We at The Pole Project love a good workshop! And we love hosting them too!

But often our students bemoan the fact that they’re “so expensive” or “only for advanced students” and then, as instructors, we’re expected to hand over everything we’ve spent time and money learning in a workshop for nix…

Well, here are a few good reasons you should attend a workshop yourself the next time we arrange one:

1.  You have soooooo much fun in workshops

You meet different people to your regular classes, often it’s a smaller group so you can have some one-on-one time with the host and what’s more – things tend to get a bit cray-cray, just as we like it.

2. You learn stacks, sometimes more than you bargained for

You have such expertise at your fingertips – don’t be afraid to ask questions! Plus a whole range of different people attending might have something new to add too. You pay to be there so make the most of it!

3. You don’t have to be an advanced student

Workshops are crafted for different levels. In fact, a lot of workshops cater to beginners and intermediates because they have the most to learn, but a good instructor should be able to offer variations that suit you in any case, if you are struggling.

4. You don’t have to nail everything on the first attempt

That’s why you’re at a workshop, right? To learn. No one gets everything the first time. We learn new skills, and we go away to PRACTICE to perfect them. So, there’s no need to freak out before the workshop or work yourself up during the class. Everyone is in the same boat as you.

5. Not all workshops are about pole tricks

With the pole and aerial arenas growing fast we host workshops for a variety of skills, from basic stretch and flexibility to floor work, pole combos, circus flair, sexy affairs and more.

Our personal experience in workshops is that they’re ALWAYS worth it… EVERY TIME! The value of attending personally is so much more than the attendance fee – you make new friends, you learn from one or more fellow polers, you learn things that you might not be able to use straight away but that you can bank for use later, and you have fun.

So, the last question that we get is “why the price difference between locals and internationals?”. Well, it’s really quite simple. South Africa is a long-haul destination for a lot of foreign countries so when internationals come down they’re spending a lot of money just on flights to get here. In fact, many of them don’t come to South Africa to run workshops and make money because it’s not feasible – they come on holiday and offer their expertise while they’re here.

Locals, on the other hand, have less costs to incur… flights are cheaper, Cape Town is more accessible for a weekend and often they can bunk with friends or family so they don’t have accommodation costs. Workshops with locals are often slightly cheaper but make no mistake, their time and skills are just as valuable.

Well don’t just take our word for it… to show you that WORKSHOPS ARE WORTH IT! we have a couple of thoughts from pole dance powerhouses in SA on what they think about workshops…

Sherry Bremner – @sherrybpole

I love attending workshops because it is an opportunity to learn from someone who has experience in aspects of pole that I don’t.

It is so enlightening to experience a new teaching style, as some times the way a different instructor teaches a move makes far more sense than the way I’ve been trying to do it.

I feel that I always walk away having gained something, be it a little movement to add to my warm-up, a fantastic stretch that I had never seen or a great combo/move that is the signature trick of the instructor.

Anel van der Walt – @anelwalt
Some workshops always end up better than others, but I feel like I have always taken at least one thing from each workshop.
To name a few: 
I learnt the Juliet spin from Natasha Wang
Aerial handspring (cheat dead lifts) and applicable techniques from Venessa Clack
The amazing Saulo handspring and jumps from Saulo Sarmiento
The Heidi Cartwheel and interesting floor work from Heidi Coker
Flow movement from Bendy Kate
Handstand technique from David Rutherfoord-Jones
Flips and tricks from Marco and Orlando Vergas
I think at TPP we are very spoiled to have the variety of talent and style from our instructors, but even with this, our knowledge is limited. Pole has evolved into a very complex sport with so many possibilities. Attending workshops bring new ideas, another point of view and fresh inspiration. It makes you think differently about movement and challenges.

Joanna Pawelczyk – @joanna_uniqfitness

I have been pole dancing for over 6 years and have competed and performed many times, even internationally, winning many titles. I can say confidently that I could never have done it if it wasn’t for taking workshops with different instructors. Even if your instructor is absolutely amazing you will still benefit from taking workshops – everyone has a different style of pole and a different way of teaching and you can always pick up new tricks. I have learnt so much from workshops that I use all the time in routines. You can look at videos on Facebook and Instagram to learn and that helps a lot, but nothing beats learning in a group environment with professionals there to help you. 

Benita Bouwer – @benitabouwer

So back in the day when I started, we didn’t have anyone showing us… we literally stared at screens, got off our bums and taught ourselves via YouTube. Now the benefit is someone teaching you the proper tried and tested technique, harbour bruises on your behalf, someone who is familiar with the move so he/she can spot you, help you avoid injury, and give you the sense of security that you need to overcome your fears. It also cuts down your training time, having someone to tell you “feel the grip here and here, engaged the gluteus and gastrochnemius here and there”, instead of having to spend days and weeks trying to break down and master a move. 

So the same considerations that apply to “why attend class” also apply to “why attend workshops”. Everyone has their forte, for some people it is spins on static, some contortion flexibility etc etc etc … If I can learn a good bodywave from someone that makes a bodywave look beautiful and look like a move that I would like to do… then I will grab and learn whatever I can from whoever I can.. with both arms… open!

From a dancer’s point of view, one should not be encapsulated in one dance form or genre or movement. Learning from different people with different skills allows you to grow, fly, and spread your wings. From an instructor’s point of view – to be the best instructor that you can be, you have to offer and expose your students to a variety of moves and styles, in order for them to find their own.

In SA, we have limited opportunities to get to learn from other local pole instructors or from international Pole Stars, who travel the world and get invited into all kinds of studios with all kinds of students.. with all kinds of abilities and even in some cases inabilities. It is them who keep us connected on a more personal level than FB, about what is out there and what is happening in the pole world.. and I am not just talking about moves, and competitions, but the latest in gear and grip, and yes food 🙂

They give up their muggle jobs, valuable time with their families, their own training time to spread some pole love and help us become better artists and athletes… and beings with superhuman abilities… so we love supporting them, and home them and feed them, and soak up every bit of advice with dumbo ears!