Dressed in an outfit that leaves little to the imagination, super-sexy singer and actress Jennifer Lopez gyrates her gorgeous body, spinning on and sliding up and down a dance pole as though she’s been doing it her whole working life. She hasn’t, of course: rather, this is a scene from the recent movie Hustlers. Here’s how the song and dance veteran trained for a standout scene that kept audiences captivated.
For those who haven’t seen it, Hustlers is a film about a group of ex-strippers who scam the Wall Street men who they feel were responsible for 2008’s financial crisis. The savvy women devise a high-risk scheme to take back control of their lives and hustle their way to financial freedom, using underhand and illegal tactics on unsuspecting men.
Hustlers centers around a strip club. And so, throughout the movie, its actresses were tasked with delivering performances worthy of a strip club stage, but without the benefit of the years of training and experience of their professional counterparts. Routines and expertise varied by character, but Jennifer Lopez in particular required a crash course in pole dancing that matched her character, Ramona’s, veteran-level skill set.
J.Lo’s training began roughly ten weeks before Hustlers started filming. Former Cirque Du Soleil acrobat Johanna Sapakie, who has almost a decade of pole-dancing experience, was recruited to put Lopez through a rigorous regime with intense sessions lasting 60 minutes, two or three days each week. Regardless of where Lopez’s frantic schedule took her, a practice pole was always nearby.
However, there was no time to ease into training gently: Lopez went all-in, practicing in six-inch platform shoes. Although her dance background gave J.Lo a foundation for pole dancing, the training was tough. In a video posted to her YouTube channel she said, “This is just as hard as anything I’ve ever learned. It might be one of the hardest.”