A woman from Crawley is hoping to raise the profile and reputation of pole dancing by using it to help young people increase their confidence.
Paula Bines, 24, from Tilgate took up pole fitness with no experience and at a time when she was lacking self-confidence.
Now working with Fixers, a charity which supports 16 to 25 year olds to ‘fix’ the issues that fire them up, Paula has started a pole fitness awareness campaign.
In her first session, she challenged Crawley Rugby Club men’s team to give pole fitness a try and showed them how it develops strength and core stability.
Paula wants to teach others about the physical benefits of it.
She said: “Before I started pole dancing, or fitness, I was very self-conscious. I was a completely different person.
“I couldn’t stand in front of a crowd of people let alone do what I’m doing now, teaching them.
“It has changed me. I have got more confidence and I am so much stronger than I was when I first started. It’s just so empowering.
“I want to change the perception of pole dancing. It’s now moved out of the clubs and into the gyms and I think everyone can benefit from it.
“It’s different, it’s challenging, it’s mentally and physically so much fun. Pole Fitness makes you feel great.”
Guy Young senior coach at Crawley RFC, said the workout Paula subjected the players to was a good way of measuring and increasing the strength needed for rugby.
He said: “It helps because you can see who’s got the core fitness and who hasn’t, who’s working hard, who’s not.
“The balance as well, they are all key aspects of playing rugby. And I think that’s where it’s useful as a sort of test.”
Pole fitness expert Kay Penney from Crawley Pole Passion agreed.
She said: “The perception of pole has really changed for the positive. Paula is demonstrating that it’s available for everyone – in fields, in groups and in village halls.
“It hasn’t got the perception from many years ago when we took it out of the gentlemen’s clubs.”