Nusaiba al Maskari, the first female pole dancer in Oman, who set out to propagate pole dancing as a unique fitness regime some years ago, believes that the period of the lockdown came as a test for everyone – a time when each one was needed to rise up and face new challenges.
Juggling between working from home, homeschooling her son, and delivering online lessons in pole dancing, Nusaiba managed to strike a perfect balance, quite literally. And now, she realises that nothing else can quite replace family time.
Nusaiba, who wanted to prove that Omanis, especially Arabs, can do something that’s not common in their society, had to go against the grain to take up pole dancing. Her family was quite supportive, but often she had hard nuts to crack around herself when trying the explain that pole dancing can be used as a creative form of fitness and not just for community entertainment, as commonly perceived.
The girl who picked up expert tips from a Russian pole dancer in Oman, ultimately set up her own studio in Bousher to teach this fitness art form and soon had many students – Omanis and expatriates. Few believe that this business graduate, who ultimately got certified by PDC (Pole Dancing Community), a professional hub of pole dancing instructors in the UK, now conducts regular pole lessons, even during the lockdown.
“When the lockdown started, I was worried. I felt I would not be able to adjust to all the sudden changes. I didn’t know how I will be able to work at home and at the same time help my son with homeschooling. I was worried about giving private online pole classes as it would be risky for the students as they would not be able to understand the techniques or have anyone to correct them,” Nusaiba said.
Admitting that the beginning of the lockdown was, indeed, a difficult time, as she tried wearing many hats at the same time, Nusaiba said, “I was doing my office job in the morning, then attending to my son in the afternoon, ensuring that his homeschooling was going smoothly, especially since he is only 5 years and studying online isn’t an easy task for such small children. So, it used to take up 2 to 3 hours, and so, all the private pole classes were scheduled for the evenings.”
Soon, things started to get more comfortable and she was able to plan better. “I didn’t want to add more activities to whatever I was doing since I also felt this was a good time to relax. I have always been busy and had little time for myself and my family. I’m glad we had the lockdown because I got to spend quality time with my family, besides more time to focus on my pole training, flexibility training, and improve my Turkish language skills.”
Currently, Nusaiba has been conducting online private pole lessons and doesn’t have any plan to stop them, though the lockdown in Muscat has been lifted.
“My plan is, once COVID-19 is over, I will only be giving private lessons, not group classes. It used to be so in the past. Now, my classes will be about different aspects of pole fitness and dance. Furthermore, I will take into consideration the timings; I won’t be conducting classes everyday as I have realised during the lockdown that nothing can replace family time.”
COVID-19 has changed Nusaiba’s mentality and she has started to see things in a different light. “I don’t want to commit myself to many things. I want to enjoy life by spending it with my family and travelling around.”