The Vertitude is named for the quality it wishes to instill in its students: Vertical Attitude.
“To be vertical in dance means to be up right, fully engaged in the movement and to have a confident fluid bearing or presence. To be vertical in fitness means to stand tall, confidently taking charge of your personal well being. Attitude in dance and fitness means maintaining a positive outlook by being physically and mentally strong.”
As one of the largest studios in LA, The Vertitude offers a huge variety of classes in Pole, Aerial Arts, Dance and Fitness. Their class variety embraces both the artistic and athletic elements of pole dance, while providing options for both new polers and serious polers who can join their competition team.
The studio owner is also a former student of the studio, making her particularly committed to the studio community.
As I mentioned, The Vertitude stands out for its huge variety of classes. Classes include level specific and mixed level pole, exotic pole, low flow pole, flexibility, yoga, jazz, and ballet. Movement Lab, which I'll detail later in this post, struck me as particularly unique.
Additionally, the studio has open pole hours daily, which has been surprisingly hard to come by.
Despite all these studio perks, an unlimited monthly membership runs slightly cheaper than the average studio in LA. For those who are looking for something with less commitment, a range of class packages are available.
The first class I took at The Vertitude was a Mixed Level 1-5 pole class. It just so happened to be on my birthday, and so I was invited to come back later in the week for a free birthday class!
This was my first time taking a truly mixed level pole class, where the students ranged from beginners to competitors. After a very thorough warm up, each student got to work on moves of their choice, while the instructor, Katherine, made rounds to instruct and spot. This class structure could get overwhelming in a larger group, but with only five students in the class, we each got lots of time with Katherine.
I gained a lot from watching what the other students were working on. Sometimes in my own training I get stuck working on the same moves all the time, but being in this environment exposed me to lots of new tricks, including the split in my pole journal below.
I used my free birthday class to check out Movement Lab, which admittedly took a bit of courage on my part! The class description reads:
“Movement Lab is your safe place to unleash yourself. Whip your hair and explore strange and wonderful flows with us. The instructor will guide you through dance games, structured flow and partner exercises designed to excite and inspire you. Discover new movement and expand the familiar. Whether your comfort zone is contemporary, unashamedly sexy, gymnastic, or your own unique blend, you’ll be welcome here. Suitable for every dancer, all levels welcome."
Typically, every time I think of my pole practice as dance I freeze up and feel about as graceful as this baby elephant:
So taking a creative movement class felt pretty edgy. I went into it knowing I was going to have to completely let go of my movement inhibitions in order to get anything out of the class.
During the class we did a variety of exercises based on different prompts, such as:
For the final exercise, we danced in groups of 3. The person in the center improvised movement at a standing level. Simultaneously, one dancer mimicked their movement, staying aerial at the top of the pole, and the third dancer mimicked the movement on the floor.
While I still felt a bit like a clumsy elephant, I did manage to have a great time in this class, and get some ideas for my own training, and or exercises to use when I teach. I'm grateful to this project for pushing me to take unique classes rather than sticking to my comfort zone!
Peek into my Pole Journal
(once I’m in a space with regular access to a pole for filming, I’ll be making video tutorials for some of my favorite takeaways!)
I wasn't able to do this one the day I was learning it at The Vertitude, but I started to get the hang of it at an open pole session a few weeks later.
- Get into a genie with both legs hooked onto the pole.
- Bring both hands between your knees
- The lower elbow hooks around the pole and hugs your bottom leg.
- The top arm reaches down, over your head to grab the pole.
- Slide that bottom hand down as far as possible to bring your chest close to the pole.
- Carefully unhook your top leg, first bringing your ankle to the pole before pulling your leg away from the pole.