Pole dancing has emerged as a popular activity and occupation both in Egypt and across the world. It can be considered a form of art and exercise, but provides you with a very different experience than going to the gym. Going through the movements must be done consciously during pole class, your body and mind must be in constant communication with each other. Pole is not just about strength but coordination too; in order to master the movements and become a professional, you will need stamina, flexibility and muscle endurance. Execution is one thing, but performance is another. Coordination is key, and elegance is born out of your persistence to keep twisting and twirling.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting and interviewing one of the youngest and most talented pole dancers in Egypt – the stunning Mariam Meghres. If you don’t know who she is, I gotta ask if you’re living under a rock! Mariam is an 18 year old freshman at The American University in Cairo, but when she’s not at university or studying, she is in her private pole studio either practicing or instructing, solidifying herself as a true inspiration and a radical individual.
Mariam started pole dancing not too long ago, her first class was on August 29th of 2015, she stated that she was instantly hooked and fell in love with this specific sport in a short amount of time, she loved how it was unique and different from everything else, the best part of it was the millions of ways pole could be artistic and expressive. A graceful outlet to her emotions and a space through which she can grow and prosper as a person first and a dancer second.
When asked, she says that never knew she needed pole in her life until she actually tried it out, at the time, the activity wasn’t widely – rather, openly – spread around the world, let alone in backward Egypt. However, this obstacle only led her on a hunt for the right instructor who’d make sure that this was her passion and that this form of art was what she wanted to pursue.
She went into her first class hoping to establish it as her passion, she wanted to make sure that when she was dancing she felt empowered and beautiful. Thankfully, she left her first class satisfied and sure that one day she’d be something in this community, and that was her motivation.
Surprisingly, Mariam progressed rapidly due to her work ethic and passion pumping through her veins, she was so in love with pole that she took around 4 to 5 classes a week, and it became her regular outlet. A year later, she decided that she’d install a pole in her home; she just couldn’t wait to go to her classes and was hellbent on training at home as well. She was thriving during pole to the point where some of the studios just didn’t satisfy her level at all. So, she started privately training and gaining acknowledgement from many people in the community, eventually good feedback led to the question/request/demand of “do you teach?”
Mariam hadn’t really thought of it before, but she loved the idea so much that she started tiny pole fitness sessions at her own home and that’s how Private Pole Egypt was born. Her aim was to empower women all around around her, she wanted to show them that beauty was way more than what you look like, it was way more than physical appearances. Spreading the message successfully, Mariam taught women how beautiful pole can be and how it can make you more flexible and powerful, while also proving the incredible potential of their own bodies. The journey for Mariam was more about self love and empowerment than making her business commercial. Many people consider self care to be bubble baths and luxurious items, however, pole dance was Mariam’s. The pain, the bruises and the challenges that come with doing pole are what makes it so much more than just a sport.
Mariam was working on an online pole certification, until it started to get in the way of her schoolwork, that’s when she had to set her priorities straight and focus on academic work a lot more. Private Pole Egypt is currently still on hold as Mariam is taking on university and juggling everything else that comes with suddenly finding yourself going from “teen” to “adult” in a couple of months.
Her parents had a huge role in shaping the kind of person Mariam is today, before she talked to them about it she thought that they would view it in a way that was degrading and non appreciative, only to find out that they were rooting for her. They were both super supportive and did anything they could to provide Mariam with all the assets she needed to pursue her dream.
Pole is viewed very differently among many people, but culturally, it’s often viewed as disrespectful and inappropriate to be an activity, let alone a sport or an art. Little do those people know, the stamina and strength that pole dancers have physically, mentally and emotionally is astounding. The challenges that come with pole dancing are what motivate the dancers to keep going, it teaches them patience and how to forgive themselves and get up and try again, most importantly as Mariam exclaimed:
what you think about what you do is way more important than what people think you do, or should do.
Pole makes you see the beauty in yourself through your own eyes, it helps you create a deeper connection with yourself and allows you to take on many challenges you never thought you could. Passionate pole dancers are so busy working on themselves that they have no time for criticism or negative perception of the sport, and as Mariam told us so beautifully:
they have no idea how hard it is to keep trying and still fail, how hard it is to pick yourself up and try again, so no, pole dancers couldn’t care less about what you think because they’re too busy improving themselves
Here’s a piece of advice from Mariam to aspiring dancers: just go for it, pole isn’t something you should be embarrassed of, neither should you be ashamed of pole, you don’t realize how powerful and beautiful it is and how proud you should be for going at it. Pole has evolved so beautifully over these past few years and will continue to rise, it’s time to tune out the negative voices and just do it, do what you love and be proud of it.