Taking Pole Position

[Vidya Prabhu | Hindustan Times]

The year was 2008. Krystel Arbia, a Milan resident, had just delivered her third son. Desperate to get back in shape, she tried Pilates and yoga, in addition to running and Thai boxing. Nothing worked though; till she read in a magazine about pole dancing as a fitness routine. “It intrigued me, so I tried it. And guess what − it worked beautifully, both as a fitness regime and a fun activity. What made it special was the fact that I was exercising, enjoying myself and also letting go of my daily duties to cherish moments that I now had to myself,” says Arbia.

“It intrigued me, so I tried it. And guess what − it worked beautifully, both as a fitness regime and a fun activity. What made it special was the fact that I was exercising, enjoying myself and also letting go of my daily duties to cherish moments that I now had to myself.”

Soon, the 37-year-old had an epiphany: she could start a pole dance class and see others get fit in a similar fashion. But Italy being a Catholic country, the words ‘pole dance’ had a strong sexual connotation. “I had to fight against the prevalent cultural attitudes,” she recounts, adding that during the initial days of her venture, she was even shunned by some of the mothers of her sons’ classmates.

However, the fitness landscape in Milan is a lot different today. Arbia’s brainchild, the almost seven-year-old Milan Pole Dance Studio (MPDS), has established its presence across the world, including Montreal, Dubai, Singapore and Miami. “At MPDS, we have managed to remove the ‘vulgar elements’ from the routine, thus debunking the perception that pole dance can only be ‘trashy’. Plus, we have been careful to adapt to the varied cultures we coexist in. For instance, we have included belly dancing in the classes being offered in Dubai,” she points out.

So, what makes pole dance fitness stand out from the other fitness disciplines? Arbia, who recently visited India, shares with us seven reasons why one must give it a shot.

Krystel Arbia’s brainchild, the almost seven-year-old Milan Pole Dance Studio (MPDS), has established its presence across the world, including Montreal, Dubai, Singapore and Miami

1. Mixing Fitness And Fun

With pole dance fitness entailing a series of exercises around the pole, Arbia says that the routine helps define one’s body muscles and have fun at the same time. “It is an acrobatic discipline that has derived from dance. We offer four levels at our studio; each level has its own set of tricks. At the end of a level, you put together a combination of tricks and lift both your feet off the ground,” she explains.

2. A Confident You

One of the biggest takeaways, Arbia reveals, is the surge of confidence. “With a fitter body, you feel beautiful and more confident. I know several shy girls who underwent a body and personality change within a few months of joining our classes,” she says.

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