Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pole Dance Lessons in Tokyo

To be completely honest I just don't do sexy. My underwear never matches, I quite enjoy slobbing around at home in my pajamas scratching my butt and high heels give me shivers. So the pole dance craze never really had appeal to me.

Sure I had watched plenty of pole dance lessons on youtube, read countless blog entries about it's benefits and liberating power but the thought of shimmying up and down a pole with plastic stilettos on kind of just made me cringe.

That all changed when fellow hooper and athlete Erin gave me the full report after taking a pole dance class here in Tokyo at Art Flow. She assured me there was no sign of plastic stilettos, no cheesy strip music and no talk of doing this as an act of love for your partner.

I had read about pole dance instructor and performer Lu Nagata, and watched an interview with her on Spinshell TV a while back. Her strong features and independent style were definitely a draw card. So I was up for the challenge and joined Erin at one of Lu's classes today.

After running through the pouring rain to make it just in time for the class I was greeted by a very welcoming, gorgeously open and clean studio. The Art Flow studio is set up specifically for pole dance lessons, although they also offer pilates and other dance classes, so it is an interesting atmosphere. Super stylish yet warm and comforting.

I was looking forward to a strong work out as well as gaining some inspiration for my own hoop dance classes. Lu began the class with a strong and dynamic stretching session demonstrating her superior flexibility from years of dance experience and study.

The basic class with Lu was a 70 minute class in which she gradually demonstrated and guided us from a basic walk and pivot to an elevated spiral down to the floor with a sultry yet powerful dance routine back up from the floor to standing. At no point did I feel the need to start stripping my clothes off or pressing my chest up against anything, the moves and instruction were strong, graceful and artistic. Best of all they were a work out from head to toe. Try standing and walking on your tip toes for an hour - hello calves. Try swinging round and round a pole supporting your whole body weight with arms stretched above your head - hello all upper body muscles.

A trial lesson is only 2500 yen and gives a strong introduction into the kind of workout your body is in for should you chose pole dancing as your new favorite past time. My only wish is that the class was longer, I wanted more, I always want more. Although my back muscles will probably be thanking me tomorrow that it ended when it did.

Pole Dance Classes at Art Flow

70 minutes (of which 10 minutes will be self practice time)
Member ¥4,200, Non-Member ¥5,250, Trial Class ¥2,500
Open to women only

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow... pole dancing in japan very interesting ... love ur blogs :)

13/5/08 6:51 PM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Thank you so much! Yep Tokyo is full of interesting surprises!

23/5/08 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi! i take lessons at art flow too! i love lu and the rest of the teachers. i've been doing pole dance since last year in manila, and i find lu's style very distinct. i'm learning a lot! glad you're enjoying it there.

5/8/08 4:25 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

hi! i take lessons at art flow too. glad you're enjoying it there! lu and the other teachers are terrific - very warm and supportive :)

5/8/08 4:26 PM  

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