2nd Annual SASS Wing-Ding Shindig! January 2019

This year’s Wing-Ding theme was 80’s.  That was a struggle for me, as I’m not huge fan of the 80’s.  But between stuff I already had and purchasing a few items, I pulled off a pretty good 80’s outfit.  This year, there was a massive snow storm, making the party a little more low key than last year.  Again, we rented a party bus with a pole.  We hit up a winery, a restaurant and partied on the bus until going back to the studio.   At the studio is was pretty chill, with one of the girls singing for us as we gathered around a pseudo campfire.  I went to sleep early, having my Jeep I didn’t worry, but others had to dig their vehicles out front the mountains of the snow that fell as we were out.

The reason why I look forward to this event, is its an night where I get to hang out with my pole family.  We all understand each other in ways non-polers (muggles) don’t. Because we are all so busy, its not often that we get a chance to get together.  So its awesome that owner of SASS, Shanyn, organizes this event for the studio.

2019 Goals

It has felt like that I haven’t been able to get any new tricks in quite a while. I go to class, watch all the girls do amazing things, and fight back the tears of my own frustration. I would stare at the pole in anger, why can’t I do things everyone else is? There were many classes that I felt like leaving early. Usually, I would put on my pants, and play on the silks as that would make me feel better.

I’ve been working on handspring for years, I just can’t seem to get it. I’m made some progress at the end of the year, I did get my extended butterfly back, which I lost for a few years. But handspring remains my nemesis so I decided to leave that for a bit, and make some new goals.

1. Titanic

2. Aerial Shoulder Mount

3. Ayesha

4. Brass Monkey

If I can get some of these, I will then return to handspring. I’m going to set aside time daily to do some conditioning, and work on some tricks. 2019 will be my year!

Devil, Devil: SASS Halloween Showcase – October 2018

I agreed to this showcase with lots of time to prepare. It took me a long time to settle in a song but I finally decided on Devil Devil by MILCK. I had the beginning of the routine figured out a month before the showcase but didn’t finish the full routine until a few days before the show. I really need to start putting more time in when I do a showcase!

Even with the little time I did put into preparing, it went pretty good. The lights on one of my Aura heels stopped working about half way through the song. That distracted me slightly. I was upset though after watching all the other performances, that mine wasn’t so good. I really need to push myself further.

Being Polekitten

Two years ago, I decided to start this blog. I choose the name Polekitten as it’s a nickname for a pole cleaner at a pole showcase or competition. When I choose it, it was just a domain name. Then I made a logo. Then I changed it to my social media name. Then I got a personalized licence plate. Then I put decals on my vehicles. And bam! I built a brand and persona for myself.

It didn’t really hit me until I was at concert and after the concert, I met the band. A year prior, I added the band members to my social media. This time, they knew my name, well kinda. They knew me as Polekitten! They gave me big hugs and they were genuinely happy to see me. That was huge for me as I’ve been following this band for years. It all happened because I put myself out there and created a persona that people remember.

My licence plate has gotten me noticed too. I was at a car show and a guy seen my plate, and was determined to talk to me as he was intrigued. We exchanged contact information and he ended up sending a referral to purchase a car from me. I also got some photos in his Porche and we have kept in contact. All because of my licence plate.

I have many stories when I have been approached inappropriately due to being more public. But I would not trade the amazing people and experiences that have come my way because of a few bad apples.

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New Equipment – Summer 2018

I’ve been looking at purchasing a stage pole for a long time. I wanted a portable pole that I could
bring to photo shoots and events. But at a price tag over $1000, it was not in my budget. My husband offered to help me out as he saw the benefits of such an investment. We also decided that an aerial rig would be advantageous, as then I could use my hoop and silks on a portable rig. He managed to save money in shipping by driving to the Toronto X-Pole location to pick up the equipment directly.

When he brought it home, it was like I was a delighted child on Christmas morning, impatient to dive into the boxes, assemble and play with my exciting new toys.

I was able to put my equipment to the first test at the vendor fundraiser. I only set the apparatus’ up once before the event, so I was unsure how it would go. It went smoother than I thought, even with it being so hot. I panicked for minute as I thought I forgot the wrenches for the pole, but my son found it and all was good. Other vendors commented his impressed they were with how I managed to set up such large equipment by myself.

I then was able to use my aerial rig at a photo shoot. A photographer a shot with before contacting about doing another shoot, I said I just got done equipment that I would love to try out. He said he has a friend that owes a winery that we could use, given the location, I thought the aerial rig with silks would be best. So, there I was, setting up my rig in the middle of the Reif Winery vineyard, which was an incredible experience. The winery owner is also a hobby photographer, so he shoot photos as well. I would have never thought that by starting pole and aerial, what kind of experiences that would allow me to have.

I also used the equipment just for my own personal training at home. I set it up in the back yard to train. I used it to teach my niece some silks tricks when she was visiting from B.C. I also set the rig up in the front yard so me and my daughter could show off our talents at our annual street end of summer party.

Pole Events in Summer 2018

The summer came and went in a blink of the eye. I spent the summer going to several pole events though out the summer.

The first event was a vendor fundraiser event for a women’s shelter. I went with the girls from SASS, we set up 2 poles in the center of the hall and we did demonstrations. There was not a lot of people there other than the ones working their own vendor booths, but we had fun just playing together for a few hours.

The second event was the Five Alarm Ladies Night, a firefighter charity fundraiser. I went to this event in 2013, which is where I seen the girls from SASS doing pole demonstrations.  I was in complete awe of what the girls could do and it made me determined to try. I was inspired and wanted to be strong and confident like them. Five years later, I was at the event WITH the girls at the studio performing demonstrations.

Being part of a vendor was a very different experience from when I was part of the audience watching the show. Firstly, when the woman came in, they showed zero interest in the pole and it was evident that they saw us as competition. The woman were all dressed up, hoping to snag a firefighter. When they walked in and saw a bunch of girls in booty shorts on a pole, it was threatening to them. Fast forward an hour after the woman have had a few drinks and saw the firefighters dance on stage, their options of us changed. They approached us to try out the pole and asked about classes. We were no longer the enemy; we could help their game.

The following day, I went to the Canadian Pole Fitness Association’s competition at the Toronto Pro SuperShow. I went with a bunch of the girls from SASS to support one of the girls from the studio competing. She did fantastic and placed 3rd in the semi-pro division!! It was nice to hang out with the girls outside the studio for the day.

Lastly, I performed demonstrations at a vendor fundraiser for mental health, similar to the I did with SASS, but this one I did solo. Well, actually I brought my kids along, my son helped me with the equipment and my daughter performed with me. We has performed a combination of pole, pole silks, silks and lyra. It was hot an exhausting putting the equipment up, performing for 4 hours and then taking all the equipment down. Overall though, a great experience and my first paid event!

Pole Silks – Spring 2018

When I competed last August, I seen a pole silks performance that mesmerized me. I never seen anything like it before. It’s rigging silks onto the pole to combine the 2 styles together. It is beautiful. I had to try it!

Since it is new, none of the studios in my area teach or even have pole silks. So, I researched where to do my own. I ended up the silk rig attachment, called Silkii from X Pole. I also had to buy the permanent mount for my pole as the pressure fitted pole is not safe to use with the Silkii.

I watched a lot of videos and starting teaching myself as I played around. I fell in love. I loved fusing the 2 apparatus’ together.

My instructor at Paradisaea asked me if I was going to perform in the April showcase. I said no at first. But then she suggested a pole silks routine, I thought that was a great motivation to train! I was nervous though, as I only played on them once and here I was, committed to a full routine in a few months.

I don’t know how I even managed to put a routine together, but I did and I was very happy with it. One of my pole instructors said she loved how I made the routine flow so well. The fact that I taught myself was a huge accomplishment.

SASS Wing-Ding Shindig! January 2018

Planning get togethers to celebrate holidays or birthdays can get challenging with a large group of people. So the owner of SASS come up with an idea to celebrate everything in one night! That’s when the Wing-Ding Shindig was born.
We all had to dress up honouring EVERY occasion: Christmas, New Years, Valentines, St.Patricks Day, Easter, Canada Day, Halloween, birthdays and bachelorette. My competitive nature come out and I tried hard to win the trophy for best dressed. We rented a party bus, and since we are pole dancers, of course it had a pole!

We went out for dinner, went to a winery and then a brewery, and then partied on the bus until going back to the studio.

The shenanigans continued at the studio with party games and poling. I ended up passing out on some pole mats in my unicorn onesie. It was a great night with an amazing group of people.

Taking a Break – Fall/Winter 2017

I was starting to stretch myself really thin with everything I had taken on. I work full time, go to pole and silks classes and booked photo shoots on my days off. I didn’t train enough for the competition and it showed in my performance. My chores at home were piling up, giving me stress. My kids and husband missed me. I was tired all the time. Everything was catching up with me and getting to be too much.

I made a few jobs changes in 2017 which was a lot of adjustments. I was struggling to fit in at my new jobs. I realized that being pretty, confident, smart, having a great personality and be really intimidating to others. I was constantly feeling like the outcast and that I was always trying to prove myself. No matter what I seemed to do, it was never good enough.

The breaking point was my grandma’s health decreased over the summer and she passed at the end of October. I was so busy that I was not able to go visit her before she passed. I grew up living with her and my mom, so she helped raise me. She taught me how to become a strong woman. I was devastated by her loss. I slipped into a depression through the rest of the fall and most of the winter. I stopped going to pole classes for a while, didn’t practice at home at all either. I needed time to grieve and be with my family, so I put everything else on hold.

Certified Pole Instructor – October 2017

In October I took 2 instructor training courses. I have taught a few classes to some friends and I love being able to see the excitement of a new student learning tricks. It reminds me of when I began, that spark in my eyes when I learnt a new skill.

PFIC (Pole Fitness Instructor Certification)
The second course was Introduction to Teaching Aerials by Nimble Arts. This course was more comprehensive as it was 34 hours of training over 5 days. It provided a foundation of horizontal and vertical apparatus skills as well as coaching techniques, spotting skills, posture analysis, injury prevention, learning styles and curriculum planning. I got a certificate that I completed the course, but that course is only the first step in long process to become a certified aerial instructor.

The courses were expensive but they were worth the investment. They were both very informative and gave me lots of new skills. My goal is to take a couple of fitness and aerial instructor courses each year to continue my learning.