Johanna Sapakie Oct 1 - 2 min read
History of pole
Johanna - the one who trained JLo for her role in "Hustlers"
Introducing someone to pole dance for the first time and teaching them the art form is always so much fun, especially someone as athletic and physically capable as JLo!
However, what made this job so exciting was the combination of so many of my skill sets into one project. This job wasn’t only about pole dancing. From the very first day, we started working together, we were always discussing how her character in the film would move and how to use the pole dancing to help the audience truly understand who she is in this story.
Because we only had a few months to get her ready for the role, I had to be very efficient with our training process. Approaching the job from the perspective of ‘character’ really allowed me to streamline and pinpoint what she needed to learn in order to transform for the film. Jennifer is an incredibly busy woman, balancing her TV shows, music career, film career, and family life (Hello? She got engaged during the time we were working together!!!) so we had limited hours to train.
I had to be very strategic and always in my mind was the idea of what movement would look best on camera and be the most useful for each pole dancing scene. The world knows JLo as a phenomenal mover, dancer, and performer so we knew her transition to pole dancing would have to be equally as strong. Her dedication and focus on perfection are amazing and she definitely put the hard work in to pick up this brand-new skill.
It was very important to her, and to myself as her coach, that she didn’t just learn how to do some pole moves, but that she could be absolutely confident and dominating in her presence on screen. She said in interviews and many times in conversations that pole dancing is one of the hardest things she has ever had to learn in her career!
Coming from a woman with a work ethic as exceptional as Jennifer’s, that is quite the testament to all the polers out there. She fully recognized how much effort goes into doing what we do and said she has a newfound respect for pole dancing. She also became intimately familiar with ‘pole kisses’, aka pole bruises, and definitely got her fair share!
But it was all worth it because what she was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time was truly remarkable! When it came time for filming, Jennifer Lopez absolutely nailed her pole scenes (including her outside leg hangs!). I was so very proud to have guided her on this journey into the world of pole dance and I cannot wait for everyone to see her fly!
Look out for Hustlers, coming to theatres this fall.
Love - Johanna Sapakie