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Reviews

Rafahlia

I first joined Irish Pole Dance Academy 2 years ago. I used to take pole dancing classes for almost a year back home in Greece, but when I came to Ireland my plan was to stay only for 3 months, so of course in my head it wasn’t even worth the hassle to search for a studio here in Dublin. A year and something after, I realised that I was still in Dublin and I never searched for a studio. I asked myself: “Why did you lose so much time?”, but still probably the idea of calling a studio to find out more was just transferring from one post-it to another in the weeks after that. I was also not feeling comfortable with the idea of calling and was also wondering: “Will I be able to understand the person on the other side of the line? (the Irish accent has been haunting me the last 3.5 years of my life of course)” or “Will the person on the other end of the line understand me?”.
So at some point, probably sick of my own procrastination, I spoke with a friend that was visiting at the time and after a chat I told her, look I want to start classes and call a studio but I don’t know this, I don’t know that… bla bla bla, and she told me yeah sure make a call, why not, do it. And after a few days I called. And boom boom boom, my heart was beating fast. But I was able to understand the other person and I remember how helpful and kind she was.
IPDA was the first suggestion when I was looking up for classes on the internet. I was like “Oh my god, the pictures seem so professional, the girls are wearing heels, fuck I am gonna be the most awkward creature in there!”. But I started slowly, and indeed on the first day I was feeling super awkward. I had chosen the wrong pair of shorts to wear for the workout that included leg openings and I was like “Yes, thank you me for being like Bridget Jones one more time in your life!”. But I kept going. I knew I would regret it if I stopped and quit this commitment and also from the attempt to do something better for my body, so I kept going.
Did I ever regret it? Yes, sure… I am joking. Not even a single time. Sure there have been days with rain, days with wind, days with cold, days with these altogether, where I was feeling exhausted even riding my loyal bike to the studio, soaked and sweating at the same time while thinking “WTF I am exhausted already, how am I going to make it through the class today”, but every time that there were moments of laughter in the studio during the class I was feeling grateful for taking the decision to not miss the class.
My background of exercising was like a typical 4-seasonal Irish day: a bit of everything and not one thing focused or for a long period of time. Pretty strong legs, pretty crappy arms; so yes I gave a chance to these arms to finally develop in an adult way and maybe, maybe there is the possibility to seem a bit older in the future than a 17 year old girl. And it is happening, still happening, as the improvement never stops and yoohoo I am doing things I was only dreaming before! And probably now I seem like a 20 year old girl, still not acting my age, but it’s something.
If you want me to tell you what pole dancing is for me, I don’t know. What you learn is not only good for what it is, but also for where you learn it and who you learn it with. Would I still be inspired to continue if I wasn’t a member of IPDA? I don’t know. But thankfully, I am a member of IPDA and yes I am inspired to continue, even if that means spending money all the time to buy pole clothes that I am not wearing cause I don’t want to ruin them, makes sense. I want to be able to dance as I dance in my imagination. And I will try towards that. Cause in IPDA, I not only felt comfortable among others, I genuinely felt the desire to applaud others; I wasn’t feeling jealous of other girls. The inclusiveness I felt was amazing. It doesn’t matter if I am Greek, it doesn’t matter if I think my legs are proportionally way bigger than my arms, in IPDA there are people that are happy to see me and I am happy to see them.
From IPDA I received suddenly on a Sunday evening – which was the peak of an emotional downfall – a surprise email saying that I have been chosen as the member of the month. Just go, now you that are reading my text, just start, somehow. We are all clumsy in the beginning of every new thing. I don’t think there can be a non-clumsy way, so if you think about it you are even very “normal” for being clumsy. And trust me in that at IPDA you will not be faced with women who pretend to know it all, that feel superior in their super-hot, fit bodies, in IPDA you will find people like you. People who were scared and feeling exposed as well. So, they understand and they will approach you, don’t be afraid. Thank you to everyone in IPDA, my life in Dublin wouldn’t be the same without you!

Rebecca

I remember so vividly the first time pole-dancing came across my radar. There was a clip doing the rounds on Facebook when I was about 17 of Anastasia Sokolova dancing to the Marilyn Manson cover of ‘Tainted Love’ on ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’. I was completely shook by it, and ever since I had wanted to try pole dancing.
Over the years I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head, and I knew that I’d regret having never tried it! I loved watching dancers, and the idea of coming up with my own choreography. Music is the main passion that underpins everything artistic I do, and dancing seemed like the perfect way to honour the music that I love most. It sounds weird to say this, but I always knew I wanted to perform growing up – over the years I had tried Irish dancing, drama, I sang, played violin, tried to learn guitar and had been in a couple of really shit, angsty bands. But I never found anything that truly felt like me. I wanted so badly to find a way to make my passion for music physical – to find a way to honour the thing that inspired me most in the world. And once I had seen clips of pole dancers performing, I think deep down I knew that that was the way I wanted to do it.
When I started doing pole dancing classes, I realised immediately just how much it was building my confidence. So once I finished my ‘Introduction to Pole Dance’ course I felt like I was finally home, and I knew that this was something I needed to keep in my life.
Before I started, I really didn’t think I was strong enough, or had enough co-ordination! I always made up excuses as to why I wasn’t the “right person” to do it. I didn’t really have any background in dance or sports. Growing up, it was actually a running joke in my family how awkward, stiff and uncoordinated I was!
For years and years I also hated my body and felt really unfeminine. I was so skinny in college that I could feel my bones pressing into the chairs when I sat down. Then I finished college, got an office job and gained a stone in about a year, which completely tanked my self-image in the opposite direction. Then the excuses turned to “I’ll start pole when I’m thinner / fitter”. No matter if I felt I was tiny or huge, I always found some excuse to make as to why I felt like I wasn’t worthy of participating. But over time I realised that no matter where I was in life, there was going to be an excuse of some sort, and that I had to just try to push past it. I was really in a place where I didn’t have anything to lose by trying!
Before pole, I had taken a Burlesque-fitness style class once a week for a couple of months on a whim while in college, and it really helped me build confidence in myself and my ability as a dancer. Even if I couldn’t do any tricks, I learned how effective a well-timed hair flick was! By the time I decided to take pole dancing classes, I had been trying out various different Burlesque classes on and off. I wasn’t doing anything regularly, but I noticed that having dancing in my life made me feel a bit more confident and complete.
My view of myself has changed so much since I started. Every second I spend pushing myself in class, preparing for a showcase, or even just making silly dance videos in my apartment late at night feels like a massive “fuck you” to my ongoing body image struggles.
But it goes beyond that. I was so awkward and shy growing up, and then being diagnosed with severe depression in college made me feel like I couldn’t relate to anyone. I felt like a broken person. I didn’t know how to make friends. I went through a really rough time over the course of 2 years, where everything bad that could’ve happened pretty much did. For months upon years, all I wanted to do was lie down and shut myself off from the world. I burned myself out artistically in college and lost faith in my ability to create and connect completely. I didn’t know how to turn my brain off! And now I just couldn’t be prouder of myself for finding my passion and sticking to something, even if I suck at it sometimes! Doing pole has given me so much perspective on personal growth and learning how to be kinder to myself. Doing my first showcase performance at IPDA after only 3 months of pole dancing made me realise that great things can happen if I have faith in myself and commit to pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I’ve only been pole dancing since July 2019, and I already can’t imagine my life without it. It’s the part of me I never knew was missing before, and I want nothing more than to keep creating, participating in the amazing community, and performing. I like signing up to do showcases, because they give me something to work towards, and building performance skills is really important to me! The energy and excitement is infectious! I’m really looking forward to when everyone can get back together again.
There’s so much I love about IPDA. The community is amazing, and I have never felt so supported or validated in my life – by the instructors and the other students alike! I was never one to stick around after my other dance classes or speak up at all – I always felt so shy and I would run straight out the door afterwards. But making friends at IPDA and really feeling like a part of it all was just so effortless. Everyone is so encouraging, everyone cheers each other on and shares in each others’ successes. I would always have issues before with insecurity and comparing myself to other women, and that’s completely come undone here. Everyone moves at their own pace, and it’s amazing to see everyone develop their own styles and unique flairs when it comes to their dancing.
I feel like I have genuinely made some friends for life here, and I’m so grateful for that. Plus, it definitely helped hearing the likes of Interpol and Glass Animals on the speakers warming up on the first day!
I ended up coming across IPDA online at the end of 2018, and after much deliberation I signed up for Arlene’s ‘Introduction to Burlesque’ classes. They really helped to empower me further and start building my own choreo from day one, which I was SO excited about. This confidence ended up eventually being what spurred me on to finally try pole dancing too. I already knew the environment was really supportive, so that helped me to make the jump so much.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by trying! And if you like it, you’ll end up kicking yourself for making excuses and not starting sooner! I know I did.

Marita

I started pole dancing, because like many of us, other forms of exercise would come in and out of my life and nothing would stick. I joined in July 2019, and know I have found much more than just a way to get fit.
I was always in and out of different hobbies, but other than the one term of ballet when I was 4, I had zero dance background. Unless you want to include those drunken nights out on the dancefloors in town! So pole dance was quite far out of my comfort zone, particularly as I’ve struggled with my body image for years!
In my second class I cried looking at myself in the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw. Since then I’ve realised it’s not about what you see, it’s how you feel and how the people, instructors and environment at IPDA empowers you, and encourages you to believe your worth. It’s a very unique community at IPDA, one that makes you feel at home and at ease, with zero pressure to nail a move, but a cheer when you get close to encourage you to keep trying. I have also realised that although everyone around me can spur me on, I really have to put the hard work in, and usually i just run myself into the ground with work, but pole dancing is just for me so working at it makes it so much sweeter.
I would love to perform in a showcase at IPDA, and currently that’s my goal, to come up with a routine and feel confident in performing it. The people at the studio who are more advanced than myself really make me strive to keep going and get better seeing how far they have come.
To anyone who is thinking of joining, I could not recommend IPDA enough. It’s changed my perspective on my body, it has been good for my anxiety to get out and try something new, and I’m now part of a very special community that encourages women and men to be who they are and express themselves in their own style. IPDA gives you the stepping stones to be amazing at pole, even with no background in dance. I can say without hesitation I have never felt better or more confident in my own skin.

Sinead

One of my friends took up pole dancing about a year before me and the changes I saw, not just in her body, but in her self-confidence and mood, really impressed me. Then I saw a show where a pole dancer performed and I was blown away by her strength, athleticism and beauty so it sealed the deal on trying pole. My perspective on what pole dancing was really changed. I always thought it was cool and sexy but didn’t realize how athletic and awesome it was also until then.
I needed a bit of a self-confidence boost at the time as I was going through a horrible situation at work that I was bringing home so I thought pole might help having seen the difference in my friend. The other thing was although I’d run marathons, I’d never been strong. No matter how many gym programs or body pump classes I went too, I never seemed to gain upper body strength or really tone up so seeing how strong pole dancers were made me think it was worth trying.
I have two left feet and no coordination when it comes to dancing so I was worried I’d look ridiculous in a dance class. I also joined just before my 36th birthday and was worried I’d be older than everyone else beginning pole dancing and would everyone think I was trying to hard to be young and cool. I got over myself on both counts quick enough.
Before I joined, I had zero dance experience. I had run marathons up until a few years ago and had gone to different gyms on and off over the years but hadn’t really exercised on a regular basis in about two years before taking up pole.
I’ve definitely experienced the same confidence boost I’ve seen in my friend. It’s really cool to be able to take up something in your mid-thirties and see improvement and growth each week. I’m really happy with my body in a way I haven’t been before. It’s able to do things I wouldn’t have thought possible. I’m so much stronger and more flexible than a year ago. I definitely feel sexier and comfortable with my body from that perspective too.
Eventually I’ll get my full splits and I’ve promised myself that I’m going to have an awesome pole routine lined up for my 40th birthday!
learn pole dancing in dublinMy favourite thing is that Irish Pole Dance Academy is super friendly; everyone encourages and cheers for each other. There’s no body judgement so it’s a really safe, welcoming environment. Everyone can progress at their own pace and concentrate on the areas of pole they enjoy without any pressure.
I googled for pole dance studios near my office and loved that there was a four week course for complete beginners at Irish Pole Dance Academy so I wouldn’t be launched into an intimidating class of people spinning upside down.
To anyone thinking of learning how to pole dance, it’s so much fun and not at all intimidating. No one cares what you look like in tiny shorts but everyone will cheer you on the first time you manage a chair spin.

Chiara

I’m an illustrator and I spend 90% of my time sitting at a desk in front of a screen.
When I decided to try pole I was looking for a physical activity that wasn’t the gym, but I didn’t think I could have found something like pole dancing.
I knew about pole dancing but I’ve never seen it as something that could have fit me but I really like wanted to be a better version of myself, physically, emotionally and mentally so I decided to give it a try.
I did a lot of sports when I was younger like swimming, volleyball, dancing… But I didn’t continue with any of them as an adult age.
Most of my time is focused on working and drawing, even if I love my job, Pole dance is the only and true space for myself.
When I started pole dancing at IPDA I wasn’t exercising since two years, I was really rusty when I did my first lesson and I remember well that I wasn’t able to climb the pole, even few inches from the floor.
At first I thought it wasn’t for me but I enjoyed that lesson so much that I didn’t want to give up; I wanted to be good at it and I’m glad for the decision I made more than a year ago.
I feel a lot stronger and I’m more confident, not only in my body but in my possibilities as well.
The way I see my body is different, I don’t judge myself as hard as I was doing before and I’m really happy to see the improvement in the other awesome members of IPDA.
I’m motivated to improve in pole dancing, in performing as well, in wearing heels and express my sexuality in this awesome sport pushing myself out of the comfort zone even more.
My goal now is to improve my strength and flexibility trying to believe more in my possibilities and not to compare too much myself with the others.
I love the IPDA environment made by great people, supportive and friendly which makes even the worst day a lot better. The teachers are great in helping you understand the moves in a lot of different ways. There is no competitiveness, everyone is genuinely happy for your results and so are you for theirs.
I’m glad I found out about IPDA when I was looking for a new way to exercise and learn something new; I recommend everyone to try pole dancing, it’s not just a physical activity, it is a balm for the mind.
Don’t be scared thinking you are not fit enough, sexy enough or things like that, pole is for empowering people and give them a new way of expression no matter your size or gender.
Take your time to learn, don’t judge yourself and be kind if you can’t get that move right away, it takes time. A great part of pole dancing is the journey.

Larissa

Last year I decided that I needed to look after myself more than I was actually doing. Between medical and dentist appointments that we all always postpone, I had written down on my to-do list that I wanted to take up more physical activity. I thought about going to the gym or taking swimming classes but none of those really sounded interesting to me. I always wanted to try pole dancing but in my head it seemed that classes were really hard to find or it was something that I could never do but then I saw a flyer of a local studio close to my work place and I signed up for a pole fitness term.
My first class was just a disaster. I was very very very unfit, had bruises all over my knees and legs and I couldn’t hold myself on the pole at all. On the following day I wasn’t able to move or even lift my arms but after all I really enjoyed the class and had fun. I like trying and giving my best in everything I do in life, so I decided to keep it up as giving up on the first try didn’t sound fair to me. I’m very determined and sometimes stubborn so I think that mainly the thought of not getting something right and not reaching the original goal of looking after myself was important to me.
Looking back I don’t think there was anything that initially held me back from joining classes, but after going to them for a few months I started to compare myself and my progress to all other girls or how weak, not-graceful or not-bendy I was. The way we were taught at that venue was that what we were doing was pole fitness and not pole dance, it was just exercising and we were not there to dance to sexy songs. This started to bother me and I thought about giving up as I was never really good at sports and maybe pole dancing wasn’t for me or wasn’t even a right thing to do.
I was never really good at sports as I mentioned before and don’t have a dance background. I’ve tried in and out going to the gym, swimming classes, running, but I never really liked the atmosphere, the competitiveness or the way it looked like everyone was judging everyone else’s bodies / skills.
Before I joined Irish Pole Dance Academy, I was going to a studio before but I wasn’t happy with it for a few reasons and I was not improving as I liked so I decided to look for another venue and give pole dance one more chance. When I googled about another pole dance studio the first result that came up was the Irish Pole Dance Academy. I loved the pictures and videos I saw on instagram and I thought I wanted to be able to dance like those amazing girls! Something on my mind was just telling me: that is the place that you need to go. I booked one class to get to know the studio and never looked back since.
I have noticed changes not only in my body but in my mind also. I feel stronger than ever, motivated and more self confident. I know that if I don’t get a move today I’ll get it another day because I trust in my body now and I’ve learnt to listen to it and to give it time to learn and recover. I also embraced my sensuality. Before joining the Irish Pole Dance Academy I could never imagine I’d be able to dance in heels or even that I’d want to as I never owned a pair of high heels in my life!
My goals are just to keep improving, getting stronger, going upside down more often and I can’t wait to see what crazy stuff I will get up to in the next while. I also would like to one day perform in one of the Irish Pole Dance Academy showcases, but for the moment I’m happy just helping around! I think I just want never give up poling!
The community and the members are my favourite thing about Irish Pole Dance Academy. I’ve met so many incredible people. The way that no one is judging you and they are all just genuinely happy for everyone else’s achievements. I love the way that all the instructors respect my limits, listen to my concerns and encourage me to try new things and go out of my comfort zone (thank you Arlene for telling me I was ready to move to a more advanced spinny pole class!). The way we are taught is that there is no right or wrong pole style, that there’s a safe environment to discover what you like or don’t like, what makes you feel sexy or not and no one is criticising you.
I’d say to anyone who wants to try pole dancing to just go for it and don’t give up at the first challenge! For myself on my first day I’d say give yourself time to learn and experiment, pole dance is for everyone, it is for you and YOU WILL eventually get that move.

Jess

Hi everyone, I am Jess and I love pole dancing. I am a 36 year old Australian / Canadian / Swiss, and I work as a Technical Recruiter. I have been pole dancing for a year and 4 months and I actually cannot picture my life without it now!
A few years ago when I was living in Australia a friend of mine invited me to see her perform at a pole dance showcase and I was mesmerized. The strength and beauty of the performances were captivating. I thought ‘never in 1 million years could I do that – I can’t even do a pull-up!’. My friend convinced me to try an introductory course (like the ‘Introduction to Pole Dance’ course at IPDA) and it was so fucking hard and I was terrible at it (I hate not being good at something)! Shortly after that intro course, I finally managed to get out of an awful relationship and I moved to England. I didn’t consider pole dancing again until I moved to Dublin a year and a half ago. Conveniently (or was it fate?) I moved into an apartment very close to IPDA so I gave it another go and I was still terrible at it.
Pole dancing is important to me for a few different reasons. I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Dublin and it’s been really nice to join this lovely eclectic community of people outside of work. There were times in the beginning when I first moved here where I felt so homesick and coming to pole and seeing little progressions and celebrating those with the IPDA members really helped. It’s given me strength – I can do a pull up now! It’s given me confidence both in the strength in my body and mentally (I’m better at giving presentations at work for example – I don’t know why but I feel it’s connected). It’s joyful! Dancing, feeling sexy and learning new tricks brings joy!
Coming back to pole dance after the break and discovering how difficult it is and how bad I was at it was really hard. I nearly didn’t continue! there are a lot of reasons why I thought pole dancing was not for me. I wasn’t strong enough, I felt stiff, awkward and self-conscious. Doing a body-roll and simple spins confused me, which made me feel stupid especially when it seemed like it was so natural for the others.
The amazingly patient instructors and incredibly supportive students are the reason why I continued and I am SO glad I did! Once I embraced the fact that it was ok not to be good at a new trick (or body-roll) right away and to enjoy my body and sexuality instead of feeling self conscious about it, I was free!
I’ve always done yoga and dabbled with the gym but I was still very weak when I started pole dancing. Now I feel so much stronger and I really notice it when I’m doing things like carrying groceries or lifting my suitcase into the overhead storage on a plane. I feel more confident in my body and I even like my jiggly bits now.
My pole goals are to continue to build on what I know and to go upside down more and do trick combos. I will be performing at the showcase in November and I am really nervous about it but its great to have that goal to work towards.
My favourite thing about my IPDA experience is the lovely community of students and teachers. It is such a supportive friendly atmosphere which makes classes so enjoyable. Sometimes after a stressful day at work coming to pole and forgetting everything else is just the best feeling. I also like the feeling that I have about taking control and ownership of my female sexuality. My mum tells me that she doesn’t like the objectification of it but I feel like there is power in embracing it.
To anyone thinking about joining, you don’t have to be good at pole dancing to enjoy it! Pole dancing is the second hardest thing that I have done in my life but it just makes every achievement no matter how small a cause for celebration. It is rewarding and empowering to build strength and flexibility.

Renee

My pole journey started a year ago when my long-term relationship broke down and I was looking for something fun and new to get me out of the house. I never saw the appeal of going to a gym, but I’ve always loved dancing so after Googling ‘Dance Classes Dublin’, IPDA was the first result that came up! I’d never considered doing a pole class before but reading other member spotlights (like the one I’m writing right now), piqued my interest so I signed up for the ‘Introduction to Pole Dance’ course. I was also comforted by the fact that there was no experience required as I wasn’t previously exercising.
After the first class, I realised just how much skill goes into pole and was in awe of the instructors at IPDA! Even though I couldn’t manage the spin we were taught in the first class, the Fireman Spin, I fell in love with pole! I can now even say that it’s the easiest move to do (ta-dahh progress!).
Many years ago, I worked in a promotional company where we travelled around Ireland performing and teaching Line-Dancing. I look back on those days as some of the best times of my life and am happy to say I get that same joy from pole dancing now. Even when I’m having a bad day and I’m tired – I make the effort to go to class because I know I can’t help but feel better after! I have a pole at home too and my sons love it and want to learn also!
The teachers at the studio are all so supportive but so are the other members! My favourite thing about my experience at IPDA is the camaraderie between all the members, there is no showing off or competitiveness and when somebody finally gets a move they were struggling with, the whole class cheers for them and genuinely means it!
I stuck with pole because it was fun but after months of doing it the physical results are clear, I feel stronger and more energised and my body looks more toned. I’ve also become more confident in my body, but this confidence has also spread to all aspects of my life! Now I’m pole obsessed and just want to continue to improve. My goal is to one day perform in the showcases at IPDA alongside the other amazing polers!
The only regret I have is that I didn’t discover pole sooner (I could’ve had a career in it by now!) so my advice for anyone on the fence of joining is: don’t hesitate and just give it a go!