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When you become a student in a studio, you’re getting into a relationship. You’re going to get to know it, learn its quirks and pitfalls, enjoy some really great times, and deal with a little bit of drama every now and then.
It’s up to you, however, to decide whether it’s overall a good or bad experience.
A studio provides a training and education space.
The people provide a social environment, activity, and engagement.
You may have your own personal qualifications to add, but we’ve taken the time to create a short checklist of our recommended or ideal qualities the right studio has.
- You feel safe
Everyone’s a little nervous in their first class, but it’s important to feel physically and emotionally safe while you’re training. It’s okay to mess up, and it’s okay to not get a move on your first try; that’s what learning and training IS! You shouldn’t feel rushed or that you’re not learning fast enough. You should feel comfortable moving at your own pace, and safe enough to challenge yourself and push forward.
- The environment and people are overall positive and encouraging
The people inside the studio make the experience worthwhile! Your classmates should be supportive, accepting and friendly. The studio itself should reflect this environment and encourage it. The online pole community is all about support and celebrating one another’s victories, so you should be able to expect that from your studio mates as well.
- The front door is locked during class for student safety and to avoid class interruptions
Locking the door during classes is a common practice for many studios. This prevents anyone from accidentally – or purposefully – walking in on the class, distracting the students and detracting from the safety of the environment.
There are, of course, always practical exceptions to this, such as unlocking the door a few minutes before the next class begins so students can enter. Another exception is if the front door is partitioned from the pole space, so visitors walk into a front office first.
- Any street-facing windows are covered during class
This applies to classes that have any public-facing windows, whether it’s a street or a hallway. The main pole space should remain private for the sake of students. Windows are commonly covered with curtains, but it can be done with any number of things so long as it blocks the view from the outside.
- How well the studio supports competitions
The studio should be willing to support students who are participating in an upcoming competition, whether it is verbal encouragement, resources, extra training time, or other ways that particular studio offers support. Students should not feel hindered from competitions because of their studio, and likewise, they should not feel pushed into it before they are ready.
- There is at least one crash mat available to students
Crash mats (like these) are an excellent tool, especially when learning inverts or performing a more advanced trick for the first time. It not only helps students feel safer, but it can lessen the risk of injury if someone slips. There should always be at least one crash mat available for the class, if not one for each pole in the space.
- The poles are trusted brands and securely attached to the ceiling (i.e., not using pipes)
If you live in a big city, chances are you’ve seen one of the older studios that still have their poles from years ago, which are essentially powder-coated pipes.
It’s important to be able to trust your pole, especially when you are performing more advanced moves. Poles should be securely attached to the ceiling, no matter if they are tension or bolt-in. Bonus points if it is a recognizable brand like Lupit, X-Pole, Platinum Stages, or others. Instructors should have knowledge of care and utilization of their poles.
- The instructor(s) are attentive, skilled, and experienced – preferably pole or fitness instruction certified
The instructor should always have their attention on the class, looking over each student to ensure they are doing moves correctly, from stretching to actual training. A positive attitude is essential, with encouragement to boot. Instructors should also be able to demonstrate and explain moves within their class’ skill level clearly – something that comes with experience and skill.
Now, even instructors have their off-days, but being habitually distracted on their phone and teaching below the class’ skill level is hard to miss.
Fitness or pole certification is preferred so the instructor understands what to look for in a student who is struggling, how to teach moves, spot students, recognize injuries or potential strain, and structure a class.
- There is at least one instructor available to spot you during classes or open pole sessions
No matter what level you are at, you may need the instructor to spot you coming out of or going into a move. You shouldn’t be completely unsupervised during open pole sessions or pole regular classes. This can double as the class instructor, but during open pole, it is better for everyone to have an instructor present as there may not be an active structure to the class.
- The studio offers intro or beginner classes
Mixed-level classes are difficult for beginner students, and instructors can risk spending too much time helping advanced students’ progress instead. On the other hand, spending too much time with beginner students can stunt advanced students’ growth. The studio should offer some leveled classes so students can all progress comfortably at their own skill level.
- The studio offers multiple types of classes or explicitly states their style focus
This helps students know what kind of class they are showing up for and discover what style suits them best.
Some studios explicitly state they only focus on pole fitness or exotic pole, and that is fine – students will know what they are showing up for.
If the studio does not have an explicit focus, multiple types of classes should be offered so students can be exposed to multiple styles and discover which they enjoy most. Each class type should be offered by an instructor who specializes in that style of pole dancing, otherwise, the quality of classes may suffer.
- The poles are regularly cleaned
Clean poles means stickier grip! If there’s grip, sweat, or lotion residue leftover on the pole, you’re going to have a rough time. Poles should be cleaned during class if needed by the student and wiped down at the end to prepare for the next class. Cleaning solution and wipes should be provided by the studio, whether it’s a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and a rag or fancy pole cleaner.
- The bathroom and/or changing area is clean
Sure, we understand there’s probably going to be clothes or pole bags here or there while people get ready for class, but there’s a difference between cluttered and dirty. The bathroom and changing area should be kept clean so students feel comfortable using those areas. The cleanliness of the studio tends to reflect a lot of the studio’s personality.
- The floor is kept clean and free of debris or cracks
It’s inevitable; even a small amount adds up with students and instructors alike walking in with dust or debris on their shoes, clothes, or feet. The studio floors should be regularly cleaned to avoid buildup, and street shoes should not be worn in the pole space.
Flooring should also be replaced when necessary. Sometimes when flooring gets old, it will start to show signs of cracking and chipping. In the main pole space, this can be dangerous to students as they might get a toe caught during a leg sweep, or they might cut themselves on a sharp corner.
You can add or subtract what you’d like from this list next time you’re looking for a space to train, but having a checklist in your back pocket will be useful!
What Is Your #1 Deciding Factor for Choosing a Good Studio?
Let Us Know in the Comments Below!