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!



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:


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.


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.

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 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.”


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!



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.


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

Pole Freak

28 Nov

Wondering where my Aerial Silks and Hoop entry went?

You can now find it over at Pole Freaks

A great site full of great women with useful information. Very pleased to be writing for them!


To hold you over until my next post here is a new-ish video.


Just working on cleaning up old moves and attempting some new ones including an insanely scary straight edge to shoulder mount!

The Golden Touch

9 Nov

The past two weeks have been full of poletastic events and as I haven’t updated in over two weeks I guess I should get to work on reporting.

First off, a few weeks ago a friend asked me to help organize a Pole Party for a friend’s birthday. I knew my friends had shown some interest in pole fitness after watching my videos and seeing that it’s more sweaty than sexy, but I didn’t want to come across as too pushy. I let the world know that this is what I love and if you’d like to learn more then by all means ask away. But I don’t want to make you sick of pole dancing before you even have a go at it.

The Birthday Girl, Inverted.

Most of my friends are into fitness of some kind. Some friends are really into yoga, some love running, some just love riding their bike everywhere. But all of them are open minded and are willing to learn new things.

So of course, I was more than happy to help organize! The instructor I spoke with was also super stoked to lead the group. A non sexy pole party? No stripper pushups or booty shaking? Party on! About 10 enthusiastic girls showed up and everyone had a blast. We focused on basic spins and even an invert! I was so proud of my friends, everyone gave it their all and had a good laugh. What was really cute though was having girls run up to me several days later, roll up their pant legs and exclaim, “See? See?!! Check out my sweet bruise!!!”

It seems like pole fever has hit, and hopefully soon my living room can be a fitness hotspot. Now that I own two poles I can do a bit of teaching!

Yes, that’s right. Two poles! Which leads to the second part of my post today:


Since deciding I will be entering this competition it has become clear that I need a new pole. I mean, I’ve been wanting a 45mm pole for months but now it seems essential that I practice on what I will be performing on. After searching online and reading scary stories of fake x-poles being sold I decided to purchase a 45mm Titanium Gold X-Pert from Studio Veena. They offer free shipping, and not only that, it feels good to help support a site that has supported so many pole dancers around the world.

Why Titanium Gold?

Chrome poles take a long time to warm up, and a cold pole is like a slip’n’slide. I never have to worry about this at the studio as there’s always a class before mine ensuring that I’m greeted with a nicely warmed up pole. At home, especially during the winter months, it can be very frustrating getting the pole warmed up to the point I need it to be. I use space heaters, hair dryers and spins and climbs in sweatsuits. It just takes a long time, time that could be spent practicing. Ellie’s naps aren’t that long, so my pole time is precious.

I was told that TG heats up much faster and had improved grip. Sold!

I was able to put it to the test pretty quickly as shipping was surprisingly fast. I left the space heater on in the room for about 15 minutes before grabbing the pole and whaddaya know, it was already getting warm! I did a few spins and in no time the pole was toasty and grippy.

How did my first practice go?

This happened.


I think this image speaks for itself. For the first time I felt like I had a very secure, strong grip.

The only bad thing? My Cupid has disappeared. My Layback is now iffy. Not sure if this is because of the smaller pole or because of the finish. I tried using tack but ended up with a super squeaky Superman and bright red thighs.

See for yourself, here is my first video with my new pole.

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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 :)

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