Studio Spotlight: The Pole Garage
When I started pole dancing again in 2010, I started at The Pole Garage. It’s been my Pole Home for the last four years. Even when I go play at other studios, as I do quite often, I still always find TPG to be a bit magical.
Having known Drea & David for a while, I thought it might be fun to learn a little more about them and the “behind the scenes” at the studio. They graciously accepted my invitation for an interview with Drea!
Poleitical Diaries: How were you introduced to pole?
Drea Roers: I began Pole Dancing in 2004, when a friend surprised me with my first Pole dancing class! The instant my fingers touched the pole, my life had changed forever…it was magic! My first spins were definitely not ‘pretty’, but I was flying through the air and I felt FREE, ALIVE and BEAUTIFUL! I was instantly addicted and fell madly in love with the artistry of pole dancing. I committed and dedicated myself to my pole dancing training and within a year, became an Instructor.
PD: What inspired you to start your studio?
DR: My dream was to open my own Pole Dance studio and to share the world of pole dancing with other women! I hoped that if I could change ONE life the way my life had been changed, that I would be able to share my love and passion for pole dancing with other women! In 2009, my dream came true. My husband, David Roers and I opened The Pole Garage in Santa Monica, CA! I left twelve years of a Trading/Brokerage career and never looked back! It was solely and entirely David Roers and the wonderful women from within the pole dancing community that were my absolute inspiration toward opening The Pole Garage!
PD: Tell us about your studio:
DR: The Pole Garage is a Boutique Pole Dance studio located in Santa Monica, CA. The Pole Garage is dedicated exclusively to the art of Pole Dancing. Our studio has five ‘Stationary’ and ‘Spinning’ 45mm poles by Platinum Stages and X Pole.
PD: How did you come to create the class structure for TPG?
DR: We offer a myriad of pole dancing classes at The Pole Garage, with an emphasis on progressive “Session Classes”. I created The Pole Garage Curriculum for women to journey together, at the same pace and ‘level’ progressively, in order to properly and safely strengthen, condition and learn pole dance technique. Our Session classes include Beginner, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, Advanced I, into Advanced level. At “Advanced” level, we offer “Unlimited” Advanced Specialty Focus Classes (ex: Adv. Spinning Pole, Adv. Aerial & Twisted Hand Grip, Adv. Shoulder Mount & Combos, Adv. Transitions & Dance, Adv. Drop Tricks & Thread Thru etc). We also offer Mixed Level pole classes (Pole Power Hour and Pole Play & Dance classes), Pole Parties, Privates, Workshops, Pole Choreography, Competition/Performance Training, Intro Pole Teasers and specialty classes. The Pole Garage is a fabulous place to meet a new community of adventurous women, to get toned & sculpted, to let loose, or to someday perform, compete, instruct OR JUST DANCE! 🙂
PD: What do you feel sets The Pole Garage apart from other studios?
DR: I believe every studio has its own beautiful and unique style. The Pole Garage provides a warm, welcoming and positive energetic space to explore the artistry of pole dancing. We wanted to give women a supportive environment to be creative, innovative and to be free to challenge oneself without judgment. We are very unique, as ALL of our amazing Instructors are hired internally from within The Pole Garage and have completed our Progressive Curriculum Training program, as well as complete our “Instructor Training” Certification program.
PD: What are you most proud of in regards to the studio?
DR: I am so proud that my Husband & Co-Owner of The Pole Garage, David and I fought to open The Pole Garage, a small Business, during the midst of a Recession and economic turmoil in 2009.
PD: How did you decide to make it a “family business” TPG
DR: David and I shared a vision of starting a small business together and we took a leap of faith and opened The Pole Garage! It has been the most rewarding experience imaginable for us to see how our studio has become such an integral part of the community and changed women’s lives!
PD: What are some of your favorite studio-related memories over the years?
DR: My all time favorite studio-related memories are from the endless amounts of laughter and cheering that fill the studio daily as we fly, spin, flip and dance together. I also cherish the life-long friendships formed from The Pole Garage and from within the pole community that I hold so near and dear to my heart. I believe the bond we share is beyond a friendship, it is truly a “SISTERHOOD” or as we say at The Pole Garage, our “POLE SISTERS”.
PD: What’s on the Horizon for The Pole Garage
DR: On the horizon for The Pole Garage is to continue to support and bring awareness to the pole dance industry one pole dancer at a time.
PD: What are your favorite classes to teach?
DR: I LOVE teaching every class from Beginner to Advanced. It’s so exciting to teach a Beginner their first ever pole spin! And if I had to choose one Advanced class, I would say Advanced ‘Aerial Pole’, as it’s such a blast to dance Aerial in the air! Instructing is such a dream come true to be able to share what I love so very much w/ others. 🙂
Thanks, Drea & David! If you’d like to check out classes at The Pole Garage, you can find their website at www.thepolegarage.com.
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).
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.
The Aussie Invasion
On Sunday, June 2nd, I was lucky enough to nab a ticket to Girl Next Door Show – A Pole Dance Soiree: The Australian Edition, featuring six of Australia’s best pole dancers! It was an epic show, filled with incredible and incredibly diverse performances from the Aussies and some of the American GND cast.
I have had the pleasure of seeing four of these dancers before, at last year’s International Master’s Cup and Pole Con 2012, but it was so special and inspiring to see them again.
(photo from the GND Facebook page)
I had seen Bailey perform at Master’s Cup and at Pole Con, and let me tell you – she’s spellbinding. When I was watching her at Master’s, I was also volunteering to run the video camera for the event, and I could not watch her through the lens – I *had* to look up and see her “live”…she brings so much emotion to what she does, and she chooses what I think are unconventional moves that combine strength, grace, and emotion in a beautiful way. I ended up falling in love with her performance at Masters and Pole Con – it was my favorite of the night (no shade to anyone else), and her performance at Girl Next Door was also beautiful, with a gorgeous sensuality to it. Here is a link to her performance on Facebook – if I can find a YouTube link to embed, I will update the post:
Prior to GND, I wasn’t too familiar with Gracie, other than hearing her name now and then. I can say, without hesitation, that she made a fan of me that night! Her style is gorgeous – she floats, combining power and grace with a beautiful ease of movement. Our entire group fell in love with her performance. Check out her Australian Pole Championships performance.
UPDATE: Gracie’s GND performance is now online! See it on Facebook:
I think Shimmy is familiar to most pole dancers, and I know I have watched a number of her videos – tutorials, performances, freestyles, you name it, she’s got it online! I had seen her before at Master’s Cup, where her choice of music really stood out to me – it was like she was dancing for my 15 year old self. 🙂 Anyway, if you know Shimmy, you know she is power and sass and beautiful form. Her lines are always gorgeous, and she knows damn well how to work a crowd! Her performance was cheeky and filled with ballsy strength and beauty. Shimmy put her performance on YouTube, so you can watch it in the post!
I love Carlie‘s strength – every time I watch her, I’m struck at how powerful she is, and how much she COMMITS to her character of choice. There’s a true fearlessness to what she does, and it’s awesome. I saw her perform at Master’s Cup, and then a day or two later, saw her at Pole Con, and the performances were so different in content, but equally impressive. Carlie chose to do her famous (and award winning!) Grandma Clementine routine for GND, and if you haven’t seen it, you have missed out! Here’s the link to the Facebook video – I am hoping it goes up on YouTube, so I can embed it!
Kristy opened the show, and she’s just the cutest thing ever! She really dances and commits not only to character, but also in the way she connects to the audience. She doesn’t just dance, she really PERFORMS, and it’s SO MUCH FUN! I loved her routine – her costume was a gorgeous Kelly Maglia creation, and she had adorable styling to go along with it. Everything fit her music perfectly. Unfortunately, her performance doesn’t appear to be online yet, but in the meantime, do yourself the incredible favor of watching her KILLER winning performance from Miss Pole Dance Victoria. She does an amazing job of using her props to further her character and story! Her costume is amazing, and she sells that character 100% – her spirit is infectious, and on a personal note, as a pole dancer with curves, I love that she’s got some curves, too – she’s totally hot!
After Maddie‘s performance, I think our entire group of girls wanted to BE her. She’s just got this energy that is absolutely compelling – she’s got power, flexibility, sass, sexiness, and there’s that smile…you fall in love with her when she’s on stage. I remember her from Master’s Cup, too, and it was the same thing – I just instantly LIKED her, and I think she’s incredible. Maddie’s GND routine is on YouTube, so here you go!
Overall, the night was amazing – the ladies of The Pole Garage made it an event (I really don’t even know how many of us were there), and it felt like 90% of the pole dancers in LA were in attendance. I recognized people all over the place! It was like the Pole Oscars or something. 🙂 Keep an eye out for the videos for all of these ladies – I’ll post them if I find them!
Tulip and Shoulder Mount Bomb
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, in part because I’ve been busy with life. In the last two months, I moved out of the apartment I had lived in for 9 and a half years (and in with my boyfriend), donated the car I’d had for almost 10 years (which I drove cross country during my move to LA), and I had a birthday. It’s been a big time of change, which has been great! Things are still evolving, too, so my brain has been all over the place. I haven’t had the funds to go to my home studio, so I’ve been using my stash of groupons to float around to other classes and studios. As such, I’ve gotten a chance to check out three other studios (two of which I had been to before, but it was interesting to visit again), but the change in my routine was a bit disruptive at first. However, I stumbled upon a class that I ended up loving, and since it’s the studio where I had the largest groupon, it’s been great – I’ll have my fourth class next week, and I am super excited about what we might be doing in it. I hope to get some time to write reviews of the different studios, but in the meantime, here are a couple of things I’ve worked on recently:
I saw this trick on Instagram (it’s like the secret society of pole dancers – everyone posts photos of tricks and offers advice to other polers on how to do them), popping up on the feeds of some of the people we follow through Poleitical Clothing‘s account. It’s a bold trick in terms of how it looks, but it’s not hard – just takes a little creative manipulation to get into it. I’ll include my description of how I get into it, but first, here’s the photo of me in the trick:
So, this is how I get into the Tulip:
- Invert to an outside knee hang (also sometimes called a butterfly hook) and stand up over it – this is how we describe the climb up to the position from where you could go into a superman or a jasmine, or continue to climb to do another invert of some kind. To explain the movement: from the knee hook, you’ll sit up and put your bottom hand on the pole below your knee hook, to push for leverage (I usually put it about parallel to my bottom hip) and put your top hand above the knee hook, to pull up. So, your head should then be above your upper leg, and you can use the front of the lower thigh as a lock by placing it against the pole as a grip.
- Moving on…from the sit up over your knee hook, swing your bottom leg down and place the bottom of your foot on the pole, bottom leg straight and pointing to the floor while keeping your hands and upper knee hook in place. Once this is secure, you can remove the bottom arm to pose in a Cupid (also called a Star in some circles). If you have a super duper strong knee hook, you can remove the top hand, too, and just grip with the knee/stabilize with the bottom foot while keeping your core tight – it takes a lot of strength and balance, so only do it if you’re sure you can handle it, or if you have a spotter.
- So, from the Cupid, I move into what we were calling the Devil’s Point, but I think people are calling it a Genie, too – you’ll reach back down between the legs to grab the pole again (and, if you’ve kept your upper hand on the pole, you’re all set – if not, grab the pole again above the upper knee). Once your hands are secure, and keeping that upper knee locked around the pole, you’ll remove the bottom foot and swing it in front of the pole, securing the pole in your bottom knee pit. Your knees should now be mirror images of each other, both gripping the pole, bottom hand gripping between the knees, upper hand still above the upper knee.
- From the Devil’s Point, you then reach your bottom arm between the pole and your crotch and secure an elbow grip with that arm – your arm will loop around the pole so that your hand is headed toward your face. Once that is locked, and keeping your knee grips solid, remove your upper hand and repeat the same elbow hook for the upper arm.
- Both arms should now be loop around the pole, hands pointed toward your face on the outside/front of the pole. Crossing the arms at the wrists seems to provide extra support. Now, you are ready to extend your legs to complete the trick! Press the backs of your knees against the pole while arching your back – you have to arch and stick your butt out a bit in order to get the extension to work and look pretty! Otherwise, you’ll end up with bent spider legs, especially if you aren’t super bendy.
- Once you extend the legs, you’re in it! Get a picture! To get out, simply re-grip your knees, and you can choose how to come out of it. So far, I’ve mostly been grabbing the pole and swinging the top knee off the pole and kind of just coming out of it, but it’s not pretty, so maybe try to get back into a Cupid – that’s my goal!
This left a whopper of a bruise on the inside of my lower knee, in part because I never use that knee as a grip. Even in Lyra, my right knee is my strong knee, so I do all of my single knee hangs from that side. My left knee was so upset after this trick! The bruise and the swollen bump with the bruise were no fun, so I’m leaving the trick alone for a few days, to allow it to heal.
I think this trick would be great on spinning pole, and that’s on my list of things to try with it!
I brought this trick into my new class from the groupons, and my instructor worked it out quickly from the sample photo, showing me how to get my legs straight. Next thing I knew, my side of the classroom all began trying it, which was neat to see. 🙂 That’s one of the things I love about pole – the instant inspiration that can happen. In that same class, I also learned what we were calling a Shoulder Mount Bomb, which is a variation of the shoulder mount pose, but with no hands (whuuuuuuut?!). Here’s a video of me playing with it, in the class:
Now, this trick can be done from an actual shoulder mount up into it, or from a regular invert, like I did in the video. I found it to feel more secure from the invert, but that’s just me. From the invert, you push up into a caterpillar, and instead of using your hands to grip the pole as you slide down, you actually bring your chest to the pole and make contact on the front of your usual side for shoulder mounts. As you slide (your hands can still be on the pole, if you aren’t feeling secure – I kept mine on), you begin to crunch and tuck yourself into a ball while keeping your knees gripping the pole – I used my legs, too, because I wanted to control my slide better, since your entire frame slides, not just the torso. As you crunch into the ball, the pole will roll/slide up to the meaty portion on the top of your shoulder. Your grip in your knees should be tight and the pressure on your shoulder should be solid so that you can remove your hands from the pole. It sounds super scary – definitely do it with a spotter at first – but it’s surprisingly solid. If you feel comfortable, you can also extend one leg at the knee WHILE STILL KEEPING YOUR KNEES GRIPPING TOGETHER (you know, so you don’t fall), as I do in the video. Our instructor took both feet behind the pole and kept her knees gripped, but I felt better having one leg still on the pole. You can see it all in the video. 🙂
I’m really liking this new class, which is at The Choreography House. I like the instructor, Veronika (she teaches at studios all over LA) – she’s got an incredible warm up, which has me closer to my left side (good side) split than ever before, and she teaches practical combinations and tricks, breaks down instructions well, and is quick to pick up on new tricks, as well as quick to adapt a trick to work for someone who is having trouble. Once my groupon is up, I am hoping to continue in her class, if not at ChoHo, then hopefully at another studio.
I dropped into two consecutive classes at my home studio (The Pole Garage), and it was SO nice to see everyone. I miss my social circle over there, which is one of the hard parts of floating around. I’m naturally reserved/shy with new people/classes, although I usually am just open and excited to see what new thing I’ll be shown that class. Anyway, on Wednesday night’s classes at PG, I got a chance to try two things I’ve wanted to try for a while: the elbow grip ayesha and the cartwheel handspring! I’d tried the ayesha ages ago, once, and fell out of it, so I never tried it again, despite wanting to give it another shot. It’s weird, but I was never in a class where anyone taught it, and I’d always forget to ask. I finally approached one of the rock star students at PG to ask her how to do it, and she talked me through it and spotted me, plus I got a chance to try it with the instructor spotting me later on. I like it! It’s a leap of faith, to be sure, and I need to adjust something to make it less tweaky on my bottom wrist/shoulder, but it felt way more solid than my twisted grip has felt in a while. I had a backslide with that – I never feel that solid in it anymore, for some reason. Anyway, the same rock star student also showed me a cartwheel handspring mount, which I tried a few times – it’s definitely an issue of working out what is going on with my bottom hand, because it hurt my wrist more than a twisted grip handspring. But, I had the right momentum, and I think it’ll be something I could keep trying to work on!
What about all of you? Any fun new tricks you’ve been working on?
The Jenyne Tumble
If you’ve watched a lot of Jenyne Butterfly performance videos on YouTube (God knows I have), you know she’s amazing. She has such astounding control in everything she does. One of the things I have seen her do a lot is a specific “tumble” down the pole, and every time I see it, I’m equal parts impressed and envious. I don’t think I’m alone in that respect. 🙂
While watching elite competitors, I tend to automatically look for the tricks I know how to do, or tricks I think might work for me, in hopes I can learn them or perfect them, or learn how to effortlessly put them into a dance (as opposed to, “Okay, gonna invert now.”) The Jenyne Tumble is one of those combos that I didn’t think I’d be able to do for years. Literally. It just looks so hard to me!
Cut to class last night at TPG. With Drea absent from teaching (Happy Anniversary!), Jo was subbing. We had a small class, since none of our usual students showed up for whatever reason – it was me and a gal doing a make up (Michelle). It was SO their loss! We had a great class with the three of us. Jo ran us through some spins, including a few I hadn’t learned, which was fun, and then she worked with us on the Iris (I think that’s the name?), which I had learned the week before with Drea – it’s a variation on extended butterfly:
As you can see, Drea is spotting me in the first attempt, but I moved along to doing it on my own by the end of the class! I got it fairly quickly for me – it was good to try it again in class this week, too! It comes from the extended butterfly (which I’m doing with twisted grip), and once you’re in that trick, you bring your outside leg back to the pole, hooking at the top of the foot/toes, then you bring your inside leg down into a tuck/crunch inside your upper arm. It’s a pretty pose, and if you’re strong at aerial, you can throw it into an aerial sequence. I think it’d also be pretty on spinning pole. I’m not quite strong enough in my aerial to include it in a combo, but I’m close!
The big project of the night, however, was learning the Jenyne Tumble. She does it in this video around the 1:58 mark:
So pretty, right?
Now, on my first attempt, I got confused after the sit on what to do with my bottom arm and aborted the mission. Second attempt? Quite nearly fell on my head. Jo had to catch me, and she did so about a foot off the ground (Thank you!). My mistake in that run – after watching her break it down again – was that I released my top leg before securing my lower arm. So, you know, DON’T do that. 🙂 But, I kept at it, and by the third or fourth time, I was so much better! I damn near cried when I got it right after falling. Persevere, y’all. Anyway, this video was my final attempt at it. While I still have work to do on making it fluid, as well as on the control issue (I’m still shaky on the “leap of faith” moment in the middle), I’m still thrilled that I went from falling on my head to being able to work through it. 🙂
Also, if you’re curious: I am wearing the new tank and shorts from our pole apparel line, Poleitical Clothing! We had a great launch at CPDC, and I’ll post on that soon. But, in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy, which is where you can purchase items from us! The full link for the online store is here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/poleiticalclothing We’re still working out the kinks in that system (i.e. delivery costs), but it is open for shopping! I also am wearing my wrist wraps from Vertical Swag, which have been helping stabilize my wrists while I work on aerial, and my heart rate monitor to track calories – that’ll be a new post soon, too!
You like me! I like lyra! Everyone likes The Last Goodbye!
Well, somebody likes me! A very special thank you to Pole Moves for including my blog on their list of Pole Dance Websites. It’s nice to feel the love! And, thank you to anyone who submitted me for the list! I went to submit myself and found out that they already had me down! *blush*
If you haven’t seen this video yet, it’s been making the rounds, and it is GORGEOUS. I was a little thrown by the editing at first – not used to seeing a performance edited – but it quickly won me over, not only for the sheer beauty of the dance, but also because I love the storytelling aspect of it. Coming from acting, it’s something I really appreciated and enjoyed about the clip. Huge fan of this creation – I have no idea how many times I’ve watched it, but the song is now downloaded, and I’ve sent the video to Drea for trick breakdowns. 🙂
Stunning, yes? I adore Marlo. I had never seen Kyle before, but he’s wonderful.
Been back at it in my own class, doing some review (thanks for the bruises, Teddy Bear), as well as working on some newer stuff – we learned a spin that was spotted in an Oona routine, which I shocked myself by getting fairly quickly, even if I’m not quite as graceful about as Oona. 🙂 Keeping up the work on my aerial…slowly, but surely…and working on my reverse shoulder mount. My regular shoulder mount seems to have up and left me, which I’ll post about soon. I have stretch & flex class tonight, and two lyra classes over the weekend, then pole and stretch & flex next week…then, vacation! Hrm, maybe I can get a decent urban pole photo while I am gone!
My pole-related business venture is inching closer to fruition – I promise to post all of the info as soon as we’re set up! I was also convinced to start work on a creative endeavor related to pole, so once I have more done on that, I’ll share some specifics!
And, finally, some photos from my last lyra class – I am loving it! I can tell that it’s helping cross-condition me, too! Certain pole stuff has been smoother for me, and in general, I’m a little more interested in trying things than I was for the past few months (pole plateau, anyone?). I need to get some new pole pics, but never seem to get around to it. 🙂
Quick Survey – stretch & flex – shoulder mount!
Hey Polers – would you please take a few minutes to fill out this survey for me?
We’re working to get our pole apparel line up and running, and this survey will help us focus on what everyone out there is looking for in their choices for pole shirts/tanks/shorts, etc! If you’ve got any pole sisters (or brothers!), please share it with them as well! THANK YOU!
This weekend, with my usual Lyra class canceled for the holiday, AND my back-up Lyra class canceled, I opted to finally try a stretching and flexibility class over at The Choreography House in North Hollywood. Overall, it was a good experience! I LOVED the content of the class: at two hours long, it’s a ball-buster! My class was co-taught by Kelly (owner of the studio) and Carolyn, who took turns leading us all in different stretches. We focused a lot on splits and middle splits (ow), and there was an entire section on back flexibility that still has me hurting! Since I am not particularly flexible, there were moments where I struggled a bit, but I still felt like I could keep up with most of it. I hope to get there, though! I also hope to be able to take some of it with me, into my regular pole class at The Pole Garage, or even at home. It seems like the classes fill up quickly, but I did manage to book another one in a couple of weeks. I was able to introduce myself to Carolyn before I left, which helped me feel a little more welcome: in my two experiences at that studio, I haven’t felt like the gals were particularly warm or welcoming toward new faces, but Carolyn was so sweet and such a good instructor that I am looking forward to the next class. About 3/4 of the way through the class, they have a tradition of stopping to watch a video for inspiration – this is the video that we watched, which blew my mind:
INSANE, yes?! Amazing.
I did a make-up pole class yesterday, since my usual class is canceled for the holiday, and I was kind of useless because of the stretching class (really: it packs a punch), but I did manage to work on holding my shoulder mount for a while. Abby, one of the newer instructors at TPG, wanted us to all work on holding our shoulder mounts in a splay before shooting up to connect to the pole. I was so surprised that I could do it!! I usually just shoot up into the mount, but was thrilled to see that I could hold it – even while tired. I have a shoulder mount variation that I would love to be able to do in the future, and it requires a ton of power in holding the shoulder mount (Bailey Hart has an entire sequence of shoulder mount work in her Winter’s Child routine, which she did at PoleCon2012 and at the International Pole Dance Master’s Cup 2012, and a number of other pole stars have some amazing variations as well). A lot of great pole champs have amazing shoulder mount combos, which I always love to see! Check out one of Alethea’s:
Happy Labor Day, everyone!
Back at it
Was back in my usual class tonight, still a bit sore from my second hoop class. Hoop uses a lot of back and upper body to get up on to the apparatus, which has been a great conditioning workout – my back has never been the strongest, which is why straight leg invert tend to tweak it. I think the grip work has helped my injured hand get a little stronger, too. Granted, my hand aches a fair amount after class and the next day, but on the whole, it feels stronger.
Our class had a lot of make ups in it tonight, but I was still without a partner – our usual class is very cliquey, with everyone paired off, so I work alone most nights. The main problem with that is that I am more motivated when I am working through something with someone, so I have to keep myself focused. I did a little better tonight, giving myself general conditioning tasks to do, like inverting on my right side (okay, I only did one), or working on inverting with no step – straight leg is still coming along, but I am doing much better with not stepping. I had pulled this video from YouTube and sent it to a friend (my pole sponsee – not sure that is the right word?), for help with her inverts, and realized it held something for me, too!
I have been better able to condition the no-step invert by standing with my hips clear, slight to the front of the pole – I don’t quite have the fluidity with the straight leg, or the height to catch my leg in the right spot on the way back, but it is load better with just that one small adjustment!
I also worked on my reverse shoulder mount, and ended up teaching it to the girl on the pole next to mine (I found out later that she is one of the new instructors at the studio – she is super sweet!). It is coming along decently – I still use the cheat of being a foot off the floor while doing it, but I am just happy to be doing it at all! I would love to be able to hold my weight out in it – that’ll take some serious conditioning!!! 🙂
We worked on some other stuff, like a new climb and descent combo, and chopsticks, which is a little tough for me because it requires shoulder flexibility. I tried it with an elbow grip, which was almost worse on my shoulder, but still felt more solid as a grip than my hand. I also worked on my aerial conditioning: did much better on my pencil, Ayesha was meh.
I am hoping that hoop helps cross condition me for pole. I think my flexibility (or lack thereof) is a big issue – I have to be better about stretching on my off days!!!!
In other news…the business venture is inching forward…I really, really hope to have some good news about our progress come Labor Day!!
Handsprings and apron strings
Last night in class, we started conditioning for handsprings – exciting and scary! Back in the fall, I started learning the original mount position for a twisted handgrip handspring, but I was not strong enough (nor flexible enough, although I am not that flexible now anyway) to be able to hold it or even really get into it with any ease. We were not at the place to begin the launch conditioning, but my instructor at the time (Autumn, who just had a baby!) just wanted us to learn what it felt like to be in that position. I’ve been conditioning twisted handgrip to go into aerial ever since, but haven’t revisited the handspring launch position since then. Drea brought it in this week, so we can start getting familiar with it now, even though most of us aren’t quite ready to go full aerial. She’s teaching us twisted first, because we’re all still conditioning that grip up on the pole – it’s the Jenyne Butterfly dead lift version of a handspring, I think. I was able to get into the position with a lot more ease than in the fall, and I could hold it for longer, but I wasn’t able to get up yet – whatever balance and strength it takes with the bottom arm isn’t conditioned yet. But, it’s conditioning I can at least work on at home – I can work on staying in the launch position to get used to it and doing little controlled hops to work on the core conditioning.
On top of that conditioning, I also have homework conditioning to do to get caught up on straight leg inverts – I am woefully behind on that (when compared to my fellow classmates, which I shouldn’t be comparing myself to, but whatever). Straight leg inverts have always bothered my back a lot – I used to have immediate pain from them – now, I can do a few, but either go home and feel pain that night, or all the following day. It sucks. I still can’t get up with straight legs, either – so, I feel like I’m hurting myself for no progress. It’s a source of a lot of frustration for me. Drea gave me baby step conditioning to do to work up to it, which is good – it’s just really upsetting that my body won’t do what I want it to do.
On the plus side, I was able to do the butterfly from the floor mount (as opposed to an inversion to get into it), which is something that I had tried once with Autumn, too. Last week, I hadn’t done proper stretching on my left leg to allow it – I tried to get into the position and whatever I messed up in my knee last year twanged hard enough that I aborted it without trying the trick.
In other news, I will be volunteering at the International Pole Masters Cup Championships on June 21st – I thought it might be neat to see what goes on at the event, even if I don’t get a chance to watch the show itself. I may be doing a second day of work/volunteering at the Pole Convention, but waiting to hear back on that – it would be for a vendor, instead of for the event itself.
And, best of all, I have a really fun idea for a pole-related item, which was cooked up with a member of a group of polers I chat with via Facebook – we’re looking to meet up about it next week, and I’ve enlisted my boyfriend for help with it. I would be SO EXCITED to get it off the ground!
I need to work on my PPC post and get it out sooner, as it looks like the photos/video may take a while – I finally checked in to ask about them, because I thought I would have received them by now, and it turns out that a lot of us haven’t heard back – we also haven’t received our scorecards (feedback on performances) yet, which I had forgotten about. So, I will try to get the PPC post done and up, then post photos and maybe video/scorecard when it all arrives.
Here’s a fun little pic from this week’s class – our theme was “Apron Strip”, so I brought the only apron I own (the front reads: “I keep the best snacks under my apron.”) and my “fancy housewife” rubber gloves that have fabric detailing on the ends. We are a silly bunch sometimes!