Alex Backhaus receives PDC grading award.

Alex Backhaus Northern Pole dance
Alex Backhaus is the first AAP member ever to successfully complete all current levels of the PDC Syllabus grading system undertaking pole dance gradings from levels 1 to 5. Alex started her first grading at level 1 in 2011 and has undertaken a higher level of grading every three months ultimately reaching her level 5 pole dance grading in August 2012.

Alex has been training under the supervision of PDC 4 star approved pole dancing instructor Aimee Lawson, principal instructor and proprietor of Northern Pole Dance.

We spoke to Alex to find out more about her grading experience and her pole dreams for the future:


I first started pole dancing about 8 years ago when I taught myself a few tricks with the help of the internet. I got into pole dancing at work as I had to perform a routine as part of my job as a dancer. However I stopped progressing as I didn't have a tutor nor a spotter and it became too dangerous.
Alex Backhaus Pole-dance grading
At a pole dance competition I found out about Northern Pole Dance and days later I joined. Aimee (Lawson) told me about the gradings and I found it a good idea as I wanted to get some sort of recognition of my level of dancing. So I religiously took the gradings every 3 months. the hardest part is remembering the tricks to do your routine but Aimee is so relaxed and she makes it fun. 

Aimee is very good at encouraging you to try new things  too and is so helpful in many ways including borrowing music, ordering pole stuff or tagging on facebook etc. I really enjoy working with her and even when I practise on my own we always chat and have a laugh. Since I took pole lessons regularly, within a year I started to notice extreme toning in my arms , abdominals and back. I am naturally slim but seeing some tone on you is amazing and extra muscle means faster metabolism.

Pole dancing is an excellent full body workout, when Aimee told me I'm the first person to have finished all gradings I was very surprised. I know I wasn't the first person to start with the gradings so this was a pleasant surprise.

I recommend pole dancing and completing the gradings to everyone because its a great way to keep fit and the gradings help you keep track and recognition of your progress. At class we all support each other with feedback , new ideas and encouragement. we take pictures for evidence, for improvement or just for fun. Time flies and you don't notice you actually work out.

My favourite pole move is still the Toothbrush (pictured below) although there are a few favourites. I like to practise on the X-pole 40mm best as my hands are quite small. I prefer the spinning mode as the motion gives a different feel to it and you look more fluid with transitions.  Of course for practising new moves a static mode is essential.

Alex Backhaus Pole Fitness Image
Pole dancers like Karen Chaundy (PDC Pioneer) inspire me for her ever changing themes and quirky style and Jenyne Butterfly for her immense stage presence. In the future I hope to enter more pole competitions and my dream would be to win any of them.

If you would like to partake in a pole dance grading simply find a PDC Approved instructor near you by using our schools map page. If you can't find an instructor near you then you can partake in on-line gradings although we do recommend training with a PDC approved  instructor as a safer option.

To partake in in-house or on-line gradings you need an AAP membership these cost just £30 for the first year (£10 annual renewal) and you can buy them direct from the PDC or you purchase through your PDC approved instructor.

If you have any questions about the pole dance gradings please do not hesitate to contact us.

Check out our full list of internationally graded pole dancers.

Black and White Photography courtesy of Claire's Photography (Claire Winters).

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