I have been inspired by the recent blog by Claire Griffin-Sterret entitled 'Respect for pole dance class please' in which Claire questions why students do not always have the same respect for pole dance classes as they may hold for other fitness classes. I am lucky that the majority of my students are extremely respectful and an absolute pleasure to teach but for the tiny minority who don't show respect for their pole teachers I wanted to remind you all of some basic pole etiquette.
General Class Etiquette:
Would you talk through the warm
up of your Yoga or Aerobics class, or would you use your phone or carry
on doing your own thing whilst an instructor demonstrates a technique?
By doing this you not only show a lack of respect for the instructor but
you then endanger your own safety as you may execute a pole move without
having listened to the essential advice given.
Please listen to your instructors they say things for a reason e.g. "We are going to start with some 2 handed back hook spins"
OK so most of my students can do one handed Back Hook Spins but I am asking you to do two handed for
a reason, not because I want to stall your progress but because you have
just finished warming up and the poles may still feel cold and I want to
ease you into practice and ensure your shoulders are fully warmed up and mobilised before you try more challenging spins.
When does a class start and when does it finish?
My classes are always structured with a warm up, pole element and cool down to try to ensure a safe, balanced workout so please do not use the poles either before we have warmed up or after we have cooled down. I have seen too many injuries from those who want to show offf their latest move by leaping onto the pole into an extreme position when their body is not ready to do so.
Keeping the right temperature:
It is essential that
the studio is kept at a nice temperature for training and I would much rather
the studio is to hot rather than too cold. Training in the heat may seem much
harder and much more painful on the skin but it is far safer than a cold room, the poles and your skin are grippier when warm
and your muscles are better for stretching and moving. So there is a reason why I may decline your request to open the windows during a class, remember that we not only need to keep the temperature right for your class but also for other classes. To the students who take it upon themselves to ignore a request to leave the windows shut and who open the windows anyway releasing all the heat in
the room please be prepared to stay on for the following class to apologise to the later students for the freezing cold room.
One of my students has found an interesting way to get round the issue of opening the
windows, she secretly turned off the radiators so not only did it go
cold for the next session but the studio was then so cold when students
arrived the following day that we had to cancel the classes, I can't believe someone could feel it is OK to act in such a selfish way.
Pole Class Costs:
We all know that professional pole classes are not necessarily cheap but
that is not because pole instructors are rolling in money, quite the
opposite. Compare your pole class to other classes. At The Art of Dance we take only 12
people maximum per class and many classes have less than 12 people in them.
We aim to give all students a little bit of one to one time during class so you will never be 'hidden' as is some large aerobics classes. Our insurance is higher than many other fitness forms and you are paying for years of experience as well, we don't take on instructors who have walked off the street, all our instructors have at least 3 years experience and at least 6 months teacher training, this all costs but I think that our prices are actually incredibly good value at £10 drop-in, £8 members, £7 students, £6 beginners and £3-£5 for practice sessions).
So why do people feel so comfortable asking me
to knock money off the price of classes? Please be assured that at The Art of Dance we give you the cheapest prices we can possibly afford and we could not lower those prices with going bankrupt which would be a huge loss for all our students.
Sharing a pole:
A common winge is when students have to share a pole, OK so we would all rather have a pole to ourselves but how many of you use the pole constantly when you do have a pole to yourself? It is usually the case in quieter classes when students do have their own pole that I have to constantly encourage them to use their poles and to stop resting. For those of you who are adamant that they want their own pole and do not want to share that is no problem, you simply pay for 2 spaces and I will guarantee you your very own pole! Alternatively you could find a cheaper pole school and enjoy 5 plus people per pole (yes some schools do not limit numbers per pole!)
Arriving on time:
We all have those days when we end up running late and generally I have no problems with people turning up late on the odd occasion but I get really wound up by the students who seem to think it is OK to turn up late every week. By repeatedly turning up late you ruin the warm up for the students who have managed to get their on time. So if you do arrive late please kindly wait outside until we have finished the warm up and do not think it is OK to ring the doorbell repeatedly until someone lets you in.
Respecting our booking policy:
Every school has their own
booking procedure and I know that sometimes our booking policy can be a
bit of a nightmare, but, we have a 24 hour cancellation policy for a
reason and without it the business would not survive financially. If you
do cancel with less than 24 hours notice please do not think it is OK
to ask for an exception to the rule and have your payment moved to next
week. If I can book you in for another class in the same week I will but
this is not always possible, If I change the rule for you I have to
change the rule for everyone.
There is a reason why we don't
take bookings without pre-payment, It is extremely unfair to those who
have pre-paid if they cancel with less than 24 hours notice and lose
money and then you cancel with less than 24 hours notice and lose
nothing. I get annoyed at how many people ask for their money back and
wonder if those same people would, for example, buy theatre tickets,
miss the show and then ask for a refund?
Also the chances are
that the people who do persuade me to book then in without paying will
then text me on the day with an excuse as to why they can't make it. This is a
particular problem if I have just a couple of people booked into class
and then a few say they will show but don't, the class then runs at a
loss and long term this could lead to the closure of the business and the loss of a great facility.
Damn right rude:
OK so some of the behaviour mentioned in this blog can be forgiven but in the last 8 years I have seen a few examples that have made my blood boil and they include leaving chewing gum on
the walls, Leaving rubbish on the floor just inches from a bin, leaving a banana skin hanging in one
of the studio plant pots and my least favourite case of a student sticking a used panty liner stuck on the side of the toilet bin.
So winging aside, I have said my piece and I will reiterate that 99% of students are the best students in the world ever, they make my life special and they give me a buzz during every single class. A huge thank you to those wonderful 99%.
More blogs to follow on pole dancing prejudice so in the meantime you may enjoy this article by Kelly Dunning on the Pole Dance Community website.