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Dancing in Someone Else’s Shoes

Last night, I danced in someone else’s shoes. Literally and, I suppose, figuratively.

I never dance in shoes. Part of it is that I just got really comfortable dancing in bare feet – it felt more organic to me, and less like I was playing at something. Part of it is that inverting with shoes was really hard when I was first learning to invert, so I abandoned them in favor of being able to get up without struggle.

I dropped into an extra class last night at The Pole Garage, which is my pole home base. My first class was a pole work class, which is all working on tricks and such (like my Magic Split, which looks infinitely better if I am having a bendier day – see photo below).

Magic Split at Choreography House

Magic Split at Choreography House

Pole work is really best when you’ve got a plan you want to work on for the class – there are instructions given and demos done on certain tricks people have requested, but it’s always best to go in with a plan of your goals for the class. I worked on a few things, and after class, hung out with some of my pole sisters while they waited for the second class of the night. On a whim, I decided to crash the class since the roster wasn’t full, and I am SO glad that I did!

The class was a transitions and dance class, which normally follows a lesson plan of learning various transition pieces and doing more dancing in general – we usually start with a flow through dance, where we have a specific “assignment” for each pole we touch, then work on the lessons, then do a freestyle. This class was set up differently – Jo, our instructor, taught us a simple, sexy routine that was within everyone’s reach. No inverts, nothing too fancy or crazy, just beautiful, classic pole dancing. She requested that everyone bring leg warmers and shoes if they had them.

Now, I always have leg warmers in my bag, but I never bring my shoes. So, I borrowed a bitchin’ pair from my classmate, Kim: I think they were 7 inchers, with tiger stripes on the platforms/heels. I did the entire class in shoes – the learning of the routine AND our final dance, where we had to use the routine, then could improvise afterward.

It was really fun to wear shoes again! I never really felt much love for shoes (beyond the typical female interest in shoes), and I never really got what it is to be a dancer who chooses shoes over bare feet, but it was a fun change for me. It just felt it was SO not me to dance in shoes – as I said, I felt like I was playing at being sexy, instead of just being it. I always felt more myself in bare feet, so I stuck with that. Having danced in Kim’s shoes, I find myself open to the idea of exploring shoes again, especially for dance-based classes.

In honor of dancing in shoes for the first time in at least a year – if not two years – I also decided to tape myself for the first time in ages. The last time I taped a full dance in class was 2 years ago (I don’t count my tape from PPC, since that was a performance in the public realm).

This dance is made up of the approximation of the routine we learned in class tonight (first half or so), and my own freestyle (second half). I was exploring the movement in heels – especially in my own freestyle, because I really never do any of those moves in heels. I had to think on the fly with some of it, but I had fun. It’s hard to watch the video and not focus on the mistakes in moves, and I can tell when I’m in my head versus just dancing, but that’s okay. The whole point of taping it was just to do it. To get out of my comfort zone in more than one way and explore. There’s only one “advanced” trick in the entire thing (I invert once) – it’s not like I was looking to impress with being a trickster. :-)

I also should mention that I never do much dancing anymore. Most of my classes are trick based. I rarely get the chance to freestyle and dance, to be creative in my movement, so in a way, this is also me exploring what it is to dance and express through the movement again.

Anyway, this is me, exploring dancing again. Exploring videos again. And dancing in someone else’s shoes.

A couple of videos for you

Just a quick post with a couple of videos for you.

First up, a performance from Sarah Scott that blows my mind – she’s SO strong. Like, beast strong. It’s AWESOME. I met her briefly at PoleCon 2012, so it’s neat to finally check out her performance style. She’s got a couple of aerial and shoulder mount sequences that are incredible, and I like some of her other moves – she’s got a shoulder stand floor move that I’d like to breakdown, and I actually brought one of her pole sequences into class late last year – it’s a combo from an odd spin into a series of grip poses, then some planks from the floor to pole. (I’m not explaining it well, but I have no idea what any name of any trick in it would be.)

And, then there’s little ol’ me, trying my best to learn a new sequence at my last Lyra class. I’ve been struggling a bit the last few weeks – more tired than usual, and it could either be that I’ve been sick (especially the last two weeks) and run down, or it could be that the difficulty of the tricks has finally caught up to where my strength level is. Not sure yet. This week was tough on me, though – the sick factor really took more out of me than I realized (which is not a fun thing to discover when you’re in a single knee hang). I’m struggling a bit in this video, but Leigh is walking me through each new move patiently, since I didn’t get a chance to string them together before this moment – I’d tried one of the tricks twice successfully, one of them once successfully, and one of them once rather unsuccessfully, so the entire thing was pretty new to me, except for the knee hang portion and the mermaid. The one I’m working with near the end is called The Dislocater (not sure if that’s just Leigh’s name for it), and it lands into two pretty tricks, but getting into it is awkward as hell (as you can see). Hoping to have it down a bit better next week!

I’m back in class tomorrow and Thursday – hoping my body doesn’t put up too much of a fight – and am tentatively scheduled to finally head out with a pole friend to play with my Most-Fit suspension strap. Between being so sick, it being my busy season with my pet sitting business, and the weather acting up every time I made plans to go outside to use it, I haven’t been able to test it properly yet. Excuse, excuses, I know. :-)

Still no word on whether I’ve got a spot in the PPC 2013 showcase, but I do think I have my song/theme if I get in! Also, we’re working on getting new merchandise ready for Poleitical Clothing – hope to launch it at Pole Show LA, if we end up getting a vendor booth. :-)

Video Blitz

I’ve been out of town again, but wanted to update with some recent videos.

First up is one of my new favorite performances, from Marlo Fisken – I seriously keep watching this over and over. She brings so much fluidity to her performances – and she’s a sterling example of what it is to pole DANCE. She’s also a powerhouse. I’m in awe, always. Stunning.

Next is a recent video from USPDF Champ Michelle Stanek – it’s a gorgeous mix of sexy and athletic, proving once again that there is room for both in the pole world. They can co-exist, and the results are beautiful.

This video – damn. This guy is amazing. Incredible strength and moves – he’s got some sick combos and Chinese pole skills. He’s earning some crushes from my fellow pole girls. :-)

I’ve got some new post ideas in the works, and I’m thrilled to share that I’ll soon be reviewing the MostFit Suspension Strap, to see how it helps with conditioning for pole and aerial! Once I receive my test sample, I’ll figure out what kind of exercises to do with it and if I can work out a program for use, based on what they suggest, and I’ll pass along that info on my blog!

I’m looking forward to heading back into Lyra this coming weekend (side note: my mom is coming to a class with me, later in the month – that’ll be fun!) – in our last class, I got to go to the top of the hoop for the first time! I’m excited to keep adding on to what I’ve learned. I have someone tape me in each class, so I can see what I’m doing – how far I’ve come, what tricks are working, what needs to be polished, etc. Right now, I seem to be so focused on tricks and making sure I’m solid that I’m not really minding my musicality, so that’s my next goal. :-) Also, I want to smooth out my inverts. Anyway, here’s the video from my last class!

Inverting to the top of the hook, in a pike position.

Inverting to the top of the hoop, in a pike position.

A month?

How has it been a month since I last posted? Oh, I was busy, that’s why. :-/ I haven’t been to my usual pole class in a couple of weeks, because of travel and work, but I did hit up lyra this week, and I had a drop in class at a studio in Illinois – which I’ll post about separately. I’m currently debating whether or not I want to compete again next year in PPC. If you haven’t read my post on what my experiences were like when I first competing, I do recommend it – not just because I wrote it, but because I really tried hard to present the experience clearly and to be really honest about what it took to do it. It was exhausting and expensive, and while I ultimately had a good time at the competition itself, I don’t know that I’d do it again.

However, I keep thinking of ideas for routines. I get ideas while I’m driving, I hear songs and think of movement, and I generally find myself still mulling it over. It’s such a commitment, though. The money, the time, the wear and tear on your body…registration opens in December. Maybe I’ll figure it out before then…

Lyra was fun this week – smaller class, so more time up in the hoop. We’re working on stringing little mini routines together, which has been a good challenge. It allows us to build on what we’ve learned already while still cementing it. I had three weeks off from class, so I was happy to see that I remembered everything, even if my grip was exhausted pretty quickly. I wish I could go to lyra twice a week. The bruises are terrible, though, soooo…maybe it’s better that I keep it to once a week! :-) Anyway, here’s a new video from class – I was working on holding each pose for a 2 count and smoothing transitions. I stopped my own spin, unfortunately – Leigh pops in at the start to spin me, but I accidentally stopped it when I did the pump to get momentum to go up into the hoop (that move is allowable for now – it allows me a smoother transition once I’m up, instead of fighting for it right off the bat). The hoop still spins during the routine, but not as much as it could. I have to work out how to transition into other moves that I know, too. We’re focusing on this sequence a lot right now – but, that’s almost 2 minutes, which is great! It didn’t feel like 2 minutes at all while I was doing it!

working on my fake split hang (I don’t have great splits)

I have other stuff I want to post this week – hoping the holiday gives me some free time to do it!

Alethea: Bring Sexy Back Week

In case you missed it, this was Alethea Austin‘s contribution to “Bring Sexy Back” week – nobody slinks quite like her!


I love her flow, her dead-sexiness, and how unabashed she is about what she is doing. We could all do well to take on some of that balls-out confidence and ownership of self!

I also love her business cards:

Alethea Austin – business card (photo by Alethea Austin)

Amen, sister.

 

Pacific Pole Championships: Pictures and Video

Here are some of the professional images, as well as a video of my performance, all courtesy of Alloy Images. Again, I took 3rd place in the Artistic Dramatic Level 2 category, and while my performance is not perfect, I’m pretty proud of myself for going out and doing it. I am starting to pull together the info for the post on what it took for me to compete and hope to have it done later this week – with volunteering at the Master’s Cup and the Pole Convention, it’ll be a busy week! Photos are up first (chose my favorites – there are a few that are nice shots, but I’m rather harsh on myself about how I look in some of them, so holding those back out of vanity :-P), video is at the bottom.

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