J.Lo Mastered Pole Dancing in 6 Weeks—So, What Have You Done With Your Life?

How Jennifer Lopez Learned to Pole Dance for Hustlers


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To say the editors of THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear are obsessed with Jennifer Lopez would be the understatement of the century. Am I being dramatic? Just click here. And here. And here. And don't forget here. That's just the tip of the iceberg, too.

So yes, we love J.Lo, and naturally, we are so excited for her new movie, Hustlers. The film is based on a 2015 New York magazine article about a group of strippers who worked together to con their Wall Street clients out of thousands of dollars. J.Lo plays the ringleader and "mama bear" of sorts to the group (which includes characters played by Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, and Lizzo). Scams, a dream cast, female empowerment—sign us up.

For the role—which she's already getting Oscar buzz for—J.Lo trained with choreographer and dancer Johanna Sapakie to learn and perfect her pole dancing moves before filming began. She recently shared a behind-the-scenes look at the training process on her YouTube channel. After watching the video, if you didn't appreciate the star, you definitely will now, and if you already do, well, you're going to love her even more. And as a reminder, the woman is 50 years old. Let that sink in.

The video opens with Lopez setting up a pole in her house for training sessions prior to filming. For a beginner, she picks it up pretty quickly. Sapakie is impressed with the number of things she's able to put together. With her background as a dancer, we're not surprised that she's pretty much a natural at it. But Lopez admits it is a challenging workout: "It's rough on your body. It's real acrobatics. But I'm just trying to learn the mechanics right now because strippers have lots of time to practice. They're there every night, you know, if they work the club every night, so they start learning little by little, but we have to do a crash course. Like Cardi was telling me it took her years—she's great at it—but it took her years to figure out all of this stuff. And Johanna's trying to teach me in a matter of six weeks."

Pole dancing is a grueling workout, challenging your flexibility, core, and upper-body strength. And if you're wearing sky-high heels, it can be even more killer. (Although, a lot of studio classes can be done barefoot.) It will most likely leave you with some battle scars, too. Lopez takes stock of the bruises and red spots on her legs and thighs in the video.

The training is so demanding that she admits it's one of the most difficult things she's ever done in her career. "I mean, this is just as hard as anything I've learned. It might be one of the hardest. I've gotten cuts and bruises and stuff from movies, but I've never been bruised like this from anything I've done."

The video shows her filming the big scene, which of course Lopez nails like the pro she is. And everyone is in awe of her performance with one person on set telling her, "The club owner just said to me I've never seen anything like it." 

Watch the whole video to see her training process from start to finish. Hustlers is out in theaters September 13.

Next up: Why I Started Pole Dancing After Beating Cancer