• May 20, 2020
Natasha Lawrence in her Plimmerton studio. Photo: Maia Hall
Online pole dancing classes proved so successful through lockdown that a Wellington business owner aims to continue them alongside her regular Porirua studio classes.
The Chrome Academy owner Natasha Lawrence says lockdown gave her a unique opportunity to expand online by sourcing instructors from around the country - and reach students from as far away as Switzerland.
Mrs Lawrence found that students were signing up for more online classes than normal, and says that she might keep them going forever.
“It worked well, we reached international students from all over the world that I wouldn’t have usually reached in the studio in Porirua.”
Mrs Lawrence has been wanting to expand her Pole community outside her six person studio, but for the moment, her students are loving the online structure.
She says while some students do have their own poles at home to practice with, she was very clear about the risks involved in training without an instructor to keep everyone safe.
Her business employs a number of instructors with experience in all different areas including burlesque classes, chair dancing, yoga, ballet barre, flexibility, conditioning, floor work and many others.
“The students learnt so many other skills during that time that work well with pole - strength building classes, lines and flexibility ties in well with any kind of dance.”
One long-term student going through financial troubles through the pandemic was having to quit her membership, but The Chrome Academy supported her by allowing her to continue online classes throughout lockdown, as a thank you for supporting the business.
“The worst thing for someone when they’re going through a hard time is to also lose something they really love to do… that was a big thing for me,” said Mrs Lawrence.
She was pleased to be able to return the support she has received from her pole dancing community.
The hardest part about pole dancing is ignoring the stigma or nerves, just booking that first session and going along, she said.
“Community is the biggest part of pole dancing.
“The sisterhood around you, the support and empowerment you feel from coming along to a class and being involved in the community totally just diminished all of those nerves.”
Mrs Lawrence has plans to expand on her small six-person studio but for now, her online classes will do.
“Once a chromie, always a chromie.”
Her small award-winning studio is coming up to its third birthday in July.