Archive | January, 2013

Change Of Plans…

23 Jan

Shit happens.

Sometimes it’s from our own doing, sometimes not. But no matter the cause, how you deal with the consequences makes all the difference.

Two weeks ago during practice (spin mode video) I felt a popping sensation in my stomach. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, but as I was doubled over in pain that evening I began to wonder if the popping sound was not so innocent after all. Two doctor’s appointments and one ultrasound later it’s been confirmed: I’ve got a hernia.

The Great Divide

Thankfully it’s not large enough to warrant surgery, and it’s fairly common in new moms. While pregnant, your Rectus Abdominis (6 pack) spreads apart as your stomach expands. However, unlike the rest of your belly, it doesn’t shrink back to normal (or as normal as you can get after shooting a baby out of your lady cannon) after birth. This creates a weak spot in your abdominal wall; your body eventually fills the gap with cartilage, but this can take a long time (re: years).  While under exertion, your weakest spots are under the most force. So when push comes to shove, voila! Umbilical Hernia!

It’s going to be hanging out in my belly button for a while now (re: forever), and I need to take a 6 week break from any abdominal exercises to let my muscles recover. At the moment even the act of putting my two year old in a shopping cart feels like I’m putting my abs through a paper shredder, so it’s safe to say I won’t be attempting a flag for a long, long time.

Of course I’m pissed that I can’t compete. I’m not a robot; I get sad, mad, glad and sometimes crazy every now and then. But being emotional, shrugging it off or prayers to Satan is not going to change the fact that I need to rest, and trying to power through the pain anyway like some pole dancing martyr is about the stupidest thing I could do. There will be more competitions and those purple sequin bootyshorts will one day have their chance to sparkle.

Now, I don’t believe in Things Happening For A Reason, I believe in looking for opportunities to better yourself instead of being miserable by choice (because it’s always a choice).  I see this as the perfect time to once and for all become as flexible as I am strong.

You’d think not being able to do basic Aerial moves would motivate me to stretch. You’d think having an ugly Extended Butterfly would motivate me to stretch. You’d think watching an entire class of intermediate level girls drop into splits would motivate me to stretch. Nope! I think I truly believed that one day I would get out of bed, trip, and fall into a painless center split. “Oh, would you look at that!” I’ve got 6 weeks to make it happen, and would you believe it, stretching every day makes a huuuuuuuuuuuge fucking difference!

alethea

NBD

I’ve been in Super Serious Stretching mode for two weeks now and I shit you not, I am actually getting close to the splits on one side. Now, before you say anything, I am not going to crazy town with this. I don’t stretch if I feel pain, and I don’t hold a pose for longer than a minute at a time. I make sure I’m really warmed up and use a heating pad on the targeted muscle while in the stretch. I got that idea from Alethea Austin (above), and as she’s the Sexy Flexy Queen I’m going to gobble up any advice she spits out.

For the first time in my life, I am really excited about stretching. I no longer eye my yoga mat with a look of disdain and visions of Jade Drops dance in my head as I drift off to La-La land.

I’m still upset about the timing (I know I said I don’t care about winning, just want to do my best and blah-blah, but fuck it. I wanted to win a title.) but I’m looking forward to gracing the stage one day with fully extended legs.

And I get to bathe in moisturizers because I can, so neener-neener.

Back To The Promise Land

10 Jan

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Visit this girl’s site and fall in love

My first day back to the studio was last night and I gotta say, I’m still buzzing and smiling from being surrounded by such positive pole gal pals.

Being able to practice on a super grippy and tall pole helped too.

But really, I love being at my studio. The smell (it’s true, I don’t know what it is, but scents always contribute to deeply imprinted memory. Marketing will tell you this.), the atmosphere, the friendly faces all contribute to the welcoming vibe. I only wish I wasn’t limited to one evening a week. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a babysitter and take three buses across town during rush hour to make it to practice time. Maybe schedules will change in the future, but for now I make the most of the one hour I’m given.

So while I love catching up with everyone there, really, I’m paying a lot of money for that one hour a week. Want to talk about pole moves and combos? Heck yeah, let’s make it happen. I’ll even help you if asked. Want to gossip or tell me about your week? Ok cool, just wait until after class and I’m all ears.

But back to pole moves. After Christmas I have been working my ass off every single day. Even if my muscles are too sore, I’d still spend an hour just walking around the pole, pirouetting and stretching. My song has been playing on an endless loop and I have a dog-eared, tattered sheet of paper with my timeline within arms reach at all time. Half the things are scratched out, with an ever growing “pole move wish list” on the side. I know I said I wanted to stick to moves I’m comfortable with, but right now the plan is to pick crazy moves and simply practice the shit out of them. When it gets closer to the competition I will do an honest assessment and edit accordingly.

Some new things I’m working on?

Spinning Shoulder Mount

I’ve seen Oona Kivela do this one a lot but I wasn’t sure how to grip the pole. Normally I would do a basic step-around pole turn and land in the right position for a shoulder mount grip, but I wanted to just grab the pole and whip into a shoulder mount spin. Thank goodness for teachers. Right away she showed me the grip (I think it’s called a Princess Grip?) and I got it. It’s safe to say it’s my new favourite thing to do.

Flatline Scorpio to Table Top

I learned the Table Top last month, but I had no idea how to get into it in an interesting way.

Inspiration came from this video at 2:47. Jenyne has this way of making everything look completely effortless, and she is one of my favourites to study for technique.

Now all I need is to make sure I do the Flatline Scorpio high enough, as last night I would end up in the Table Top about a foot off the floor.

Elbow Grip Flag

I’ve been working on this one for a while, but last night after trying it I heard my teacher’s voice behind me,

“Lindsay, what was wrong with that?”

“Uhhh….my toes?”

“Yes. And?”

“……”

“Don’t drop your quarter.”

Ah yes, the ol’ squeeze your bum like a piggy bank trick. A problem with the Flag or Iron X is that you tend to focus all of your energy on your grip and engaging your core and forget about the rest of your body. But it is a total body move down to the tips of your toes. If you don’t squeeze your bum (pulling your hips forward) you end up looking like you’re folding in half.

So don’t drop your quarters!!

Superman – Cradle – Scorpio

Dirdy Birdy is another pole dancer I love to watch. Mainly because she’s a gorgeous Asian with lady lumps but also because she stresses proper technique and keeping it sexy at all times. Her tutorials are easy to follow; one of my pet peeves is when a tutorial starts with a girl yammering into the camera for two minutes before actually showing any instruction. Dirdy Birdy is straight to the point and always pauses her videos for important steps.

I have yet to get this move though. It’s pretty tricky but I’m not giving up just yet.

I can practice and practice and practice but if my toes aren’t pointed, nothing will look pretty.

To help myself feel like a ballerina I went out and bought these:

photo

Pretty Feet All The Time

The idea behind buying these is the hope that having these on my feet will help remind me to point my toes.

Today I decided to try things on Spin mode. It’s been a while since I devoted an entire practice to spin mode, and afterwards I remembered why.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaarf.

Game Changer

2 Jan

Christmas Tree Splits didn’t happen, so just pretend my arms are my legs and Ta-Daaaa!

December was a write-off for writing. My daughter’s birthday party needed planning, new gymnastics and swimming classes needed to be attended, throw in some regular Christmas Craziness, a surprise drama-filled gift from a neighbour and a bout of Festive Flu and you’ve got no time for writing.

But it’s 2013!! Everything is crisp, white and promising. I hope everyone rang in the new year with someone they love. My love and I spent it doing our favourite thing: Watching a great movie while eating a mountain of chicken wings and clubhouse sandwiches.

December 31st was the deadline for my studio’s competition. On December 29th, after fully recovering from the flu, I got to use my Christmas present, my new camera (!!!). You know how in all my videos the music is edited in over all my footage? That’s because my phone won’t record sound. It’s been like that for almost a year, you’d think I would have gotten it fixed, but I didn’t. Main problem? I couldn’t record freestyles. The one time I did I had to line the song up perfectly in editing afterwards and it was a pain. Even if it was .3 seconds off it meant something in my routine didn’t line up perfectly. Anyway, I finally got to try out a freestyle and I picked one of my favourite all-time songs, “Farewell Transmission” by Songs: Ohia. I love that song so much, I remember first listening to it when my band was on the road for the first time and we were driving through the Rocky Mountains. What a perfect soundtrack.

I wasn’t trying to do anything too difficult, I just wanted to feel out the music. It was the first time I understood what it meant to “lose yourself” in a song, it felt similar to when I’m jamming with someone and something special happens where you detach yourself from the moment. The music escapes and you feel almost like a spectator to your own performance.

And that was when I realized I needed to pick a new song for the competition.

2 days and counting.

The song I had originally chosen just wasn’t….me. I could picture a routine, and it had a good beat, but I never felt like I could lose myself in the song. There was no raw emotion associated with it.

I told Pat my predicament and he turned on YouTube.

“This song.”

It’s a song I have heard on the radio, although it wasn’t top 40 radio. It had a good beat, CSNY style harmonies, some powerful moments and best of all? It’s 3:02. Eff yes.

I got warmed up and tried a freestyle just to make sure it was easy to dance to. Beginning to end, I got through the whole song without stopping. I lied down on the ground panting and wheezing when Pat offered his take.

“I know you’re lying on the ground out of breath but what you did looked really easy. The good news is, is that if what you just did was your actual performance it wouldn’t be embarrassing.”

Good to know I’ve got his support.

I was so relieved to find the right song, and I’m really glad I waited until the last possible second to submit to the competition.

Procrastination with a silver lining.

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