This blogpost is devoted to all those travel lovers who share a passion for the combination of sport and art called pole dance! If you ever wondered if pole dance camps are worth visiting – especially the one I went to in Brand – carry on reading. I’ll tell you all about my experience at the Mountain Pole Camp I attended this summer. Get ready for some unexpected details!
UPDATED: 22 October 2019
I attended Mountain Pole Camp, which was held in the beautiful village of Brand in Austria, in August 2019. The total price for the 4 nights and a selection of 24 workshops with the pole dance stars Lisette Krol, Heidi Coker, Charlotte Robertson and Bendy Kate was about 900 euros.
That price might look a bit steep when you see it for the first time. I was actually thinking for a while whether it would be worth it and if it wouldn’t be better to check another, (cheaper!), pole dance camp.
Luckily, I soon realised that pretty much all the pole camps available nowadays are for the same price, and also, there is no other pole camp which is located in such a stunning natural location of the Austrian Alps. So, I made the decision and got out my bank card!
Did the Mountain Pole Camp meet my expectations? Was it a good deal in the end? Would I recommend it to other pole dancers and is there anything I’d suggest to change?
LOCATION & HOSPITALITY
Mountain Pole Camp is held at a 5-star location. Not just the surroundings of monstrous mountains and green valleys is pretty impressive in itself, but the Hotel ValaVier also offers perfect comfort, delicious food (we had full pension: buffet breakfasts & lunches and 6 courses dinners!) and very pleasant service. You can read more about Brand, the village located at the southwestern border of Austria and Switzerland in my latest article here.
The pole camp in Brand was organized perfectly. We got all the necessary information ahead of time and the organizer Jasmine replied to all of our questions pretty quickly. Especially impressive given how busy she must have been organizing 39 + 39 pole dancers and 4 pole stars!
Yes, our camp was attended altogether by around 39 passionate ‘polerinas’ and there was an additional pole camp added just before ours so more than 75 crazy pole lovers visited Brand within 8 days!
WORKSHOPS & TRAINERS
The workshops were pretty diverse, and one could choose between static pole tricks, flowy choreographs, handstands, stretching, conditioning, spinning combos and lifts/handsprings. One of the workshops with Heidi was dedicated to pole beginners but I’d say that the rest of the workshops were more suitable for intermediate to advanced polers.
I wasn’t extremely surprised by the high level of talent of the amazing instructors we had (that’s what I knew already before!), but I was shocked by the levels of skill displayed by the girls coming to train at the pole camp! More than 80% of the attendees were really advanced, which is always a big plus if you need a little bit of push! I have to say I enjoyed training at such a high level with my co-campers a lot, and picked up plenty of tips from them too.
As I said previously, all the instructors – Bendy, Charlotte, Lisette & Heidi were just stunning. They all are extremely gifted with persistence, determination and such incredible physical skills that I’d have come completely satisfied even if the pole camp itself had been located in a dirty studio of an industrial town in the middle of nowhere.
And they’re not just bloody talented but they are also very kind, nice, funny, understanding and supportive. I can’t decide which one of them was my favourite trainer because they’re all so different.
I enjoyed watching all of them in action: the beautiful flow of Lisette, the elegant strength of Heidi, the perfect transitioning of Charlotte and the impressive flexibility of Bendy. (These are not their only skills, I just tried to describe their style in a 2-word phrase which is super-trooper hard!)
SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES
The only thing what I’d suggest changing was to make the presentation of the camp a little more international at the pole camp itself. The website, the advertisements and the workshops were in English, as it is claimed to be an international pole camp.
But the welcome speech was in German, the reason given that since there were just 7 or 8 of us non-German speakers out of the total number of 39 people, she would use the German language. This meant that the organiser said everything in German, and then explained the most important stuff to us non-German speakers separately.
I think it wasn’t a very welcoming approach for an introduction to the camp. After all, we paid the same amount as the German speaking participants, plus we had to travel there from further distances. Also, the stars of the camp – the trainers – were not German speakers either. Some signs and posters for the pole dance rooms were in German too, leading to the overall impression that this was not a truly international camp.
It definitely didn’t ruin my experience and I didn’t get overly offended, but it would be nice to hold a pole camp advertised as international in an international way.
UPDATE: Jasmin texted me saying sorry and that it wasn’t her intention to make me feel this way. Basically, not everybody who comes to the camp speaks English and the other way round. Luckily, pole dance is a universal language!
CONCLUSION: IS IT WORTH POLING WITH THE STARS IN BRAND?
It definitely is! I’ll bet you’re all going to love the stunning location and the beautiful hotel with all the facilities it offers: comfortable rooms with breath-taking mountain views, medium-large pool, gardens filled with flowers and cute details, a bar with live music and a large spa area.
You’ll also enjoy the large selection of workshops. You can choose the workshops you want to take part in just before they start. You just pop in to one of the 2 rooms (one off-pole, the second one on-pole) a few minutes before and reserve your place with a mat. Take a mat if you have one or else ask Jasmine to lend you one! You’re going to need it for warming-up and stretching.
…AND A FEW MORE DETAILS
It’s up to you to decide if you want to fill your stay completely with workshops (then you’d have 4 workshops a day, so altogether 12 workshops during your stay!) or you take it easier. You can select just the top workshops and enjoy the rest of the time by the pool or exploring the surrounding area which is just AMAZING!
Because those workshops are quite demanding and you’ll get extremely tired even after one day, I’d suggest you skip a few workshops and take some time out to rest. One workshop takes 1.5 hours and it’s packed with lots of exercises, tricks, spins and routines. The most important is just to listen to your body and take a break when needed.
Mountain Pole Camp was one of the best pole experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Not just because I got to explore new pole techniques, and tried things I’d never tried before, but because I also met lots of new ‘polerinas’ and saw four amazing pole dance performances live (at the instructor’s show).
I really hope to come back so maybe we’ll all meet there some day and share our #polelove. Mountain Pole Camp – or any other pole camp you can find – is a must on your pole journey.