The Tab tries… pole dancing

Getting to grips with one of Oxford’s more risqué societies.


The term ‘conservative’ is often associated with Oxford, but one Oxford society defies this stereotype: the Oxford University Pole Dancing Society!

I attended the White Garter Beginners’ Class with five other girls and leader, Natalie Watkins. We began the session with an aerobic warm up, including sits ups and press ups, as I was told core muscle strength is integral to the art of pole dance.

Natalie is keen to assure people that pole dancing can be anything you want it to be – playful, energetic, sexy, sensual or just a sport. Anyone is welcome, you don’t need any prior experience and everyone is made to feel comfortable, whilst enjoying a thorough workout.

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The group tried a number of ‘beginners’ moves on the poles. The first was the ‘seat’, which involved wrapping our legs around the pole and balancing without holding on.

As I sat on the pole and held out my hands, Natalie commented on how graceful I looked, she was sure I must have done this before. However, next came the ‘fireman’s spin’ which left no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was my first time.

Natalie spun round the pole gracefully, in her crop top and hot pants – our class, on the other hand, seemed quite the opposite of sexy.

It was, however, great fun and despite perhaps not looking particularly seductive, everyone did spend the whole lesson giggling.

After one session I was not going to be awarded with the ‘white garter’ which the rest of the girls receive at the end of their course but I had experienced another side to Oxford which I had certainly never expected.

So, if you fancy trying The Oxford University Pole Dancing Society, contact Natalie Watkins at [email protected] and she will advise you on which class you would be best suited to join.