Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Power of Pole: Meet Pauline!

Here is another TALL pole sister from our united group.  :-)  This is Pauline!

How long have you been pole dancing? 
I started in June 2010 at the age of 48

What first drew you to try it? 
My Daughter said she had a surprise for me one day and in my family room she had put up an xpole, my reaction to that was. " You seriously do not expect me to get on that do you?" Then she showed me some you tube videos on Veena Poledancer and I was hooked I so wanted to do some of those tricks Veena was doing.

Where do you take classes? 
I had 8 weeks of beginner pole in Adelaide South Australia and after that I subscribed to StudioVeena and have been doing her online lessons. i have started Flex and Stretch classes  In Adelaide at The Pole Boutique and have been enjoying these and have made a lot of progress with my flexibility.

Do you have a pole at home? 
Yes I have 2 and outdoor 50mm stainless steel and a 45mm Titanium xpole in my pole studio .

How often do you pole? 
At least 4 times a week.

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole? 
I do cardio, usually on the elliptical , or treadmill, every time i go down the backyard I do a few pull-ups on the monkey bar, I also do free weights along with cardio to DVDs. I try to stretch everyday as well.

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot? 
I am definitely a barefoot girl, I find it really hard going in shoes, I am almost 6 foot tall and have never really worn high heels. Although I do love the pole dancing shoes and put them on occasionally.

How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days? 
I have started to use Pole Physics, it is a beautiful product.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole? 
I used to use Mighty Grip but for some reason that does not work for me anymore and I only ever use Dry Hands, I tried Itac 2 but I slip terribly with that and it leave residue on the pole which can be difficult to remove.

Where do you buy your pole clothes? 
Bad Kitty, Studio Veena , The Pole Dancing Shop, Pole Divas In Australia,  Pole Skivvies  and Sweet Vixen Couture, I find it hard to get the right fit I have NO BUM!! .

What is your favorite song to dance to right now? 
Definitely Eskimo Joe, How does it feel, I love dubstep too!

How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life? 
Pole has been by far one of the most difficult and challenging sports I have taken up in my life, however it has been the most rewarding both for my body shape, feelings of self esteem and  sexyness, and most of all the wonderful support I have received from friends on both youtube and StudioVeena, the pole community is so supportive.

What have I learned in two years of pole dancing?

This week marks the second anniversary of Rita and I joining Twirly Girls.  We had our Taster class somewhere around my sister's birthday (December 2nd) in 2009 -- shoot, maybe even ON her birthday.  I was looking at old videos, trying to find some handstand examples for the Pole Dancers United group, and ended up watching pieces of some of my videos (I rarely actually sit and watch myself perform on video...I just fast forward to certain moves I want to see and that's it).  So funny how things change.  I mean, if you think about it, I haven't advanced very far in two years.  I still don't invert or climb (very well anyway).  However, I have focused a lot on power moves like my handstands, and I am on my way to climbing and inverting.  My dance has smoothed out a bit too.  I have realized I dance better barefoot.  I'm terrible in heels and it shows when I'm jerky while trying to walk around the pole.

Anyway, just for fun...here are some videos from the last two years.

My first public performance was six months into pole dancing (I did this dance first in March 2010 for my "new-birthday" party and then again in April for the first Lovely Rita fundraiser):



Here's the performance in April where I realized I liked being barefoot better:



My performance at the next Lovely Rita fundraiser in April 2011 (liked the hot shoes but had to get rid of them):



And my most recent public performance in October 2011 at Twirly Girls' Trick or Twirl Halloween showcase (almost two years into my adventures with pole dancing):



Of course, all I see is a girl who gained 25 pounds in that time frame.  I loved Natasha Wang's recent blog about body image and plan to respond to it soon, but it is ingrained in my sick brain to not like what I see in the mirror.  It's sad.  I'd love to hear feedback about what you see in these videos.  :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Power of Pole: Here's Ann!

Another pole sister from our Pole Dancers United group!  Meet Ann!

How long have you been pole dancing?
I pole danced for 3 years when I was in my early 20's back in the early 1990's. Yes, I was hanging upside down by my ankles even back then...lol. A few years ago I bought a pole, in hopes it would help me to lose some of the weight I had gained. To date I've lost 76lbs and I am still slowly but steadily losing more. I've been poling again for just over 2 years now, minus about 4 months from when I had to have surgery and my recovery time after it. I'm still dealing with a few health issues, but weight wise I've got 37 more pounds to go to be happy with where I'm at. 
 
What first drew you to try it?
I was a gymnast for 12 years and bars were my favorite, so is it any wonder I fell in love with the pole.

Where do you take classes?

I've taken a few at two different studios but I have also opened up my own studio, Pole Fun Fitness. So I teach it and do pole parties now too.

Do you have a pole at home?
I have 3 at home. One in the bedroom, one in the living room and one in the spare bedroom. Cause you never know where you'll be when you get the urge to do a pole move..lol.

How often do you pole?
A minimum of 3 times per week. Just finished going through some health problems that has slowed me down a little again but I'm back at it now.

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?
I walk - a lot, I do Zumba and aerobics. I also stretch, all the time. I mean seriously all the time. Even sitting in the chair watching TV I'll have a leg stretched up to my head and my husband just looks at me and shakes his head..lol.

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot?

Depends on my mood really. I dance barefoot the majority of the time, but there are times when I'm in a stiletto mood.
 
How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days?
I use lotion on a regular basis to keep my skin moisturized . However, I shower BEFORE I pole, then after, to make sure I have no lotion residue on me. It works pretty well.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
The only thing I've ever used is Mighty Grip.

Where do you buy your pole clothes?
From every where! I own a lot of Danskin stuff and I've recently fallen in love with Sweet Vixen Corture.

What is your favorite song to dance to right now?

I dance to a lot of rock. My all time favorite to dance to is St John by Aerosmith.

How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
It's improved my life from a physical standpoint in every way possible. Aside from the weightloss and the toning of my body and increase in strength and flexibility, when I first started to pole I had high cholesterol and had to take meds for it. I don't take them anymore and it's now on the low side being 100. Mentally and emotionally it has brought my confidence level way up and has allowed me to accept my body more. The pole community is full of some AMAZING woman (and men) and everyone I meet, be it in person or on line, inspires me in one way or another. Pole may be something some start out "trying" just to see if they like it. But it quickly becomes a lifestyle. I'm always thinking about what move I'm going to learn next, or an existing one I want to tweak, or some move I dreamed of and then I try to to replicate it and translate it in to real life. There is a freedom in pole dance that can't be found anywhere else. A point where the body and the movement and music all become one. That's what keeps you coming back!

To be sexy or not to be sexy...that is the question!

So there is a push lately to get pole dancing away from the sexy stuff and move toward the fitness stuff.  Claire from The Pole Story foresaw this almost two years ago.  Well, she hoped it wouldn't happen but still understood that for pole dancing to go mainstream, there would be some people who would rebel against the sexy side.

Claire also said it best when she said:  "If for some reason, the idea of your dancing being connected to the strip club scene is upsetting to you, if you desperately need to distance what you do from what those 'other girls' do, if you truly believe that you are doing this because it’s just a really good workout, then I strongly suggest you spend some time thinking about why you chose pole dancing.  Because there are a million ways to get fit without putting on six inch stilettos, a bikini and swinging sensually around a pole."  (http://polestory.blogspot.com/2010/01/pole-dancers-guide-to-anti-poler-part-1.html)

I have thought about this quote many times over my last two years as a pole dancer.  I started thinking about it A LOT lately as I'm reading more and more posts on Facebook about pole dancing being a sport.

Why pole dancing?  What is it about pole dancing that pulled me in?  I mean, Bel and Twirly Girls, of course made it easy.  I've made lots of amazing friends and have such a great time there.  But what FIRST drew me to it?

Let's start with my history.  I was fat.  350 pounds.  Even at 6 feet tall, I couldn't justify being that heavy.  I was in my 20's when I had gastric bypass and lost 165 pounds.  But even after the weight was gone, I still wasn't happy.  I had saggy, Shar-Pei-like skin hanging all over my body.  So then I had plastic surgery to remove the skin.  Still...not really happy.  In fact, I never tried anti-depressants until AFTER I lost all of my weight.  Still, not happy and didn't really feel sexy.  Then the roller coaster of weight gain and loss.  A few years after surgery, I put on 22 pounds.  Then I lost it.  Now I'm almost eight years out and I'm dealing with 50 pounds of weight gain (and am in the process of losing it).  Definitely not happy.

Fat or skinny, apparently I'm just an unhappy girl.  I so WANT to be that sexy, skinny, beautiful girl (which doesn't mean I'd be happy but my brain swears if I get there, it will be so).  So I think that is what first made pole dancing attractive to me.  I saw gorgeous women with hot bodies doing amazing things on the pole.  And I wanted to be THAT girl.  I guess when I pole dance, I really do feel in my mind that I AM that girl.  Plus, who doesn't like to feel like they're being just a teeny bit naughty?  And whether we rebel or not, the roots of pole dancing IS in the strip club.  Nothing wrong with it but society seems to frown upon it, and I do like to be a champion for the underdog. 

Bel always gives me a hard time because, when I perform, I don't look at the audience or camera.  But, for me, pole dancing is a very personal journey.  I completely retreat into my busy little brain and I let go.  So, its really hard for me to go connect with anyone else during my dance, because *I* am not really there.  My brain ruins everything, so in order for me to truly let go and DANCE, I have to turn my brain off and let my body take over.

So, for me, I admire and LOVE the athletic side of pole dancing but I feel like it also includes the sexy side.  Women are so often looked down upon for being sexy.  You know, it's like we're damned if we do, damned if we don't.  If we're too sexy, we are whores.  If we're not sexy enough, no one wants anything to do with us.  So whatever.  I don't care what anyone thinks about my chosen past-time.  I love pole dancing, even the dirty, sexy side!  ESPECIALLY that side!

So, although I can respect that some people may be trying to remove the "sexy" from pole dancing, I choose to accept the whole package.   Pole dancing IS sexy.  It's also a great workout.  And it's fun.  And I want ALL of that.  :-)

Claire has some really great blog posts (and has now published a book).  Check out some of her posts here:

http://polestory.blogspot.com/2010/01/sensual-sexual-side-of-pole.html

http://polestory.blogspot.com/2010/01/pole-dancers-guide-to-anti-poler-part-1.html

http://polestory.blogspot.com/2010/02/pole-dancers-guide-to-anti-poler-part-2.html

http://polestory.blogspot.com/2010/03/why-cant-olympics-be-sexy-dammit.html

http://polestory.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-we-dance.html

(Pretty much every single post rocks so please click around and read her posts.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Power of Pole: Meet Courtney!

Amazing story... This is Courtney!

How long have you been pole dancing?
I have been dancing for about 2 years now.

What first drew you to try it?
I grew up in some form of dance. After I graduated High school, got married and moved here to Fayetteville I had this huge void so I looked up dance classes in the Fayetteville area and found the pole classes, tried one and have been doing it ever since.

Where do you take classes?
I take classes at StudioX Polefitness of Fayetteville, NC.

Do you have a pole at home?
Currently no, I had a platinum stage stand alone pole, but I moved into a smaller space after my husband deployed and got rid of it, but plan on getting another one very soon.

How often do you pole? 
Before surgery at least 3 days a week, but usually try to do more if I'm not busy with school or traveling to visit family.

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?
I go to the gym to work with a personal trainer.

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot? 
barefoot, because I am currently not able to wear shoes til I get a prosthetic that will allow me to

How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days?
I don't typically have dry skin, I have natural oily skin so I constantly use dry hands while I pole.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
dry hands and firm grip

Where do you buy your pole clothes?
bad kitty

What is your favorite song to dance to right now?
Sail-Awolnation or Ring My Bells-Enrique Iglesias

How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
I feel pole has improved or changed my life because I am an amputee who used to be VERY shy about showing my amputation, let alone, go shoeless in front of everyone. But dancing with my friends (which are now girls I call family) they have helped me realize that I can feel sexy and confident even if I am missing a body part. If it weren't for pole dancing I would probably still be this scared little girl who uses knee high socks to cover up my prosthetic every chance I get....It's changed me because I am no longer afraid...So much, that my life goal is to be the first amputee to ever compete in a Pro Level Competition.

CHEATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So it's no secret that I enjoy traveling around to other studios and checking out classes.  It doesn't mean I am not completely in love with Twirly Girls and Bel.  It just means I like making new friends.  It's also no secret that I do side work for a company called Social Sonar, which helps businesses with their social media needs.  I have a day job to pay the bills.  Helping pole dance studios (and other businesses) through Social Sonar is a passion of mine.  I enjoy writing and watching small businesses grow (and I feel like small businesses are going to help fix our broken economy someday).  Sure, it would be lovely to one day do it full time and completely immerse myself in the pole dance community.  But, for now, I am happy to do it in my spare time.  I don't make visits to other studios to sell services.  I feel like I am building relationships and making connections so that one day if they DO need a service like that, they know where to come.  And if they don't, I still want to visit their studio and try out new classes. 

Anyway, it sounds like some people are bothered that I'm checking out other studios.  I am up-front and honest with Bel when I go to other studios.  She isn't bothered by it, so I don't know why other people are.  I have no intention of leaving Twirly Girls -- it is my home and my family is there!  Maybe I am being naive in believing I can be a "pole dance ambassador" and bring people together.  But it makes me feel good to at least pretend that I am.  I realize that I am not going to like everyone and certainly, not everyone will like me.  But, for the most part, I get along with people and enjoy meeting new friends.  Plus, most of the studios I'm visiting are far enough away that they are not direct competition with Twirly Girls anyway.  If I went to a studio a mile down the street, then maybe people should be more concerned (or not...).

Anyway, Bel says she wanted to fashion Twirly Girls after One World Crossfit.  They built their business on the concept of creating a family so that you could to any Crossfit in the world and feel like you are at home.  I am trying to continue that with the pole world at large.  I realize there is a difference between the pro circuit and students at "regular ol'" pole dance/fitness studios.  Perhaps the competition circuit will always have a little more of an aggressive feel to it (as it should since it is a competition).  But there is no reason that us regular ol' pole girls can't get along, be friends and support each other.  I have met some amazing ladies during my travels.  For example:  Collette and Felicia from OC Pole Fitness.  Amy from BeSpun.  Christina, Pam, Ellen, Jessica, Amber and Tracey from Poletential.  Diana from Embody Fitness.  And the list goes on...

I think it's great that people love Bel enough to be concerned...but fear not!  I am a Twirly Girl through and through.  Even when I go to Poletential (which, at an hour's drive away, is the closest studio I've visited), Christina always greets us with, "We love when the Twirly Girls visit!!!"  Also, please don't be worried that Bel sold anyone out.  She didn't give me any names but just said that people were worried.  I hope this post puts everyone's minds at ease.  :-)

So what about the rest of you?  Do you try out other studios or do you stick close to home?  Nothing wrong with going either way on this one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Power of Pole: This is Kym!

Kym is another pole sister from our Facebook group.  Here is her story!  


How long have you been pole dancing?

Well this time about 9 months. I first started years ago but stopped and started many times and this time I have progressed further than before and am really committed to it, so 9 months (that was a really long winded answer for an easy question).

What first drew you to try it?

A friend's ex-girlfriend was taking classes and we got talking about it and it sounded fun so I went along a couple times with her and fell in love straight away. :) I've always loved dance and it was something new and different to try.

Where do you take classes?

She Moves in Perth, Australia. I currently go to their Canningvale Studio.

http://www.shemoves.com.au/

Do you have a pole at home?

YES! Best $400 I ever spent. :D

How often do you pole?

A couple times a week. I take 1 pole class and a flex class a week and I usually pole at home on a Saturday night.

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?

I go to my gym on a regular basis and I take a Body Sculpting class there which is really good for building strength. I usually do a 2-3 sessions on my own of cardio and weights on top of that. :)

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot?

Barefoot! I can barely walk in heels let alone dance! although I do have a shoe fetish and spend a lot of time drooling over shoes I could never wear. :*(

How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days?
At the moment I don't, I just let it be all scaley. :) Its more out of laziness than anything.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?

Titegrip. I have Mightgrip too which is good but I have a static pole and I can't spin with Mightgrip on but Titegrip is grippy but I can still spin. :)

Where do you buy your pole clothes?

Most of my tops or Lorna Jane singlets, shorts I bought from my studio but I am saving to get some Pole Skivvies online because I've heard they are really good and I'm finding my shorts are getting a little saggy. :(

What is your favorite song to dance to right now?

Um, I don't really have a favourite 'song'. I dance a lot to drum N bass and dubstep at the moment so a lot of Pendulum, skrillex, Knife Party, ShockOne and then some random stuff. When I practise on Saturdays I listen to a radio program called "MIXUP" and Triple J, its hour long dj sets and they are usually really great. :)

How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?

Besides that I am now fitter and stronger physically than I have ever been, pole is the glue that has been holding me together for the last 9 months! I started back up when I left my husband after being together for 11 years. I was totally shattered and didn't know who I was as I had built my whole adult identity around being a wife, so it was very difficult at times just to get through. Pole gave me focus, goals, it makes me feel good about myself, I feel sexy and attractive, I'm happy and confident, WAY more outgoing than I used to be. :D I've met some amazing women and shared a lot of laughs. It's nice to having something that's just me without the history of my marriage to build up my identity and even on the crappy days I still love my life and pole has a lot to do with that. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Power of Pole: Meet Sarah Bee!

Meet pole sister, Sarah "Bee," with whom I connected on Facebook and Pole Junkies.  She is also part of our Pole Dancers United Facebook group. If you aren't already a part of our group, make sure you join us!  We have such a great group of (mostly) ladies giving great advice and support. 

How long have you been pole dancing? 

2 years and 3 months
 

What first drew you to try it? 

I had just started to lose weight, was recuperating from wrist surgery and wanted to tone up my body. I saw a youtube video, found out my local small town gym was running polefit classes, ran over to sign up and the rest is history.



Where do you take classes? 

I started at Jasper Fitness, moved on to Capital MissFits where I’m teaching now, and the only lessons I currently have are from Studioveena.com
 

Do you have a pole at home? 

I own 3 poles, 2 x-poles (but only 1 is up) and an 18ft homemade outdoor pole. I hope very soon to have my second pole installed in my basement.
 

How often do you pole? 

I teach 3 times a week, and pole twice for me.
 

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole? 

The only things I do to stay in shape are pole and a little hooping. In the summer, I do a little cycling with my husband.

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot? 

Currently barefoot but my basement is carpeted which makes heels awkward. My laminate flowing is going in soon so I hope to do my poling in heels.
 

How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days? 

I use Curel fragrance-free lotion. It goes on and leaves very little greasy residue. I can use it after a shower and be good to pole in 2 hours.
 

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole? 

The only thing I use on a regular basis is Mighty Grip, although I do have a bag of goodies I keep with me because you never know what pole conditions will be like.
 

Where do you buy your pole clothes? 

I have bought from PoleSkivvies, but now all my pole clothes come from Lorraine at Sweet Vixen Couture.
 

What is your favorite song to dance to right now? 

I like so many different things, and most music makes me move. I really like the tempo of Motivation by Kelly Rowland though…great for bringing out the inner sexiness! 
 
How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
 


I’m 42 and have never been flexible or particularly strong. I’ve never had any dance or gymnastics training, but I am currently about 2 inches from my first split, which I’m determined to have before my 43rd birthday, and I am proud that I have conquered so many strength moves on the pole, moves I thought I would never get!

F*ckin' Perfect

A very moving performance by Miss Holotta Tymes.  It made me cry so I wanted to share it.



The show was a benefit for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Trevor Project.

Happy birthday, Holotta.  You are brave for getting naked on stage and you are fuckin' perfect!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tiny miracle?

Last night when I got home from Poletential, I saw my huge Half Dome photo on the ground.  I asked Rob what happened.  He said it literally jumped off the wall (maybe corroborating my feeling that we had a small earthquake while I was laying in the hammock??).  He then mentioned that it had knocked down his mom's piggy bank -- smashing it to pieces.

That piece of news made me sick to my stomach.  Rob's mom passed away when he was only 11 months old -- 35 years ago.  He doesn't really have much to remember her by -- a photo, some drums, some jewelry and the piggy bank.  Now the piggy bank is gone. 

I thought about it all night last night.  I prayed, or wondered, or asked the universe, or whatever you want to call it...trying to figure out if maybe there was a reason it happened.  Maybe there was something we were supposed to find inside the piggy bank.

Today Rob had some friends over -- they've known him for years and understood the sentimental value the piggy bank would have to him.  They looked through the coins.  Most were pretty old -- some even from the 1800's.  His friends told him he should check to see if they have any value. 

So tonight I went through and made little piles and searched the internet and they were right!  I mean, no life-changing, job-quitting kind of find, but we do have a little treasure chest here.  It was actually really cool to look through the coins and imagine that Rob's mom had once touched them too.  A lot of the older coins are made from real silver (and their melt-down value may even be worth more than their value as a collector's item). 

I have my own little interesting and eclectic coin collection from when I was a kid.  My dad worked in a paper mill and would get interesting coins from all over the world.  I pulled them out to look at them tonight just for fun. 

Anyway, so Rob has Morgan Silver Dollars dated 1878 to 1921, Peace Silver Dollars dated 1921 to 1935, Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollars dated 1916 to 1947, Franklin Half Dollars dated 1948 to 1963, Kennedy Half Dollars from 1964 (they seem to be fully silver), and other interesting coins...some with values up to $50. 

I don't know yet if Rob will want to try to sell the coins to a collector or keep them, but I am glad that we got to be treasure hunters for a minute and I had a little fun figuring out their values.  Sometimes there can be a tiny miracle when something sad happens.  :-)

Aerial Hammock/Yoga at Poletential

Poletential seems to be quickly becoming my home away from home.  Although they are an hour away, so I can't really get there regularly for classes, they have some fun events that I have been really excited to attend.  I didn't get a chance to write much about it, but I was touched that Tracey invited Rita and me to Twirloween -- Poletential's birthday party and student/instructor showcase.  There are some videos on my YouTube account if you are interested. 

Of course my first direct contact with Poletential was the Air Show last July.  I had so much fun and am eagerly anticipating the second Air Show next month.

I also attended a Zumba FUNdraiser to benefit the beautiful Tracey Horne.  What a lovely bunch of women who came together to support their pole sister in a time of need.

Also, don't forget Christina and Pam answered my Studio Spotlight questions recently as well. 

In early October I had tried aerial silks at Twirly Girls and saw that Poletential had aerial hammock.  It looked a little easier than silks.  Rita and I signed up immediately, but due to scheduling issues, didn't get in for a class until yesterday.  I saw an aerial hammock demonstration at OC Pole Fitness' open house in September.  I mean, those girls were advanced and did some amazing things in the hammock but I figured anything with the word "hammock" in it couldn't be that hard.

Rita and I arrived at Poletential yesterday, ready for whatever the afternoon held for us.  Jessica was our instructor.  I guess I knew we wouldn't be gently swinging in the breeze, but I still don't know what I actually expected.  I figured it would be yoga-based as I had also heard aerial hammock described as aerial yoga.  But I certainly didn't expect the workout that I got! 

We started seated on the ground doing a gentle warm-up/stretch and then Jessica told us to reach up and grab the hammock to lift ourselves off the floor.  I giggled.  Surely she was joking.  She wasn't and she lifted herself like a cute little genie and floated above the ground with her legs still folded.  I attempted to pull myself up, then saved myself the embarrassment and just stood up.

Then the real fun began:  Warming up with one of our legs in the hammock.  I will pretend that part of why I struggled so much was because I chose a hammock a little too low to the ground.  So my leg in the hammock was angled downward a bit instead of straight out.  Yeah, we'll go with that.

Ten minutes into the warm-up, I was sweating my ass off.  I struggled through some of the poses, mostly due to my own inability to balance (weak core, yes, I know!).  I joked with Jessica that I had signed up for the gentle hammock class (not the boot camp my body thought I was putting it through).  She shot back that we were almost done with the warm-up...and I don't think she was kidding.  :-)

After some awesome yoga poses, both on the ground and in the air, and some inversions (which I was only able to do for a little bit because the silks dug into my bad hip a little too much), we snuggled into the hammocks like little bugs in a rug for Savasana -- the final resting pose in yoga.  It's the few minutes you get to lay still, recover and reflect after you've worked so hard.  I swear there was a small earthquake.  The hammock swayed gently and bumped into one of the girls behind me.  It was not scary or uncomfortable.  It was kind of weird -- almost re-assuring that another person was floating in space with me. 

I really enjoyed the class and am really sore today.  I know I have a long way to go before I would be able to consider myself even slightly adept at aerial yoga.  But I am always down for a challenge and am hoping to get in there at least once a month.  I also want to thank Jessica for putting up with me.  I know I tend to be a bit silly when I'm uncomfortable. 

Thank you to Poletential for always being so welcoming to the Twirly Girls.  Next up:  I am definitely looking forward to trying some Liquid Pole with Ellen soon!

Project 365: Days 144-159

Day 144
Saturday, November 5


Day 145
Sunday, November 6


Day 146
Monday, November 7


Day 147
Tuesday, November 8


Day 148
Wednesday, November 9


Day 149
Thursday, November 10



Day 150
Friday, November 11

Heading to Southern California...



Day 151
Saturday, November 12



Day 152
Sunday, November 13


Day 153
Monday, November 14


Day 154
Tuesday, November 15


Day 155
Wednesday, November 16


Day 156
Thursday, November 17


Day 157
Friday, November 18


Day 158
Saturday, November 19

My first cross-knee release!


Day 159
Sunday, November 20

Powerful performance by Miss Holotta Tymes at Club 1220. 


Power of Pole: Here's Angela!

So Ange is another friend from OC Pole Fitness...we are not only pole sisters but gastric bypass sisters as well.  And I thought it was funny she found OC Pole on MySpace...OC Pole on MySpace years ago was my FIRST interaction with a pole dance studio too!

How long have you been pole dancing?
 
I just celebrated my 2 year pole-versary on November 14. I say pole fitness since my primary goal was fitness while incorporating dance. I tend to say that because I do live in Southern California where there are strip clubs all over the place and I want to make people, guys especially, understand that this is fitness first, dance second, and something I most likely will not be letting them see me do.
 
 
What first drew you to try it?
 
I had just had my gastric bypass surgery and was looking at a variety of workouts to do. I'm certified to teach Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle, but I just wanted something really challenging. I also have a sculpting cert and I figured I could manage my own workouts as well as try some new things. I had originally been looking at Tribal Belly dance and several other dance type classes, ie. Flamenco and Tango.
 
A friend had called and asked me to look up a local bar/grill's live music schedule and the easiest way to do that was through Myspace. While on their page, I saw this avatar of a woman nearly upside down on a pole. So I clicked the image and there was the OC Pole Fitness Myspace Page with Collette doing the most amazing trick. Since I'd just gotten back from my Surgeon's office where he'd just told me, point-blank, "Go Work Out!" I knew I needed to find something and get going. You'd think that at 330 pounds, I'd never even consider pole, but I called that minute and signed up for my first class. That was November 14, 2009. I started that Saturday morning with Collette herself and I weighed 325 pounds my first day of class.
 
 
 
Do you have a pole at home?
 
I do. It's in my garage, currently as I'm moving in with my Fiancé and haven't moved it yet.
 
How often do you pole?
 
4-6 times a week (counting my aerial hoop class). I had a shoulder injury in July and have been off for a few months so the rotator cuff could heal. But once I move my pole, I plan to practice and attend classes again.
 
What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?
 
Body Bar Boot Camp, Hoop, Two Flexibility classes: All at OC Pole Fitness.
 
 
Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot?
 
Neither. I wear ballet slippers. I wear a particular type that has the instep cut out so that I can move better, but the ball of my foot is covered and I can pivot better.
 
How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days?
 
I have very dry skin. So dry that if I don't oil/lotion up (even on pole days), I'm much more slippery on the pole than if I just greased the pole with lotion.
 
What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
 
I use Dry Hands, but that's because I haven't tried anything else. I'd like to try a few others because I still slip with Dry Hands.
 
Where do you buy your pole clothes?
 
When I was heavy, I wore these awesome cargo shorts (long) that I used when I taught kickboxing and hip hop. Climbing wasn't going to be in my future any time soon so I went for maximum comfort.
 
Now I'm best friends with booty shorts and tiny tank tops courtesy of OC Pole Fitness. I have a deep love for their comfortable pants and long skirts. So comfy.
 
 
What is your favorite song to dance to right now?
 
Zombie by Natalie Kills. Mainly for Hoop.
 
How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
 
I lost 210 pounds so that was an improvement. But what pole really did was allow me to grow into my weight loss with grace and humor. Because of the movements in Pole, I never had that "melting sludge body". My surgeon was captivated by the fact that I not only lost evenly, but with much less skin issues than he'd ever seen in a 200 pound weight loss. He was also ecstatic over the fact that I developed great musculature and reset my metabolism. All because of the dynamics of pole and the fact that it is a total body workout as opposed to cardio. As pole requires a lot of weight bearing and because an individual becomes so caught up in pushing themselves to achieve their target (trick, move or transition), you get amazing definition and pretty rapidly, too. I like to say it's the hardest workout you'll ever love. I've gotten a couple of my friends turned on to Pole and it's been wonderful watching them blossom and drop pounds while gaining confidence and cultivating a feminine sexiness.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pro Spotlight on Sarah Romanowsky

I saw Sarah Romanowsky perform at Poletential's Twirloween last month and loved her.  I am really excited to see her perform again at the Air Show in December.  She is also a really good sport because she answered my questions even though they were initially written for a pole dancer and were badly converted to "aerial questions" by me (bad, bad blogger!!).  We welcome Sarah as an aerial sister!

What is your fitness background?

I spent years training at a gym, but since discovering aerial arts, I've hardly been back. I still dance, I love to hike, and I include Pilates & yoga in my aerial warm-ups, but primarily, the tissu/silks is my apparatus of choice for fitness.


What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole/silks)?

Climbs, meathooks, skin-the-cats, pull-ups, leg lifts, straddles. More than anything, though, I recommend just being in the air. Spend longer amounts of time on the fabric. Stack moves upon moves and you will undoubtedly get stronger.

What kind of diet do you follow?

Believe it or not, after years of being a vegetarian, I've finally added meat into my diet, and I actually feel a lot better. I have more energy and gain muscle more easily. You have to listen to your own body, try different diets, and see what you respond most favorably to.

Do you have a dance background?

Yes. I grew up training in ballet & jazz dance, then obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Loyola Marymount University, where my training also included modern & contemporary styles.

Which competition(s) do you like to do?  Do you have any title(s)?

Competitions & titles are not a big part of the aerial world. I wish there were more opportunities in this arena, though!

Where do you train?  Do you have your own pole/aerial arts studio?

I do not have my own aerial space, but I received all of my training from the instructors at Hollywood Aerial Arts, and now teach there myself, so I consider HAA to be my home studio.

Do you have sponsors you'd like to acknowledge?

Once again, we do not have sponsors in the aerial world as you have in the pole world, but this is an avenue I would be interested in exploring.

What first interested you about pole dancing/acrobatics/contortion/aerial arts?

With my extensive dance background, the tissu/silks really spoke to me on an artistic and expressive level. Now that I perform & teach it myself, I feel the exhilarating experience of blending strength and power with grace and extension. The fabric feels alive...it feels like a dance partner - it has me, it holds me. I can wrap it an a garment around me...I can ascend and descend...I can tell a story. I fall in love with it over and over again.

 Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"

I think it entirely depends on the approach of any given class or instructor. Similarly to pole, there are some studios that teach aerial silks from a fitness standpoint, and others that teach it from a more artistic standpoint.

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?

I think the pole is an impressive apparatus to work on, and one that I've chosen to cross-train on this year. It's unfortunate that many people still view the work through a clouded lens. More and more, though, opinions are evolving on it, and people are accepting it for the amazing apparatus it is.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole (when you are pole dancing)?

I use Firm Grip spray or rosin on the fabric.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days?)?

Not a problem on fabric.

 Where do you like to buy your aerial/pole workout clothes?

Dance shops. You need fitted leggings that cover the backs up the knees. Leotards. Unitards. You need your waist covered. You do not "stick" to the fabric as you would to a pole, so stay covered, or get burned!

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

Barefoot!

What did you do before competing and/or opening your pole studio?

I was a professional dancer. I was a classic showgirl in Las Vegas for awhile - in Jubilee!

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?

Beyonce's Love on Top. I love her! Her music, especially on this current album, makes me wanna throw my hair around a lot while I'm in the air.

Do you have any other upcoming events/competitions you'd like people to know about?

I freelance around Los Angeles and also travel to perform nationally & internationally. I have lots of fun jobs coming up throughout the holiday season and will be sure to post video and pics!

What else would you like people to know about you and/or your studio?

Check out my work at www.LAaerialist.com.  I update it constantly with new photos and videos. I will also be starting my own blog soon!


You can also follow Sarah on Twitter!  

Power of Pole: Meet Jeannette!

I have been chatting with Jeannette in our Facebook group, Pole Dancers Unite.  She is so encouraging and I am happy to have her as a pole sister (and it's cool that she also shares a name with my mom)!  Please also check out the post I did about the studio where she dances, ETED!

How long have you been pole dancing?
I have been poling since 2005...when Mary Ellyn Weissman walked into my office (I also work for their accounting/finance company) and said that she needed one more warm body for class...Been hooked ever since!

What first drew you to try it?
Mary Ellyn had talked to me about it and her interest in opening a school. Me having a long love affair with just dancing period,...told her that if and when she did I would certainly be interested in trying it.

Where do you take classes?
I take and, as of 2008, teach at Empowerment Through Exotic Dance in Chicago, IL.

Do you have a pole at home?
ABSO-LUCKIN-FUTELY!!!!

How often do you pole?
I teach two classes per week and make a point of practicing at home at least one other night a week. I also take and/or teach any of our extra weekend classes when possible.

What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?
Do you have a moment... Monday nights I do aerobics, Tues. nights I teach, Wednesday nights I do Kickboxing...Mon-Fri I do Zumba in the mornings and on Saturday mornings (if not teaching pole) I do Step Aerobics. Sunday is LITERALLY A Day of Rest!!!

Do you like to dance in shoes or barefoot?
Barefoot, although I do like dancing in shoes...helps me slow down my dance!

How do you deal with dry skin on pole days and on off-pole days?
Johnsons & Johnsons Bedtime baby lotion- Lilac!!! Excellent for poling...and PLEASE LADIES...make sure to take your time completely rubbing in your lotion...it won't take as much to put on and won't leave as much of a residue!

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
GRRRRIIIPPP...(did I spell it right? LOL) I put it on before and during and also apply it to my pole if I'm the only one using it.

Where do you buy your pole clothes?
Mary Ellyn is actually a wholesale rep for some pole clothing manufacturers...so I go through her...Being a woman with real curves...I would like to see more pole clothing lines that cater to us.

What is your favorite song to dance to right now?

I change my mood every single day. I dance to everything...Heck I just did a performance for a local studio's grand opening and dance to a country song (George Straight!) I have a Latin flair to my dancing...so I add it to every genre.

How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
Its therapeutic. It has opened my mind from being a girl that says "Oh I won't ever be able to do that!"...to a woman that believes she can do ANYTHING she puts her mind to...I even run now!

And if that positive way of thinking, aides me in just being a positive influence to just one other woman...now that would be the greatest gift of all!!!