Project Pole Defies Stereotypes
Eager to discover what all the pole fitness fuss is about, Mariam Nowar made her way over to Project Pole, the city's newest studio, to see where the magic happens, try out the exercise, and find out more about it from founder and expert pole-r, Mia Carter.
Fresh out of the English oven, Carter explains how cultural stereotypes faced her wherever she went. From her London/Surry upbringing, to the streets of Cairo, she found both the English and Egyptian public labeling her craft with vile tags. Another misconception was that the shorts and sports bras worn by pole dancers immediately had people thinking, "OH, SHE'S A STRIPPER!" while the reality is fundamental physics: the more skin you expose to the pole, the better grip you have.
Everyone is asking the nagging question: why would Carter leave the comfort of her European life to come to our slightly, or much, more judgmental Egypt? Was she lost? Her answer was an affirmative 'yes'. She originally came as a diver but, after the revolution kicked tourism in the face, she found herself stranded in the middle of the desert, with nothing but a dog. So she moved to Cairo, and is now the proud owner of Burrito, her rescued cat that she found a couple of blocks down from her studio, who welcomed our crew in with scratches and a bite.
"Weighing 50 kg and trying to pull up your entire body on a pole only using your arms, that's quite unnatural! You don't find people in the gym lifting those kinds of weights. Some students aren't able to do anything at all, and that's perfectly okay. I keep teaching them easier moves that they can repeat at home until they start feeling the progress," Carter elaborated, emphasising on the fact that she's very aware of the initial physical limits her students might face. She assesses their strength by letting them do little tests like pulling up on the pole, which allows her to take the moves step by step with them until the necessary strength - and cat-like flexibility - kicks in.
As we finished up our workout and said our goodbyes, it occurred to me that I was also one of the majority of the stereotypical people who misjudged pole dancing. I had a great experience as I watched Carter flutter around the pole with an unsullied smile, as if she were hanging by invisible strings. I stepped out of her studio feeling a little more flexible down to my toes and up to my thoughts. Satisfaction ate me up as my critical fiends were silenced.
Carter wanted to do more shows where people can watch her breach gravity, but she feared offending those who haven't opened up to that kind of art and aren't flexible enough yet. To get your own flexibility session, signing up is as easy as it gets. All you need to do is message Carter on Project Pole's Facebook page, mention your name, details, and schedule a lesson. Something to look forward to: on the 24th of December in the comfort of her studio, expect Carter in a UV-light roll-on neon paint party. Book yourself a place now and watch the Pole-r strut her stuff.
Photography by Dina Fadl.
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