Dancing at the pole

By Ida Relsted (Shanghai Delta)
Updated: 2006-11-02 11:02

Empowering sexy strength

Some moves took Jacq three years to learn. She clarified that at her level of pole dancing she has had intense training in first aid, in case anything goes wrong, and personal training as a fitness instructor. She also does cardiovascular and weight training on a regular basis.

Her training in first aid has not yet been needed, but just as in any other sport, accidents do happen. She admits to strained and pulled muscles: "But I have never landed on my head," she exclaimed, "and be aware that in class we always progress very slowly and at the pace of the student."

Her students in Shanghai are mostly foreigners in their mid 20s who have heard of pole dancing before. One Chinese girl also became fascinated by what Jacq could do with her body and decided to start.

In Australia, Jacq's students' backgrounds have been more diverse, stretching from women at the age of 18 to their 40s, some with and others without dance training, and some trying to lose weight. Sometimes mothers and daughters come together.

To the question of what the difference is between the pole dance audience in Shanghai and Australia, Jacq responded: "It seems as if in Shanghai people go to see what pole dancing is, because here pole dance is very new to people. In Australia, people know what pole dancing is beforehand because of the fitness trend and they are more into it... 'I Love Shanghai' provides a venue for people to comfortably go and have a look for themselves."

Ladies night and expectant guys

For the time being, Jacq performs at "I Love Shanghai" every second Tuesday on ladies night. It seems that pole dancing is full of paradoxes: of what it is, on one hand, and what it is often associated with, on the other. That also goes for the contrast between ladies night and pole dancing, so why arrange for ladies night and pole dancing at the same time?

Jacq explained that the women are potential pole dancers themselves, either in her
school or just for fun to try it that night. So, in between her performances, the audience, male and female, can try the pole.

One young woman in the audience, who is not hesitant to attempt several poses at the pole, is one of Jacq's students, Glenda Ray. With great enthusiasm, she recommends Jacq as a teacher and tries to explain why the moves Jacq can do are out of the ordinary. The two met in cyberspace through MySpace, when Ray, who is also a teacher in Shanghai, decided to take pole dance classes instead of doing fitness.

At this time, the lounge has steadily filled with an eager crowd of people waiting to see the show. Just before heading to the stage and giving an impressive performance, Jacq writes down a couple of the most acrobatic moves she is about to show to a jaw-dropping crowd. With poetic or mysterious names such as "Ayisha," "Gemina," "Jezebel," and "the Knees," Jacq sets out to show what she has been trying to explain in words. And maybe pole dancing is one of these things that should be seen and not just heard about; even by those initially reluctant reporters who thought they already knew what it was.

Location: I Love Shanghai, 155 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
Tel: 021-63558058


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