By Robert Wheatley – Head of Editorial
When we think of pole dancing we’re typically bombarded with sexualised imagery of people performing in clubs, and while this is totally OK it’s the complete opposite of what the Herts Pole & Aerial Society is all about.
Pole and aerial dancing are, in fact, incredible workouts for one’s body; not just for your core, but for cardio, for losing weight and for strengthening your back. Pole and aerial hoops also do wonders for body confidence and stress, which is something this year’s chair, James Trodd, spoke to me about experiencing.
I sat down with James to ask him about the Herts Pole & Aerial Society is all about, what brand new additions it’s offering like hoops, as well as the committee’s dedication to making students feel safe and comfortable during their sessions.
What society do you chair, and what’s your society all about?
I’m James Trodd, and I am the chair of the Herts Pole & Aerial Society, and we try and get regular pole and hoop sessions every week or two weeks — it’s gonna be awesome this year!
There’s a massive stigma about pole being slutty, but we’re focusing on building up muscle and confidence within people. We start off quite basic, and then we increase things so you’re going upside-down; just focusing on core muscles and shoulder muscles to achieve a positive image for people to show them they can do amazing things.
I actually joined because I couldn’t do football and really damaged my knee, and I wanted to do something different because I wasn’t feeling great… I was struggling to walk at times, and I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do something I never thought possible, and pole made it happen. I wanted to become chair, as they gave so much to me, and I wanted to give something back.
How much is it to join?
Membership is £10, and £3.50 per pole session. We don’t yet know the price for hoops, but every week we’ll have a pole session and every two weeks we’ll hold a hoops session too. We’ll be hiring one of the University of Hertfordshire’s minibuses, and we’ll be taking groups of people off-campus to Herts Dance and Fitness for the hoops sessions.
What events are held, and when are they held?
We have hoops, which is a different type of fitness that’s really pretty to look at and a great way to boost confidence. We want to have a social event either every two or three weeks where the committee and society will go out and do something. If you look on our page you can see pictures of us going to Bournemouth where we took two poles to the beach.
So we thought, why not do more of that this year?
It’s all very safe: we’ve even added extra precautions this year, and anything that requires a certain level of protection we’ve brought it in this year. Every precaution is there to ensure people can go in knowing they’re safe.
We had an event at Christmas with the Herts DJ Society and the Herts SU Ukelele Society where we each did a set in the Attic, and it was an awesome night. I remember doing a routine as a sexy Santa, and while it didn’t work it gave a few people a smile, and that’s all you need, really.
What’s going to be different this year, and what do you want to improve on from last year?
We’ve spoken to X-Pole, which is a big brand within the pole industry, about the best things we can do for the society to make it grow. So, we’ve brought in two hoops to train on, on the weekends, and we’ve also got crash-mats when they’re needed. Our instructor is brilliant, and she’s happy to help anyone.
We’ve made some documents to help the future of our society, and this will allow future committee members to build upon when the current committee is gone. I’ve made a health and safety document so I can assess as many risks as I can, so it can be as air-tight as possible.
Last year I competed in the regionals which aim to find the best university for pole [and came out first]. We did the South-East regionals, and the top two from these faced each other in Newcastle. We didn’t get through, but last year our other competition captain, Gina, [succeeded well, too] so that was incredible. Besides, you don’t always want to achieve your goal the first time; even if we didn’t win, we can look at the feedback we got so we can win next time.
What’s the best thing about your society?
It creates changes you don’t expect. I had very low confidence when I went into pole, and I used to struggle to take my top off in front of people. It was a big thing for me to even try it, but now get me into a room like that and I’m fine to do it. This tiny change made such a difference for me.
I’ve had messages from people telling me how much our society has helped them, and I think that’s something pole can offer everyone.
What can your society offer students, even if they might not think it’s for them?
The only thing I’d suggest is to give it a go, because if you throw yourself into the deep end regardless of whether it’s the Herts Pole & Aerial Society or another society you may find yourself doing something you’d never expected to do.
In Pole, for example, you can train your muscles which lets you do some really awesome things, and it can offer that for everyone; but there’s plenty of societies around that can help you improve your confidence too.
Want to learn more about the Herts Pole & Aerial Society? Why not check out their Facebook page, where you can follow their updates. Keep watching Trident Media’s own Facebook page, and our awesome website, too, for updates from us as well.