group practice sessions. Those are great because you get to chat to people outside your own lessons and there’s a fantastic atmosphere. If someone gets a move for the first time everyone cheers because you remember how rewarding it is!
If people are interested in seeing what you do, are there any events coming up?
Our and is going to be really good fun. We’ll have Bar 3 open from 7.30 and you can buy tickets in advance or on the door. It’s our yearly chance to show everyone what we do, and maybe get rid of some preconceptions. All our members (no matter their experience) have a chance to show off what they’ve learned and be proud of their society. It’s really exciting getting to perform in front of your friends, family, and strangers too. And of course there’s the Varsity competition against Portsmouth as well.
You mentioned preconceptions: do you have a lot of problems with them? What sort of ideas do people have when they hear “pole fitness”?
You get a mix. It’s more well known than it used to be but some people judge you when they don’t understand what pole fitness is about. Of course, some people have this idea it’s all about strippers but it started for exercise and performance art in India and then China. Basically we just use the pole as another kind of sporting equipment. I don’t think it’s sexy at all!
Makes sense! Do you accept guys in the society too?
[Emphatically] YES! There are two performing in the showcase and two in the Varsity competition. Men tend to have more upper body strength that makes them ideal for some really spectacular moves: although they aren’t always as graceful and flexible! We’d love to have more guys get involved!
Finally, Jesters or Sobar?
For more information, visit the Southampton University Pole Fitness Facebook page .