Archive | June, 2012

That Funky Monkey

28 Jun

I arrived for my first level 7 class 10 minutes early to a room full of laughing ladies. I know if I had gone downstairs to level 1 the vibe would have been completely different.  Not because of different personalities but because as you progress through the levels your relationship with your classmates move from awkward across the room stares to knowing each others’ menstrual cycles. You cheer each other on when you get your first inverted crucifix and reassure them that no, they won’t land on their face. And then offer them a helping hand if they do (oops). Pole dancing requires confidence, and you will not land a move if you tell yourself you can’t do it. You really won’t. The class can sometimes sound like an Obama rally, “Yes you can! Yes you can!”

Plus by the end you’re basically hanging out in your underwear. You’re already baring all to these girls, opening up just makes sense.

Except today I’m the new girl. Again. That’s one downfall of skipping levels, I also end up skipping out on friendships.

The first class is usually the same. After I nail a move for the first time I hear, “It’s not faaaaaair! You’re just tiny, that’s why you can get everything so easily!”

Which to be fair, is true. The smaller you are the less weight you have to lift. The taller you are the more gravity works against you. I’m 5ft on a good day and 90lbs soaking wet. So yes, pole dancing, like gymnastics, comes easily to me. I can’t help it! At first I tried to hide in the background, I hated seeing how frustrated these girls would get struggling with a move that I would always get on my first try. I went as far as doing the moves on my weak side to show I’m not perfect. I just felt really guilty. I started focusing on helping the girls by giving tips but then I was worried I was coming off as patronizing, or rubbing it in that I was better.  It was all getting to my head when one day a girl asked me how I got so strong and muscly.

“I’m really not, it’s just an illusion! It just looks like I have a lot of muscles, you have them too. It just shows up more on me because I was small to begin with. I’m not that great.”

“No, stop it!!” my teacher shouted. “You are one strong cookie and you are awesome so just fucking OWN IT!”

The other girls nodded in unison.

“Yeah, at first I really wanted to hate you, but I can’t! I actually like you and you motivate me to work harder. Will you be my teacher?”

After that I let go of my hangups. I learned to just say thanks and not diminish my abilities for the sake of others’ feelings. I still feel bad sometimes, but if a girl is going to get jealous there’s nothing I can do about it. I just gotta work hard and do my thing and help others when asked. And cheer everyone on. I also make sure to point out things that they kick my ass in, mainly flexibility. I am not flexible in the slightest and I have been severely slacking on stretching. So watching me attempt the splits with over a foot of clearance usually puts a smile on their face.

So anyways, I got to meet a new group of girls today and they all seem like a lot of fun.

And we learned…..the Brass Monkey! I love leg moves more than anything and I think this will be a new favourite.

Here is the Brass Monkey coming out of a Straight Edge. Keep in mind I did this 5 minutes after coming home on a cold pole which is why I’m sliding. Plus my outside leg looks bizarre. In class my teacher kept pushing on it, “Why.Won’t.You.Go.Down!”

Oh, does it require flexibility to do that? Not going to happen. At least not today.

Every Day Can’t Be Awesome

26 Jun

While drying my hair this morning I noticed a weird spot on my shoulder. It was round and one inch in diameter and resembled a scar from a bad burn.

Weird.

Having no recent memory of anyone butting out their cigar on my body I asked Pat to take a look at it.

“I know exactly what that is, it’s a callous. I had one from lifting treadmills.” he said matter-of-factly.

I was beaming. More monumental than your first bruise, a callous is caused by repeated friction to one area. I’m used to getting them on my fingertips from violin and guitar, and palms from carrying crates of records, but my first pole callous? I didn’t even know I could get such a thing.

It’s just another visual proof of the physical hardships pole dancers endure. I think it goes quite nicely with my bruised legs and armpits.

Other than that I don’t have anything new to report. I tried to practice last night but a combination of obstacles including tired muscles, a cold house and very dry skin stood in my way of making any progress. I managed some basic spins but every attempt at an invert sent me sliding quickly to the floor.

So frustrated!

I felt like such a failure. I spent all that time preparing, warming up and stretching and I wasn’t able to get anything out of it. I didn’t even get to swim in the flood of good vibes that normally follow a workout.

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Feeling poopy

 

But tomorrow is another day, which just happens to be Wednesday. Nothing wrong with taking a few extra rest days. My muscles are thanking me and I am rewarding them with a large bucket of cottage cheese. You’re welcome.

 

Aside

Wednesday Night’s All Right

21 Jun

Wednesday is Pole Day.

This means Wednesday is the new Friday.

I have been lucky enough that my classes have all fallen on the same day of the week. After finishing levels 4/5 (I’ve been taking split classes to a) challenge myself and b) save money) I have a week off before level 6/7 starts next week. Not wanting to break tradition of my midweek pole away from home session I did something I haven’t done before. I went to my studio’s practice time.

I think going to practice at intermediate level offers the right balance of feeling like a superstar next to girls just learning the fireman and feeling intimidated into practicing until your arms snap in half after witnessing your neighbour pull off a seamless twisted grip handspring.

Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

I have seen the move done on Youtube a million times, usually after sped up footage of their many, many, many failed attempts. I know this move is no joke, it’s a universally celebrated milestone move. But I also know about the many, many, many fucked up injuries to various joints it has caused which has been the reason I haven’t attempted it. I mean, these girls look so awkward even getting into the position which consists of your arm turning into a pretzel followed by kicking off on one foot and flinging yourself towards the ceiling. I consider myself brave but not stupid. No way am I going to do this without at least one person making sure I’m in the proper position. Youtube can offer inspiration but it doesn’t make the best teacher.

So anyways, this girl was nice enough to show me how to do it. Getting my arm in the twisted grip position was beyond awkward. I’m a leg girl, meaning I’m more comfortable gripping with my legs than my hands so using this grip made me trust my hands even less. No amount of Mighty Grip will make me confident that my hand won’t slide down causing me to fall to my doom. But I went for it anyway.

I’m not going to beat myself up for not getting it. Especially after finding out it’s a level 8 move so I won’t be learning it until the end of summer anyway. So I guess I should just be happy that I almost, sorta got it. A little bit. I still feel that this move should be done using a split grip. Not only is it safer it’s way more impressive. And tuff.

But what I’m really happy about is the elbow grip Aysha I got under control (mostly). All of my past attempts ended in my body toppling to either side of the pole and after much research I learned a simple tip:

Concentrate.

I mean really, really focus on controlling your legs as you release them from the pole. Balance is a combination of strength and focus and it’s hard to focus if you’re screaming “ahhhhfuuuuck thisiscrazyi’mgonnadieeee” in your head during each attempt. So I tuned out the negi thoughts and tuned into my muscles and bam, I got the elbow grip aysha.

Time for some bath salts. The non-face-eating kind. With lavender.

Stuck in Spin Mode

18 Jun

This girl makes great comics!

Two posts in one day? I was going to do one long post after my practice last night but I like to keep my thoughts neat and organized. So two posts it is!

At the end of last night’s session I decided to switch my pole to spin mode. You ever watch pole dancers and wonder how they manage to look like angelic ballerinas? All spin. Doing a Gemini on static looks great. Doing a Gemini on spin? PRETTY!!

I think in the end that’s the pole dancer’s goal. To get past the grimaces, the fumbling limbs and just make everything look pretty. No easier way to do that than try your routine on spin mode (and don’t forget to point those toes!).

Buuuuutttt….easier said than done.

I really thought I was going to spin into the piano. That’s my attempt at doing a climbing fireman spin. I know the rule is the closer your body is to the pole, the faster the spin. To slow down you simply extend an arm or a leg and it drastically reduces your momentum. But how do you pick up the spin again? As you can see, as soon as I went into a layback the spin lost its mojo.

For some reason, despite logic, I had an easier time in spin when I went upside down. Why? Maybe because having extended legs kept the spin in control? Who knows! Pole dancing, you are a mysterious creature and I will one day learn all your secrets.

Aside

Teddy Terrors

18 Jun

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Ah, the Teddy.

When thinking of teddy bears many, if not all, are filled with memories of warm, cuddly snuggles. After learning this move I am certain I will always associate them with getting my armpit raped. I am serious, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I tried this move. Imagine if you will, getting jumped by a gang of no good thugs. Only instead of a general, all-over body beating they target your armpits. Thousands of punches, all in your armpit.

I don’t even think it looks that pretty. The Superman feels like a thousand scorpion stings to your inner thighs but at least you look like an action hero.

Here we go…

17 Jun

Here I am, on the internet. Again.

But now with a purpose and angst-free.

This blog will be a way for me to track my progress with my newest obsession (after my little girl, of course), Pole Dancing. I used to call it Pole Fitness, but now I say fuck it. It’s dancing on a pole. Yes, it is fitness oriented and you develop man shoulders overnight, but it is still sexy and exhilarating and it makes it so you can have a sex life again after a kid. Win-win, everyone’s happy. I refuse to feel ashamed about feeling sexy and strong.

So here goes…

I started lessons in February which means I am four months in and as obsessed as ever. Or as obsessed as my body will let me. It seems like I have more resting days than pole days, and after 20 minutes of poling I am a mushy, exhausted mess. I can feel myself reaching my limit and it is so hard to stop. “Just one more caterpillar climb!” I will say. And mid climb I feel it, my arms turn to instant jello. Which now means I doom myself to a longer recovery time. Again. I never learn my lesson.

 

 

Here’s my newest video. It doesn’t look pretty and perfect yet, but I got the wraparound to extended butterfly. Quite challenging! Took a week to get it

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