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Chapter One: Beyond the Studio; how my personal experiences shaped my teaching approach.

Welcome to my New Blog Series

Failures & Flexibility; the journey of embracing Pole Dance, navigating failures, empowering women and the challenges of self employment.

Chapter One

I've noticed over the past few years that absolutely anyone can get certified to become a Pole Dance Instructor, Yoga expert, Life Coach and so on...

I'm hugely supportive of people following their goals and dreams, Im so happy there are so many accessible courses now days, but there is a huge difference between the $3000 Yoga 200 training and the $25 Udemy Life Coach course. Its either completely over-priced which only the 'wealthy' can afford or the cheaper courses which are, in my opinion; lacking educational value.

My main worry is that you can take a course online to become an Instructor without learning about how to deal with humans... it is hugely complex.

I'm not saying i'm perfect at all; it has taken years and years of experience, failures, different students, different environments and styles of studios to figure it all out.

If I go way way wayyyy back to what has shaped my teaching and me as a person... to my childhood Acrobatics Coach; who would use comparison techniques, fat/body shaming, negative and critical words, pushy and difficult exercises and lack of 'self belief or confidence' training.

For a Child to be compared to another Child, it creates this notion that you are not good enough until you are performing like that other child, which in reality - might not ever be achievable. I think its cruel and has its long term affects on a person.

There are more in-depth reasons to why i grew up with 'comparison' as part of me, it isn't just this Coach, but when i meet a student, Adult or Child, i can't help but have this huge empathy and i really really don't want them to compare themselves with any other students.

For context; I have been teaching Pole Dance and Flexibility now for over 12 years, I have taught in huge Dance studios, small business's, owned my own Studio, run events and taken part in huge Worldly Pole Dance events, met hundreds of entrepreneurs, wild people with wild dreams and goals and so many incredible students from completely different backgrounds with their own stories and desires in life.

For us to teach; we must support a small part of that students day, we uplift, we create a safe, comfortable space, we want to reduce anxiety and insecurities - not make them worse.

A Pole Dance Class can be a hugely vulnerable place, to begin with you're half naked! So to have an instructor be supportive of that is really important, and i'm not saying to discuss body shapes, weight or how we look, I'm saying to make it normal to feel a little exposed when you're not used to it.

I have witnessed and seen other Instructors discuss a students body shape or weight, I have heard horrifying stories about Instructors requesting you have visible 'abs' before training Pole, I have seen Instructors judge without words... it is completely unacceptable to speak about a students body.

In my first year in London, i witnessed the 'Diva's' of the Pole Dance World. I was a beginner Instructor, I was teaching beginner classes, so i was seen (for some reason) as a lower status Pole Instructor.

Other Instructors; to put it blankly... were not friendly. I didn't have a support network of Instructors, at that time.

I have had so many signs, experiences and things happen to me where i say to myself 'I don't want to ever be like that, or treat anybody like that, or make anyone feel small.'

In my opinion, it doesn't take much effort or energy to be friendly.

What they don't tell you in all these Instructor courses, is that every single person... has a different body type, life schedule, stress factor, sleep cycle, menstrual cycle, mental health status, reason for doing a class, family environment, type of friends who may or may not judge, pressure, work life balance... the list goes on.

Nobody, not one student is the same as the one next to them.

Later years, after leaving London, I had a life changing experience with an older lady who bullied me in a gym. And i was blamed for the bullying as she was mentally unstable and unhappy, so it was on me.

I blamed myself, i believed all the hurtful things she said, I was traumatised - I lost a lot of weight, I wasn't around supportive people who helped me out this situation.

Once again, this changed my way of teaching, I became obsessed with making sure every student is ok.

Nobody, shoulder enter a room, and be made to feel uncomfortable.

I know i can't control the World and there are so many different cultures, but i choose to teach this way, i choose it as my goal to make the effort with every student, to make sure they're comfortable and feel safe, if they're nervous; i want to some how shake that off, if they are having a bad day; i want to make them laugh, if they've had a stressful day; I want to take that stress away.... It is my goal.

So... comparison, talking body image, negative words and making somebody feel unwelcome are all things i've experienced and I never want a student to feel that way.

Our job is to empower, be authentic, and raw.

We are here to make that persons day a little bit better.

We are here to be supportive and realistic, taking into account every persons day to day life.

I love my job, it has its challenges and failures, but my reward is seeing students leave the space with a spring in their step.

Thank you so much for reading Chapter One of my new series.

I hope you enjoyed it, please let me know what you think.

Huge huge love,

Bryony xxxxx

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