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Pole Exercise – Interview with Karen Dawkins

28 October 2014no comments Interviews/Testimonies

Karen 2Tell us about your fitness journey

In 1998 I was one of a few instructors who opened the doors of the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, teaching basic and intermediate hand dance classes.  After a few years, I obtained a certification in group fitness training, teaching hi-low aerobics, step, abs and weight training classes.

During the past 15 years, I’ve taught a multitude of group fitness formats including: Body Pump, Aqua/Senior/Kid Zumba, Pilates, Kick Boxing, and Pole Fitness Classes.  I am currently a holistic certified Personal Trainer and a Nutrition Counselor.

What is pole exercising and how did it get started?

Pole dancing can be traced over 2,000 years ago when dances were performed as an Indian sport called Mallakhamb and Chinese Pole.  It also became popular in traveling circuses and more recently at “Gentleman’s Clubs”.

Mallakhamb, and Chinese Pole, are predominantly a male sports, and they are quite different from the western pole dancing.  The men hop from pole to pole, climb, spin and perform many gravity defying tricks.  Some Chinese poles are approximately 20 feet high.

Western Pole dancing originated in the 1920’s at the height of the American depression.  With the traveling circuses, there would be  a main event and many small sideshow tents surrounding the main tent.  In one of the small tents, girls would slide up and down, holding their positions on the poles in front of crowds of cheering men.  These were called “hoochie coochie” dances. This entertainment gained quite a bit of popularity.

Pole dancing today provides a display of acrobatics and strength, combined with a combination of sensual, flowing, feminine dance movements to form the art of pole dancing we now know and recognize.  It can also still be purely athletic, and a student can definitely benefit, both mind and body.

How challenging is it for the “mature women”? (over 45) 

It may be a challenging initially.  Once you make up your mind, it’s not as difficult as you thought it would be.  Being a mature woman myself, I know what mental blocks and barriers we must get pass in order to become a successful pole artist.  I meet women at their current fitness level. You begin at a slow and easy pace and increase the moves and intensity as you gain strength and confidence.

Does it require a lot of upper or lower body strength?

Yes, and pole fitness will increase total body strength.

Have you trained men in pole fitness?

No, however,  I have read that men participate in pole classes worldwide.

People find poling a sensual exercise for the bedroom.  What do you think?

When some people hear “Pole Exercise,” the sexy side is the first thought that comes to their minds.  Owning a personal pole in the bedroom of your home lends a woman the opportunity to express her sensual side to her husband or mate whenever she chooses.  It offers a unique alternative to bond with him and keep the relationship interesting and fun.

The Pole is a non-traditional workout and for that reason, many women adore it.   I personally use the Pole as an object to create strength and for toning muscles in my arms, legs and core.   I have two Poles in my personal studio to train my clients.  That’s one of their favorite tools for developing their biceps, triceps, abs, quads, calves and pretty much the total body.    I train women to get that total body strength so that if they prefer, they are able to move on to learn the other side of Pole… the sensual side.

After learning the techniques, should they continue to take classes?  Is there more to it than meets the eye?

OMG yes!  Women enter into community, state, national and worldwide pole competitions.  The American Pole Fitness Association is working towards getting Pole Fitness added into the Olympics.  Also, one can learn to become an instructor at various levels of the sport.

What is your favorite exercise?

I love to climb and invert.  You climb the pole and end up where the feet are above the head.  Inverting means being upside down on the pole.  Also pole head stands are nice.

Is there anything you’d rather do than fitness classes?

I love teaching CPR and First Aid classes for healthcare providers, corporations, the government and communities.  I enjoy spending time with my granddaughter, family and friends and love to eat good wholesome and nourishing foods.  (smiles)

What words of wisdom can you give our readers about fitness?

It’s simple…Find something that you LOVE and JUST DO IT!

Thanks Karen for introducing us to this form of exercise that seemed to had been just for a special class of women!

For additional information contact Karen Dawkins at 292-345-6721.  Currently providing personal training athletic Pole Fit classes, lessons for how to climb the pole and pole tricks. 






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