It’s been two days since my first pole dance class and my upper body is so sore, I’m surprised I can actually type this. Triceps, lats, delts, pecs, abs… all those body parts The Rock so magnificently displays on his sweaty-awesome Instagram are whimpering at me to stop breathing because it hurts.
Pole dancing is a thing in France. It’s part of the French Federation of Dance and there are about 170 pole dance schools in the country. I got interested because I saw the before and after photos of a pole-dancing mom on Facebook and wow… I’m a sucker for post-baby body transformations.
Google led me to Claire Francisci and her Pole Spirit Paris school, which she opened in May 2014. Claire is a classically trained dancer and teacher, a former Crazy Horse soloist, and has placed third in the French Pole Dance Competition. She’s also a mom of triplets. But the main reason I wanted to interview her was her abs.
Dear god, her abs.
Asians were notably absent the day abs were being handed out, but I still believe a six-pack miracle can one day happen with little-to-no effort on my part. Kind of like Mary getting knocked up by the Holy Spirit and remaining a virgin. I figured sheer proximity to Claire’s stomach would shame my abs into showing up a little. (Spoiler: They didn’t.)
Claire is a powerhouse, as muscular in her own way as Dwayne Johnson, and not one to waste words. Woman’s got a business to run!
Having triplets and running my own business means being very fast and organized. I do the school drop-offs and pickups in between teaching classes throughout the day and night, plus all the administrative work of Pole Spirit Paris. Scheduling my day down to the minute is how I take control of my life, but even before becoming a mother, I was always very organized. I think having children makes you more worried, but what I find difficult these days is getting three 10-year-olds to do their homework!
On pole dancing’s sexy rep
There’s nothing sexy in my studio or on my site. The pole dance I teach is no sexier than the gym. What I do is a sport. There are other schools that do the high heels and boa thing, but I’m interested in the athleticism. My husband is not asking me for sexy, private dances at home.
Who can pole dance?
Honestly, anyone. My 10-year-old daughter does it and I want to start a class for kids once there’s enough interest. I also have 50-year-olds who come to class. You don’t have to be flexible or strong, you don’t have to be a gym bunny. Because there’s a fun, artistic side to pole dance, most of the time you don’t even feel like you’re exercising. But it is a workout. The first time I tried it, I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards.
And what about those abs?
Even as a professional dancer, I never had abs like this. My body completely changed with pole dancing. For all the moms out there, if you want to get back into shape, do pole dancing.
Claire’s studio is beautiful and she makes sure there’s one pole per two people — plenty of opportunity to try the moves, which are a lot of fun. What’s not to like about spinning around a pole? She’s serious about not bringing the sexy. No twerking, no gyrating. Even though it didn’t seem like a tough workout, my arms and upper abs are still feeling it days later. I’m thinking this is the most direct route to getting rid of my batwings and bra overhang. (Did I mention the abs?)
Pole Spirit Paris
38 rue Lauriston
Cost: First class, €20
Feature image by Sylvie Benoit. Other images by Les Lolos.