When I signed up to take a pole-dancing class with the woman who taught Jennifer Lopez how to work the pole for Hustlers, I knew I was a little bit screwed. As you know, Jennifer is—I cannot stress this enough—a goddess walking amongst us peasants, and I am a regular person who goes to the gym approximately once a fiscal quarter.
But against my better judgment, I went to Body & Pole in New York City to spend an hour with Johanna Sapakie and get the crash course.
First up, some basic stretches.
Johana opened the class with a few “easy” stretches, which included something similar to trying to do The Worm in reverse on a yoga mat. You don’t realize how un-sexy you are until you’re rolling around on the ground trying to curve your back in juuust the right way.
We even did some squat-like stretches, so my thighs were burning from the get-go. I was off to a pretty terrible start, TBH.
Next, the shoes.
Johanna said J.Lo wanted to start learning the routines in tennis shoes, but she wanted her to wear the heels ASAP so she could get used to them. There wasn’t any point in learning the moves in flats when she}d have to actually perform them in…not flats. We were going to do the same. Immediately after we finished stretching, we put on our six-inch heels and tried to walk across the room. Nothing fancy. Just walk. This was me:
Reader, I’m not kidding when I say I have never feared for my ankles as much as I did in those moments. The fact that I didn’t fall was a miracle. But I persevered and made it to phase two…
The pole moves.
Once we had the walk “mastered,” it was time to get on the actual pole. Johanna wanted us to try three major moves. They’re the moves J.Lo does in the first 20 seconds of this trailer.
Basically, it was the front hook, ankle hook, knee hook, carousel, that reverse spin thing, and then a forward-leaning spin move.
Looks pretty easy, right? NO. WRONG. While Jennifer makes it look like she walked out of the womb and straight to the club, trying it for the first time felt like throwing myself into an abyss and praying a metal pole and/or the floor would catch me.
To my credit, I actually managed to nail the carousel more than once, but the other two spins were way harder. Your hands get so sweaty, and the pole is slippery! But Johanna said Jennifer liked the feeling of spinning around the pole because it’s kinda like flying, which is fair.
You’ll notice there are no videos of me attempting said moves in this story. That’s very intentional and should be considered a self-preservation technique. I have to walk this earth for the rest of my life, after all, and the internet is a mean place. Sorry, I don’t make the rules!
J.Lo’s pole-dancing journey went a lot more smoothly than mine did, and you can watch how that went down right here.
By the end of the class, I still felt pretty awkward about the whole scenario, but I did realize 1) J.Lo can do literally anything. She is the closest thing this earth has to Superman. 2) Pole dancing is maybe the hardest sport I’ve ever
done attempted, and everyone who does this professionally deserves more credit than I ever gave them.
I will NOT be attempting pole dancing ever again, but you know what I’m sure as hell gonna do twice? See Hustlers.
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