Spinning around an iron pole while upside down might not sound like a typical workout session, but it has become a worldwide trend and for pole instructors Helle Carlstedt and Lenita Larsson it’s a new way of living. I met with them to talk about their passion.
By: Victoria Thoors Pictures: Johannes Hjorth / Vida Pole
When people hear that you pole dance they raise their eyebrows and say, ”really”? ”Pole dancing”? You explain that it’s not at all about stripping in high heels, but most people still have that image in their head. I was skeptic at first too, I admit it. But it only took one class to realize that this was something completely else. An exercise that is so much fun that it actually makes you forget that you are working out.
– I don’t even remember what I was doing before I started pole dancing. Every other workout just seemed pointless in comparison. The first time I set my foot in the studio I just knew this was my thing and I’ve done it ever since, Helle Carlstedt says with a big smile on her face.
-Yea, The feeling of being weightless is almost addictive. I don’t even want to go away on vacation if it means I can’t pole dance somewhere, Lenita says and laughs.
We sit together in the lounge area of Lenita and Helle’s pole studio Vida Pole in Stockholm. It feels like being at a friend’s place: cozy, warm and relaxed. What makes it even better, they have a room filled with poles.
– I’ve always loved to start new companies from scratch, says Lenita.
– And I’ve always dreamed of running my own business, but never knew what kind until I started pole dancing and met Lenita, Helle fills in.
They truly are a dream team and with 40 classes a week, Vida Pole has become a huge success. According to Lenita and Helle pole dancing is the perfect mix between a gym session, dance and acrobatics. You get to spin and be upside down while every muscle in your entire body is activated.
– There are so many different types of sports and workout trends nowadays and it’s nice to finally find one where you forget time and place and lose yourself for a moment, Helle explains.
Lenita nods and adds;
– You get a kick when you finally nail a trick that you never thought you would. You almost feel immortal!
Can anyone do it?
Lenita: With the right coaching and technique you can do almost anything! That’s why it’s so much fun and you always set up new goals. Goals that you actually manage to reach.
What advice do you have to those who would like to try, but are a bit scared?
Helle: You don’t have anything to be afraid of! Everyone is welcome, previous experience or not. Our instructors help you feel comfortable with the pole and will guide you to find your own style.
Lenita: Pole dancing is not about nailing the tricks right away or copy someone else’s movement pattern. You’ll evolve and develop your own way. Give it a shot, it’s a versatile sport and something for everyone to enjoy!
There are many prejudice thoughts about pole dancing and what it entitles. Many believe that this is women’s sport, but Lenita and Helle don’t agree.
Lenita: Men actually get curious and want to try it out themselves and we encourage them to. It will build up their strength and and they’ll realize how fun and powerful the workout is.
Helle: Another thing people often comment on is the outfits. Why we wear so little. The reason is not to provoke or be sexy, even though that’s totally fine too. The reason is that we need to stick to the pole and avoid sliding down and hold the tricks. It’s as simple as that. Our studio is a free zone where the body works as a tool more than anything. Wearing hot pants and a sports top is something you get used to.
I could go on talking with these two ladies for hours. Their joy and passion is contagious and you want to become a professional dancer right away. I ask them to show some moves before I leave and they gladly do. I just stand there in awe. They are way more advanced than me but I’ll get there eventually. One thing is certain though, working out has never been this fun.
Name: Helle Carlstedt
Doing on a Friday night: Dance, sauna and a long shower in the studio, then either a cozy night in with a lot of tasty food or a night out dancing.
Name: Lenita Larsson
Doing on a Friday night: Friday means hanging out with the Vida Pole team. No matter how tired you are after a long week of classes and training, you always get so much energy of hanging out with our wonderful colleagues.
Want to try pole dancing? Check out Vida Poles webpage and sign up for a drop in class.