Archive | December, 2012

The Grand Plan

15 Dec
Getting Some Man Power Into Those Stretches

Getting Some Man Power Into Those Stretches

I have two weeks to enter my submission to my studio’s competition.

About two weeks ago we were given the best news ever and were told we no longer needed to make a submission video! All we need is a write up, photo, a monetary fee and a song.

Not just any song. The song.

I knew what song I wanted to use even before I found out about the competition. It’s perfect. Lots of drama, tempo and melody changes, completely instrumental, slightly psychedelic and from a film nobody has ever heard of (including me, and I took a year of film studies and worked at an independent video rental store). I had the routine mapped out in my mind, which included fast paced spins and an impressive tumbling routine thrown in during a drum solo.

Which is why I had to start completely from scratch in finding a new song.

I love the song too much to risk pairing it with an underwhelming performance. Because there is no way in hell I am capable of doing what I’m doing in my head when I listen to that song. Yet. One day! Maybe two years from now, who knows, but I’m saving that song for something special.

After making that decision I was completely lost. The only stipulation for song selection was that it must be between three and four minutes. Of course, all the great ambient and trance songs are longer than four minutes, and all the cute 60’s instrumental ditties are shorter than three minutes.

My other ideal song (that was originally Plan B) was this song.

But…..sadly it’s 17 seconds over the time limit.

I want a song that has slight pauses throughout to emphasize the drama of lowering into impressive moves like an Ayesha or Plank. I love bands like Boards of Canada and M83 (old stuff, I’m a snob) but I find they use a continuous beat or motif that runs throughout the whole song. While pretty, it doesn’t give a routine that much depth.

Fast paced songs are fun, but do I really think I could get through three and a half minutes of bouncing around upside down like an energizer bunny? No. Slow to medium tempo it is. Besides, I need to compensate for my lack of flexibility by doing slow and controlled strength moves.

I spent about a week straight on last.fm trying to find songs that were like Portishead but not Portishead because every god damn song by them has been done to death by the pole world. I would type “instrumental lounge” into YouTube and cross my fingers before falling down the rabbit hole. No matter what I typed or clicked on, I seemed to end up at the same Massive Attack song. It was like a conspiracy. A massive conspiracy.

But then I found it. Smooth and sexy, slight breaks throughout the song, good hooks and a total length of 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Not sure how popular this song is as I’ve been living under a vinyl rock for the last five years and have no clue what’s hip or “now” as all I listen to are songs that are “then”. Last thing I want is to pick a song where everyone will be all, “Uh, didn’t she see the video where Felix Butterfly Skukhtorova used this song? All I’m thinking about right now is how much better their routine was.”

And hopefully it’s not a song that everyone else has discovered too. Not that I’d blame them, because it’s pretty sexy and pretty perfect.

But if someone else chooses that song, the only fair way to decide who uses it is Pistols At Dawn.

Now to writing out the routine.

I made a list of moves that I am comfortable doing. Moves that no matter what, even with a slightly slippy pole, I should be able to pull off under pressure. They include EG Ayesha, Shoulder Plank, Superman, Extended Butterfly, Gemini/Scorpio and some more. There’s no way I’m including anything that I currently struggle or have “off days” with. So that means no Cupid, SG Ayesha or Allegra (maybe, I do need a flexy move in my routine).

So with my list of moves in front of me, I’ve been sitting in front of the computer listening to the Song over and over again, waiting for inspiration to hit me upside the head. When I have the “aha!” moment I jot down the time and desired move. I have yet to try dancing to the entire song, but so far I’ve got the bare bones of a routine. Once I have the whole thing mapped out I plan on designing my workouts as drills. So certain days it will be going from a Flatline to the Marley 15 times in a row followed by 15 handsprings to Extended Butterfly combos. Or something like that.

I’m not worried about performing in front of an audience (having sweaty hands is another thing). I know the hours and minutes leading up to showtime I’ll be shitting out my insides from nerves, but the second I walk out I know I will sort of go into a Zen-like state where no one is watching and I’m just out there doing my thing.

I’ve been competing in front of audiences since the age of 5 when I would enter the Kiwanis Music Festival in solo violin, solo piano, sight reading, family duet and sometimes more. Not only would you perform in front of an audience, you would have an adjudicator critiquing your performance, good and bad (and if it was bad, they wouldn’t sugar coat it), before announcing the winner. In front of the audience. The music festival took precedence over everything else, including school (and my birthday. Every year I had to compete on my birthday) and I would spend many late nights practicing portions of pieces over and over and over and over with my mother beating a wooden spoon against the music stand on time with the metronome, sometimes breaking it in anger if I rushed or played a wrong note.

Yeah, it sucked. But I would always do well. Not that I cared, I fucking hated playing the violin. But I do care now. I want someone standing over me at all times yelling at me to point my feet and being all, “No, that dismount was sloppy. Do it again. Now!”. Because, really, I’m way too easy on myself.

Maybe it’s time for some pole jams. Friendly critique, mutual support and inspiration. Anyone out there agree? Maybe once a week we could rotate locations? I’ve mentioned it a few times to some girls, and while everyone seems interested, there has yet to be anything come of this. Which just means I need to try harder at organizing things.

The Year That Changed Everything

8 Dec

About a month ago or so, I saw a post by another blogger (I believe Chwennyland) inviting pole blogger enthusiasts to join an online blog-hop.

Blog-hop? Do we get together once a month and have Skype dance parties? Are balloons involved?

Turns out a blog hop is when a group of bloggers decide on one topic per month (or more, or less) and link back to each other in their post. This way readers are able to see topics from a wide range of perspectives, and are able to discover new blogs in the process.

This will be the first post I write specifically for the hop, and this month’s topic is…A Year In Review.

Well, what a year it was! This was my first year in pole dancing. In January of 2010 I took an intro class at a community center (2 poles, 12 girls. Yikes) and fell in love with the sexy side of it.  I bought a pole, set it up in the bedroom, and a week later shoved it in a corner when I found out I was pregnant (Yippee!). The pole served as a decorative piece, standing slightly hidden by houseplants in the corner of our office for the next two years.

Now, I’m not going to go into details, but the months leading up to my first pole class at the new studio were stressful. Like, really stressful. Like, going to several different doctors asking for help sort of stressful. I told them my situation and they all said the same thing,

“Yep, that does sound like an extremely stressful situation you are in. No, you’re not crazy, you are understandably stressed. But since you are breastfeeding we can’t give you anxiety medicine to cope. Have you considered exercising?”

No. No, I haven’t.

“Well, it really is the best cure for anxiety.” (I bet this would be said more often if exercise could be bottled with a profit.)

I went home and gave it some thought. I knew I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to regularly go to the gym, let alone follow an aerobic exercise DVD faithfully at home. I needed something fun!

And out of the corner of my eye I saw something sparkle. My former mistress! Although covered in dust, the chrome still shone. Beckoning.

“Pat!! Can I take pole dancing classes again?”
“Yeah, ok.”
“Gimme your credit card! Consider it a Valentine’s day gift.”

And the day after Valentine’s day was the day everything changed.

Not knowing if I would remember anything I signed up for a level 1 class. I wanted to make sure I was using proper technique to prevent forming bad habits, and at the same time I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything essential before skipping ahead.

It turns out muscle memory is a very powerful thing and I was bored out of my god damn skull for the entire length of level 1. Plus, I had to keep saying, “It’s ok!! I’ve done this before!!” whenever we tried anything for the first time and the other girls would be scoffing at me.

As luck would have it I was contacted by the owner letting me know the level 2 class I had signed up for was canceled, but would it be ok for me to attend a Level 2/3 class instead?

Thank god! I wanted a challenge, and being worried I may have already known some level 2 moves I gladly signed up for the class.

And it was during the first class that I did the seemingly impossible. I hung upside down!!! With no hands!

I still remember being upside down, clinging for dear life and feeling like my face was swelling like a balloon from the rushing blood. My instructor was holding my legs and squeezing them together at the knees with force comparable to that of a commercial vice .

“Um…are you sure this is right?!” I cried, “This hurts!! Is it supposed to hurt like this?”

My teacher just laughed and said, “Ok, now I’m letting go.”

“NONONOONONONO DON’T. LET. GO!! WHATAREYOUDOINGAREYOUCRAZY?!?!?!”

And then I opened my eyes and saw her standing in front of me waving her hands for effect. No, pole dancers don’t sprinkle themselves with magic fairy dust to stick to the pole. It requires strength. And a lot of pain.

Maybe I’m a bit of a masochist, but I was more in love than ever. Something about inflicting pain in the name of “art” or “sport” made me feel invincible. Come at me, brah! No, I didn’t just say that.

My "Coming Out" Photo

My “Coming Out” Photo

Little did I know, the love was turning into a full blown obsession. I posted my first photo to Facebook in April and received a welcoming response. Spare time, when not on the pole, was spent watching YouTube tutorials. My thoughts were on pole combos instead of hypothetical situations that feed anxiety. So, in short, my anxiety was gone but I was too focused on pole to even notice. The rush you get from learning something new was so addictive I was not satisfied with simply practicing the moves from class. I gobbled up moves faster than I could swallow and sometimes forgot to breathe. Looking back, I sort of wish I had spent more time perfecting the moves once learning them. Instead of spending a week doing nothing but dropping into a Layback I would spend a week learning the Layback, the Superman, the Butterfly, the Scorpio, the Bow and Arrow, etc. etc.

To show just how insane I was during the honeymoon phase of pole dancing, here is my very first video. I had completely forgotten about it until I stumbled upon it last week in an unmarked folder. At this point I had been pole dancing for three months and it shows. I’m pretty sure my toes are never pointed and if they are it’s probably an accident. My arms and hands look like those of a disabled Tyrannosaurus Rex and the whole time I’m trying really, really hard to look sexy. Oh and you think I’m not flexible now? Imagine what I was like then! Sigh.

I don’t even care. I’m posting it because I like seeing how far I’ve come, even if it’s just that I now point my toes some of the time instead of none of the time.

I remember watching the video afterwards. “Oh man, I did so many crazy moves, it’s gotta look good!…..uh…..yikes….why don’t I look like Jenyne Butterfly?”

Recording my practices was another big milestone for me, and if you don’t do it now, I recommend you start. Seeing one video of yourself with flexed feet and bent legs will kick your ass into engaging your muscles at all time. At least it should.

In June I decided to start this blog. I wanted a way to document my progress and also as a way to meet other pole dancers. All I wanted to talk about and write about was pole. I didn’t have any friends who were interested and it was hard forming friendships at the studio since I could never make it to practice time and I was always saying “See ya!” to a new group of girls every six weeks. It didn’t take long before finding other pole bloggers and the grand daddy of pole dancing social media, Studio Veena. Seriously, it was more addictive than Facebook. A community of pole enthusiasts who can all attest that Pole Dancing is a way of  life.

Around July was the time I realized I had all the “easy” moves under my belt and everything left to learn was insane. Knee hold? Split Grip Ayesha? Not only were the moves difficult, a lot of them were very dangerous. At the very least I wanted to have an instructor go over proper grip and leg placement before attempting anything new. I mean, that’s what I’m paying them for, right? Why pay for classes if I’m teaching myself via YouTube?

And I was starting to struggle, anyways. Once it started getting harder I started getting frustrated. The frustration led to disappointment and doubt which just fed my negative thoughts. I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I once was, and looking back now I see it as a good thing. How about now we just, y’know, work really hard at one move until successful?

When it comes to the Split Grip Ayesha you don’t have a choice. NO ONE does. I don’t think I’ve ever worked at anything so hard in my life. I had never devoted an entire practice session to one move, let alone several sessions with no improvement. I knew I had the strength, it was the balance that was throwing me (literally).

And then one day it happens, a high higher than previous highs, let me tell you!

Yippee!

Yippee!

Getting the SG Ayesha was a turning point for me. I was no longer addicted to getting moves right away, I was addicted to working really fucking hard at something that initially seemed impossible. I discovered the importance of setting goals to help motivate me.

So, I fell into a bit of a slump and didn’t quit or hide away like I normally do. That, in and of itself was more important than anything else I had accomplished all year.

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Here is a link to the blog hop for further reading!

Lean Fit and Healthy Forever

One Guys Journey to Fitness

Pole Product Reviews

Quality Pole Fitness Product Reviews

eat clean dance dirty

tasty tips & tales of a pole dancer

poledancecompetition

Dance. Train. Compete.

The Ottawa Doggie Club

We have started a facebook group to organize doggie play groups in Ottawa and surrounding areas. The group grew to about 70 member's in less then a week. So us and the members decided why not start trying to raise money for dog rescue organizations and charities. We are waiting for the nice weather to come so we can start our play dates :) Feel free to join our facebook group where we will be posting outings and charity and fundraising events on behalf of some of the rescues :)

Always twirling towards freedom

The X-Pole Blog

Leaders in Pole Fitness

rorieboat.wordpress.com/

DESIGN. CALLIGRAPHY. CHRISTIANITY.

folly in little city

a story about pole dancing, modern femininity and fancy lingerie

the pole place

exploring the art of pole dancing

ginadances

My love affair with the pole

Bon Bon Life

choosing to live a good good life

What Moves Us

Shockra Studio. New York City Dancing.

Poleista.co.uk

pole & aerial fitness, dance, art

Confessions of a Pole-oholic

Always twirling towards freedom

United Pole Artists

Always twirling towards freedom

I Love Pole Dancing, Me

Slightly altered from Friedrich Nietzsche's original thought, but i'm sure he wouldn't mind: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not pole danced at least once.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche/ Laura Gardner

2 Left Forks

Your tummy will thank you!

Ladies Who Pole

Four ladies. Four pole dancing adventures

Mizlizzle's Got Moves

The diary of an amateur pole dancer