Tag Archives: pole dancing

Pole Goals

2 Apr

I’ve been having a hard time staying focused during my pole sessions these days. I generally go into my sessions with at least one goal, but it seems like I spend most of my time fluttering around aimlessly, trying a move on a whim and giving up if I don’t get it right away. Sometimes I miss being at an intermediate level, moves were more easily attainable and the scariest thing to learn was the Superman. Accomplishing advanced moves requires dedication, persistence, a bit of craziness and usually some outside help. I’ve decided to narrow in on a handful of moves that I hope to get in the (near?) future. Dedicating an entire practice session to solely one move can cause various repetitive strain disorders, so I plan on dividing up my practice times with moves that require different points of contacts and different ranges of motions.
First up?

The Phoenix:

This move is no joke. I’ve heard of so many girls injuring their shoulder while attempting this spin, and after even five attempts I’m starting to feel it. This is a move where warming up is absolutely essential, you are swinging around the pole with your body weight being supported by your shoulder joint so do some giant arm circles at the very least before attempting. I first tried it back in the summer and was getting nowhere fast. I quickly gave up until my instructor urged me to try it a few weeks ago and I’ve been trying it a few times during each practice session since. I seem to be stuck in the same spot, I can get in the right position for the lift part, but the lift itself never happens.

Solution?

Now, I don’t know if this is a solution, it just seems to make sense. See, I’ve done the Twisted Grip handspring successfully maybe 5 or 6 times. It is something I’ve always struggled with, and a move that just never seemed right to me. I feel it puts your body in such an unnatural position, one that requires a lot of shoulder flexibility. In the past few months I have actually spent some time on this, and unlike my legs, my shoulders are considerably more flexible now. I’m hoping that now that I’m stronger and more flexible I’ll be able to practice my TG handsprings without fear of twisting my arm out of its socket.

Marion Amber:

Well, it's almost a Marion Amber!

The Marion Butterfly

Ok, you’re going to laugh, but the first time a classmate and I saw this move we both were like, “Oh, it must be just a butterfly variation!” HAHAHAHAHA (it’s not). The Marion Amber is one of the most deceptive moves out there, upon first glance it really does look simple. What is the most difficult part (for the average girl)? The lifting of your bum. For me? It’s the extension of the top leg. See, I have the ass of a twelve year old boy, so lifting it is never an issue for me (like the Caterpillar Climb), but whenever I try to push past and straighten that top leg I crumple into a ball on the floor (I can’t count how many times I’ve fallen out of this move, yet I don’t believe in crash mats?).

Solution?

Become flexible? For those with heavy bum issues, check out this awesomely hilarious Marion Amber Progression video by Aerial Amy. See? Not easy! She has some great tips so make sure to watch to the very end.

The Fullmoon:

I already know that this is going to be my new go-to move. Move over Shoulder Mount! Doesn’t it look fun? Doesn’t it look easy? (Pat: “I know after two tries I’ll be able to get this move.” *eyeroll*) Don’t you love his accent? Ok, so two out of those three statements are true. Even attempting this move gives you a rush and I must have tried this about 30 times on Saturday. Yes, I could flip my body around the pole, but I never got the proper height.

Solution?

I think my biggest problem is lifting my chest towards the ceiling and getting the height I need. The problem with this move is that while in it, you have no idea what you look like. I’d recommend filming each and every attempt and compare the footage to a proper video online. Are you sure you’re using the right grip? Are you leading with the right leg? Really study and nitpick the shit out of your body positioning. Or better yet, get an honest pole friend to critique as well.

The Starfish:

UGH WHY DO I HATE MYSELF? I know this move is probably the most painful one out there, and I’m familiar with the pain as I already did a Toe Hang on a set of wall bars (which still gives me nightmares) but it looks so cool that I plan on looking past that minor detail. I mean, I love the Cupid, and this seems like a Cupid on steroids.

Solution?

I have seen many people try this with a shoe or boot on their top foot. I have a pair of spiked pleather boots that I plan on using the next time I give this a try (along with a shot of whiskey). And a crash mat. No wait, a mattress. No wait! Two mattresses.

Cross Training

26 Mar

The Plateau. A term that’s thrown around a lot in the fitness world, it indicates the slowing down of muscle growth in a fitness routine. How do you break out of it? Change your intensity or change your routine by using your muscles in a different way.

Used up half the tube yesterday after p90x. There's a flower on it so that means it's healthy

Used up half the tube yesterday after p90x. There’s a flower on it so that means it’s healthy

I didn’t set out to do other activities for that reason, I tried new activities because I made new friends who invited me to tag along while they went rock climbing last week. While pole obviously helped me, it took a while to get used to. For starters, your hands aren’t gripping a smooth, perfectly cylindrical pole. Your finger tips are digging into sandpaper coated rocks of varying diameter. Then there was just simple maneuvering. I started off with a super death grip and kept my body close to the wall for fear of falling. I have a tendency to make things much harder than they need to be, and I later learned to simply lean away from the wall which provided a rest position. “Ohhhhh……”
But man….I was a wreck the next day. I could barely put on my shirt and turning the steering wheel proved to be the most challenging task of my morning. I spent a good half hour on my “foam” roller, took an Epsom salt bath and tried to keep moving as I had class that night. Once I actually got going on the pole I felt fine, and thanks to chugging an espresso right before class I was practically bouncing off the walls. My excitement was also due in part to the fact that my instructor and I both showed up in hot pink Lululemon shorts, black and white striped Lululemon sports bras and black tank tops. Yes, that in and of itself is awesome, but, I was mainly excited because a couple hours before class I texted her asking to try a doubles move. So how perfect was that?

Doubles Destiny

Doubles Destiny

But back on topic.
The post workout hangover was something I actually missed. I know the pain I felt was my muscles simply tearing and repairing, and I plan on adding new, fun activities to help make me a better pole dancer. So, here are my new goals:

Rock Climbing:

How can this not help? It requires extreme grip and upper body strength, creativity and fearlessness. Done.

Gymnastics Training:

Accidental Toe Hang. I do not recommend.

Accidental Toe Hang. I do not recommend.

This is another DUH. During my downtime at work I work on my rope climbing, pirouette on balance beams (not with any grace yet), practice handstands and work out on the wall bars. I’ve been showing up at 7:30am, an hour before the gym even opens,  joining my coworkers in various workouts. They’ve been showing me gymnastics moves and I’ve been training them on the rope. Win-win! I am so grateful for this job, I actually did a lot of research trying to find a place around town that offered adult gymnastics classes and found nothing (because after puberty you can no longer be a champion?). Now I’m getting paid to learn.

Spartan Race:

I haven’t 100% committed to this idea yet but my coworkers are putting together a team and asked me to join. The Spartan Race does sound challenging and fun (a giant obstacle course involving lots of mud), however I’m unable to make it to their training sessions. I may try to train on my own, so we’ll see how that goes. Now, being strong doesn’t automatically make you fit; I’m going to need to start running in order to be in the shape I need to be in to complete the race. I’ve got just over three months. As soon as Spring decides to finally show up in Ottawa (I swear to god if we get one more snow storm…) I will be lacing up.

Cross-Fit:

Another giant maybe on this one. My partner has been talking about wanting to do this for over a year now but his chronic elbow injury has been holding him back. I would love to give this a try as it seems to be extremely challenging. While I’m not a fan of lifting weights, Cross-Fit seems to make it interesting. This isn’t something I’d want to try alone so I’ll be patiently waiting until Pat feels better.

Aerial Silks / Lyra:

Hoop Dreams Come True

Hoop Dreams Come True

I’ve done it once and fell in love. As soon as my back is back to normal (oh god, forgive me it’s 5:30am) I will be rewarding myself with some Aerial classes. Out of everything I have mentioned so far today, this is what makes me most excited. It will be interesting to see if my flexibility has improved since November, hopefully all this time making “Pizza Legs” at work will pay off for a nice wide straddle. Pizza legs? Oh, sorry, you’re not three years old. We open our legs and make our pizza! Roll out the dough! What’s that, you want Gummy Bears on your pizza? Fucking genius.

National Capital Pole Fitness Competition: A Review

3 Mar
The Meeting

The Meeting

“Oh shit. It’s today.”

That seemed to be the general sentiment amongst all eleven competitors of this year’s National Capital Pole Fitness Competition upon waking that cold Saturday morning. Calling in scared sick and pulling the blankets back over their heads was a tempting idea, however all eleven got out of bed and walked out the door armed with glitter, sequins and attitude. No one looked back.

Saturday morning this time last year was a different story.

Last Year’s Winners! (Photo by Ben Ripley)

“Almost half dropped out over night. They dropped like flies!” explained Li Hewitt, owner of Ottawa Pole Fitness Studios. Her husband, co-owner Michael Hewitt recalled how they suddenly went from 38 to 18 competitors which resulted in phone calls letting girls know their performance time had been bumped from 2pm to 10am, so wakey-wakey!

The cancellations seemed to foretell the day’s events as they were met with one technological glitch after another which lead to a stressful day (and admittedly made worse by nursing a hangover). Not to say the day wasn’t a success; they managed a sold out show with many impressive performances ranging from amateur to professional level. Prizes awarded for each division included memberships (free classes!), trophies and medals, gift bags and many girls won titles such as Miss Sexy and Miss Trickster.

U of O Pole Dance Society. Awesome.

Now with one competition under their belt, Li and Michael had bigger dreams for their second time around. As official sponsor of the University of Ottawa’s Pole Dance Society, Ottawa Pole Fitness was offered use of one of the University’s auditoriums, free of charge. Hoping the success of last year’s competition created buzz and interest, they booked the 300 seat venue and broke the news that the competitors would be performing on (gasp!) two stage poles. The call for submissions, which included a mandatory submission video, was sent out mid October and by December 1st they had yet to receive a single application. A month remained before the deadline.

Why the lack of interest?
Does the idea of designing a routine around a stage pole really turn someone off from competing completely?
Or does the thought of dancing on a giant stage with blinding lights suddenly make you second guess yourself?
Or did people just not want to put in the work needed to make a submission video?

Hoping the latter to be true, Michael and Li let the students know they no longer needed to create a submission video. Lo and behold, the applications started pouring trickling in. As of December 31st, 2012, the National Capital Pole Fitness Championship had 17 competitors. Going from 38 competitors to 17 was not what they had in mind.

“I think we just have different students this year.” mused Li. “Not everyone has that competitive edge, it requires a certain personality.”

Despite the decline in applicants, the owners of OPF powered through the planning process but it wasn’t long before Michael and Li encountered their first hiccup. The free auditorium? Not so free after all. That, and the fear of potential empty seats in the 300 seat venue due to the slowly declining number of competitors led Li and Michael to make an obvious decision: Hold the competition where everyone calls home, OPF’s Studio B. No stage poles required! (The collective sigh of relief could be heard from space).

Settling on a location was checked off however many issues needed to be addressed, namely, how do you fairly judge 17 competitors who range in skill? Easy. Substitute “Amateur”, “Semi-Pro” and “Pro” with, “The Entertainer”, “The Trickster” and “The Performer” with equal cash prizes of $250 awarded to each title.

Meet The Judges

Meet The Judges

“We want everyone to have an equal chance.You can still entertain a crowd without doing the most advanced moves.” explained Li. Another way of being fair is the omission of strength as a deciding factor due to two of the competitors being male (last year saw an all female competition). Scoring would fall under five categories: degree of difficulty, technicality, artistry, costume and music with deductions and bonus points awarded to tally scores. All four judges shared the same belief: A winning performance doesn’t require the most advanced tricks or the flattest splits, it requires someone who is comfortable on stage with a creative edge. Grace and flow seemed to be a top priority as well.

A week before the competition they were down to 11 competitors. Those that dropped out did so due to either work/personal conflicts, injury (not just me) and possibly nerves. Li and Michael expected there to be drop-outs as it’s par for the course.

“Even if we’re left with five competitors the show will still go on!”

369As a welcome surprise, all 11 showed up to the studio early Saturday morning, most of them setting up shop immediately in front of the large glass mirrors wielding eyelash curlers and magenta lipstick. The day started with a meeting, beginning with a slightly heated debate over whether tack could be applied to the poles (Verdict? No.) and ending with staff and volunteers buzzing around completing freshly assigned tasks. Seeming calm, cool and completely collected (re: not hungover), Michael went about his duties at a relaxed pace and always with a smile on his face. Not wanting a repeat of last year’s technical fiasco Michael was adamant about being one step ahead at all times. Songs were double checked, wires were double checked and a Skype feed was set up to allow the competitors to view the show from upstairs in Studio A.

Live Reaction

Reaction To The Live Feed

Not everyone shared Michael and Li’s calm demeanor. While there were no full-blown freakouts, the nervous energy was palpable. Some chose to tune the world out via headphones, choosing either the song for their routine (like Rebecca, an OPF instructor who started the show with a jaw-dropping hoop routine) or perfect pump-up songs (like Abbey, who chose to listen to “Nigerian Party Music”). Others worked on their combos and some chose to apply layer upon layer upon layer of tack to their hands (“I call it a ‘Tack Bath'” said Tambra, the first competitor to hit the stage). The most (outwardly) nervous of the group, Amanda, drove up from Montreal with fellow friend and competitor, Cameron.

Beautiful Ball of Nerves (5 Minutes Before Showtime)

Beautiful Ball of Nerves (5 Minutes Before Showtime)

“She’s so good!!” he explained as we watched her (winning) performance from the comfort of Studio A. “She’s always saying she’s not any good but really, she’s amazing. She’s so hard on herself.”
Between warming up, stretching and applying her carefully orchestrated grip routine (iTac on legs at least one hour before -and not allowing that shit anywhere near her hands-, Tite Grip on hands a half hour before followed by Dry Hands 30 seconds before walking on stage) Amanda was a tiny ball of nerves. You’d think having an extensive history in ballet would make her a seasoned veteran in performing in front of audiences, but according to Amanda this was her first time dancing on stage alone. As in, not in a group number.

Just a warm-up Iron X...NBD

Just a warm-up Iron X…NBD

Even while she laughed and partook in conversations around her (amidst nervously hopping on one foot) I could see her routine flashing before her eyes at any given moment. She had this intense quality about her that gave me the feeling she was in it to win it, and watching her whip out effortless Iron X’s and Cocoons during warm-up sealed the deal in my mind that her routine was the one to watch. After a very impressive performance (all done on a spinning pole) she admitted it went well despite rushing. “I realized I was ahead in my routine so I had to walk around the pole a few times for the music to catch up.”

She wasn’t the only one who experienced this. Nearly everyone I spoke with afterward told me tales of having to make up moves on the spot or holding poses for longer in order to fill in time, but these were the only complaints I heard. No one forgot their routine. No one fell on their head. Everyone walked off stage with smiles that read “Holy shit, I did it!”. Some even cried.

366This was Tamara’s second time experiencing the joy of going through with competing, and this time she was prouder than ever. I was able to watch last year’s performances on DVD a few days before the competition and the difference in skill and flow was unbelievable. What a difference a year makes! It wasn’t just the increase in difficulty that stood out in her performance (though she did a killer Knee Hold to Spinning Scorpio Switches, one of many impressive combos that earned her The Trickster award), it was the thoughtfulness put into her routine and her overall comfort level on stage. Picking a song she could connect with helped, and her song of choice was Florence + The Machine’s “Breath Of Life” (Amanda’s song choice was also by Florence, coincidence?).

Wowsers

Wowsers

But what does Tamara really owe her confidence to? Countless hours perfecting combos. Every time I spoke with Tamara in the months before the competition she seemed exhausted and walking off stage she almost collapsed from both shock and relief. This is only the beginning for Tamara as she has plans on seizing every opportunity she has to compete or perform. She has tasted the high and is already planning for future competitions.

Where Alexis Could Be Found All Morning

Where Alexis Could Be Found All Morning

While Tamara has the drive to compete, Alexis simply has the desire to perform. Any man who takes Pole Fitness will garner attention in a predominantly female environment, but Alexis stands out as The Fairest Of Them All. You can’t help but be fascinated by Alexis, he’s a photographer’s dream; having a sixth sense of when a camera sets its sight, he arches his brows, lengthens his neck and either pouts or feigns mock surprise by the time my finger has found the shutter button (er, iPhone button). With a long time passion for dress-up (cosplay) he was first introduced to cross dressing during his two year stay in Tokyo working on his PhD in Cultural Practices and Identity in Japan.photo(5) It was through his new group of friends that he was introduced to Pole Fitness but it wasn’t until returning to University of Ottawa and seeing U of O’s Pole Dance Society doing demonstrations that he decided to join and pick up the sport (although he refuses to treat it as such). He felt welcomed immediately and was encouraged by the owners of OPF to unleash his inner alter ego and dress in drag (many costumes being home made) while at the studio. Although it seemed he was playing a character on stage, Alexis insists that in performance he puts forward a very real self, one that is defined by many outside influences. Still, embodying that persona takes intense focus and he had no hesitation about relaying that fact. “You’re going to have to go away now.” he said flatly, momentarily pulling the earbuds out of his ears before closing his eyes and turning his back to me in the dimly lit hallway outside of Studio B, two minutes before showtime. I scurried away feeling like a dickhead, but I didn’t take it personally. I know what it’s like to need your personal bubble before performing.

Drumroll.....

Drumroll…..

There’s no denying how much work each of the competitors put into their routines, or how many bruises earned or hours of sleep were lost in the weeks leading up to the big day. Even if they didn’t get to walk home with a shiny trophy or Felix Cane’s DVD set they still got to walk home with an aura of “Fuck Yeah, I’m Awesome”. All eleven of them proved to strangers, friends, family and themselves that they are capable of conquering their fears and working their ass off. Remember, everyone who competed was prepared to do their routine on a much larger stage with less forgiving poles.

The Entertainer, The Trickster & The Performer

The Entertainer, The Trickster & The Performer

From free coffee provided by Bridgehead to awesome door prizes (Someone won an Apple TV. For real.), to an M.C. who kept everyone entertained while the poles were dutifully cleaned by volunteers, the 2013 NCPFC has set the bar for future pole competitions in Ottawa. Ottawa Pole Fitness has proven to be one step ahead of the rest and has no plans of slowing down. Li and Michael’s eyes lit up as they spoke of future plans for the studio but I don’t want to ruin any surprises. Let’s just say you should like them on Facebook to be the first to know!

Success! Now Someone Buy This Man A Drink

Success! Now Someone Buy This Man A Drink

Click here for to watch all the performances of the day including Rebecca’s Hoop Routine, Richelle’s crazy advanced routine (inspired? She’s holding a workshop this Sunday!) and my fave, Maria and Catherine’s Super Sexy Doubles routine!

***This is now part of April’s Blog Hop!!!**** Click HERE for more entries from great writers discussing competitions and showcases

B Is For Ballerina

8 Feb
Finally have an excuse to wear my leotards

Finally have an excuse to wear my leotards

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since my abdominal wall threw in the towel. I’ve made it more than half way through my recovery period and it hasn’t been as frustrating as I had originally thought. Now, it wasn’t all sunshine and puppies. There was the issue of adjusting from spending class doing flags, planks and shoulder mounts galore to doing….well…not much of anything. At first it felt weird showing up to class in leggings and a tank top while everyone else changed into cute matching Lulu combos, then it felt even weirder watching everyone practice the Marion Amber as I practiced the Step-Around Pole Turn, and it felt EVEN weirder having a class of level 1’s watch me trip and stumble while doing basic pirouettes. Hi guys, I’m advanced!
At first I thought it was just nerves causing me to lose my balance as at home I can pirouette and turn around the pole with a much higher success rate. It didn’t take long until I remembered that the house I live in is a piece of shit and that my floors are not exactly level. We’re talking having to switch sides after every foosball game due to one side having an extreme advantage as the ball would just roll straight into the net if you paused for even a moment. So, basically I trained my body to balance on an uneven floor.

My teacher quickly found drills and other exercises for me to practice to help improve my balance and the overall gracefulness of my dances. I had looked into adult ballet classes but with my teacher already being a lifelong ballerina I figured why look elsewhere! What other ballet teacher brings you a pair of stripper heels to practice in?

I had asked to learn a basic pirouette off the pole and not surprisingly, even the basic ballet moves require lots of technical prerequisites.
She had me start by simply raising up on one foot (tippy toes, obviously) while bringing the other foot up alongside the knee with arms folded and outstretched in front. The foot is to be snugged alongside the knee like a puzzle piece and faced forward. I guess this is more a jazz version than ballet, as in ballet your foot and leg is pointing to the side instead of forward (see ballet version below, sorta.). At first I was only able to hold the position for half a second but I am now up to a record of four and a half seconds of no wobbling. My success rate varies based on where I am standing in my house (I am really not kidding about this). I can do a half turn at most, hopefully in another few weeks I can do one whole pirouette and then maybe I’ll be as good as a 4 year old in a tutu.

Boozy Ballerina at a Bud's B Themed B-Day

Boozy Ballerina at a Bud’s B Themed B-Day

Also not surprisingly, my pole turns improved after a couple weeks of practicing these drills.

After class the other day a classmate commented how it’s probably a good thing this happened as there’s no way I would have ever dedicated this much time to perfecting the basics and working on my splits. She was right, I don’t get an adrenalin rush from stretching. Spending a class pirouetting doesn’t leave me famished and hungrily stuffing an entire McChicken into my face. But if I never focused on simple moves I would end up with a routine that seemed more sporty than like an actual dance. It may not be physically exhausting but it still requires a lot of focus and honest nitpicking.

Thankfully I can always count on my teacher finding something wrong with what I’m doing at any given moment and for that I’m forever grateful.

…that wasn’t meant to be sarcastic.

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.

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