One Question To Never Ask Your Pole Instructor

I was recently chatting with a friend who is a pole instructor, just about classes and students, and she expressed frustration at a question that she has gotten (in her words) at least once a session:

“How long until I’m as good as you?”

That’s a difficult and dangerous question.

For my friend, it puts her in the awkward position of receiving a compliment that is also implying that her student is somehow not good enough, just as they are in the moment of the question.

Beyond that, though, is the issue of individuality. Specifically, that every person develops at their own rate. And, every person has a different set of skills and abilities. So, the truth is, that her students may never be “as good as” her. Or maybe they’ll be just as good; or, even better, someday.

Which brings up its OWN set of issues, regarding how to qualify what is “good” in the world of pole. Maybe you can do a perfect Fonji, but you have no soul in your free flow. Or, maybe you have the most passionate and fluid movement, but you never get more than 5 feet off the ground. Who is to say which is “better”?

I think it’s fairly natural to have this question cross your mind. Pole attracts people who want to improve and people who seek the validation from it. It’s part of the high for a lot of dancers – achieving new tricks, reaching new milestones. I would be willing to bet that many, many new polers have this question cross their mind.

It’s okay to think it. But, maybe, if you find yourself wanting to ask it…consider that there is no right answer. And, instead of focusing on all the things that you can’t yet do, remind yourself of all of the things you CAN do. If you couldn’t climb the pole a few weeks ago, but now you can? Celebrate that! Take a look at all of the things you have learned and give yourself a pat on the back for them! This shit is HARD, at EVERY LEVEL. Write down those accomplishments, if you have to! Be kind to yourself.

Oh, and yeah. Don’t ask that question. 🙂


Photo by Alloy Images, 2015

About Danielle C

Actress, writer, consumer of too much sugar, cat mom, dog auntie, pole enthusiast, amateur foodie, local explorer. Often mouthy, occasionally political.

Posted on January 1, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. While I’ve never asked my lyra teacher that question, I do struggle with being the “worst” all the time and wondering when I’ll feel “good enough.” I’m almost always (me, trying not to generalize) the worst in class. I can’t invert to save my life (my booty is just so heavy). I have the trifecta of heavy body, lack of strength, and limited flexibility. My teacher also says everyone has their strengths. I’ve yet to find mine. I had a meltdown in my car after class the other day and nearly up and quit, but I’ve already paid for classes, may as well keep going. A couple days have passed, and I’m feeling less despair. Then I found your blog. So…thanks.

    • I feel you. I have left more than a few classes and cried on my way home, because I feel so far behind or worse than everyone or wondering why I still try to do this. I really have. And it sucks to feel that way. I will say that, for me, it does pass. And sometimes, the best thing for me is to work more on the things I love, rather than to try to wedge myself into what everyone else is doing. For lyra, that means finding my dance and flow inside the hoop (my inverts have never been perfect, and I can’t spin for shit). For pole, it means freestyle and the occasional weird trick that nobody else likes. I still struggle with not feeling like I belong, but it does get better, I promise.

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