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    This article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.

    The only rhythm I’m really familiar with is the circadian kind — I’m a science nerd, after all. So the thought of taking a pole-dancing class at the newly opened Modern Fitness (455 S. Fourth St., 301-9999) was a bit intimidating. However, I was intrigued by the thought of shedding some inhibitions and maybe stripping off a few actual pounds. And really, it is a legitimate form of exercise — there is even a push to include it in the 2012 Olympics.

    I took the 60-minute beginner course for anyone who thinks they can’t pole dance. There are only four students to a class — good that you only make a fool out of yourself in front of three other people; bad that you can’t hide in the back of the class. But my fear of embarrassment was subdued by the friendly and fun demeanor of the instructor and owner of Modern Fitness, Ashauna Higgins. She’s a pint-sized dynamo of a woman who springs up and around the pole with grace and technique. Higgins is a PDIC (certified pole dance instructor) for levels 1-7. “I was living on the West Coast where pole fitness is huge,” she says. “I was bored with going to the gym, and I tried this and fell in love with it — it incorporates so many things in one form of fitness.” 

    First Higgins warmed us up with a standard exercise routine that worked arms, legs and core muscles. Then we approached the pole, where she eased our insecurities and built up our confidence levels while teaching us several moves. You feel more acrobat than stripper — think ballet turned upside down. The last half of the class is spent putting your moves to work with music. Higgins played Timbaland’s “Carry Out” and called out different moves as the class danced with abandon around their poles. Next she played Poison’s “Every Rose Has a Thorn,” which completed my first pole-dancing experience. I strutted out of class with more confidence in my coordination, even though it came with sore muscles.

    Photo: Louisville Magazine

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