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Pole Dance Levels Around the World

By on April 25, 2017

As of right now there is no “official” guide or method to teaching pole dancing that is universally accepted around the world. Unlike in ballet or gymnastics,
 there’s nothing written that you HAVE to follow regarding what pole level you are in and how to know when you are ready to advance in pole. These levels vary from studio to studio not just in the United States but in other places around the world.

So, how do you know what your pole dance level is? Perhaps in one studio you are advanced, but in another one you are intermediate. In order to answer this question, we decided to contact several people in different countries to get a better idea of how varied pole levels are around the world.

Serbia

Nina Ivanovic from Serbia believes that in her country each studio comes up with its own teaching and level system. “Groups are usually divided into: beginner, intermediate and advanced”, she explains. “One of the studios has their own assessment day when polers need to do be able to do certain tricks in order to advance (…) In other studios, you are placed in a group/level according to your skills/years you’ve been poling, based on the instructor’s judgment, without any official assessment or a list of tricks you need to be able to do”, Nina says. In competitions (there has only been one so far in Serbia), the beginner level athletes were not allowed to invert, the intermediates can do any type of invert and the advanced ones need to do tricks such as shoulder mounts, handspring, aerial inverts, and so on.

This pole dancer says that if it were up to her she would group people in the studio according to their skills and interests and not set a requirement of specific tricks to do.

Arantxa Gil doing a beginner pose

USA

Mina Mechanic from the United States says that “each studio determines their own levels, but many studios use a similar division of Intro, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced” categories. In order to move up the levels, the student will need to ask the instructor if he or she is ready to do so.

Mina Mechanic. Photo by Alloy Images

Each level usually has a set of specific moves you need to learn, according to Mina. “For instance, Intro class is targeted for first timers and goes over the absolute basics. It even goes over what to wear and how to prepare for class. Beginner classes usually stick with spins and climbs. Intermediate classes start with inversions and less contact points. Advanced, as you can imagine, is all the fancier tricks that are more risky and require more experience, strength, flexibility, and body awareness”, she explains.

 Mina also says that in the US each competition has its own guidelines to determine levels. Usuall a good competition will provide a description of levels and examples of tricks for each level and share this with the competitors and judges.

Karediz Torrez doing a invert, an intermediate trick

Venezuela

Miriam Salazar is a pole studio owner and competition organiser in Venezuela. This past April 1st she organised the first IPSF championship in this country, but she has held a national meet every year since 2013.

Her studio is CS Studio Dance & Fitness and its levels for the students to train were created based on Miriam’s international pole certifications. “We have basic, intermediate and advanced levels, and we have tried to condition them according to the international competitions, which usually use amateur, professional and elite”, she says.

Miriam explains that they use their own method. They have a basic course that lasts six months, with a final exam that includes a choreography and an evaluation on order to advance to intermediate level. “Some students repeat the basic level until they feel prepared to move on to the next one”.

The first three competitions Miriam organised had their own category division, but the last event used the IPSF code of points and its rules, for the levels and judgement.

Barbara Caroli does a handspring, an advanced move

Argentina

Mara Latassa is the founder and CEO of the largest studio in Latin America: Art Dance Studio, located in Argentina. She also organises several competitions, like Miss Pole Dance Argentina, South American Pole Championship and Amateur Pole Championship.

Mara created a course 10 years ago for pole instructor training with a known and established teaching manual. “Our main instructors, even some from Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, have trained with us”, Mara says.

This course lasts two years and the student learns everything from technique, biomechanics, to injury prevention. The tricks that are taught are classified into basic, intermediate and advanced levels. “We have about 40 tricks that have to do only with the basic level, organised in a pedagogical form”, Mara explains. “These are divided in climbs, spins, and floorwork”. She also says that to advance from level to level depends a lot on the student: how many times a week she trains, her background, and more.

Mara also says that in her experience only 20% of the pole students are interested in moving up the levels. “The other 80% likes to do pole as a hobby or a way to entertain themselves. They are not focused so much on achieving the newest trick perfectly”, she confesses.

Karem Gutiérrez does an extremely flexible figure, considered for an elite level. Photo by Diego Castillo

Chile

María Elena Roni is also a studio owner and pole dance competition organiser who confesses that, as well as it is in other countries, each studio has its own level system. “They are usually multi level classes and the instructor separates the people into groups, according to the level they are currently in”, she says, adding that they are beginner, intermediate and advanced.

“We try to leave the advanced students on their own in class so that they won’t get frustrated with the people who are just beginning”, María Elena says. “In Pole Dance training (the studio she manages) we divide people in basic, intermediate, intermediate 1, advanced and professional”, she continues.

To move up the levels, it’s up to the instructor to decide if the student is ready. They have classes with tricks and movements that you have to learn in each stage to move on. In competitions the divisions are beginner, amateur and professional. The organisers decide which level the competitor is in using a pre-competition video.

BK Brand Ambassador Nicole “The Pole” Williams. Photo by Alloy Images

So, what is your level?

Based on the similarities found in this article, here is what allows us to determine our own unique level:

 

  • Athletes are divided into: beginner, intermediate and advanced levels (with different names for each, sometimes).
  • Inverts are not part of the beginner levels.
  • The level you’re in is determined by the instructor of your studio and it depends on your natural skills and years you’ve been poling.
  • Competitions use three or four levels, like: beginner, intermediate, advanced or professional and elite.
  • Each competition determines its own levels and tricks for every division.
  • Most people are not focused on moving up the levels, they just like pole because it’s fun and a nice hobby.
  • Each studio determines its own levels and how to move up.

We could say that if you know how to invert well you could consider yourself in an intermediate level, and if not then you’re still in the beginner level. If you can do handsprings, aerial inverts, and complex moves then you are advanced. And since the top level is advanced (or professional or elite) and it seems to be infinite since pole dance training and innovation never ends, then once you get to advanced, you will technically be at the top level for a long time!

According to this, what is your pole dance level?

 

Pole Dance Venezuela (www.poledancevenezuela.org)

@poledancev @s0natagrl

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Ermelinda Maglione
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Ermelinda Maglione

I'm a Venezuelan pole addict and a digital journalist. Combining these two passions together I've created a monster hehe. I love to write about controversial pole topics, give tips, do interviews and organize pole events in my country.
Ermelinda Maglione
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