Getting Flexy – Fall 2019

In 2017, I had a great training plan set up for the New Year, including working on my shoulder and back flexibility. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I got hand, mouth and foot disease which prevented me from training for a bit. After that, I was sick for a week. And then shortly after that I pulled a tendon in my bicep. I got hit with one thing after another, making it difficult to consistently train. I suffered with my arm injury for a month and I finally went to physio for treatment. I took time off completely while my arm was getting treated. Right when my arm was better, I had to go in for surgery on my breast implant…a week before I was to perform. The surgery resulting in scar tissue that tightened my shoulders further.

I struggled for years with any tricks that required shoulder flexibility. It took a few years and several osteopath and massage sessions and lots of yoga classes to regain flexibility in my shoulders. It was a lot of work to reverse the effects of the injuries and surgery.

Now I have finally made progress in improving my shoulders and back, as well as my middle splits.

I have also started training for a very advanced pole trick called Bird o Paradise. The trick is adapted from the yoga pose that shares the same name. The difference between the yoga pose (which is tricky enough as it as) and the pole version is having the pole weaved behind the shoulder. It hurts a lot to train so I can only practice 2-3 times until the pain on my shoulder is too much. It is incredibly difficult and takes a lot of shoulder flexibility. I have managed to progress to grab my hand, now I have to work on the positioning and balance to take my top leg off the pole. The last other demonstrates what the trick is supposed to look like.

My overall strength has increased with noticeable changes to my body and my abilities on the pole.

Finally Progress – Killing It In 2019

I am achieving the goals I set for myself at the beginning of  year. It seems changing my diet has also contributed to building muscle and strength.  I can check off titanic, aerial shoulder mount and ayesha! Those are 3 big ones that I’m so proud of.  And I got my nemesis…handspring!  After 3 years of frustration and thinking that it will never happen, it finally did happen.  I did exactly what I planned, I left handspring for a bit, got some other tricks, and then returned to handspring with renewed determination. The first time I did a successful handspring at SASS, all the girls cheered, as they know how hard I’ve been working on it.  It felt so good.  In silks, my aerial inverts are getting much stronger.

All the hard work is finally paying off.  I have finally got past the fear of trying new pole tricks and have had fun learning new things again.  I now can do headstands and getting close to handstands.  My love for pole has returned.  I’m spending 10-15 hours a week training between pole, silks and other workouts.

Last on my list is brass monkey! I will conquer.

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!

Published – August 2017

Pole has opened a lot of doors for me that I would have never thought possible. One of them is the ability to model. I always dreamed about being a model when I was a little girl, but never thought I had the looks for it. Since I started working out, I’ve gotten the confidence to try things I’ve always wanted to do.

I joined a few modelling groups online, posted a few pictures I had and before I knew it, I had several photographers wanting to shoot with me. It was almost overwhelming at first, I didn’t think anything would actually come from it.

I did several photo shoots throughout the summer, which allowed me to build a portfolio. I worked with a bunch of different photographers with very different styles, allowing me learn what works for me best. I took in all the advice and tips the photographers gave me since it all was new to me.

One photo shoot I ended to getting published in 2 online magazines! I was on cloud nine, was so proud of being published. In that moment, I realized I can do anything when I really put the work into it.

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Great White North Pole Competition – August 2017

I did it! I competed! I competed in Verticlove’s Great White North Pole Competition. It was my first competition so I entered the amateur division. The song I choose was the acoustic version of TLC’s “Unpretty.” My costume was white lace top and bottoms with a sheer robe and 8 inch Pleaser heels. I wrote body shaming words on my body which was shown when I opened my robe at the beginning of the song. As the song goes on, I find my confidence through pole dancing and shed the robe at the end showing the words Beautiful and Strong on my biceps.

I loved my concept for the performance and kept my choreography to tricks I knew really well. Where it went wrong was not practicing it enough to really make it flow, clean up my inverts and lines in poses. I also didn’t practice writing the words on my body. I accidentally ended up buying permanent paint to write the words. My concept was to smear the body shaming words as I dance so show that I’m wiping the negativity away. But since the paint was permanent, it did not wipe off, and it was not dark enough for the audience to see it clearly.

After I performed, I was too nervous to watch the other competitors. I walked around the Hamilton harbour during a thunderstorm and reflected on my performance.

I didn’t end up placing but I felt a winner just getting up on stage to compete. It was an amazing experience and learnt a lot for future performances.  It was good to get the first one under my belt as now I have a better understanding of what the judges are looking for.

Where Oh Where Can My Motivation Be? 

Dear Motivation,

Where are you? Why are you hiding? My energy levels and drive have been low.  I try to eat better but then slip backwards into old habits.  My progress in aerial has been slower. I’m at a plateau.

I see other people grow above me. I get frustrated at how my lack of advancement.

Why can I not handspring yet? Am I just not strong enough? I am doubting my abilities.  The other things in my life have taken over. My dreams seem like they are no longer obtainable.

I wasn’t sure how to proceed from here. So I thought looking back may help. I recently reread this blog.  It reminded me where I started from and how far I’ve come. Just within the last year, I created this blog, a brand for myself and started performing. Later this year, I will be competing and getting my instructor certification.

I also looked but at my pole board on Pinterest. I used to spend hours looking through pole pictures and videos for inspiration and motivation.  I took some time revisiting my pins, which reminded me how I fell I love with pole. And how obsessed I was with it.  Whenever I listened to music, I thought of poling. Whenever I shopped for clothes, I looked for new pole clothes. Whenever I was out anywhere, I looked for a pole to play on.

My handspring will come. It took me a year and a half to do a shoulder mount.   More than half my battle is mental. I need to keep believing in myself. I need to stop looking at others with envy, instead let them inspire and teach me. I too can do it.  No more excuses. I had so many goals at the beginning of the year.  I know once I start training regularly again my passion will return.

New Year, New Challenges

I ended 2016 with posting a recent picture of me and my body stats: 

December 31, 2016

Weight: 122

Body Fat: 23%

Waist: 27 inches

I posted it to hold myself accountable towards my goals and to keep pushing.

I started stretching as I really want to gain flexibility. I have been using the techniques I learned in the flexibility workshop last October.

 

My goal is to train 5 days a week:

1. Silks (class)

2. Stretching (at home)

3. Pole (classes)

4. Hoop (at home)

5. Pole (at home)

I don’t have set days for the training at home, as it will vary with my schedule. The first step was setting goals, the next step is to commit to them!!

 

 

 

I received my Christmas gift from my husband, which an lyra hoop from Juggle Gear.  The day I received it, I couldn’t wait to get it up and rigged. I was afraid I wouldn’t remember the tricks I learned from the workshop I did last August. It didn’t take long to get it all back though!

Training for My First Professional Pole Showcase – November 2016

I spent most of October and November training preparing for my first professional pole performance. I did a flexibility workshop at Paradisaea with Deflying Fitness. It was 4 hours of stretching and contortion, or better named contorture. I trained hard at both Paradisaea and SASS, working on my stamina, endurance and of course strength.

I pole kittened and VerticaLove’s Great White North Pole Competition. While I was there, me and one of my instructors got to take the stage during intermission and dance with our Aura heels on. A 360 video captured our impromptu freestyle on stage. I got a chance to feel what it was like dancing on stage with an audience and it was so much fun!

My First Recital, The Highs and Lows – June 2016

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I spent several months working on choreographing my own routine for the first time. It was supposed to be for a spring showcase at SASS, which the date was pushed back several times. Then it was cancelled and postponed until the fall due to a lack of performers ready with a routine. When my silks instructor heard it was cancelled, she invited me to perform my routine at our silks recital.

I altered my costume a bit as the show was for all ages. I had to change my song to a Beatles song as that was the theme. I picked Free As A Bird and it fit my routine well. I spent hours preparing for the show.

On rehearsal day, I set up the 2 stage poles to practice. The show was in a gym and it was very hot. I was very worried that I would be too sweaty to execute my shoulder mount in the routine.

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The day of the show, I was beyond nervous. When I got out there, I concentrated on my music and my movements and didn’t look at the audience. I did bail on my shoulder mount as I was just too slippery. Overall, I was happy how it went but was going to take the shoulder mount out of the second show

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The silks group routine I wasn’t nearly as nervous for as I wasn’t out there alone. It went well. My husband and kids came to support me and my husband recorded my performances.

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Between the first and second show, I was told that there was some negative comments about my pole routine posted on the events Facebook page. I was asked to tone down the routine or perhaps take it out of the second show. I thought about it for a bit and decided that I did not want to change my art because of a bully, so I didn’t perform. I went home for a bit to clear my head, and went back just to perform the group silks routine at the end of the show.

After the show, I bought a big bottle of wine, relaxed in my hot tub and vented to some pole friends. I took solace in hearing other friends stories of facing negative comments through their pole career. The stigma around pole is sometimes difficult for a dancer to deal with. But it’s our passion and art and we are tough girls that will face the negativity head on and will not let it defeat us.

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Coming Out of My Shell – April 2016

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I heard about a pole showcase called Something Wicked by Verticalove in Hamilton. They were looking for pole cleaners, or pole kittens, so I volunteered. I got to watch the performances, then went on stage and climbed the poles to clean them between performances. Dancers from across Ontario, including a few from my own studio SASS, and the States come to perform and they were all incredible!

I had a chance to feel what it was like to be onstage in heels and booty shorts. By the end of the second night, I met so many amazing new people and decided that I wanted to be a performer next time.

A few weeks later, I joined a few girls from SASS at the bar Southsides in Fort Erie promoting the studio. A girl set up her stage pole in the bar and we took turns doing tricks. I got really sick after Verticalove, so performing was very challenging but I toughed it out.

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It was actually a bit of a dream come true. When I was in the beginners class, my instructor Shanyn told my class one night that she and her SASS girls were performing at a bar that night. That night, as I was learning basic spins, I dreamt of the day I would be good enough to do something like that. There I was, 2 years later living out something I thought only was a dream. That night I felt like my hard work was starting to pay off.

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