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Chaps FTW

It’s really weird to not be training. I have no idea what to do with my time. My budget doesn’t really allow for me to go to more classes each week, and I’m notoriously lazy about doing pole at home (short pole, not that stable), so I really have been at a loss since PPC.

I ended up with a private class on Monday night, because every other girl in my night was out for some reason (it was Memorial Day, which I’m sure played a factor). So, Drea was great and helped me with a few different things – I totally kicked her in the face, which I felt SO bad about. I’d like to think I’m not someone who kicks people that often, but who knows – anyway, I felt terrible. I know she gets kicked A LOT, but still – you never want to be that asshole that kicks the teacher in the face. 🙂

I played with the meathook again, working on a hold technique passed along to me by Natasha – it feels better, but it’s hard (the entire thing is hard, though). My armpit grip is pretty strong, while my hand grip sometimes is not – my wrists have been acting up since I started training and aerial conditioning. I’ve never had the strongest wrists, but I had issues with my hands locking up while training – since then, I have only a certain number of solid grips to use each class. I’m hoping that it’ll get better over time. I worked on some shoulder mounts, aerial pencil, etc. I also did the crazy splay leg climb we saw at PPC. 🙂

I have class again Monday, but tonight I went to see Kat perform at Believe Fitness Studio in El Segundo. (I’m writing this post while my video of her performance renders on my laptop.) It was a Girls Night Out sort of thing, where new/prospective students can see performers of all levels/types, as well as have a few drinks, snacks, and shop a bit. It was super crowded, so while I got there early enough to get one of the “free week of pole” spots they were giving out to the first 30 people, I wasn’t able to get a spot in the room for the first half of the performances. But, I got to chat with Kat, and I was in the room for her performance, as well as an amazing doubles aerial hoop (Lyra) performance. I loooooooove watching hoop, and doubles routines are so interesting – I would love to be able to take pole, silks AND Lyra. Oh, Universe…please help me out with affording these classes! 🙂

Since I have three free pole classes at their studio, I’m taking advantage of the two that don’t conflict with my regular class, just to get some extra pole time in. The studio is SO FAR AWAY from where I live that it’s not practical for me to go down there for drop in classes, unfortunately.

On Sunday, I’m also headed out to support Kat – and Drea! – at Girl Next Door at King King in Hollywood. Tickets sell out quickly, so if you haven’t gotten yours, DO EET! Kat’s performance is going to be sick (it’s secret, but I’ve got insider info, and it will be MUST SEE), and Drea is always amazing to watch.

A few fellow Pole Gals started a little secret group on Facebook for some of us to chat, post videos/pics/questions, etc. I posted something today about a fitness challenge I saw online, and it turns out that a few of the gals are interested in joining in and keeping each other accountable! That’s great – I need that! I’m notoriously lazy. 🙂

I know I owe y’all a post about what I learned from PPC – and I promise to write it soon. There’s a slim chance it will be reposted or reprinted elsewhere, so I’ve been holding off until I can think of a good way to frame it before writing it. I did do a breakdown of what I spent – although, I think I lost the post-it I wrote it on (I am a post-it hoarder…it’s a side effect of being a list maker and random note taker) – and it ADDED UP. Holy shit. I did add in expenses that may not have been necessary to add, but still…wow.

Also, I’ll post some of the Alloy Images pics – and maybe video – from PPC as soon as I get them. I got all dorky and bought a Living Social coupon for a custom photo book, so I can get the photos printed in a manner that will keep nicely over time. 🙂

Oh, and the title of this post? Comes from the fact that Kat wore chaps in her performance tonight. It was amazing.

Here’s a cool, short video of Jenyne Butterfly doing some Lyra and pole:

Mom: A pole dancer to be?

On Saturday, I took my mom to a pole teaser at my studio, and it was so fun! She did really well! She’s always been more into fitness than I ever was – she taught aerobics when I was a kid, and she has remained interested in yoga and pilates over the years. She handled the warm up well, and she was really game to do the pole spins! She did them well, too, especially for her first time! It was awesome! She got to watch me demo at the end, with a few of the other current students (and our instructor, who was Drea) – she’s never seen me do any pole, so it was cool for her to see what I can do. My friend Charlene was also in attendance, which made me so happy! I love it when my friends commit to coming to class. She happened to see a collage I put up of some of my pole pics and asked about how I got into it – I replied with a link and BOOM, she was in the teaser! LOVE THAT! And, of course, I got to see my Pole Sponsee (not really sure what else to call her!), Bonnie, at the workshop – she’s embarked on her journey with pole because I kept sending her not-so-subtle suggestions that she try it. 🙂 It gives me such joy to see her falling in love with the experience, and I’m really looking forward to seeing her as she progresses! Pole can be such a gorgeous and generous means of supporting other women, in addition to the bonding and camaraderie that can occur – it’s wonderful to be a part of that sort of thing!

Every time I see someone from pole, they ask me if I’m ready, how I’m feeling, etc, etc. It’s so sweet that so many people are being supportive. I still have that nagging voice of, “Seriously, what were you thinking? Everybody thinks you’re a fool for doing this competition with where you are at in pole…” No fun. I work on telling it to shut up a lot. 🙂 I went into a class today at the studio that is not my normal class – it’s actually taught by one of my classmates – and it ended up being a semi-private session, because the head count was unusually low. We had so much fun! I got to work out some things in my routine with the help of Mary Grace- we worked on a transition I was stuck on, and I spent some solid time on the spinning pole, working on which tricks are strong for me and which are not. I also worked on the meathook again – that fucker is BRUTAL. We’ve been trying to learn it using one arm on the pole (gripping with the hand) until we’re conditioned to take it to no hand, but my grip doesn’t seem to be strong enough to hold my weight, so I tried it with an armpit grip – I definitely got more of the turn and stomach contact necessary, but holy shit, that is a bastard of a trick. Hurts like nothing I’ve seen in a long while. BUT, I am committed to working on it. There’s a transition I wanted to see if I could do with it, but I don’t think I have time to master it before the competition – however, I still think it’s good to know how to do! I also got in some twisted hand grip practice and worked on various other things, including a new climb style. I love class with MG because she pays a lot of attention to each student and has some great tips – and her opening warm up includes some awesome stretching, especially when she comes around and does some assisted stretching with us – I loooooooooove that (and NEED it!!). I always feel so lucky to have found my studio!

I did a demo of the first 1/3 of my routine (roughly) at the end of class today, and that felt good to work on – I got great feedback, which is lovely! I know there’s a lot of work to go, but I am hoping to nail it out in the next two sessions – class tomorrow night and a private lesson on Tuesday. I got word that 90% of my costume will be in later this week, so that’s excellent – and I am all paid up on hair, make-up, and video/photo bookings for the event itself. I’m really spending on this thing – more than I need to, I’d think – but it’s my first one, and I want to have things go smoothly. I know that I would freak out if I had to do my own hair and makeup beforehand, at that early hour. I can barely do it as it is!

The more I rehearse ideas that were supplied by other people, the more I realize that some things work, but some stuff doesn’t feel organic to me. I’m going more and more toward things that feel organic, which is GOOD. I think it’s a sign of learning to trust my body to lead my brain, if that makes sense.

I’ve prepped my list of things I need to bring with me to the event, and times to remember for the event – I’m a list maker – as well as the stuff I still need to acquire. I’m getting advice from more advanced polers on how to spend this next week, in regards to training, taking care of my body, what to do and what to bring to the event, etc. I appreciate it all so much. 🙂

Later this week, I’ll post some teasers to my routine, if I can get stuff put together! 🙂 In the meantime, here is the collage photo that got Charlene to come to the teaser!

OH! And one more thing: after the workshop, my mom spent a good two hours looking up pole classes near her city, to see if she can take up pole when she gets back!!! CAN I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!

So, back to the collage that inspired a possible future poler:



Slow rev

I was back in class last night, after a few days off for vacation. Tired, to say the least. As a result, I didn’t do as much as I would normally have done, but I did rehearse my static run a few times, plus I tried some of the stuff we’ve been working on for a while, like the twisted hand grip pencil. We got a breakdown of the meathook, which is not at all like what I thought it was – I first saw it in a class while at that spinning pole class I took the other week, but the instructor never really broke down how to do it. I got a proper breakdown last night at my usual studio – one of the reasons I love it there – and was able to attempt it. I’m looking forward to trying it again! Since I am in class a lot over the next two weeks, to prep for the competition, I’ll have ample time to work on it (in between when I’ll be doing my practice for the event).

I’m definitely in a bit of a panic about everything, because I do not feel ready at all, and am terrified of making an ass out of myself. That’s the funny thing about challenging oneself – all the old demons come out and you’ve gotta beat them back like Whack-A-Moles. Even when I get down on myself or freaked out, I still put one foot in front of the other, which is something. It doesn’t seem like much, but I haven’t given up – I have my off times and my frustrations, but I committed to extra classes to make myself work.

I saw this crazy shoulder mount variation that I’m going to share in a moment – shoulder mount is something that has taken me about a year to be able to do, for whatever reason. I swear it’s been a matter of commitment issues, not strength. I can do it now, although it’s not pretty the way I would like it to be – that will come with more conditioning. My technical issues came from kicking my legs out without lifting them – and my body – up toward the pole…it also took me a while to find the right position. The shoulder grip area (for me) seems to be right between the base of my neck and the top of my shoulder blade bone, which is near the shoulder. If I look in the mirror, there is about a 2 to 3 inch area of skin between the base of my neck and where my collar bone rises to meet the shoulder. That is the fleshy part of my shoulder (for lack of a better word) and seems to be the right pocket for my mount, so as to avoid the compression being placed on bone. It’s something that I feel out more than something I look for when I get into it. Then, it is a matter of getting the right position for the head/body – I tend to lean back a bit, so I’m a little lower on the pole, but not too much – too much causes slipping and added weight in a weird way. I also had to learn to tuck my elbows in toward the pole when I would launch – I kept leaving them out and, once it was caught my one of the instructors, I was told that I was taking half my power away by doing it. I can now get up on the pole if I am not tired, and I’m doing infinitely better with it overall, but it is something I try each week. Sometimes, pole is a journey of getting tricks right away…other times, it takes a year of conditioning to be able to do one thing, which is both frustrating and gratifying (once you hit it).

I did notice last night that I now have control in my headstand that I didn’t have before – instead of kicking up, I was able to roll up smoothly, which (again) is something that has taken ages. It’s now down to stamina – being able to do it again and again, instead of just twice or whatever. 🙂

Anyway, on to that modified shoulder mount, which starts just after the 2:34 mark in this video – I almost threw up when I saw it for the first time.

She uses the pocket of her elbow as a grip – elbow grips are not my favorite (ouch) – and I can’t imagine how hard it must be! Anyway, overall, she’s got some amazing athleticism!

Today is night 2 of class this week – hoping to have some more energy and work on floor choreo. I did some spinning pole stuff last night, but not a ton – I was assigned the new 45mm to work on, because I need it for PPC, but also because nobody else had much experience on it, apparently. So the girls would stop by and play on it, but it was mostly mine for the night, which is fine. I may be on it again tonight, we’ll see. I had to work to avoid a busted spot on my foot last night – it’s right where I climb, so I had to modify the climb so as to not rip it open again. It took me a little while to figure out how to do that – I had to go back to an old style of climbing and use my knees more than my foot hook, which was weird. Anyway, we’ll see what tonight brings!