I participated in my first pole dancing class last week. I was invited to attend a class with actress and S Factor founder Sheila Kelley,and couldn't refuse. If I was going to get fit on a pole, I was going to go to one of the best instructors. Sheila Kelley basically started the pole dancing craze. And she was only in town from L.A. for a few days. From successful authors to celebrities like Teri Hatcher, many people quickly became followers. Especially after Sheila appeared on Oprah.
So I went to class excited and nervous to know what it would be like. I got to the S Factor studio in Chicago and walked in to a place that was calm, inviting and fun. There were pictures on the wall of women performing tricks on the pole, work-out clothes and yes-even what we all like to call stripper shoes( very high platform high heels-which I was told actually help perform certain tricks on the pole).
The class began with movements that stretched and lengthened the muscles. As class went on, other moves required more muscle and body weight. I was getting a great work out. One thing that Sheila stressed was relaxing. Not to worry about who was in the room or what anyone else was doing. Other movements were taught to learn how to be more free. Then we moved our workout to the pole.
Sheila showed us the first move, which was jumping up and spinning around the pole. I was a little nervous to do this, but it was much easier than I thought. After completing it a few times it was fun! It required a great deal of arm strength and confidence to relax enough to complete it right. All the girls had fun trying it out. We were then taught one more trick on the pole One that required leg strength as well. I was disappointed to learn that we were over time for class and had to stop.
I was able to chat with Sheila for a little bit before I had to leave though. Sheila explained that women all the way up into their 80's have taken classes at S Factor! Sheila wanted her classes to be fun, inspiring and empowering for all women. There is even a class in LA for teenagers. The moms at the studio actually asked for the class. It is designed to help young girls become accepting of their bodies. And for the girls to own their own bodies and how they look. Sheila started S Factor in LA. When she did the Oprah show women from all over the place wrote to her asking her where they could take classes like that. That's when she opened studios in other cities, such as Chicago.
One thing that I loved about talking to Sheila and taking her class was how it was geared towards empowering women. The class was not about learning tricks on a pole for a man (although, that may happen in addition). It was about women taking control of themselves. Owning their sensuality and their bodies. Being okay with being feminine. In a world where society places such contradictions on women, Sheila pushes us to never lose that feminine side. To take control of it and own it!
Not to mention the fitness involved in the classes. Sheila has a rockin bod and credits it to good nutrition and her classes. She does two strength training days in the gym as well. She also says her and her husband are still as passionate about each other as the day they met. Who wouldn't want that relationship with their husband?
Women, I encourage you to head to a class. I guarantee you'll feel strong and inspired. I had a great time and am definitely going to head to another one. Have any of you taken a class at S Factor?
Have a fun and fit day, Chicago.