Interview with Karen Currie from Princess K Fitness

Posted: Jan 08 2012

We've met some great inspirational people in the pole dancing world who have helped and inspired others. This time we talk to Karren Currie the owner of Princess K Fitness in Hampshire, who has helped her students gain confidence and progress into instructors.  Karen also recently featured on the 'Fit Gear' show about pole dancing fitness on Fitness TV. 

1.How and did you first get interested in pole dancing and what made you become an instructor?
I had already met Clive Coote (Mr X-Pole!) via our joint interest in power boating when my own personal introduction to Pole Dancing happened.  It was the most common scenario – at a hen party!  In 2006, my soon-to-be brother-in-law and his fiancée had a joint party and, as he runs Strawberry Moons in London, a pole in the club provided a great finale to the evening.  The assembled group had a play on the pole but I was far too prudish and lacking in self-confidence to try it.  Days later I was berating myself about the fact that someone of my age (then 45) was still worried about such ridiculous stuff and decided to have one lesson so that it wouldn’t happen next time we met up with them. I had my first lesson in 2007 and two years later, after receiving some pretty awful teaching myself plus some encouragement to teach Pole Fit properly, I decided to take my ETM (Exercise to Music) and Vertical Dance qualifications.

2.Tell us about Princess K fitness
The name was actually given to me whilst on honeymoon in 2005 by some friends in beautiful St Lucia.  It seemed a great name to use for my Pole Fit business. Princess K Fitness is primarily about teaching fitness in a non-judgmental atmosphere.  I’ve always felt slightly intimidated when joining new classes – I’m not good even now at stepping out of my comfort zone and yet I find I often want to.  I do, however, love challenging myself to try new things and love to indulge my saucy side occasionally too – especially as my day job running a construction company with my husband, is rather sensible. So, at Princess K Fitness – We want to empower, inspire and motivate people of all ages, shapes and sizes, genders, fitness levels and dance abilities -  by enjoying fitness, particularly Pole Fitness, in that non-judgmental and fun atmosphere. We want to promote self-confidence, build strength and flexibility whilst embracing our sensual selves. We understand that it is natural to be nervous of stepping out of your comfort zone – everyone at the class has been in that situation – we will endeavour to make everyone feel at ease!

3.Do you have any inspiring student success stories?
A lot of my students tell me that Pole Fit has somehow enabled a shift in their levels of confidence – they literally ‘walk taller’.  Many have lost weight and some of my curvier ladies are positively elated when they get inverted despite their initial misgivings that it may be possible for them to do so. I also think that a lot of students see the Pole Fit sessions as therapy – it is a great way to escape from personal problems and I’ve seen some deep friendships built as people begin to trust each other in what can be quite a vulnerable situation – letting go of your preconceived ideas about yourself and Pole Fitness. With new instructors emerging from within my own student list, that is also a great result from the increased levels of confidence that they now have.  They have new careers, new strings to their bows and a new belief in their abilities.

4.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
Apart from the obvious benefit to the way I look in becoming fitter and therefore more toned, I love being able to share something that has taught me so much about myself; my physical capabilities, my self-confidence and my ability to push my own self-limiting beliefs.  If I can inspire one person to try the same then it has to be worth it.  Plus, it’s great having a Cheeky Little Secret – such a conversation topic and it definitely gives me a buzz when I walk down the street knowing what my hobby is!

5. What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
My favourite moves (that I can do – there are plenty I love but cannot yet master!) would probably include;

1)The Cross Ankle Release (or Bat) – always a great move to show newbies as it amazes them and it is a great feeling once you achieve it on your own for the first time.
2)The Shoulder Mount – another impressive move and a great show of strength.
3)The Back Hook (or Showgirl) – simple but effective and once mastered, it can be done with such speed and elegance.

6.What are the main fitness benefits of pole dancing and how have pole dancing improved your fitness, strength or body shape?
The main fitness benefits I believe are improved muscle tone, core strength, upper body strength (something that can be harder for women, in particular, to achieve without hours spent pumping weights), increased flexibility, good posture and balance.  Personally, I have seen the muscle tone on my upper body change dramatically and wearing sleeveless tops is now a pleasure.  I am much stronger than I used to be particularly at a time in my life when other women my age are beginning to show signs of diminishing strength.  And I am also quite proud of my abs – they get a lot of work but it is all worth it.

7.What’s your favourite move for strength training on the pole?
I always promote moves both on and off the pole for strength training because some students don’t have poles at home and I do believe your strength needs daily work.  My favourite move on the pole would probably be a simple Pull Up (Chin Up) – as long as it is done properly then this move combines everything you need to build strength.  You need to keep the arms slightly bent to ensure that you are working the bicep, shoulders and even the wrists in the lift, keeping the abs tight will assist in general core stability.

8.What pole performers do you admire or inspire you?
There are so many amazing performers in the Pole Fit/Dancing world today and each one brings something different.  I love watching Felix Cane for her tricks, Suzie Q for her strength and suppleness, Sally Ann Giles for her total cheekiness but my absolute favourite has to be the gorgeous Annie Norris; amazingly graceful, incredibly strong, slightly saucy and such a lovely lady too!

9. If someone has never tried pole dancing before how do they get started?
My advice now would always be to try a Taster session or to take a class with a reputable instructor.  There are lots of very able instructors out there now and so much has been learned over the years about what to do and what not to do.  Combining Pole Dancing and Pole Fitness today, those who have been poling for years, have helped to work out some of the dangers that existed with simply learning from You Tube or similar, to create worthwhile and meaningful classes for those who are eager to learn.  That has allowed instructors like me, to follow in their footsteps and pass on safe Pole Fit teaching practices.  Once a student has attended a class for some time, and then I advise them to buy their own pole because the basics will have been mastered.

10. What’s next for you in the coming year?
2012 is going to be a very exciting year for Princess K Fitness as I will be increasing the class timetable; I’m introducing new instructors to the Princess K Fitness team.  This is really great news for me as I only ever thought I’d be teaching 2 classes a week by myself.  We are currently at 5 classes and that’s increasing each month at the moment plus we are finally able to offer weekend classes now too. Personally, I do have some Pole Fit goals – to master the Brass Monkey, Ayesha and Jade poses and the Knee Hold (which still kills my poor knees every time I try it!), and to complete my Vertical Dance Advanced Pole Fit qualification!

Find out more about Karen and Princess K Fitness here

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  • Posted by TassiaAga on January 08, 2012

    Wow this looks fab – Princess K def sounds like a real inspiration! I’ve been debating whether or not to take up Pole Fitness, but after reading this, I think I’m going to have to!

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