Monday, February 11, 2013

Yes, I am a certified pole instructor.

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to travel to New York for the 2 day intensive pole certification training program provided by X-Pole and Crunch fitness. The certification is accredited by AFAA and ACE and endorsed by the PFA. The whole experience was fantastic. I drove to New York (only got lost once!), stayed at the adorable Yotel a few blocks from Times Square and had some great noms while I was there.

I drove in Friday night because class started early on Saturday morning and I wasn't sure where I was going. It made things much more relaxing. Friday night I met my sister and her friends (also traveling in NY that weekend, totally random!) for dinner at Guy Fieri's place. Then it was back to my comfy little hotel room to get some sleep for the morning.

In the morning I enjoyed free coffee in the hotel lobby while having a slight panic attack. I called the Crunch fitness studio, just to be sure I was going to the right place, and the guy answering the phone had no idea about a pole class going on there today. Ummmm, yes, panic.

A few more phone calls and a little help from my amazing husband back home and I was able to find out where I was going. The class was on the East side, not the West side. There are quite a few Crunch fitness studios in NY, probably should have research that small detail a little better.

The class itself started at 8AM, we started with brief introductions. All the girls were coming from different places and were in different stages of pole dancing. Some wanted the certification just to teach themselves. Others were instructors, a couple studio owners and students. The trainer, Alison, was very nice and knowledgeable. We received manuals which listed out everything we were going to learn and then got started.

We began with the "classroom stuff", the names for different grips, the CPR and first aid, the anatomy and physiology. A lot to remember with only one night to study (yes, there is a test). After that we learned how to create a beneficial warm up routine to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up. Then onto pole work. We learned body waves, peekaboos, pirouettes, climbs and spins. We learned how to make each move easier or more difficult and how to spot someone in each move. There was an hour break for lunch and then back to work.

That night after class I wanted to go out and see the city but instead I went straight back to the hotel, had a quick dinner and a couple drinks with one of my pole girls and then retired to my lil room. This is when I missed having a tub to soak in, OMG so sore!!! I was bruised from head to toe. And exhausted! The class took so much. And I was nervous about the test... what if after all this I didn't pass?!

I spent some time studying for my practical exam, which was teaching a two handed pirouette (something I had never even heard of before class that day). Then just crashed. The next morning was more calm, I knew where I was going and how long it would take to get there. I took a couple Ibuprofen and sat and had coffee and breakfast in the lobby while reading over my notes. Then picked up a cab and headed out for day 2.

The second day started with a one hour "master class" designed to show us how a beginner/intermediate pole class should flow. I must admit, getting on the pole that second day was tough, being already all bruised up and I kind of wish they did the harder moves on the first day, but it is what it is. We got through the whole class, put together a little routine with the moves we had learned and then did a cool down. Then on to the rest of the moves in the book. We did some floor work, handstands, move spins and climbs and of course, inversions.

By the end of day 2 I had one black and blue down the entire inside of my thigh, both feet taped up and bruises all over both arms and legs. We must have been a site. Once we completed every move in the book (and I did it! I managed to pull off every move in the book! I was soooooooooo proud!) the testing began. Each of us got up in front of the class and taught an assigned move. I was so nervous, but the friendly faces around me helped me through it. Then it was on to the written exam. It was much more intense than I had anticipated. The questions were written in a weird way, some of them were really tricky. There were a lot of anatomy questions, some I wasn't quite sure of. Not an easy test. Then the waiting came.....

Waiting is agony! Sitting their biting my nails as each girl got called up one by one to get her score. By the time she called my name part of me just wanted to run out the door. Her first words were "you passed" and then I let out the biggest sigh of relief ever. She told me I needed to amplify my voice more when teaching and showed me the correct answers to the 3 questions I got wrong (trick questions, me thinks!) then I got my certification and a tank top and I just wanted to scream with joy through the streets of New York (but I did not want to get arrested so I didn't)

Even though I felt like I had just been rolled over by a Mac truck I decided that I was happy and proud and I was going to take myself out to dinner in Times Square to celebrate. How often does one get certified to teach pole?! So I walked around Times Square for awhile (I had never been to NY City before! Can you believe that?! I live in MA and had never been!) it was a lot to take in. I ended up stumbling upon a bar / haunted house  my sister had recommended called Times Scare. I sat at the bar and chatted with the bar tender for awhile when he asked what had brought me there. So I pulled out my certification and said "I just finished a certification class to become a pole instructor!" The two girls who were sitting next to me and were the only other people at the bar turned to me and said "OMG, we work at NY Dolls!" (a top of the line strip club in NY, I gather). One was a dancer and the other a massage girl. Then the bar tender gets all excited and breaks out his cell phone. When he hands it over it's full of pictures of him.... in full drag. I love NY. I had fun chatting it up with that fun-loving crew and began to make my way home.

It was a fantastic experience. I would recommend it to anyone who is teaching or wants to teach. There is so much useful information given in that course. The spotting techniques themselves are priceless. Plus being able to say "I'm a certified pole instructor" is kind of cool, yes?

If you are looking to get certified, here is a list of programs that are PFA approved:

Fawnia Mondey-Detrich
Pole Fitness Studio
PFIC Certification
Las Vegas, Nevada

Lizz Schofield
Studio Soiree
PFIC Certification
Salt Lake City, Utah

OC Pole Fitness Certification/Felix Cane
PFICP Felix Cane Inc. Certification
Aliso Viejo, California

Aryn Savaard
The Goddess Movement
The Goddess Movement Method Pole Fitness Certification
Abbotsford, BC Canada

Mariana Baum
Pole Dance Paris
Professional Formation of Pole Dance Teacher

Discover Dance
Traveling Program

Rebekah Hennes
PoleMoves Beginner/Intermediate Certification

X-Pert Pole Fitness Program
Traveling Program

Mary Ellyn Weissman
Empowerment Through Exotic Dance, Ltd.
ETEDance Beginner through Advanced Pole Dance Instructor Certification
Chicago Heights, Illinois

It is a lot of money, but worth the investment! Remember to do your research before signing up to take any certification classes.

Happy poling!