Combined Minds 

Carmen and Ambar Take on Pole Dancing

Words by Ambar Ramirez and Carmen Macri

 

Carmen: A few weeks ago, Ambar brought up taking a dance class together. I think she meant ballet, but obviously, that’s not where my mind went. No, I went straight for pole dancing. 

 

Ambar: Listen … I’ve always dreamed of being a ballerina, but that dream was crushed by Carmen when she said pole dancing. 

 

Carmen: Sorry, but I didn’t think I was elegant enough to be a ballerina … I also found out I’m not elegant enough for pole dancing either. 

 

Ambar: But we were gritty enough. 

 

Carmen: We reached out to the owners of Alt Fit Jax and asked if we could take one of their beginners classes, thinking, “How hard could this actually be?” 

 

Ambar: Hard. Very hard. Excruciatingly hard.  

 

Carmen: Let me set the scene: walking into the building I was met by colorful lights and rows of poles. I was the first of the class to arrive, so I was able to have a chat with our eccentric instructor, Ali (@stealingpeas on Instagram). She walked me through what to expect from the class (and taught me how to properly use a hula hoop).

 

Ambar: That was quite a scene to walk in on. Like watching a baby take their first steps. 

 

Carmen: OK, rude. 

 

Ambar: After celebrating Carmen’s first time properly hula hooping, we signed our waivers and headed to (drumroll, please) the poles. 

 

Carmen: Fun fact: The poles spin. This whole time I thought these girls were just spinning themselves. No, the poles actually spin. Anyway, Ali was quick to start the class, forgetting that Ambar and I are true beginners. 

 

Ambar: Like any other fitness class, we started with a warm-up. But unlike other fitness classes, our warm-up consisted of learning how to twerk and sensually strut around a pole. 

 

Carmen: Again, the poles were spinning. I wasn’t sensually strutting… I was basically running around the pole like a chicken with its head cut off. 

 

Ambar: After our alternative warm-up, we got into the routine portion of the class. The first move was a backward spin. I’ll try my best to explain this: Basically, you wrap one leg around the pole and hold on for dear life while you catapult yourself backward, lifting both legs up.

 

Carmen: By the time Ambar finished her first spin, I was on my sixth. I was literally giving myself vertigo. After we mastered the backward spin, our next hurdle was cat tails … I don’t even know where to start with these. Think of a bull kicking its front legs before charging.

 

Ambar: But in a sexy way. As our instructor put it, “Bend over, I wanna see your ass.” After embarrassing ourselves with that move, we went into learning how to do the step-around. 

 

Carmen: This was probably the easiest move of the class. While gripping the pole for dear life, you throw one leg around the pole, squat and spin. 

 

Ambar: I like to call it the stripper version of a “bend and snap” from “Legally Blonde.” If you know, you know. The “squat and spin” then led us into one of the more classic spins where you keep one leg wrapped around the pole and the other is held out (the shoulder spin). Again, Carmen was going 10 mph. 

 

Carmen: I really thrusted myself into it, lapping Ambar almost 10 times. And apparently, because we were doing “so well,” Ali decided to teach us an advanced spin; the genie. (R.I.P. the backs of my legs.) 

 

Ambar: The genie was the final move of our routine. You basically had to grip the pole with one of your legs, bend horizontally enough that you could kiss your knee then push yourself backward while simultaneously wrapping your other leg around the pole to semi-form the letter “G.” 

 

Carmen: Once you are in “G” formation, you (attempt to) spin around the pole. Ali encouraged us to take away one of our hands for “pizzazz,” but that just resulted in me slowly sliding down to the ground. After a few failed attempts, we started to get the hang of it.

 

Ambar: Once we slid down from that formation, we ended the routine on the ground, spread eagle, shaking what our mama gave us. 

 

Carmen: Allegedly.

 

Ambar: Despite being encouraged to shake our booties and get down low, the class emphasized unleashing our inner goddesses above all else. We had a chat with the boss ladies of Alt Fit Jax, Jaime and Lorien, who spilled the tea on the journey of snagging their space in the first place.

 

Carmen: They explained how difficult it was to rent out a place because of the stigma surrounding pole dancing/pole fitness, even though that is not all they focus on. They offer roller pole, dance, hoop fitness and tons of other alternative fitness courses. Personally, I thought these classes were way more exciting than just hitting up a regular old gym!

 

Ambar: Not to mention how rigorous it was. I mean, I was sore for the whole week following the class. 

 

Carmen: Same, but that’s not saying much since I’m winded just walking up the stairs. But in all honestly, this was such a fun class. I highly recommend. 

 

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