Free to dance

Pole dancer Sea shares her experience training and performing this once taboo art form

27 Apr 2021 / 10:22 H.

POLE dancing has undergone an evolution in recent years. From being seen as something sleazy, it is currently recognised as a legitimate recreational and competitive sport.

Malaysian pole dancer and trainer Sea, 29, picked up the skill five years ago, and now teaches others how to dance at her very own studio located in Petaling Jaya, Pole Dance Movement (PDM). The studio has also held various events to help raise funds for charity.

“PDM is my baby,” she told theSun.

“It is a home to many and a place to feel safe, to grow, to learn, to explore, to release, to have fun, to be inspired. It is where many have learnt, or are learning, to embrace their body and be amazed by what it can learn to do.”

Sea has also represented the nation at international pole dance competitions, and named champion at both the Pole Theatre Sydney (as overall pro) and Pole Theatre Hong Kong (pro art) events in 2019.

Sea has spent five years performing and training others to pole dance. – AMIRUL SYAFIQ/ THESUN
Sea has spent five years performing and training others to pole dance. – AMIRUL SYAFIQ/ THESUN

How and when did you first get into pole dancing?

“[I started in] January 2016. I had been teaching myself the aerial silks for about a year [using] a PDF document, when my sister bought me a pole class package as a Christmas gift.

“I have been active in a variety of dance and sports since young, but was never particularly acrobatic. [At the time] my arms had no muscles and I didn’t understand how to engage my core.”

What are the different skill/training levels in pole dancing?

“I think like any creative pursuit there are endless rabbit holes to explore. There is no linear progression and there is no ‘final level’ that you can reach. The pole is a blank canvas which you can explore in any style – lyrical, sensual, fierce, acrobatic.

“You can ‘level up’ in terms of strength, flexibility, vocabulary, cleanliness, musicality, fluidity, creativity, sensuality ... though, having said that, at PDM we have formed a syllabus starting from Pole Basic through to Pole 3.”

What is your regular training schedule like?

“I train for at least four days a week, including teaching, training, and class prep. I try and set an intention and eat and sleep enough the day before, but when it comes to training time, I find going with what my body feels like doing works best. This can look like strength repetitions, conditioning, learning new tricks or transitions, playing, creating, stretching or rolling around on the ground.”

Tell us about your experience in pole dancing competitions.

“I signed up for the competitions by video entry, actually [I] was encouraged my some of my friends in the pole scene in Hong Kong and Sydney – Daphne and Yungie – to participate and visit them along the way.

“I fell asleep on the sofa while waiting for show time in Sydney, and woke up surrounded by this bunch of pole stars, feeling slightly sheepish.”

How did it feel to win in Sydney and Hong Kong in 2019?

“Shocking. They were the first and only competitions I have attended. Also, extremely heartwarming to receive all the love and support I did from my community here in Malaysia.”

Tell us about your fundraising activities.

“The most recent one was for this amazing initiative Move for Hope, to get the refugee kids of Hope Learning Centre access to internet to continue their education online. My studio has also raised funds for Women’s Aid Organisation and Mercy Malaysia.”

What do you wish people understood about pole dancing?

“When I ask friends or relatives to give it a go, they all say they will break the pole. Actually, I don’t think that is possible. Second answer is they will break themselves.

“I guess I want to say that anyone can pole [dance], if you want to. You start with the basics and will inadvertently build up strength, flexibility, stamina and coordination from there. It is the best, most versatile, most fun, wholesome, rewarding, full-body workout, in my opinion.”

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