Life­style Change How We Fi­nally Be­came Pole Dancers

Sis­ters Maria Ward and Michelle nalus be­came stronger, more con­fi­dent moth­ers through pole danc­ing.

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - News -

Maria Ward, 36, was a swim­ming team cap­tain back in her col­lege days. But af­ter she had chil­dren, ex­er­cis­ing took a back­seat. “As a mother, you don’t have a lot of time for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties,” she says. “But now my kids are quite big na—my son Mo­han is 11, and my daugh­ter Gita is 7. They’re not at home the whole day, and my hus­band Pete is also busy at work, so I’m left in the house. It made me a lit­tle bit in­se­cure. I felt like I needed av­enues of ful­fill­ment.”

Maria tried dif­fer­ent classes at the gym be­fore she found her ideal work­out in 2016: pole danc­ing at Pole­cats Manila. “I al­ready in­quired four years ago, but I never took the chance to go be­cause I was busy with the kids,” she re­calls. “Fi­nally, I at­tended the ‘Moms and More’ class, but I was late so I just ob­served. Most of the women in the class were in their for­ties and fiftiess. I was blown away! It made me re­al­ize that you could be strong at any age.”

Over­com­ing in­se­cu­ri­ties

When Maria tried pole danc­ing for the first time, her class­mates were very sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing. “Ev­ery­one was cheer­ing,” she says. “I thought I was do­ing a dif­fi­cult trick al­ready but it was noth­ing com­pared to what they were do­ing. I felt awe­some. It’s like for the first time, I achieved some­thing for my­self—and that’s what made me come back. There’s al­ways progress. It’s about be­ing strong and grace­ful at the same time, which is very em­pow­er­ing for a wo­man who’s un­der­gone a lot of is­sues in the past.”

Maria ad­mits that she has al­ways had a lot of in­se­cu­ri­ties, es­pe­cially be­cause of her tur­bu­lent ex­pe­ri­ences in pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships. “There was a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity in­side of me, and I think pole re­ally helped

me get through those is­sues,” she shares. “Fi­nally, this is some­thing that is my own. I feel strong, and I feel girly at the same time. I feel that I have some­thing to be proud of.”

Aside from mak­ing her phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally stronger, pole danc­ing has helped Maria be­come more pos­i­tive as well. “I used to be on edge all the time. I’d get up­set very eas­ily. Now I have su­per happy hor­mones,” she says. “I think it’s re­ally brought so much pos­i­tiv­ity and hap­pi­ness at home, too, es­pe­cially with my re­la­tion­ship with my hus­band.”

Shar­ing the good Vibes

Michelle Nalus, 28, saw the pos­i­tive change in her sis­ter Maria, but never thought she her­self would get into pole danc­ing. “Ac­tu­ally, I never re­ally liked pole. I thought I was the type of per­son who would never, ever do pole in my life,” she shares. “It’s so stiff for me, and I’m such a chill per­son.”

She did, how­ever, want to learn how to dance. And since Pole­cats Manila of­fered dance classes, Maria bought her younger sis­ter a twoweek un­lim­ited pass for be­gin­ners, which gave Michelle ac­cess to all the classes. “I only wanted to try one dance class,” Michelle says. “But when you’re a mom, you be­come more wise and more fru­gal. Sabi ko, ‘Sayang na­man if I don’t use it.’ So I started go­ing to classes with Maria.”

Af­ter her first pole class, Michelle found bruises on her arms and legs. “It was so hard for me kaya parang me­dyo may love-hate re­la­tion­ship ako with pole in the be­gin­ning. Parang ang hi­rap-hi­rap niya and me­dyo masakit sa legs,” she shares. “Pero I su­per loved the vibe nung stu­dio and the peo­ple. Like the teach­ers and the class­mates, they were so pos­i­tive, and so­brang ganda ng en­ergy. That’s what re­ally made me en­roll again.”

An­other perk of tak­ing pole? Moms can bring their kids to class. “Un­like at a gym, it’s safe here,” says Michelle. “Kids can play at the back of the stu­dio. When I bring my son, I just bring his fa­vorite toys and foods para mal­ibang siya.”

Feel­ing Strong & Sexy

Michelle ad­mits that be­fore her son Carter, now two, was born, she was very con­scious about main­tain­ing her fig­ure. “I re­ally wanted to be su­per sexy lagi. Konting diet and planks lang sa ba­hay, okay na yung katawan ko,” she says. “But when I be­came a mom, nabawasan ta­laga yung con­fi­dence ko. Af­ter preg­nancy, I got so in­se­cure about my tummy. Kasi it’s loose skin na, tapos may stretch marks na. Pero here in Pole­cats, I see girls take off their shirts and wear sports bras and pole shorts, even when they have tum­mies. Okay lang pala to show it and still be su­per con­fi­dent.”

Pole danc­ing also gave her a sense of ful­fill­ment. “Be­fore pole, in­isip ko, ‘Wala na ba akong ibang gi­nawa kundi mag­ing nanay? Wala na ba akong ibang ac­tiv­i­ties kundi my son and the busi­ness? My boyfriend and I would even ar­gue be­cause he’s so into fit­ness, and I don’t even go to the gym—un­til I found Pole­cats. He’s very sup­port­ive and happy about it!”

Michelle also loves how pole danc­ing made her phys­i­cally stronger. “NA-CS [ce­sarean sec­tion] ako so ang hina-hina ng core ko. But now my core is stronger than ever,” she says. “When you’re a mom, you re­ally need to be strong. You need to have en­ergy and en­durance. Lalo na ngayon, my son is two years old. Kailan­gang habul-hab­u­lin yung bata. It has helped kasi hindi ako ma­bilis ma­pagod.”

be­com­ing Stel­lar

In a con­ser­va­tive coun­try like the Philip­pines, the term “pole danc­ing” still has a neg­a­tive stigma at­tached to it. But Maria is quick to tell us oth­er­wise. “I’ve learned through my classes that it’s not the pole danc­ing that we see in clubs,” she ex­plains. “What we do is very phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing. I’ve watched and I’ve met pole artists, and you would re­ally be amazed at how they’ve made pole into an art.”

At last year’s an­nual stu­dent recital en­ti­tled Stel­lar: Iconic, Maria per­formed to­gether with an­other mom in her class. “I was su­per ner­vous on the day of the recital. I told my­self I’m never do­ing this again,” she says. “But af­ter you do it, wow. You feel awe­some. And you feel amaz­ing and you ac­tu­ally feel stel­lar. You’d want to do it again and again and again. ”

Maria’s per­for­mance im­pressed her fam­ily too. “My cos­tume had a cape, so when I showed the video to my daugh­ter she was like, ‘Wow, Mom, you can fly. You’re a su­per­hero!’”

This year, Michelle plans to join the recital, to­gether with her sis­ter. She says, “I watched Maria at the last recital for moral sup­port. I was so proud of her, and af­ter ev­ery­thing she’s been through, I was so happy that she found pole.”

Sis­ters Maria (left) and Michelle (right) at­tend pole classes to­gether. This in­ver­sion trick is not as hard as it looks— you can ac­tu­ally learn dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions in the Be­gin­ner 1 class!

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