Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Work It! Pole Fitness With Sacha Renee

Published:Monday | January 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie

We all know the typical ways of getting fit and in shape. You wake up, go to the gym, run for 30 minutes on a treadmill, then hit the weights. However, that routine can become very mundane and may even cause you to slack off every now and then. Who says working out has to be drab? Expert pole dancer and instructor Sacha Renee knows a thing or two about spicing up a workout as well as building confidence and sensuality.

Sacha began her twirling journey a few years ago in Kingston, when she went to a workshop held at Chai Studios in Barbican. "I was taught the fundamentals by a dance instructor, Ritani and Chai Studios co-owner, Shani Shirley. I loved it so much that I just kept going back for more classes," said Sacha. Beyond the lessons at Chai studios, she perfected her craft by using instructional DVDs, books and Internet tutorials and videos from professional aerialists and cirque performers.

Pole dancing is an exercise and has been growing exponentially in popularity as a sport throughout the world. "Whenever I have the opportunity to travel outside Jamaica, I ensure that I get to as many professional-level classes as possible," said Sacha.

Pole dance involves pulling your own body weight up in various ways. For women, getting that upper body and core strength is probably the hardest thing to learn and practice. To get stronger, one has to do a lot of pull-ups and push-ups. "When I attended my first class, it was just supposed to be a fun and sexy thing to try, but I was shocked at the level of difficulty and strength involved. I never anticipated that this was something I could do in my 30s, much less excel at," said Sacha.

The fun part about pole dancing is the option to use any music you like as it is a form of dance. "People often associate pole dancing with strip clubs. In reality, pole dance is more like gymnastics, except that the beam is vertical instead of horizontal. A lot of professional performers actually perform to classical music," said Sacha. Unfortunately, since the association with strip clubs, when she just started, only a few friends were privy to her activities. "Since then, I have decided that I just don't care what a few narrow-minded people have to say. Pole dancing is a part of my identity now. I enjoy it and I'm in the best shape of my life because of it," said Sacha.

Sacha currently teaches a pole fitness class every Saturday morning at Chai Studios, Barbican Business Centre, so anyone who is interested can drop in. With pole dancing, there are always new, more complex moves to learn so you will never get bored.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com