- Jennifer Lopez stunned fans on Sunday with a dramatic pole dance performance as part of her Super Bowl halftime show.
- Professionals make it look easy, but the reality is that pole dancing requires impressive strength, skill, and confidence.
- Anyone can learn to pole dance, according to experts, and feel comfortable and strong in their body along the way.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Jennifer Lopez, along with Shakira, gave a Super Bowl halftime performance on Sunday that many fans have called one of the best in years, and part of the high-energy act included a pole dance.
The elaborate, acrobatic feat lasted less than a minute, but it took her months of rigorous training to learn the art of pole, which she first learned to nail her performance for “Hustlers.”
“It’s rough on your body, it’s real acrobatics,” Lopez said in a behind-the-scenes video of her training for the film back in September. “This is just as hard as anything I’ve ever learned. It might be the hardest.”
Last year, we asked two pole dancing instructors what it takes to get from amateur to pro in a short space of time.
It can take months to become a pro, but anyone can get a good workout out of pole dancing
“I always thought I was very fit, but it was extremely humbling to try pole for the first time,” Kiele Jael, an instructor at Incredipole with more than a decade of dance experience, previously told Insider.
“You realise it’s a lot harder than you think and respect all the people who have been doing it for so long, especially people in the sex industry, because it takes a ton of work.”
Jael added that pole dancers have to, literally, defy gravity, holding their body weight in the air by just a few strategic points of contact on the pole. Then there are the the acrobatics – attempting to spin or even flip in midair requires intense core and upper body strength. It can be painful, causing scrapes and bruises as a result of friction with the hard metal surface.
“I teach people who have never touched pole before and I always hear, ‘I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard,'” Franklin previously told Insider.
“Literally any body can do it, any age, race, ethnicity, weight, height, can take a pole class,” Franklin added, saying that she’s taught people in their 70s who were trying pole dancing for the first time.
“You start to gain muscles in places you didn’t know muscles could grow.”
Pole dancing is a mental and physical workout
Franklin told Insider confidence is as important as strength and agility.
“I never felt more sexy or confident than when I’m doing pole,” Franklin previously told Insider. “It’s challenging, it’s fun, it builds confidence, and your body will feel different than it’s ever felt before.”
Jael said: “It really helped me to appreciate my own body because I could move in ways I never thought I could move. At the end of the day, I felt very empowered, being free in a space where I could feel sensuous, powerful and like I’m literally flying.”
Beginners will be best off if they leave their assumptions and expectations at the door, Franklin and Jael said.
“Go into it with an open mind,” Franklin said. “It can be whatever you want it to be, and it’s a great workout any way you do it.”