Let’s meet the amazing Dineke Minten!
My Name is Dineke, I’m 30 years old and I’m from The Netherlands. In 2014 I started with pole and I haven’t stopped ever since. It didn’t take long to realise that this was more than a sport or hobby for me. Training, teaching classes, creating my own performances, I couldn’t imagine my life without pole in it anymore.
So… that was not enough for us and we had prepared a few questions to learn more!
1. Do you have a sports background?
I’ve always been sporty. As a kid I played constantly outside, climbing trees or going to the park. As I was growing up, I did several sports, like badminton, street dance and soccer, but nothing on a serious level. After high school I studied for PE teacher and after that I studied Sport, Management and Business. While doing my second study I worked as a part time group fitness instructor.
2. When and how did you start pole dancing?
While studying in Amsterdam I found out about this studio that offered pole classes and when I received a discounted deal in my mailbox (don’t judge me, I was a student at that time) I decided to sign-up for a beginner course. This was in 2014. At that time I was doing it just for fun. A bit later I got asked to teach beginner classes at the studio I was taking classes, and about a year and a half later I joined my first competition.
3. How long did it take you to build your strength and flexibility?
Being always sporty and I guessing that I have the genes for it, the strength came quite easy for me. Flexibility was another story though, but to be honest I wasn’t really focussed on building strength or flexibility in the first few months I was doing pole, for me it was all about having fun. But after a few months I started to realise I needed to improve my flexibility for certain tricks. Long story short: my back and shoulders are not too bad, I actually like working on it. But my legs and hips are a nightmare, but I definitely improved compare to when I started. Obviously my strength improved quite a lot as well, but I just never really focussed on it. It came with the package of my personal training (for fun and competitions).
4. How often do you train and what is the best training routine you recommend?
It depends on what I’m training for. When I’m training for competition I train 6 days a week, and sometimes twice a day. Not all of my trainings are hardcore pole trainings tho, sometimes I just do some cardio, stretching or handstands. When I’m training for fun I’m more going with the flow, sometimes that means training seven days a week, sometimes just two or three days. I believe that a training routine is quite personal and it’s based on how a persons life looks like, how their body works (for example recovery wise) and their training possibilities.
5. How do you feel about competing? Do you feel nervous before entering the stage?
When competing I feel exited and nervous at the same time. So yes I definitely feel nervous before going on stage. Last year at the World Championships I actually had a panic attack a few minutes before I had to go on stage. I’m always nervous before a competition, but this never happened to me before. I started tearing and breathing really heavily, but I couldn’t control it. It felt so weird. Luckily there was someone around that managed to calm me down. The thing is, I’m not nervous about the moves in my routine, because I don’t put anything in my routine that I’m not 100% about. It’s the pressure of the one opportunity you have to show what you can do, one chance to show what you have worked so hard for all these months. I think I freaked out at the Worlds because I screwed up my routine at nationals, and I was so disappointed for that. So I wanted ‘to make it right’.
7. When was the first competition that you participated in?
My first competition was in 2015, my pole teacher at that time pushed me. Otherwise I would have never signed-up. It was called Dutch Pole Art, and it was in 2015.
8. What style of pole do you prefer, sport or dance?
I like both! If we’re talking about routines, I definitely prefer a well balanced routine, that includes a storyline with a nice flow with some cool jaw-dropping tricks. If we’re talking about what I prefer to do in my training
I think it’s not really a surprise that I prefer pole sport. I just really love the flips, regrips and other kind of dynamics. That being said I do train both.
9. What do you want to say to people thinking to start pole and those who want to take the next step and start competing?
Without a doubt: GO FOR IT!! That first step is always scary, but I promise it will be worth it. Overcoming my fear for competing and performing is one of the best things I’ve done in my life.
10. Do you enjoy teaching pole?
I absolutely love it! Before becoming a pole instructor I worked as a movement coach in a rehabilitation center and group fitness instructor in the gym. Teaching pole is combining two of my greatest passions, I feel so lucky that I have this job!
11. If pole wasn’t your life would you choose another sport?
There are many sports that I love, for example snowboarding, calisthenics, soccer, latin dance and doing obstacle runs. And also like to try new things. So if pole wasn’t part of my life I’m pretty sure that I would do several other sports. That being said, pole is my true love!
Credits for header photo: Polina Gladkova