So I’ve dappled in lyra and sling in the past. A class or two here and there. I liked it, but nothing captured my attention like pole. But the last month I’ve been attending our aerial sling series because I’ve missed being a student and frankly the class time worked on with my schedule.
First off, I enjoy learning something new SO MUCH! Something that is accessible at my fitness level but is new, yet relevant to pole! I unfortunately am at a point where if I continue to learn new things in pole, I need to dedicate more time to training then I have available to me right now. I just can’t commit to that type of athleticism. And when I’ve tried in the past, I’ve burnt out. I like the lane I have found myself in with pole and I’m comfortable staying there and just getting really good at what I love to do. But I still want to learn. It’s something that very few people tell you when you make the transition from student to instructor. Your priorities change. Class time is no longer about you. Training is less about you. It’s now about your students. And there is such joy in that. But what started out as something you did for you, has become about other people. Even my “dance time” is still about exploring and choreographing. So rarely now can I completely unplug from instructor mode to just move for me.
But taking sling has helped me do that. This is something I haven’t found my sweet spot in. Something that requires struggle. Something that is empowering.
So here are a few observations from a ten year poler when doing sling:
- Hand Gripping is a whole different ball game. I thought I had good grip, but dang. The grip required to hang on to the fabric, especially when you are still very uncertain about moving and inverting on this new apparatus. For at least a day following my class, I could feel all the flexor muscles in my forearms.
- Skin conditioning is not really an issue as it is in pole, but getting used to the pressure of being wrapped with applied pressure is like the most intense deep tissue massage you can have and will take some getting used to. By my last class, inverting was less intense feeling on my hips but I had all the feels still with any thigh wrap. Still, nothing as painful as that dang Superman on pole.
- Inverting is easier in a sling than a pole. Like by leaps and bounds easier. Ah! If only inverting could be that easy on pole!
- Pointing your toes is sometimes HEAVILY discouraged. I can think of maybe two pole moves where the flexed foot is necessary otherwise it is all about that pointed foot. But in many aerial sling positions, you point your toes, you fall. And let me tell you, as someone who has been drilling into my head since my young child dancer days to point her toes, it feels just as hard to actively not point your toes.
BUT! Will I keep doing it? F**k yeah! I’m learning something new, getting to hang on the aerial side of the studio, and meeting some cool peeps.