May 10, 2012

Pole Dance Aotearoa

Every Tuesday night Pole Dance Aotearoa holds a free introductory class to give everyone a taste of pole dancing. The studio is hidden in Edward Street, off Victoria, a street I didn't even know existed (though it has some great looking establishments down there that I'll have to investigate). A steep flight of stairs leads up to the studio, it is unfortunate that only the top half of the staircase is lit, especially on a dark Autumn evening. I would not like to navigate them in heels. I liked the practice rooms - big windows, wooden floor and mirrors. However, it required a good clean - as did the poles (ew! we practiced moves that put our crotch right up against them) - and the dying plants were gasping for water. There was writing all over the mirrors; no doubt this was useful for instructors taking the class but it just looked messy.

The moves taught were quite complex. The teaching technique was step by step which was very effective. They also developed the moves they initially taught later in the class so it felt like we were improving. We were proudly informed as we arrived that we would be instructed by the best male pole dancer in the country. He wore boxer briefs and spoke to the class in the mirror which I found weird. He made me feel uncomfortable, I'm not sure whether it was because he was male or because he was wearing minimal clothing or because he didn't face the class. There were also three female instructors who walked around to give pointers to students individually, they were obviously very talented but also made me uncomfortable, I don't know why.

The class was overfull; in some cases there were 3 people to a pole. But as this was a free introduction class, it was expected. I assume that if you are paying (and booking) you get your own pole to work on.  My fellow students were young, very young. I overheard some of them discussing how they would explain their bruises (from smacking themselves on the pole) to their parents.

Overall I feel this was a good introduction to the basics of pole dancing, but think that much could be done to the place and the teaching to make improvements to help newcomers feel welcome and comfortable, the class did not tempt me to want to go back.

Venue: 19 Edward Street
Class: Tuesdays 6.30
Price: FREE


  1. Hi, as someone who's been to a few different pole studios in Wellington, I can agree your feelings about the Pole Studio. I highly recommend on Dixon St - I did not feel uncomfortable at all with these 2 ladies, their teaching style is amazing and it's just a good and comfortable feel with this class. They also offer a taster class I believe. I wouldn't go to any other class since I've been to Erin and Tild and poleclass :)

  2. Same here I think the uncomfortable feeling has more to do with the attitude I went up with a group of friends for my friends birthday and the instructor was unfortunately into herself more then into us I felt she was more about look what I can do. There was also alot of dirty dishes and yes the poles were yucky put me off pole a bit. I have been to another studio with some friends called Kaos and the lady was so nice to us it felt more of a class and it was so clean and also offered silks and hoops apparently they are getting a new burlesque instructor in so we are all excited about that. Julia was the instructor and we are going back soon.

  3. Our reviewer also enjoyed Kaos. We'll see if we can get them in to review

  4. Yowza! Once again Wellington Reviews has put another rubbish review on their site (gosh you guys have got so much flack with this in the past I don't know why you keep continuing) not that this site has that many hits and only caters to the minority anyway. I agree with your points on the cleanliness of The Studio but totally disagree with your points about the instructors! As a FEMALE student who has taken lessons from Andre (the male instructor) at both The Studio and Poleclass (where he has just recently started teaching) I can't believe you felt "uncomfortable" with him, grow up. Andre is so passionate and enthusiastic about what he does I almost believe you girls are mentally ill to find yourselves uncomfortable with him and how he teaches? The reason why he only wears minimal clothing is because in pole dancing you need as much skin as possible to grip to the pole including legs, thighs, torso, armpits, elbows etc. I've been to three of the free intro lessons with Andre too and he's always had POLE SHORTS (not boxer briefs you uninformed girl) and a t-shirt on! I really wish New Zealanders would get over the silly assumption that only women practice and teach pole dancing because if you actually did your research you'd find the best in the world are males and have been ever since this form of art came around. Moreover (I'm only ranting because Andre has taught me so much and I love him dearly) the reason why he teaches facing the mirrors is so you can pick up the spin/move/hold the way it's supposed to be done other than having to worry about flipping it around and making things more confusing. UGH THIS POST MAKES ME SO ANGRY!!!!!

  5. To be honest, it sounds like this reviewer might be uncomfortable in any dance class if they don't like people speaking to you via the mirrors and feels uncomfortable being taught by males or females. Has the reviewer done any other dance classes? Just curious...

  6. it is a small school that encourages its dancers to be happy with themselves, It puts great emphases on being positive about your body and to love who you are. The class would have been busy as it was a FREE class and OPEN to anyone, just a taste of you can learn.

    If you had chosen to go back to a full lesson you would have seen that numbers are more limited.

    I have to say personally I am glad some like you is not going back I would hate to have you in my class

    and fyi I am a size 18 female who also wears short shorts and tank tops and shows as much skin as I need to and I love it

    Thanks to that studio I now love myself!

  7. Oh dear. I have so many issues with this review.

    "only the top half of the staircase is lit,"
    If you had taken a second at the bottom of the stairs to open your eyes you would have spotted the push button to turn on the lights here. They are on a timer as that section is a shared space for The Studio and the business using the second floor, and it saves power.

    "it required a good clean - as did the poles"
    Grab a towel from the side of the room and wipe your pole down then. The free class begins immediately after another class ends so there is not time for someone to make sure the poles are clean, everyone should wipe their own pole.

    "There was writing all over the mirrors;"
    Of course there was. This is common in teaching this sort of activity. Those lists do not just help instructors, they help students. I would not want to see those lists go.

    "The moves taught were quite complex."
    No they weren't. Yes they can be a little tricky when it is your first time trying pole, but if you did spend a bit more time on it you would laugh at the fact you once found those moves hard, which we all did once but they are certainly not complex.

    "He wore boxer briefs"
    Someone already pointed out he wears pole shorts and that is due to the nature of the sport/dance form.

    "spoke to the class in the mirror which I found weird"
    Someone already explained this. It makes it easier for you to copy a move if you don't have to flip it round from the example.

    "He made me feel uncomfortable,"
    I think this must be a personal problem because it is certainly not Andre. I can not imagine him making anyone feel uncomfortable.

    "three female instructors who walked around to give pointers to students individually, they were obviously very talented but also made me uncomfortable,"
    Sounds like you were just overall uncomfortable. The atmosphere in that studio is amazingly welcoming and supportive. This sounds like a big case of you not them.

    "The class was overfull"
    Yes, the free class is often very full. You are right that if you pay and book you will have a pole to yourself.

    I am overall baffled by this review. It sounds like you were in some twisted parallel universe.
    The Studio is a great place where many of us go to unwind, workout, and escape stress. It is a place to feel comfortable and love yourself and I highly recommend going along to discover how awesome pole dancing is.

  8. It's all very nice that lots of groupies/employees of The Studio have rushed to defend their studio here, but we live in a country with free speech, and if someone turns up to your studio and offers some critique about your business, then I would take it as valuable advice. Keeping a clean studio is an easy thing to fix. And as for students feeling uncomfortable in the class situation, I know that pole can be very intimidating to begin with, especially for women who aren't used to wearing shorts: maybe having a female instructor at this level would be a wiser choice.

  9. ^ Constructive criticism is different to being ignorant and uninformed, making flippant remarks. Bit of both in this review.

  10. Jesus, who was the idiot from The Studio who drew everyone's attention to this review? Once you start it on Facebook it's everywhere... And it's all very well to be all indignant about what the reviewer said, but had you considered that some people might agree with them?