Monday, August 11, 2014

Studio Review: Pole Haus, Philadelphia

Striking an Anastasia at Pole Haus Philly
For as often as I've been to Philly, I haven't poled a lot there. Most of the studios are in the suburbs and my schedule is usually so packed that even if I had a car it would be tough to find a class at my level during my free time. There was that time I went to Philly Premier Pole Studio (see Studio Review: Philly Premier Pole Studio), but I understand that place is sadly no more.

From the ashes has risen Pole Haus. I don't think it's the same ownership, but some of the instructors have migrated over, and they've taken Philly Premier's spot as the only pole studio right in Center City.

Fortunately schedules worked out and they had an open pole during my one free day, which was yesterday. I didn't get around to booking until I was already in Philly, and I hate trying to navigate MindBody sites on my phone, so I tried calling the number on the site to ask if I could just show up. No one picked up and I didn't leave a message because I didn't want them calling back when I was with the cast of the opera (which is what I was in Philly for). But they called back anyways and I accidentally blurted out "OH HI THIS IS PIPPI I WANT TO SEE ABOUT OPEN POLE TOMORROW" in front of the tenor who is a Catholic priest and the octagenarian pianist. Oops. But the owner said it would be fine.

Sunday I had the whole day off and after an insane brunch at Green Eggs (French toast so decadent you'd never believe it was vegan) and a little poking around at nearby Buffalo Exchange (I found a cute skirt for fall) I showed up early for class at Pole Haus so I could stretch and look around.
Yes, this is vegan.
The studio is no-frills, but not in a run-down kind of way like so many are. The space actually seemed more like a luxury condo, with large sunny windows and a nicely carpeted area to one side. There was no expensive sound system or lounge area with cushy chairs and pole magazines strewn about, but there were little cubbies for your shoes and a reception desk selling grip aids and tank tops. One thing they had that's an unusual feature was those wooden ladder-like bars that are used for stretching and stuff. I forget what they're called, but here's a picture from their website:
The studio owner, Jules, greeted me with a waiver when I walked in. I think she was taking part in the class that was finishing up, which was instructed by a woman named Jazzy. It was "Level 3," and the students were working on Jades and elbow stands while I was warming up over on the carpet.

There were only 2 other students for Pole Practice. I met a Tamara, who was working on inversions, and a Faye, who was working on some ambitious stuff like Fonjis and other drops. I mostly worked on stuff I don't have room in my apartment to do, like combos that require a little more height than my tiny apartment affords. We had some fun conversations and I demo'd some stuff and gave tips when asked about certain moves. (I tried to be helpful without taking over the class--always an awkward balance. See also Teachers Teaching Teachers.)

Open pole workouts have very different levels of instructor engagement from studio to studio. At some, the instructors walk around and offer suggestions. At others, they just hang back until they see someone who needs a spot or a technique tip. This class was pretty hands-off, as we had both the owner and an instructor watching over us but they let us do what we wanted without interfering. (Obviously I'm sure they would have jumped in if someone needed help!) I did specifically request and receive a spot on a tricky move I wanted to work on, which was helpful.

I didn't work out as hard as I sometimes do because I was a little overheated. The studio was air conditioned but I still ended up just being too warm and sweaty. I tried to follow my own advice as much as possible (see Bad Kitty: How to Pole when it's Too Damn Hot), and I found the air conditioning was strongest near the ceiling, so I took a few opportunities to pole-sit up there. But mostly I just had to take it easy.

Speaking of the ceiling, this place has nicer ceilings than most pole studios. Usually there's either a drop ceiling or a bunch of pipes and beams. This one had one pipe that was in the way of certain poles, but for the most part you could do a ceiling lay without too much maneuvering. That's actually pretty rare! And another fun fact about the ceiling that I wouldn't have known if I hadn't asked about the pole height: the ceiling is a little slanted, so the poles near the door are half a foot taller than the ones on the opposite wall.

My classmates bagged a little early, so I took some cool-down time to chat with Jules and buy a tank top. (I'm wearing it right now, it's cute!) We had a nice couple minutes getting to know each other and discussing everything from learning styles to bachelorette parties. I can't speak to the instruction since I didn't take an instructed class. But the space is cute, the people are nice, and the location can't be beat. Usually I hit a studio once just to get the flavor, but I could see myself going back here if I'm in Philly again.
Yes I held it long enough to get both shots. Ow.
Pole Haus, Philadelphia
Equipment: 12 45mm chrome X-Poles, spinning-static convertible, 12-12.5'. Just one room, but 3 of the poles are over a carpeted area.
Amenities: In-studio bathroom (you don't have to walk into the hallway like at many places), reception desk, stretching bar-ladder thing, lots of yoga blocks, one crash mat
Drop-in price: $25, $10 for Pole Practice

No comments:

Post a Comment