The Side Job: Lisa teaches

'I personally see pole dancing mainly as a sport combining strength and dance.'
Photo Sebastiaan Ploemacher

Who:  Lisa van Malssen (24)
What: Pole dancing instructor
Why: Lisa can share her enthusiasm in the lessons
Hourly wage: 20 euros (net)

You’ve got to make ends meet somehow. We can all borrow from Uncle DUO, but there are also students who earn money from unusual side jobs, such as Lisa van Malssen (24), a Plant Sciences Master’s student. Lisa teaches pole dancing at De Bongerd and the Easy Active gym.

‘I give private lessons, competition training and group lessons. It’s taken off fast because I only started pole dancing three and a half years ago. Before that, I did an awful lot of weight training and modern dance. Pole dancing is actually kind of a combination of the two, so I was able to pick it up quickly. Wageningen’s pole dance association Allegra organizes mentor lessons where advanced members coach beginners. That gave me a gentle introduction to teaching pole dancing. I’ve been an instructor for two years now.

Pole dancing is fun, but also painful

It’s great to be able to share my enthusiasm and help others progress in this sport. I often use choreography in my lessons. It looks a lot like modern dance, only with a pole added. Other key elements of my sessions are flexibility and weight training. Flexibility is important if you want to prevent injuries. I’m actually hypermobile, which means my joints are too flexible. That might sound useful, but it’s not in practice as it makes me more susceptible to injuries. Recently I dislocated my kneecap while doing a backflip on the pole (which is a really cool move). So I need to watch out.
I teach various groups, with people of all ages and backgrounds. But I can count the men in my classes on one hand. Why is that? Pole dancing is fun but it can also be painful. I think women’s higher pain threshold could explain the small number of men. Of course there is also pole dancing’s image, because it originated in strip clubs. The “sexy side” is also artistic — an art in its own right. All forms are valid. I personally see pole dancing mainly as a sport combining strength and dance. I also like the thinking that is required for the techniques. Sometimes, after a long day at the university, I arrive at the class pretty exhausted, but I always come home totally energized again.’

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