When you think of fitness, you may imagine someone running or working out at the gym. Juel Sheridan wants you to think of pole dancing.
Last month, Sheridan opened an alternative fitness studio in Manchester that includes the art of pole dancing.
“I used to do competitive gymnastics, and I wanted to find something that was similar but different and where I could still use my strength and flexibility,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan, who also competes in fitness pole competitions on a professional level, says the trend is really growing. There are competitions and studios popping up across the United States and countries all over the world.
“There are all different types of competition. Some are very similar to gymnastics and some are all about artistic expression and creativity,” Sheridan said. “There’s a niche for everyone.”
Her studio, however, is not competition-driven. While Sheridan would love to help coach those interested in competitions, she said pole dancing is about building fitness and having fun.
Each class will start out at a beginner level, with crash mats on the floor, to master the basics of spinning and climbing the pole. Sheridan said she tries to find the right types of moves to fit each person’s body.
“I usually do a few things that I know they can do and a few things that might be hard for them to do. You have to find that balance so they have a challenge,” Sheridan said.
The studio also offers classes in aerial silks and aerial hoops as well. Sheridan said most people usually start off learning on the pole since it’s easier.
“[The pole] is solid and stable and it’s not going anywhere,” Sheridan said. “The silks move a lot. It’s not a static object, so if your body’s doing things, it’s going to move with you.”
Still, Sheridan said, anyone can do this and you don’t need to be super strong before you try the class.
“[Routines] don’t have to be hard to look hard,” Sheridan said.
While some may not think of pole dancing as a way to boost your fitness, Sheridan definitely believes it is.
“It still has that sexy aspect to it, but I think it’s really good for women. You’re not at the gym curling,” she said. “Very rarely do you have a lot of fun at the gym. Here, you don’t even think you’re working out, but you end up sore the next day.”
As seen in the February 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.