(Disclaimer: I was gifted a 1 1/2 hour private lesson with Peach Lee Ray in return for this post. All opinions are my own, and as always, I’d never promote anything that wouldn’t benefit my lovely readers. Read my disclosure here)
I’ve been trying to break out of my pole funk for probably about six months now.
Honestly, it felt like I tried everything under the sun. I moved studios (which helped), I bought myself new polewear, and I booked myself on to workshops. I took breaks from pole, but staying at home made it harder to want to get going again.
After a workshop that left me in tears, I posted on my Instagram stories about how frustrating it was that the pole world still doesn’t adapt to different body types – and that I was worried I’d be stuck for a long time
Then, appearing like an angel in my DMs, Peach Lee Ray invited me up for a couple of hours of private training to help me find my love of pole again.
So, in November 2019, my partner and I made the two hour drive up to the Wirral so I could learn from one of the pole dancers who’s inspired me so much throughout my pole journey.
About Peach Lee Ray and Feelin’ Peachy
Peach Lee Ray is a pole and dance instructor and confidence coach based in the Wirral, UK.
She’s been part of the pole world for five years, and in 2018, she founded Feelin’ Peachy – a pole, dance, and empowerment studio dedicated to combining pole dance with her love of personal development and confidence coaching.
Feelin’ Peachy is more than a pole and dance studio – it’s a family. I know that sounds cheesy, but I can’t think of any better way to describe the wonderful community that surrounds this studio.
Whether you go to progress your pole tricks, sign up for Peach’s four-week choreo courses, get your sexy on with exotic chair dance sessions, or do the occasional private lesson to top up your skills, Feelin’ Peachy is ready to welcome you with open arms and a loving heart.
Feelin’ Peachy – The Studio
With me living two hours away by car from the Wirral, I haven’t been able to make it to Feelin’ Peachy since I did the Inverts and Climbs 101 workshop with Roz Mays in early 2019.
Which is a travesty, really.
From the outside, Feelin’ Peachy looks like any other unassuming industrial estate block – but inside is hiding a beautiful Barbie-pink wonderland. It’s an intimate venue, and every aspect of the studio has been designed to bring joy, from the canopy of fairy lights to the studio bathroom.
It’s a space that’s not trying to pretend it’s something else. Like Peach Lee Ray, Feelin’ Peachy is unapologetically small, fierce, and fighting society’s expectations one dance class at a time.
The Full Peach Experience
After a brief warmup, Peach told me delightfully that I was going to get the full Peach experience – and I was ready for whatever she wanted to throw my way.
When she asked me what I wanted to work on, I told her that I’d been struggling with my Cross Knee Release for months because I struggled to cross my leg over, and I wanted to be able to hold a Skater with one hand. Aside from that, I was happy to let her take the lead, so before we got started she said we’d also be working on spin mechanics and fundamentals for static pole, exotic fundamentals, and freestyle.
Because it was my first time learning from her, Peach put together a cute little welcome pack for me, which I’d love to talk more about because I really think it helps to show what kind of studio Feelin’ Peachy is.
The brochure is less like a sales piece, and more like a quick-fire welcome guide to the studio. The first two pages immediately welcome you into the loving arms of the studio by promising you that it’s a space for self-improvement, love, and acceptance. While the brochure does have some soft rules for behaviour – such as refraining from negative self-talk, which I love – these are in place to help everyone grow and shine.
Of course, it also goes on to talk about the classes you can take at Feelin’ Peachy, from level-based pole dance classes, the ever-popular geeky choreo classes, and their exotic pole and chair dance classes.
The peach has taken pride of place on my bedside table to remind me that I’m loved and cherished, which with my mental health is a great affirmation to wake up to. It’s like I have a little slice of the studio at home with me, and once you’ve spent any amount of time there, you’ll know how comforting that can feel.
I’m still waiting for something I can wear my pin on, though – if anyone has any suggestions for how to wear enamel pins, let me know!
Fundamental Spin Mechanics
To help warm the poles up, we started with some beginner-level spins, and Peach taught me one of the first spins she teaches to her beginners. As it was a backwards spin I thought I’d be terrified, but I picked it up pretty quickly – and had a lot of fun with it!
Honestly, even though a big part of this section was based in theory, I saw a huge amount of improvement in my spins straight away. Peach taught me about the use of momentum in pole spins, including how to build that momentum and use it in a way that served the spin you were doing.
She also gave me some awesome visualisation techniques that helped me use that momentum in a way that helped my spins last for longer, and feel a lot less awkward.
I went from holding my Chair spin for a fraction of a second – with it feeling more like a hop – to actually being able to spin for a solid three seconds, which was astounding to me! Having solidly struggled with my Chair spin for years (not even an exaggeration, either), being able to improve it after 20 minutes of coaching was amazing.
Strength and Tricks
Once I was nice and warmed up (and appropriately dizzy), we moved on to my Cross Knee Release and One-Handed Skater. While my One-Handed Skater was a recent challenge of mine, I’d always struggled with my Cross Knee Release.
Since I started training my Cross Knee Release, I’d always been told I had to get my ankle halfway up my thigh – but my legs just don’t work that way. I can’t even get my ankle there when I’m lying on the sofa without using my hands, much less so when I’m trying to grip onto a chrome bar for dear life while wondering if today’s the day I’m going to get a free pube wax from the pole.
I was convinced that my body was wrong, and I’d just have to keep drilling it, or I had to work on my flexibility first before I had a hope in hell of doing it.
But this wasn’t the case with Peach. She explained to me that people quite often struggle with certain moves because they have differences in their anatomy that means they need modifications or different directions, but many instructors are teaching everyone in the same way.
Which means, inevitably, that some people will feel like their bodies just aren’t made to do the thing they want to do – like I did.
Once I was on the pole and had Peach guiding me through using my hip rotation to adjust the positioning of my legs, I came the closest to my Cross Knee Release that I’d ever been.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe that for so long, I thought my body was the problem.
To give my thighs a break, we moved on to my One-Handed Skater, and I told her my problem was that I didn’t feel like I could take my second hand off. Within five minutes of guidance, I did it!
Then, Peach showed me a short combo that did, in the end, work out to be a bit too advanced for me, but I wanted to work with the mechanics she was showing me for getting into a comfortable (and secure) leaned-over layout position.
Then, boom – I got my Peter Pan for the first time.
Exotic and Flow
To finish the class, Peach walked me through the fundamentals of exotic-style pole, before getting me to do a short freestyle routine so she could give me advice on my choreography and musicality.
Having only done exotic pole in workshops and the odd class here and there, it was great going in-depth on the fundamentals. Knowing which muscle groups to engage, when, and why, made an instant difference not only in how my dance looked – but how it felt, too.
With some fundamentals under my belt (or, at the very least, looking passable), Peach asked me if I was comfortable doing a short freestyle, and I jumped at the chance to dance to Disobedient from Steven Universe: The Movie.
To my surprise, Peach told me my musicality was on point!
Obviously, I had places where I could improve. I’m not a natural dancer by any stretch of the imagination, and dancing often feels uncomfortable to me unless I’m in my own company, or it’s a routine I’ve worked on for months.
Peach walked me through how I can improve my future choreography, and demonstrated the dance theory she’d picked up over years of teaching herself. Again, this knowledge felt so fundamental to me, but it’s something I’d never been taught, and it changed everything I thought I knew about pole dance.
Now Peach had turned me into a completely sweaty mess, we wrapped up the session with a quick photo session against the famous Feelin’ Peachy wall before we grabbed some snacks and sat down to chat about what I’d just learned, Peach’s approach to teaching, and the pole industry.
Huge thanks once again to Peach Lee Ray for inviting me to her beautiful studio and teaching me more in an hour and a half than I’ve learned in months. As always, I had an amazing time in this beautiful studio. Feelin’ Peachy really feels like a sanctuary away from the outside world, and somewhere you can spend an hour or two just being authentically you.
Whether you’re local to the Wirral or, like me, get the chance to drop in occasionally, Feelin’ Peachy is the place to go for dance and aerial lessons that make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Also check out Peach Lee Ray’s Instagram, because she’s one hell of a performer and she’ll give you all of the choreo inspiration.
Join me on Monday for an exclusive chat with Peach Lee Ray!
Normally I’d ask you to toss a coin to your blogger, but instead, please donate to one of the many organisations in Australia that are battling the horrific wildfires – like the Australian Red Cross, WIRES, or the First Nations fundraiser. KPole in Birmingham, UK is also running a raffle with a bunch of awesome prizes with all proceeds going towards WIRES – you can find out how to donate here.
If you’re going to donate to help these organisations support people, communities, and wildlife in need, please do your research beforehand to ensure you’re donating to a legitimate charity, organisation, or fundraiser. And please don’t donate to the Salvation Army, because they’re trash. Thanks <3