The lights were turned down low and the music was pulsing as Roselyn Jhune Manaog made her way toward a 16-foot tall dance pole to perform some tricks.
Manaog is not an exotic dancer in a strip club. She’s a 32-year-old Time Warner employee from Cypress, looking to get in a decent workout.
“It’s helping me build strength in my arms and my legs,” said Manaog. “I also started to get more confident and using my legs I’m comfortable now going upside down or holding on with my arms and pulling myself and it’s very helpful to me. It makes me stronger.”
On this night, Manaog is among other women of all shapes and sizes attending a level four class at Inversion Dance Studios, a Fullerton dance studio owned by Jenny Shih.
36-year-old health physicist for Los Angeles County and Inversion Dance Studios Instructor, Tanya Ridgle, believes pole dancing is a new and fun way to workout.
“If you’re looking for a new type of workout, if you’re tired of the gym or if you want something different and fun to do, I definitely recommend taking a pole dancing class,” said Ridgle. “You will be surprised at what you find.”
According to Ridgle, students typically start in level one at Inversion Dance Studios if they have not had any pole dancing experience.
“Level one is basically similar to a body awareness. We do a lot of spins in level one. We do a lot of different walks and floor work where you just get familiar and comfortable with touch your body,” Ridgle said.
A 26-year-old civil engineering major from UC Irvine, Linyin Cheng practices pole dancing as a way to gain muscle strength.
“I gain a lot of muscle strength especially in the arms. I really enjoy the spins and all the tricks I can do,” said Cheng.
Cheng enjoys the fun workout that pole dancing gives her that she even bought her own portable dance pole.
“I actually have a pole at home,” Cheng said. “But when I brought the pole to the apartment my roommate got really, really surprised I had a pole but after I showed her all those tricks she kind of worked out with me after.”
Cheng demonstrated a few moves during Ridgle’s level four session later in the evening.
She climbed to the top of a pole and, clenching her inner thighs, hung upside down.
According to Ridgle some of the benefits of pole dancing are definitely the physical strength.
“You do get stronger. Women often build upper body strength that they never thought they had,” Ridgle said.
There is also the mental benefit that comes with this type of sensual workout.
“You feel a lot more confident after taking the class. You start to feel like you have a sense of power and a sense of sensuality that most women walk around and they don’t feel like they have at all,” Ridgle added.
Some of the negative connotations that come with this type of workout is that they are practicing to be a stripper and not a wholesome type of women.
“Outside of the studio a lot of my friends ask me why I take pole dancing classes. A lot of them thought that I wanted to be a stripper but for the most part it’s actually a good workout from head to toe,” Manaog said.
“You use your strength to pull up your body and build confidence both inside the studio and outside. You get more comfortable with your body,” Manaog added.
Manaog encourages everyone to try pole dancing.