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Couple Explains How They Fell In Love While Training Together At A Pole-Dancing Class

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

A couple who met pole dancing have revealed how their gravity defying moves saw them 'Dirty Dancing' their way to romance.


Fitness freaks Bella Monnery, 39, and Lawrence Trousdale-Smith, 29, were soon enjoying one-on-one sessions after she taught him pole at the class she runs near her home in Worthing, West Sussex, England.

Since personal trainer Lawrence joined the group in 2018, Bella, a former kickboxing instructor and black belt, has taught him all her favorite moves, and the couple now perform raunchy routines together at pole-dancing showcases.

Becoming firm friends before they fell in love, Bella said:

“Pole-dancing has definitely brought us closer together. There's a lot of trust involved with some of the moves – you're literally holding one another up."
“It took us months to become a couple but training together in the meantime meant we got to know each other really well, so built a great foundation as friends first."

When Lawrence joined Bella's class, he says romance could not have been further from his mind.

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Mark Hull/www.whiteshoresphotography.com)

He said:

“When I went along to my first pole class I wasn't worried about the sport itself or being able to do the moves – it was more that I didn't want to be perceived as the creep in the corner."
“It's a very female-dominated world, and I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable."
“Bella was a great trainer and really pushed the athleticism of it. Though it might look graceful and effortless, there's an awful lot of strength involved in pole, too."

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

He added:

“We'd spent a lot of time together training and we built up a strong friendship but overtime it became inevitable that we had feelings for each other."

Bella learned pole dancing after gaining her blackbelt at a kickboxing, which she taught – meaning she had reached the top of her game – as she needed a new challenge.

So, after spotting a studio offering pole-dancing classes, around eight years ago, she tried it and has never looked back.

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I've loved pole since day one," she said. “After mastering it as a student, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, so I went on two courses – one beginners and one advanced – to qualify."

Once she was a fully-fledged instructor, Bella began leading between 12 and 15 classes a week.

Often posting photos and videos of her complex moves on Instagram, she had connected with lots of other people from the local fitness community, including Lawrence who, at the time, was teaching calisthenics – a type of workout that relies solely on a person's own bodyweight.

Bella (PA Real Life/Collect)

After chatting online, they decided to try each other's classes in 2018.

“I went along to one of his, then he came to a pole-dancing class with me," Bella explained. “Pole-dancing is a very female world. Men do it, but nowhere near as much. I think out of my 100 or so clients, maybe five of them are men."

“I think Lawrence was a little worried about people thinking he was just there to perv, but pole is open to anybody, and my classes are all about building up strength. Plus, when you're on the pole, you really don't look at what anyone else is doing – you just want to master your moves."

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

With Lawrence impressed by Bella's skills – and keen to perfect a 'flag' move, where a dancer grips the pole with both hands and holds their body out at a 90 degree angle – he asked if she could coach him one-on-one.

Bella continued:

“I hadn't expected him to want to try pole in the first place, so I was surprised when he asked for more training."
“I think that first class was harder than he thought, but he did really well. I agreed to coach him and we were initially just friends, but eventually fell in love. "

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

Before the lockdown, Bella was teaching classes virtually every day. Lawrence would come along three times a week and they would also train in the gym together.

They have even appeared in showcases as a double act, working together to choreograph complex pole routines, which they then perform in front of 200 to 300 people.

But with gyms and fitness studios now closed to combat the spread of the virus, they have installed a pole at home to practice on.

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Collect)

“Lawrence coming to my classes was partly so he could train, but also so he could see and spend time with me," said Bella. “Otherwise we would both get so busy that we barely saw each other."

“And he needn't have ever worried about making anyone else in the class uncomfortable – he's one of the girls now."

“Doing the showcases, which are a way of displaying your skills without the pressure of a competition, takes a lot of work. We'll be crafting our routine for months, and practicing for about eight weeks beforehand, on top of all our other workouts."

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/David J Harrison Photography)

She continued:

“Usually, Lawrence is the one that lifts me when we do floor work, then I hold him up on the pole. We can do all sorts of moves together, including the famous 'Dirty Dancing' lift."

Extolling the virtues of pole-dancing, Bella explained that, not only has it found her love, but it has introduced her to a community of like-minded people, and made her body-confidence soar.

By sharing her story, she wants to encourage those thinking of giving the sport a try to go for it, and dispel myths that it is the sole reserve of exotic nightclub dancers.

Bella at a pole camp in Budapest (PA Real Life/Collect)

“There are still some people out there who think of pole as something exotic dancers do in clubs, but I think the majority of people have opened their eyes and now know there's more to it than that," she explained.

“There is still that sexy side to it, and specific classes where you can learn dance routines, but it is empowering rather than sleazy."

“My classes are all about strength, and the thing I love about pole is that you can always push yourself harder. There's always something new to learn, or a nemesis move to crack."

Bella and Lawrence (PA Real Life/Mark Hull/www.whiteshoresphotography.com)

She added:

“I hope people out there toying with giving it a try aren't put off by the misconceptions. The hardest part is walking through the door into that first class, but it's worth it just to see for yourself what an actual pole class is like."
“Everyone in pole classes are so supportive of each other, and always encouraging each other to do the best they can do."
“Not only is it good for you physically, but it's good for your self-esteem and body confidence. I used to hate wearing shorts, for example, and would always cover my body up – until I learnt that bare skin is better for gripping onto the pole, so the more I got into it, the shorter my shorts got."

Bella (PA Real Life/Collect)

She concluded:

“All bodies are welcome at pole, and when you're in the zone, you're not thinking about shape or size – you just want to nail that tricky move."