Top Ten Traits of Good Pole Dance Instructors
Coming off the high of last week’s workshop with Pantera, plus the unexpected luck of getting a private lesson with Shawn Frances Lee, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what makes for a great pole dance instructor.
No matter how someone got into pole dancing or how they became an instructor, there are some things that hold true across the board – things instructors need to know, and things they need to be able to do, in order to be good at teaching pole.
Good pole dance instructors …
1. Know how to strengthen your core muscles.
Some instructors favor Pilates, others like yoga, others like traditional calisthenics, but anyone teaching pole needs to understand how core musculature is vital to everything from spins to inverts.
2. Understand correct shoulder positioning for aerial moves.
Hand in hand with core strength, pole dance builds upon correct shoulder position. Good pole instructors need to be able to show you how to strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and hold them properly.
3. Structure exercises so as to build strength for each new move.
This is an important one – and it’s not something everyone knows how to do. Exercises should be introduced with an understanding of which muscle groups are needed to do which moves, and they should be presented in a progression that prepares the body for advanced moves.
4. Emphasize stretching and show you how to do it.
Some people love stretching, others don’t – your instructor needs to be one of the former. Pole requires a lot of flexibility, and knowing how to stretch safely is the only way to get you there.
5. Always think about injury prevention.
Pole is definitely an activity in which it’s easy to get hurt. Whether it’s tendonitis, pulled muscles, tons of bruising, or worse, pole dancing can take its toll. Good instructors know what is likely to cause injury and teach with safety as their primary focus.
6. Inspire each student.
The thing about teaching is that, unless you can engage your students’ interest, you aren’t really teaching. That’s where the ability to inspire comes along. A good pole dance instructor can make students of any skill level feel like they can take on the world.
Pole is about more than just cranking out move after move. Good instructors know that dance moves are, in themselves, a great way to build strength and gain comfort with the pole.
8. Communicate well.
Some students need to be shown, some need to try things out for themselves, and others need detailed explanations. Good pole instructors are able adapt to the learning styles of each student.
9. Love teaching.
Just because someone loves pole dancing doesn’t mean they love teaching. Good pole dance instructors love both.
10. Keep things fun.
Nobody likes to learn in a boring or judgmental atmosphere. Good pole dance instructors know how to keep things playful, and how to make sure every student feels included.
There’s a lot to know to be a good pole dance instructor. If you’re new to pole and are still looking for a pole dance instructor, keep these traits in mind. If you’ve already found an instructor with all these traits, give them a hug the next time you have class – and be sure to tell them how great they are!