An Interview with Pole Dancing

Louisa Wicks talks to the President of Pole, Marta Barton-Navarro, about this intriguing sport.

Pole fitness is a hugely up-and-coming activity around the world, and Royal Holloway recently added it to its lengthy list of societies. I spoke to the president of the society, Marta Barton-Navarro, to find out why she joined and why pole fitness is becoming such a popular club.

Why did you join the society?

I decided to join the society because it was so different and exotic compared to any other society and club. It seemed like a challenge, and once I tried it I got hooked and didn’t want to stop!

What does the society do?

This academic year not only have we provided Pole Fitness lessons, but we have also added aerial hoop lessons as part of the society. Also new to this year, we have competed in a competition called Inter Uni Pole Dance Competition (IUPDC), where we went to Imperial College and competed against universities from the South East region. Apart from IUPDC we also have Varsity coming up against Surrey! It’s safe to say we provide both a competitive part if you should wish to compete, or just a more chill sociable side.

What opportunities are there for your members?

The biggest opportunity is probably entering the community of Pole Fitness, which is always very welcoming and can expand so far when meeting people at the studio! The instructors have always been nothing but welcoming and supportive for each and every member which is always a great boost in motivation to continue the sport. For those members who have a more competitive nature, we offer the opportunity to compete at IUPDC and/or Varsity.

This is all achievable for only £5 per lesson for our members! Prices for aerial sports lessons average around £15 usually, so it’s a great moment for people to try something new.

What are the benefits of doing pole fitness?

Pole Fitness provides a big mixture of fitness benefits. Firstly, there is a great improvement in overall strength; core, legs and arms become so much stronger. Secondly, flexibility improves over time, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not strong or flexible when you start, that’s why you’re doing pole/hoop! Apart from these two, cardio work is practised when doing routines or combination of moves due to your stamina being tested, as is your sense of rhythm.

What has been your biggest achievement this year?

Our highest achievement this year is having been able to retain so many members that we have been able to offer six lessons a week which are constantly filled up.

What are your goals for next year?

The goals for next year are to provide more opportunities for members to perform, to continue the growth of the society and increase practice sessions apart from lessons. In terms of a community feeling, we want to educate people about pole fitness and break the negative stereotypes surrounding our sport.

When do you train?

We provide Pole Fitness lessons Mondays (6:30-7:30pm), Tuesdays (5:30-6:30pm), Thursdays (6:30-7:30pm) and Saturdays (11:30-12:30pm). We also do aerial hoop Wednesdays (8:30-9:30pm) and Saturdays (10:30-11:30am). The lessons take place in GemsTone Fitness Studio which is in Egham, opposite Tesco’s up a flight of stairs.

Any last words of advice?

It doesn’t matter when you decide to join the society, the instructors will always provide help or push you further. It doesn’t matter if you have never ever done it before, that’s how 90% of us started!