If you attend classes at the same studio for a long time, you get acclimated to its culture. But what if you visit a new studio? Every studio is different, which means the rules and expectations can vary. Many studios have their policies published, but just in case they aren't: here are five things to think twice about before you just assume they're okay. And when in doubt, just ask! Your instructors and the studio owners are happy to help.
Pole dance is a recording culture. We record pretty much everything! But privacy is also important. Some studios have policies against recording, while others don't. If you aren't sure, ask if it's okay to record yourself or others before doing so. It's also nice to give a heads up to or get the consent of anyone who is in the background of your video because not everyone's pole life is public.
Some studios frown upon students teaching other students during class. However, I know of a handful of studios whose approach is based around community learning and students are encouraged to share freely what they know. If you aren't sure, wait until after class and check with your instructor before you potentially overstep.
Some studios do not want anyone but the trained and more importantly insured instructor on duty spotting anyone in class. But other studios teach safe spotting techniques as part of the curriculum and welcome the extra set of hands. Both are valid, just different. If you aren't sure, just ask!
Many studios have a rule that prohibits students from participating in class if they are more than 10 minutes late. Other studios allow late students to warm themselves up and trust them to know their own bodies. Check the studio's policy before your first class. Tardiness and related policies are usually pretty prominent on a studio's website or booking app.
5. Body Talk
Some studios are body positive and have policies against body shaming yourself or others. Other studios encourage body neutrality because how your body looks has no relation to your value as a human being. Either way, it's worth thinking twice before making a body-related comment, especially if you are new to a studio. If you're new to this idea and are pressed for what to say instead, try complimenting someone's progress toward a trick, their improved fluidity in low flow, or their creativity when free dancing!
The point of all of this is not to make you scared of saying or doing the wrong thing! It's just to make you aware that not every studio has the same culture or mission-- thank GOD. Could you imagine if all pole studios were the same? There'd be no flavor! And in the end, everyone at a pole studio is there for a similar reason: to pole and have fun! So leave your assumptions at the door, go inside, and see what this new-to-you studio has to offer.