Dancers take pole position
The image of pole dancing has changed significantly over the past 10 years. Many now regard it as a genuine alternative for keeping fit and in Hong Kong it has been a recognised dance sport since 2004.
'When you look at a pole dancer's body, their physique is very toned and fit. With regular classes people lose unnecessary fat and tone up their muscles. Their body strength also greatly improves. They feel better about their new body [shape] and become more confident and comfortable with themselves,' explains Symone Dolai, founder of Pole Paradise Studio (www.poleparadisestudio.com) in Sheung Wan.
The studio offers classes that focus on pole dancing, aerial silks and hoop dancing, lap dancing, sensual dance, prop dancing and pole fitness. With the highest ceilings of any aerial dance studio in HK, it enables students to learn the aerial positions more effectively.
Beginners can join a trial class for HK$100, a single class costs HK$290 and a four-week course comprising a one-hour class each week is HK$990.
There are also packages available that allow students to attend unlimited classes. Cost ranges from HK$1,800 for one month to HK$13,800 for a year.
Pole Divas (www.poledivas.hk), located in Central, offers classes for pole, lap, chair and burlesque dancing at beginner and intermediate levels. Single classes are HK$260 with a five-class package at HK$1,080 (valid for five weeks), a 10-class package for HK$1,980 (valid for three months) and a 20-class package for HK$3,600 (valid for six months).
Once the basic skills have been mastered, students are taught different pole climbs and spins. Intermediate classes cover more advanced moves as well as muscle-conditioning activities.
'Pole dancing is becoming more popular with males due to the challenging strength and acrobatic elements in the intermediate stages and can be seen in competitive environments such as the International Pole Championships to be held in Hong Kong on March 15 next year,' explains Vivian Lea, co-founder and master trainer at Aerial Arts Academy (www.aerialartsacademy.com).
The academy offers one-hour classes in Causeway Bay. Cost is HK$260 per class. The hourly rate becomes cheaper if students buy a five- to 20-class package.
'Consistent weekly attendance will ensure students move up through the levels of our courses. We recommend students try to attend three classes per week in order to progress at a good rate,' Lea explains.