Aerial Arts-Fitness

When It’s Time To Move, Anatomy Of Studio Relocation - or "Shit I have to move my studio!"

Have you ever had to move or close your business not because you necessarily wanted to, but due to extenuating circumstances? Have you had to do it in a less than reasonable amount of time? I have.

When BK asked me to write a piece on moving my studio I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It was not the happiest moment in my life and I did not really feel like reliving it. But then I thought about one of my core values: inclusivity. Inclusivity means embracing all types of students, all races, sizes, all levels – hell it’s even part of my studio’s tag line. I always try to help other studio owners who reach out with questions and I think it’s really important to share knowledge in our industry. That, along with the fact that people seemed to think our move was easy and went smoothly (it wasn’t and it didn’t), helped me decide to do this piece. I know others have been through similar situations, but I never heard the nitty gritty about how they handled it. So here it is. The 5 stages of my studio move. It isn’t pretty, but it’s real and it’s all right here.

FUCK I HAVE TO MOVE!!!!

DENIAL (week 1): The writing was on the wall for a good year. The landlord was trying to sell the building, the pot store that moved in next door was annoying us, the students had all grown and we needed a space with more height.

My studio needed to move. The thought alone wasn’t scary. I mean sure, moving and re-rigging could be expensive but we have time, there is no real rush, so let’s do this the right way. We will search for the perfect space, save funds diligently and move once we find our new circus & pole mecca.

FEAR: OMG The landlord actually sold the friggin building?

That was the first thought in my head (because honestly it was way over priced). The second thought was “Shit we are probably going to have to move and move fast”. The third was “I am so screwed” and the fourth and hardest thought of all was “Should we move or should we close the studio?”. The fifth was to balls out cry.

I love my studio, truly I do, yet even before I set out to open it I decided that if it became a huge financial or emotional drain, if there was not enough of a student body, ego be damned, I would close it. I think it’s super important to be realistic with your studio. Is it killing you financially, are you being driven by ego, does closing symbolize a fear of failure to you? Honestly, even opening and owning a studio to me is a win. It’s a hard gig. Close if you need to, stay open if it works for you but never look at closing for whatever reason as a failure.

Tip…breathe through it. Take care of yourself. Giving yourself a stroke is not going to make things any better.

That being said, damn it, it wasn’t really the case here. I had already had the come to Jesus talk with myself months earlier about the need to move for growth or close and I was prepared to do it on my terms…just not in six weeks! Six weeks is not a lot of time to actually find and secure a space that would fit our needs, secure funding, come up with a new business plan, hire everyone that needed to be hired – oh and did I mention this all went down right around our student showcase, Thanksgiving and my rigger just booked a job in Turkey? Amazing timing…

DECISION: We had to make a decision and make it fast because we really wanted to be able to give the students a month of time in the studio to finish their classes packs IF we had to close. We went back and forth between thinking “it’s impossible to move that quickly and we need to close” to “we’ve finally hit an amazing stride with the studio and this is NOT the way we want to go out”. We loved our students and the community we built. If Aeriform were to close it should be on our own terms not because someone bought our building. Throughout this whole period we spent every waking moment dragging ourselves and eventually our rigger to locations all over LA. We decided finding a space would dictate whether or not we would close. We basically left it to the universe. We wanted to stay open, but we weren’t willing to blindly move into a space that didn’t work for us. We gave ourselves two weeks to find a space or roll out our exit plan.

Tip…be realistic about your finances, your motivations and the projected outcome.

ACCEPTANCE (week 2): I did eventually find a dark, depressing, sad little space deep in the Valley but hey at least it had high ceilings! In an attempt to be an optimist and because I did not want to admit defeat I dragged my husband and our rigger there and said “We can do this, right, this will work, some paint, new floors…it will work”. They begrudgingly agreed but behind my back they agreed it was a bad idea. It was doable but felt all wrong. I knew that space was wrong but I was not ready to give up my baby.

“If it feels wrong, it is.”

So even while I was talking with the owners of that sad space, I continued to look and literally on the last day I found a listing on Craigslist that sounded promising. I told our rigger we were looking at one more space then sent my husband over to see it. He loved it. I went over the next day, fell in love with it and then sent over our rigger who loved it too. At the last minute we had found our space, took it as a sign and moved full steam ahead with the closing and re-opening of our studio in a new space.

Tip…make sure you are looking towards the future. Right now you are in crisis mode and probably looking for any space you can “make work”. Try instead to look for a space you can grow into or with.

PLANNING/BUDGETING/EXECUTION (week 3-6): On Oct 10th, during our student showcase and 4 Year Anniversary Party, we made the announcement that we were closing our North Hollywood location on Oct 25 for three weeks and would then re-open in our new Hollywood location with more height and space. We prayed that with the geographical change and three weeks down we wouldn’t lose too many students (we didn’t).

Tip…do as much as you can yourself but know when to hire the pros. Make sure to spend the money where it counts. Make a budget and then add in a contingency of at least 25% – trust.

I set a budget and started working the numbers. While we found an amazing space there were still a lot of things to deal with. There are unforeseen costs and multiple things to take into consideration when changing locations. Here are just a few of the items we had to take care of in just 3 weeks…

Work through a tricky lease

De-rig and move from our old location

Hang not 2 walls of mirrors but 3 because the pro hung mirrors that cost way too much money to think about came crashing down 1 week before our grand reopening

Have new rigging designed, purchased and built out. The added ceiling height was great and at 15 -18ft we would have a lot of new apparatus and class options but it also meant we had to buy all new rigging and that meant a very pretty and new truss set up, plus a pulley system (which we LOVE) but $$$

My rigger had a job outside of the country so while the truss was up for both the aerial and pole sides of the studio the actual poles didn’t go up until after our open house

More Height = more insurance

The studio floors were concrete so we needed to build a padded dance floor side, which we decided to do ourselves. We also needed to purchase and lay full mat flooring for the aerial side. Lot’s of the items we were looking for were out of stock for weeks.

Two sides means 2 sound systems, two cubby set ups, two…well you get my point right?

Different height = all new crash pads. I am lucky to live in LA where I can purchase them and pick them up to avoid shipping, don’t assume stores will have them in stock as they are a specialty item. Mine didn’t, so I begged, they took pity and rush made them for me.

Our landlord had taken out the shower plumbing so he needed to put it back in.

Tip…Share your situation with a few key trusted people. Once you do share with the staff and any students keep them in the loop. Post progress updates. Make it an event - a good thing. People get scared with the prospect of losing their jobs or studio, reassure people as much as you can during this time.

In the end all of the emotions you go through when faced with a crisis in your business can be difficult. My initial instinct was to not share the situation with my instructors or close friends until we figured out whether or not the studio would close. That choice was literally making me sick. I didn’t want to scare anyone, but when going through something like this it’s important to have support. Once I shared it with my instructors and a few key students it took a huge weight off my back. What we accomplished as a team in just 3 weeks of moving, building, painting and rigging still boggles my mind. I know there is no way we could have ever pulled it off without the love, help and support of so many of our students, friends, employees, contractors, amazing rigger and I thank God for them everyday. We closed down our old space Oct. 25th reopened the new space 3 weeks later Nov. 15th.

While initially the experience was difficult and felt very wrong, in the end I think we are where we were meant to be. For the sake of our studio’s growth it really was time to move. Maybe this was just the universe’s way of kicking our butts, tossing us out of the nest and pushing us to create that loving, safe space, that “just feels right”.

*Have a similar story or questions? We’d love for you to share them here.

Love & Glitter

Polyamory Pole: Juggling The Relationship Between You, Your Pole And Your Loved One

7e1f10f6ebc91dc890718f79b870234f.jpg

In a perfect world our partners support all of our goals, dreams and pastimes unconditionally. But the world isn’t perfect and unconditional support is not always the case  – especially when it comes to pole. We know pole is the best thing in the world (and hell if you think we are giving it up) but not everyone has that view. Sometimes our love for pole, tunnel vision, or dare I call it, our “obsession” with pole, isn’t always reciprocated by our significant others. And if that’s the case, how do we find a way to incorporate our love for pole with the loves of our lives?

 “nobody wants to feel like a pole widower”

First off I think it’s important to identify what the level of disconnect is – or rather how does your significant other really feel about pole? Second I like to look at why they harbor ill pole feelings and are we somehow contributing to those feelings? Lastly, what can we do to help them understand, accept and embrace our love for pole?

The feelings our significant others have about pole run the gamut. We know what pole means to us but sometimes we don’t truly know what pole represents to the people in our lives. Indifference, pride, moral issues, jealousy, time sucker, crazy obsession, are all terms I’ve heard my friends’ partners use to describe their feelings towards pole. Once you’ve figured out what pole means to them, then you can begin to attack the reasons and hopefully make changes to incorporate your partner into your pole world, or at least reassure them that they are as important as pole.

There are many reasons our loved ones may not love pole. While we might want to spend every waking moment thinking about pole, looking up videos on Instagram and taking classes, sometimes we might not truly realize how much time we are spending on pole and how much time we aren’t spending with our partners. I have found that there tend to be 3 main issues with our loved ones not being supportive of pole:

TIME: I don’t fully understand the obsession with video games but I do know LOTS of men and women who love them. I’m fine with my husband enjoying them but if he spent hours a day playing them, talking about them, showing me videos of them, talking to others online about them and not as much time with me I’d be over it real fast.

JEALOUSY: This goes hand in hand with time issues. people become jealous for so many reasons. When we spend so much time on pole sometimes people feel like pole is replacing their relationship. We might not even realize that we’re not including them in our pole life. At what point does your pole practice become intrusive in a relationship. Or does it?

MORAL ISSUES: I have actually heard someone say “I don’t want my girlfriend to be a stripper”. Crazy, right? Not that I think there is anything wrong with being a stripper, but come on dude just because someone takes pole dancing doesn’t mean they are going to start stripping. Lots of people take Barre class yet I somehow doubt husbands and boyfriends are asking them if they are going to become a ballerina. Sometimes our significant others have an actual deep seated moral issue with pole but rather than be honest and own their feelings they act out and don’t really address the issue.

Clearly pole is a huge part of our lives, so how do we incorporate our significant others into it? My solution was to go big and open a studio with my husband but there are many different ( and cheaper) routes you can take to cohabitate with your two loves. Here are just a few…

  • If your partner feels like you are obsessive, spend less time “sharing” your pole adventures with him/her. By no means am I saying you need to dial down your love for pole but just realize that he/she may not be as interested and doesn’t actually have to be, share your love for pole with your pole friends.

  • Try to schedule pole activities during times that he/she isn’t around or times that don’t interfere with possible couple time.

  • Set boundaries so that pole doesn’t become the other woman (or the other man).

  • If your partner is jealous of pole, bring them into the fold. Invite them to a pole show.

  • Ask for their help with your comp routine.

  • Make sure to participate in non pole activities together. This one is key. It’s not all about pole – I mean it should be – but it’s not.

  • Show an interest in their hobbies and ask to be part of them.

  • Have sex. Okay I know I’m going to get crap for this one but what I really mean is spend more quality time with your partner. You like them, right? That’s why you are dating, married or whatever. If you would really rather spend all of your time doing pole that might be something to think about as well. A while back I saw a post on Facebook asking if you had to give up sex for a year or pole for a year which would you keep? So many people said they would chose pole over sex! I. Want. Both. So does your partner, remember this.

  • If your partner has stripper issues, these are harder waters to navigate. Reassure them that pole is for you and it’s a class with other students – not a job. Explain to them that pole is just another form of dance. Try having a candid conversation with them as to what their fears are and don’t be defensive. Their feelings, right or wrong, are their own.

  • When the moments of encouragement do happen (and they will) make sure to let them know their support is sexy, makes you feel strong and is appreciated. Showing gratitude goes a long way to creating a bond, making pole a positive for them.

Here’s something I hadn’t even thought of: I had a conversation with a friend’s boyfriend who was actually annoyed she never asked him to pole with her. Clearly not every guy is going to be into this but ever noticed how at parties guys always gravitate to the poles in the room and not just to watch the women dance? Guys like pole too! If your partner is open to your poling, if he/she watches videos with you, comments on them, spots you, knows what a Fonji is why not take it a step further and invite them to a class? You will be surprised how far a tiny bit of encouragement will get you. My student Ellie’s boyfriend, Max, has started taking classes with her and it’s been great for both of them.

“Ellie started doing pole pretty early on in our relationship, so it was just this new activity that she enjoyed. As time went on I became more interested in it and decided to take a class for myself. I really enjoy the social aspect of it, how it’s more than just a physical activity – it’s a real community of fun ,supportive people. Taking the class made me see how people do pole for self empowerment more than any other reason – it’s given both of us a lot more confidence. I also have a greater appreciation for exactly how hard it is, and I know why Ellie’s sore all the time. Plus having a pole in our living room is a great conversation starter.”

In the end I think the key to a strong relationship is living a life together, also having separate life and respectful communication. Invite your partner into your pole world but respect them if they don’t jump right in. Enjoy and nurture your pole practice while acknowledging your partner’s needs. Talk to them about why you love pole so much but make sure you listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, find a partner who respects and enjoys what you do, always respect and enjoy what they do and hopefully your passions can grow together.

*I would love to hear how everyone incorporates their partners into their pole life. Share it here!

Love & Glitter

When I Grow Up

 Photo by Ryan McGuire CC BY 0

Photo by Ryan McGuire CC BY 0

When I was a child I wanted to be an astronaut, a gymnast, a dinosaur hunter, a fighter pilot, a pro surfer or run away with the circus. “I can’t wait until I’m older!” This is the mantra I would say over and over to myself when I was six or seven years old. “When I’m old I will finally be able to do what I want!” Yet another gem from my youth. In my 30’s I swore I would never, ever be one of those older women that doesn’t wear stilettos and only wears baggy, comfy, “happy pants” – you know the ones with the crazy 80’s colored track suit that makes that swooshing sound when they walk.

Last week I ordered a pair of Hammer style genie pants. They looked comfy and I’m a dancer right? Then it hit me, like a brick in the head – I am older.

In a few months I turn 46 and I have to say as much as I would like to think I have that sexy, stiletto wearing, no-holds-barred, carefree, age-be-damned attitude, this birthday is really affecting me. Not necessarily in a negative way but I am much more aware of this birthday than others.

As a child and all throughout college I was extremely active. I was in gymnastics classes before I could walk. I was an avid skier and played soccer as well. These were all activities that came naturally to me and they were the things I loved most. But somewhere along the line I became an “adult” and life got in the way. All the glitter in my world was replaced with work and mortgages. I hear this all the time from women and men hovering around my age range. When did we give up “ourselves”, relinquish our childhood dreams?  During my early 40′s I realized I missed “me”. I missed all of the things I loved to do in my youth. Is it too late I pondered? Am I too old?

I wanted some of that glitter back, but how to go about finding it? While I might be a tad too old to run away with the circus I might be just old enough to bring the circus to me, so I started taking pole classes, which led me to aerial arts. I realized I love this stuff! It’s amazingly fun and while I might not be able to run off and join Cirque du Soleil I can most definitely incorporate it into my everyday life and maybe even open up a studio. And why exactly did I never learn to surf? That gig as a pro surfer was not going to happen if I didn’t actually learn how to do it, so I started taking lessons and now paddle out every Sunday I can. I’m also really trying to eat healthier. It’s a domino effect. I set out to make some small changes, to capture some of the fun and lightheartedness of my youth and in doing so I realized my childhood dreams were always with me, albeit slightly buried.    

After class the other day at my studio one of the students said “You’re cool – I want to be you when I grow up.” At first I was highly annoyed. But then I was flattered. Age really is just a number, a number I have come to embrace, respect and even be proud of. We should strive to live life to its fullest, whether in our 20’s or 60’s. What’s the saying? “Youth is wasted on the young”? There is beauty in age and maturity.  I have gained a sense of self that I didn’t have in my twenties and I’ve found I’m more willing to let go of things that are negative in my life and embrace the positive. 

And while I acknowledge all of the psychological complexities that come with growing older, it’s okay because it’s a part of life we all go through. It’s extremely important for us to figure out how to keep our body, soul & mind young, while continuing to age physically. We also need to find a balance between responsibility and fun. For me I think it’s achieved by working hard, surrounding myself with people who love me and are deserving of that love, exercising and training for the health benefits and the love of the activity (not necessarily to compete) and to always continue to chase my dreams. Dreams and goals are important; I honestly believe the only way we truly fail at them is if we never try.

So bring a little glitter into your life. Those circus classes you’ve always wanted to try – sign up for a class. And don’t tell yourself “I’m too old” or “I’ll do it when I lose weight.”  Just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our experiences define who we are, so regardless of our age we should all learn to take more risks daily, whether that means, pole dancing, aerial arts, surfing, dinosaur hunting or just breaking out of our daily ruts. It really is about the journey not the destination.  And yes I’ll be navigating that journey comfy in my happy pants.

Love & Glitter

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? Coming Out Of The Pole Closet To Family & Colleagues

10250116_10152361378734870_4365313026751116565_n.jpg

We’ve all been there and if you haven’t been there yet, you probably will be soon enough. It starts out innocently. A friend talks you into a pole dancing class or maybe you see a pole dancing segment on Oprah or you catch a video on YouTube and think “Hmm that looks like fun!”  So you sign up for classes and from your first Fireman Spin you’re hooked. The yoga outfits you started wearing during your pole journey have long since been replaced by tiny little shorts and glittery tops. Shoes are bought, many shoes – the higher the better. It’s getting harder and harder to explain all of your bruises to your family. You spend way too much time on YouTube watching videos, making videos, taking photos. Pole becomes a huge part of your life and you’re proud of your accomplishments. Much like a great boyfriend or girlfriend, you want to show it off, put it out there, share pole with everyone! But should you and just how do you go about doing it? I personally think you should, if your circumstances and lifestyle can support it. So when and how is the best time to come out of the pole closet to your family and co-workers?

Sharing a secret with someone can be extremely freeing – yet extremely difficult as well, so I always try to look at my motivation for wanting to open up in the first place. Basically I use what I call the 4W System.

WHY

Establish why you want to share with Jenny that you think her husband is cheating on her, why put your pole video on YouTube, why tell that secret about so-and-so, why are you talking about your hobby outside of work to the other teachers at your school.

What is truly the reason? Is it for shock value or for information? There have been times I have shared something with someone and if I take a really hard look at the situation, I can see that I may have acted out of my own insecurities.  Do you want to tell your family and coworkers about your pole journey because feel you are suppressing a large part of who you are?  Do you already share your other hobbies with them as well? Is it because you are proud of your accomplishments or maybe you’re afraid they will find out on their own? Whatever it may be, it’s really important to identify your motivation as it will shape the rest of your experience.

WHO

Okay so you’ve thought long and hard about the WHY’s and you realize that you really want to be able to share your pole accomplishments with your close friends at work and your family. Maybe you have a competition coming up and would really love to have their support. Think about who really needs to know and the most realistic reactions to your sharing. If we are using pole dancing as our example, we have to remember as much as we love the dance and the sport, other might not feel that way. Which doesn’t mean you should replace “I’m taking Pole Dancing classes” with “I’m Taking Zumba classes”.  It just means you need to be aware that realistically no matter how progressive your family or friends are, there is probably someone in your group who is not on board with pole. I think it’s really important to be able to read your audience. Are you telling your boss or contemporary in the office, sharing with your cool, progressive mom or your extremely uptight grandmother? Establish who you want to share with and what you think their reactions will be because we are going to try to preempt any negativity.

1614323_10152194445024870_823667617_o.jpg

WHAT

What do you want and what do you do if things don’t go that way?

Establish what you want the end result to be. How do you want each person you are sharing with to react or not react? I think it’s important to realize that you can be your true and authentic self without sharing every bit of “you” with the entire world. So what exactly are you going to tell them, share with them, show them? I like the layered approach to my reveals. Not everyone needs to know everything about me. They don’t all need to know where I work, if I have a blog, if I have a studio etc. I don’t share all parts of myself with everyone. Certain people get certain information. The trick to layering is realizing that people talk, people gossip. It happens. Make sure to deflect negative reactions by structuring your layers of information.

WAY

Once you have asked yourself all of the above questions you have to figure out how to tell people. For me this is always the hardest and most important aspect of sharing my pole world with others. I think how you go about sharing your journey can really alleviate some of the issues that come up when telling others about pole.  I like to be extremely direct but also nonchalant. I will share a few pictures of me but no videos.  I’m direct but I act as if it’s no big deal. “Oh I love pole didn’t you know I have an Aerial/Pole Studio?” I like to let people know before they find out on their own.  I’ve found that once it’s out there, there is less to gossip about.  But that’s my approach and it may not necessarily yours. Obviously the approach is going to be different for different people depending on careers, geographical areas, ages, religious backgrounds etc. For people with careers that could be adversely affected by being known as a pole dancer think long and hard about who you tell. Make sure you know your company’s policies and “moral” climate.  I would keep my online photo and video presence to a minimum if you work somewhere where pole dancing might become an “issue”. I know this may not be the most popular stance but we need to acknowledge that our careers are important and the internet is forever. For family members or friends who have issues with the perceived sexual or sensual aspect of poling try showing them some non-sensual videos. You can always make a cute video to share with your friends and family. Also let them know while pole is your love it doesn’t have to be theirs. If your family feels that way, respect their feelings and just reveal less to them about that part of your life. Sometimes our love of pole is so all encompassing we forget not everyone is as fanatical as we are. We know pole is the best thing ever – even if everyone else doesn’t.

One of my best friends is obsessed with country music, which I hate.  We don’t talk country or at least I try not to talk to much country with her. Every once in a while she will invite me to a country concert and I always pass. We’re still great friends but if she pushed her crazy country music obsession on me all the time it would make me nuts! Agree to disagree on certain things and don’t feel the need to convert everyone.

Start slowly and tell one or two close people at first. You would be amazed how many people secretly want to try pole dancing but just need a little encouragement from a friend. I’ve also found that if I actually give people a chance to digest it, that sometimes sharing my pole world isn’t as scary as I thought it might be. Sometimes people can pleasantly surprise you.

In the end there’s no perfect equation but hopefully by really distilling down your motivations you will be able to navigate the waters of “coming out” a little easier.

Love & Glitter

*p.s. I would love to hear how everyone shared pole dancing with their loved ones and coworkers and what their reactions have been!

**previously on Bad Kitty USA News

Dancing Along With My Mom: Inverting And Embracing A New View Of Our Mothers

12521168_6046521586198_1821495950_n.png.jpg

I still remember the time when all I wanted to be was just like my mother. She was beautiful, full of life, artsy and always made me feel special. She was the mom who came to the grade school to teach crafts and always encouraged me to be me. She shuttled me at ungodly hours to soccer, skiing and gymnastics. Mom made my world safe and rocked Madonna’s lingerie-as-clothing look way before Madonna was born.

Then I grew up. Or at least I thought I did, and well obviously, I knew everything. My mom no longer made sense to me. Her choices seemed extremely bizarre. I wanted to spread my wings and clearly my mother wanted to clip them.

We had the typical “You are NOT leaving the house in that outfit” battles. I wanted to be free, wild, and alive – why was she killing my buzz? I began to look at my mother as someone who just lived for her children and husband but didn’t live for herself. Someone who put up with more than she should have and I knew I didn’t want that life. I would never be like my mom.

 My mother at her prom

My mother at her prom

Why do we fight becoming our parents? What is the deal when we start to hit puberty? Is it hormones or the need for independence? I distinctly remember thinking I can’t wait to be on my own, live in my own house and then I can do what I want. Now I have a hefty mortgage, cook for myself and constantly think why was I in such a rush to grow up?

My mom used to carry around this huge purse and when we were in the store she would take forever to find her wallet. It made me crazy and I swore I would only ever have tiny, sexy little purses. It worked for a while but I never had what I needed.

My mom always had what I needed.

So what did my mother need? What were her dreams? I realized I didn’t really even know. And that’s really the crux of it all isn’t it? We see our mothers as a parent, not an individual who had a life before us filled with friends, college, even sex (God forbid), and most importantly their own dreams. Maybe we need to try to look at our mothers not as the sum of all of their parts, but to recognize all of the pieces that make them whole. Maybe if we embrace our parents as individuals, for better or for worse, we will gain a better understanding of them and building an adult relationship with them will be easier. Try having a heart to heart conversation with your mother about her life, her youth, her dreams; you might be surprised what you find out. Explore sharing your passion for pole with her while discussing her passion, by including her interests in the conversation it will make it easier for her to understand yours.

When I decided to start with pole and aerial and pretended to run away with the circus I thought my mom would not be thrilled. Much to my shock she embraced the whole idea, reveled in it even, supported my dream to open a studio and talked me off the ledge when I wanted to give up. She watched every video and eventually realized there are many different aspects of pole dancing that can be artfully represented by both women and men. Who is this woman and what had she done with my mother?

Now that I’m older I can look back at the past and realize the choices my mom made were what she needed to do at the time and they were her choices to make. The total devotion to your children is something only a parent can understand but it doesn’t mean that she didn’t have her own life or desires.

 My mother and me

My mother and me

As I was preparing to write this I thought I should actually speak to my mother about her dreams. As a child she ice skated, did ballet and always wanted to be a prima ballerina. While I knew she took ballet I didn’t know she dreamed of being a dancer. Everything makes more sense now. I’m becoming my mother.

My mother, in her late 60′s started taking aerial privates and aerial yoga. She is working towards her yoga certification to teach seniors and is threatening to go skydiving. She is revisiting some of her dreams and quite possibly starting to embrace some of mine.

My Mother Has Chosen to Fly With Me

A funny thing happened the other day. I was trying to find my wallet in my ridiculously huge purse and it hit me, things are just as they should be, my world had turned full circle.

I am just like my mother.

*previously on Bad Kitty News

Honor Your Age: The Everyday Poler Over 40

AdobeStock_36796877-768x512.jpeg

When Bad Kitty® asked me to write an article on poling at an older age I was slightly verklempt. I wondered – at 48 am I that old and how much of an effect on pole dancing, aerial or exercising in general does age have? I like to believe that everyone at any age can achieve their goals, that age is just a small factor and that we shouldn’t use age as an excuse. Then I remembered the time I fell…  

I fell out of a hammock while standing up in it. Not from doing a trick, not from exhaustion, not from lack of skill or knowledge or strength but because, wait for it…I got dizzy from a hot flash! So not cool. I played it off as if I lost my balance and fell, which is partially true, but really the hot flash threw me off. Clearly I’d rather pretend to have lost my grip than own up to hot flashes. What does that say about me and my attitudes towards age. And what are our attitudes towards older polers?

As a studio owner I embrace all sexes, sizes, colors, sexual preferences, and ages in all of my students and yet I don’t seem to embrace my own age. And by embrace I don’t mean own. I own my age and I’m proud of it. What I really mean is I don’t honor my age – it’s something I’m working towards everyday. Americans tend to honor and embrace youth much more than our “elders”. While I fully believe we can do anything we set out to at any age, for most of us our bodies at 40, 50, 60 etc are extremely different than they were in our 20’s or even 30’s. It’s important to recognize and honor this fact.

There’s nothing wrong with these differences. some people may actually be in better shape now than they were before (poling can have that effect). But still, there are things that we can and should recognize and do to honor our age and to continue to have a healthy pole life into our later years.

Reasons To Continue Or Start Pole Dancing At An Older Age:

  • You’ve had more time to learn your body’s likes and dislikes.

  • Hopefully you have more of a disposable income than you did in your youth.

  • Pole dancing is an amazingly fun, and a full body workout including cardio, stretching and strength training.

  • While pole dancing is a great form of exercise it feels more like a party than a work out!

  • Pole dancing is a great way to safely express feelings or emotions that you may not of been ready to express when you were younger.

  • Pole dancing can be as hard or as gentle of a workout as you want it to be.

  • Pole dancing is extremely social – you will meet some your best friends on your journey.

Some Things To Consider As An Older Poler:

  • Typically as we age recovery time is extended.

  • While warming up and stretching at any age is necessary, it is extremely important as we age.

  • It may be harder to regain strength after surgery or after being away from your practice for a bit. Don’t get disappointed you will regain your strength back!

Tips For The Older Poler:

  • Stretching, ice and heat are your friends.

  • Supplements can be a great addition to your practice. Talk to your doctor about what will work best for your body.

  • Embrace baths with Epsom salts.

  • Eat as clean as possible but don’t sweat the occasional treat – everything in moderation!

  • Drink as much water as possible.

  • Be gentle with yourself physically and emotionally when needed.

  • Make sure to cross train. By embracing other forms of exercise your body will be stronger and you won’t tend to burn out.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others in your class or to Pole Stars. It’s really not a competition and it’s definitely not a race. It’s your own personal journey – enjoy the ride. That being said, check out this article by UPA on 13 ‘Bad Azz’ Pole Dancers Over 50 Years Old!

  • Set your own pace. Don’t worry if you can’t do a Fonji. Do what you do best, the rest will follow.

  • Take pictures and video. They are a great tool to see how far you’ve come.

  • Embrace relationships with younger polers. They are inspiring to us as we are inspiring to them.

  • I’m strong so my instructors push me but sometimes my body really can’t do a move or the move scares me to pieces. Always make sure to talk to your instructor about any physical or emotional concerns you may have.

  • Listen to you body and give it an appropriate amount of rest time in between workouts.

Most importantly honor and embrace your age!

All of these tips are applicable to polers, aerialists and athletes of any age. While there are differences in sports when you are older the differences aren’t insurmountable. Just remember to listen to your body and soar with your heart.

*Are you an older poler? I would love to hear from you with any stories, questions or tips about your pole journey!

-Love & Glitter

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

10 Tips For A Healthy Pole/Work/Life Balance

fd472-img.jpg

I'm always trying to find my balance. Avoid stress and find your balance with these 10 helpful tips...

When I was fifteen I thought I could do it all and I had no fear of death. I was go, gadget, go – I did all the things. I was young; I had stamina and the support of my parents to pursue my dreams, not to mention I didn’t have a mortgage. School, studying, work, gymnastics, soccer, skiing, friends, boys, partying, whatever…I managed to fit all in. Now, in my late forties, I most definitely have a fear of death (although I tend to ignore it or smack it in the back of the head from time to time) but I still want to do it all.

So I do. I do everything I can, and while my life is amazingly full, sometimes it can get completely out of control. I overbook my time, ignore family and friends, get stressed at work or just end up giving too much of myself . And while I thrive in an environment where I am busy rather than not busy, it has taken some time to figure out how to slow down and find some sort of wholeness and balance.

People always ask “just how does one go about achieving a happy balance between our pole, work and personal lives?” I’m sure that answer is different for everyone. But I feel that finding a pole/work/life balance can be best achieved holistically and with an integrative approach in four body systems: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
Here are my top 10 tips for a more balanced life.

PHYSICAL

1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP: Getting through your hectic day starts the night before. Make sure to get enough sleep and conversely not too much sleep which can make you groggy. You need to figure out what works best for your body, most people are in the 6-8 hour range.

2. EAT A GOOD (HEALTHY) BREAKFAST: It’s hard to be productive and find balance when you’re hungry. Your body will not work at its peak performance. Your poling won’t be at its peak performance. Plus the quality of how you fuel your body matters. Cars run better on different types of fuel right? Eat something healthy and drink a lot of water to jump start your day correctly.

EMOTIONAL

3. START THE DAY OUT JUST FOR YOU: Spend the first 30 minutes of the day on yourself doing something that helps calm you and sets your intention for the day. I like to surf. Figure out what works for you whether it be yoga, dancing naked, getting up early to have coffee and watch the news. Whatever it is allow yourself a little “you time” in the morning and the rest of your day will flow smoother.

4. HONOR YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND SELF: It’s really important that you honor the needs of your friends and family while always honoring your needs as well. Part of having a well-balanced life is having actual people in your life, so why not call them? Yes I know that’s so very 1990, but it’s actually much more personal than texting. That being said, balance is not doing everything for everyone and doing nothing for you. Work towards finding a happy medium between their needs and yours and try to include them in other aspects of your life as well.

MENTAL

5. MAKE DELIBERATE CHOICES ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR LIFE AND MOVE TOWARDS IT: Figure out what you truly want and need in your life. Discuss these needs with your family, your partner, friends, employers etc. Set goals and work towards them. Sometimes that means taking more on, sometimes that means taking less on. It’s much easier to create balance when everyone is on board or at least aware of what you are working towards.

6. MANAGE YOUR TIME WELL: The key to managing your time is to actually allocate time for all of the different things in your life. If you consistently want more time for pole dancing you need to actually book that time out. List everything you are trying fit in your life and start assigning amounts of time to the items. Once you have a good idea of how much time you need, you can work towards managing your schedule better.

7. PRIORITIZE: Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things in our lives. Trying to figure out how to balance it all can be frustrating, so it helps to prioritize. Make lists of your overall general goals, then break down goals for the week. Next, break it them down to daily goals. Bite size is always cuter and much more reachable. Don’t forget that wellness needs to be a priority as well. Make that pole class you want to take a priority.

8. MULTI TASKING AND TIME SAVERS: Double up on everything you possibly can. If you are going to watch television, do it while stretching or working out. If you have to write a blog article, get some speech recognition software and “write it” like I am now, in the car. If you hate shopping or it takes too much time, shop online. If you are stuck in traffic every day after work, call your mom and make that “her” time. Meal prep multiple meals for you and your family one day a week. Figure out as many multi-tasking activities possible.

9. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: Distractions are a balance killer. They shift our focus from our true goals. Take a break from social media, turn off your tv and spend more time doing something “real”. Instead of watching 5 videos on YouTube, do 5 dances.

SPIRITUAL

10. SPIRITUAL EXPLORATION: I think it’s really important to allow ourselves time to explore or grow spiritually. I’m not necessarily talking about religion – although for some that is exactly what spirituality will mean. For others it might mean seeking knowledge, meditation, practicing yoga etc. For me it’s spending time and being one with nature. Whatever spirituality means to you, spend time with it, unplugged from the electronic world, allowing your soul some much needed reflection and rejuvenation.

Balance, much like life, is an ongoing lesson. These are just a few habits and patterns I use to work towards balance in my life. What works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone but hopefully it is can be a starting point and a conversation towards your own personal balance practice.

Love & Glitter!

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

Anatomy Of A Student Showcase...

We love having student showcases so everyone can show off all of their hard work to their families and friends. We try to make them inclusive and a special event for the students. Even though they always appear to run smoothly there is a lot of hard work that goes into them. Here's a taste of just a bit of the madness and magic in the weeks before performance night...

It's time for our summer showcase! 

So are we going to do a play or stand alone, yet themed performances? A play works better for everyone in the winter - themed showcase performances it is. Pick a theme...hmmm maybe Sci Fi . Yes sci fi works well for us.

Announce to students - they love this theme - good!

Sign students up for showcase.

Students start claiming songs - I've already claimed Space Oddity for my partner & I - she will be Major Tom to my Mission Control - fun!

Pick a date.

Pick another date because that date doesn't work for everyone... 

then pick another frigging date! 

Enough - lock date.

Try to figure out how to fit the showcase into our beautiful new studio.

Realize - there's no way in hell the showcase will fit in said beautiful new studio.

Stress over finding a showcase space that is affordable but will also support all of our rigging needs - preset points would be a godsend. 

Come to the conclusion that most of the affordable spaces in Los Angeles don't actually have the rigging points or height that we need and we'll need to find a big, high, empty space plus bring in stage poles and a portable aerial rig.

In a moment of genius locate a space that actually has two different stage areas and allows us to have a separate aerial rig set up and a separate stage pole set up - do that little happy dance!

  • Negotiate and pay for space.
  • Lock dj
  • Lock videographer
  • Lock photographer

Decide on ticket prices.

Decide performance order. This is tricky as rigging point is not on a pulley and as much as I would like to break up apparatuses - it is way too much climbing for our rigging girl. 

I selfishly want my partner and I to go first so I can enjoy the rest of the show (and maybe even sneak a beer) but we will start with pole. Okay then after intermission can we go 1st - nope. The cube is crazy heavy and it makes more sense to be preset. Hopefully I'll stay warmed up enough and relaxed until my routine - the beer can wait. 

Start to promote showcase - I guess we are really doing this!

Set up free open practice time for students and have students start working with their instructors on their routines.

Start working on my hammock routine with my partner...oh and did I mention she's going to be away for a good deal of our practice time - stress over this.

Practice as much as I can with my partner - practice on evenings after work, practice on weekends, practice whenever we can, end up tweaking my back and bruising ribs but dammit - continue to practice! #aerialistproblems

Order really cute custom made costumes for me and my partner.

Struggle with our hammock set up - it has to be just high enough for me to be able to do a drop without slamming my knees into the ground but low enough that my partner can climb up on me and reach the secondary hammock. Finally come up with the perfect height combo. 

Watch student rehearsals - it's a nice start but come to the realization that some of the routines still need more "story".

Plan a run thru of setting up the aerial rig and have students practice on it so they are used to the height & feel of the portable rig (much less bounce than our studio pulley system).

My partner wants to wash our double hammock - I don't. Break down and wash hammocks - but still think this is a bad idea as we have finally got the length correct and now we will have to re-tie everything.

Re-tie hammocks and realize you. were. right. 

Where the fuck are our costumes?

Continue to rehearse...

Watch more rehearsals and beam with pride with all of the hard work everyone is putting in - routines, costumes and stories are really starting to come together!

Studio manager's boyfriend is going to do lighting - thanks!

Students ask to come in at ALL hours to rehearse their routines - I act just slightly semi-annoyed but secretly I'm actually very pleased with this. Oblige and schedule more rehearsal time for everyone!

Have a brilliant idea to change my costume, buy new costume - and am unilaterally told by everyone "NO that costume sucks" go back to cute custom made costume but refuse to wear "helmet" can't really hear music cues with it on anyhow.

Help instructors find Space Kitty costumes...this is not easy.

Find cool Space Kitty costumes on line and on sale score!

Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to happen the week before the showcase. I got this. Hell I do production for a living, we are in a good space. Make production schedule. I'm feeling super calm.

The week before the showcase...

Why hasn't everyone sent in their music yet? DJ is asking for music. Everybody send in your music!

Chairs - did you order chairs? Shit you did NOT order chairs? How could you forget chairs, that's like production 101. Student overhears your chair woes and has a great chair vendor! 

Make arrangements, order chairs and plan to have them dropped off and picked up day of.

Videographer falls out...

Secure fab new videographer... yes steadicam is cool but um no - I don't think we REALLY need drones...thanks Trevor!

Make sure photographer is still avail - she is! Thanks Jazmin!

Crap when we moved we changed our insurance - pretty sure the new studio insurance only covers in studio student showcases...

Call insurance company and realize, yes you are correct, order additional "out of studio" showcase insurance coverage for the day.

I really just want to start drinking now but already feel like I look too large in my costume - which has finally showed up, is super cute but somehow a bit large on top???

Have one of your students alter costume for you - thanks Noelle!

Call performance space and make sure they can black out skylights in space so it can be completely dark - they say yes they can - no problem it'll be done before we get there day of.

The day of showcase...

Meet at studio early with hubby/co-owner and hammock partner and load up truck with all supplies rigging and apparatuses.  

Drive over to space and secure parking...start unloading.

Sweat to death unloading items why is it so hot? Right because it's July, why did we do this in July? It's like 100 trillion° next summers showcase will NOT be in July!

Where is everyone? Ugh people are late & oh my god where is Tamysen with the aerial rig??? LA traffic is killing me we need to get that rig up!

People start to show up, aerial rig and poles go up. Chairs are being placed, chair vendor helps us unload all of our vehicles - Thanks!!!

Rigging heights are set - seriously why can't all the Lyra people use the same Lyra at the same height... 

Lighting starts to go up - any color choices that weren't previously decided are locked. Lighting is beautiful! DJ is setting up. 

Skylights that were not blacked out when we arrived are being blacked out.

Lounge spaces start to be created, furniture and wall flats are being moved. 

Final run through and camera blocking happens. Things are smooth until MY routine - audio cable craps out and is only playing the melody??? For the record...Bowie sounds weird with just the melody. I guess it's better than during the show? I stop mid routine stressed because I can't really hear my music cues. DJ fixes problem and we continue - but now I'm "off" - just deal with it Lea...

Ticket area is finished - thanks for the offer but no - I don't think we have time to paint a flat with our logo...ticket girls work out kinks with mobile credit card swipper.

Dinner is ordered, space is prepped, we start to relax and snack on some protein and veggies...

Food and wine is put out for guests (& who knew they made star shaped cookies covered in chocolate with Pop Rocks on top - too fun!) Our secret stash of PBR for after our routines is hidden - um NO that is not for the general public s consumption please take it off the bar. One of the space rep stays and helps our pole cleaner/bartender with the bar/food area - so sweet (and yet i'm pretty sure it's because our pole cleaner is super cute) - thanks! 

The stretching/dressing room is buzzing, last minute costume adjustments (for the record LED costumes can be tricky with hard apparatuses) makeup, glitter and lashes are everywhere. 

People start filing in - lots of people. The turn out is great! The energy is amazing, the students are excited and ready! We've hit the calm AFTER the storm 

It's time. It took a village but we are here. Lights dim, show starts, performances are beautiful and students are shining! Everyone is truly Floating In The Most  (fabulous) And Peculiar Way!

 

At the end I am exhausted. I am ridiculously proud of our students and everyone who helped this night come together, we could not have done it without everyone's help - but I'm glad it's over. I sneak outside to the patio to have a few minutes alone, to reflect on the beautiful evening and of course can't help start planing themes for the next showcase - all while drinking my beer...

Bad Kitty® Everyday Poler Series: Meet Roz "The Diva" Mays

Did you ever want to try Pole Dancing or something else outside  of the box - but didn't think you "fit the mold" ? Take a lesson from Roz Mays: A true diva that speaks her soul, defies social norms and proves there is no excuse not to try pole dancing or any other dream you might have. 

LW: Hi Roz, thanks for chatting with us. So the first question I have for you is: how long have you been pole dancing?

Roz: I have been poling for about 8 ½ years.

LW: Wow

Roz: I know that’s OG status.

LW: I think I started in 2005 so yeah, I’m right there with you.

Roz: Oh shit!

LW: So how did you did you get introduced to pole dancing? How did you start?

Roz: So I actually started where a ton of New York based polers started, at Crunch. I tried it because it looked like it had a cool title and I’d never done anything like that and it was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I got my ass whooped up and down, sideways and forward and to the left and right – but from the first class I was done I was hooked! It was no contest, it was no question, I literally just needed one class and it’s a wrap.

LW: It’s funny that you say that because I think most people who try pole dancing and who have continued with it were just like that. It was one class and – I’m in!

LW: So how did you end up transitioning from student to instructor?

Roz: I was competing in Polesque in 2011 and the owner of the studio that held the competition happened to be there and she saw me. Afterwards she found me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to teach pole at her studio. Her studio was in Brooklyn. That was my foray into teaching. At that point I had been poling for a year and a half. I wanted to teach but I wasn’t pursuing it because I didn’t know how to do it or where to look, but once I started teaching…nothing makes me happier than teaching. Maybe, for me the feelings that come closest to teaching are when I’m on stage and it’s dark and I’m sweaty and everybody in the crowd is like losing their shit. But besides that, teaching is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

LW: Nice! So you know you’re known in the pole world as probably one of the 3 most recognizable (and vocal for that matter) plus size polers. How do you feel about that label, and do you think it’s helped your career or hurt you career?

Roz: It absolutely helped my career. I didn’t seek to be the spokesperson for plus size pole and I didn’t really give a shit about it. But that’s just kind of what happened. That’s just the big difference between me and everybody else right now out there poling. And if you look at Hustlenomics , straight from a business black and white perspective, you have to be different from other people in some way to standout. Something about you or your product has got to be remarkable and unique and fortunately for me, I didn’t really have to seek out or make up something to be remarkable and unique because it was just built in. My 200 plus pounds is there, so I’m very lucky, I’ve already got my uniqueness built in, my competitive advantage. There certainly are other plus size polers and instructors, but there’s not a lot and I probably know most of them in the country. I literally mean I think I know all of them, because we all talk of course. So I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a very well rounded perspective of the entire industry. I just happen to be really different aesthetically.

LW: Do you find people are apprehensive or open to plus size instructors or do they just not know how to take them?

Roz: There isn’t a lot of times where I had to teach something where I physically couldn’t do it . Because I teach a lot beginners and intermediate classes as well. So that’s one thing. Number two, to my face I haven’t had any students really say anything, they might have been thinking it, but they were at least nice enough not to tell me. Who is this fat bitch that’s about to teach me something?  But I have had a student or two afterwards come up to me and say “when I saw you I was surprised that you were the teacher and I didn’t know what to expect, but wow you’re really good at what you do” and that’s fine with me. When I have doubting people who are questioning “should I be doing what I’m doing?” It’s actually usually from other fitness professionals. I had like another trainer who has been doing you know group fitness for probably 15 years now and she thought she was doing me a favor. This happened last summer. She thought she was doing me a favor by saying “no one is gonna really hire you unless you slim down, because you’re not practicing what you preach and living a healthy lifestyle, cause if you were – obviously you’d be smaller”. It doesn’t really hurt when random people say things, but with professionals – you expect them to know better. Yet for every one person who has some shit to say about my size and that I have the nerve to be a fitness instructor, I have nine jillion billion people who are like “I specifically came to your class because you look like me and you’re a lot less intimidating. And I feel like if she can do it I guess I have to at least try, and you don’t make me feel bad about the way I look and you give me permission to just be myself”

LW: How many studios are you currently teaching at?

Roz: Body & Pole and IncrediPOLE are my two home bases and I teach pole dancing at each of those. Body & Pole is in Manhattan and IncrediPOLE is in Brooklyn and I’m also am a personal trainer.

LW: What do you love most about teaching and what makes you crazy about teaching? Cause I know there’s got to be both.

Roz: Sure what makes me crazy about teaching is when people go out their way to make an excuse as to why they can’t do something. I’m not talking about having legit physical limitations but like when they tell me “oh I can’t go to pole because I’m too big “Bitch who the fuck you think I am, I just told you no you’re not too big”. They’re like “yes I am”.

Roz: What I love though is over the course of 90 minutes seeing people start out being afraid of their own shadow and then by the end of class, they’re only a little nervous about their own shadow. Over the course of weeks and months and years they’ve transformed into a different person, physically and otherwise – I especially love a good underdog. Give me the student that is 400 pounds, just now getting off the couch and they want to start exercising but they don’t know how. They want to try pole, they can’t do a spin they can’t climb. Those are the students I absolutely live for because I get to be the most obnoxious crack head cheer leader you have ever heard. I love giving pep talks.  I will be giving pep talks till the day I die. So I love seeing students the first time something makes sense to them. My favorite moment so far as a teacher goes back 5 years. Everybody was brand spanking new. I was just drilling their asses all day every day. Finally after a few weeks I saw my first couple girls climb to the top of our 13 ft. pole and they were literally screaming my name out from the top of the pole and I had to hold back tears cause  “oh my gosh they did it “. In my opinion climbing is the first major hurdle that you’re going to face in pole dancing. So to see that they got so excited they wanted to take pictures.  That little boost right there gave them so much confidence – that moment was just absolutely phenomenal.

LW: Do you remember the first time you climbed to the top ?

Roz: I do – it was my 6th class I was at Crunch and the pole was about 9 feet.

LW: Do you do you remember the moment where you said to yourself “yeah I can do this, like this is for me” where everything just sort of clicked and you realized that this was something you were gonna be able to accomplish, something that you knew your size wasn’t going to hold you back from?

Roz: I don’t think I’ve had that moment yet, because people they see me as like this beacon of confidence, but I’m still extraordinarily insecure about my size. I’m lot less insecure than what I was, but generally speaking I still have to fight feeling embarrassment over my weight all the time and especially in pole. I’ve walked out of classes holding back tears with every bone in my body because I’m looking around and everybody has 6 packs and their fucking flying off the ceiling and I’m literally still trying to do a chopper. Now funny… specifically about that chopper, I can do a lot more complicated things, things a lot more technically challenging and difficult, but a fucking chopper slays me. You know I’m the first one to fall susceptible to bullshit that I place on myself. There’s never been a time where I’m just like “I did it” I haven’t found that yet.

LW: You know there’s so many pole comps now I can’t even keep track of them so I’ve just stopped trying, but I think one that is really important is the one you created, Dangerous Curves.

Roz: Thank you!

LW: How did that come to be? Why did you create it and then let’s talk about how you passed it on to Tasha.

Roz I started Dangerous Curves the summer of 2012 because, one, I wanted throw a big ass party around my birthday and I didn’t want to pay for it, and two I wanted to see people like me. I was still relatively unknown at the time so I could kind of do whatever the hell I wanted in a way. Me with my little pole playground and I just thought I can’t be the only poler of my size out there. Now mind you this is way before Instagram, this is before pole took over Facebook. So we were all on YouTube, but it wasn’t like it is now where everybody and their mothers are on. So for you to find somebody who actually looks like you is a huge deal. For me it was a huge deal, so I literally just went on Facebook and said anybody want to do this competition? Fast forward to polers from 6 different states traveling just to be a part of this. They loved it too, turns out we were all kind of feeling the same way – wanting to know we were not the only ones out there. So we found each other and that was the way we started Dangerous Curves. Since then there have been 7 different events; 4 official competitions and 3 other showcases and they’ve been good. But I decided to pass it off to Tasha. It was time. It wasn’t a dramatic emotional “guys I have to do this”, it was I don’t want to do this anymore – someone else take it and do it right. This shit is expensive to do, I was running things on a part time income and I don’t know how I pulled it off. I truly don’t know how. It was a New York miracle. So being as cheap as I was doing it I was still shelling out $3500 and praying I would make that money back which I did.

LW: Nice, most comps do not necessarily make you your money back.

Roz: They don’t, yeah exactly.

LW: If you even break even I feel like it’s a win, but it’s a lot of work.

photo by Ray Tamarra

LW: If you could tell people one thing about pole dancing they might not already know, what would that be?

Roz: Pole dancing is the hardest workout you’ll ever put yourself though. With the exception of like, Navy S.E.A.L. training. That shit is gonna whoop your ass even more so than you know it’s gonna hurt it’s gonna hurt much more.

LW: What’s your favorite song to dance to? Spit it out favorite song.

Roz: Nasty Naught Boy by Christina Aguilera.

LW: What is your signature style of poling and how did you develop your style? Do you lean more towards athletic or do you lean more towards sexy or something in between?

Roz: My style is to do whatever is going to get the crowd the loudest. I am a fucking ham on stage so when I hear the “woop woop!” I become absolutely addicted to the roar of the crowd. If I’m doing something and I see them get a little bit louder than they were before, I keep doing it. Right now I would say I’m in kind of like a contempo phase. I go through phases all the time. There’s always a Beyoncé situation but you now sometime it’s the ballad Beyoncé, sometimes it’s the early Beyoncé where she’s just singing about paying the bills and now “trow shit in your face” Lemonade Beyoncé – basically my style changes with Beyoncé.

LW: What are you currently most excited about in the world of pole dancing and it doesn’t need to be a pole star, it can be one of your students, it can be an instructor. Who really gets you going in the pole world now?

Roz: I would say I think my students. They make the biggest, most consistent impact on me day to day. I gave up watching pole videos on YouTube and pole stars years ago because I would just start looking and comparing myself. I would watch a video and end up crying and getting depressed. Literally crying cause I couldn’t do that like them. I felt like such a failure and I wasn’t able to separate myself from where I’m at versus where I wanted to be and feel like that’s ok. I really like my beginners students. I understand them. I would also love to meet Emma O’Toole because she’s a plus size dancer, has her own studio in the U.K and she can do an Iron X . All I wanna do is a fucking Iron X .

LW: I’ve seen some videos of you and you’re almost there.

Roz: I’m so close I’m like a crooked Y.

LW: HA! This has been great. Thanks so much for speaking with us and being so candid! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Roz: I actually have a documentary coming out, Dangerous Curves, which is pretty cool.  I didn’t produce it but I’m in it. A couple of my friends from high school decided to follow me around for a year and half with a camera. I’m excited about it; it’s going to be screening at a film festival in Brooklyn in July.

You can find out more about Roz “the diva” at rozthediva.com

Review: Taking Flight With Pole Flight PRO!

I love both hammock and pole. So when I recently had the opportunity to test out one of the newest pole/fabric apparatus combinations on the market, Pole Flight Pro from PoleandAerial.com, I jumped at it.

THE DETAILS:

What exactly is Pole Flight Pro? The Pole Flight Pro apparatus attaches directly to your permanently mounted pole and allows the suspension of silks, hammocks, corde lisse, straps, chains and more.

There are a few pole/fabric combos on the market. But Pole Flight Pro has some features that I haven't found in the other ones.

KEY FEATURES:

 

  • Works on Spinning and Stationary poles.  NOT recommended for stage or unsecured pressure mounted poles.
  • Integrity of Movement System:  Exclusive two-point hinged design limits unwanted side to side motion. This is extremely noticeable when using the rescue 8 mounting, slightly less so when using the closed loop mounting but still much less side to side movement than other manufacturers.
  • Cost $235 *can vary with chosen options.
  • Additionally there is certification program and a video lesson access pass with over 50 lessons by Caterina Gennaro available through PoleandAerial.com.

OUR MISSION, THE TESTING & THE VIDEO:

I decided to grab 3 additional partners in crime as poling is always more fun with friends (or in case I looked really silly in the video).

Our mission was to see what we could achieve having never actually used a Pole Flight PRO before.

We tested a closed loop, Pole Flight PRO on a 50mm brass spinning pole with an aerial hammock (we didn't have a swivel attached to the apparatus).

Please enjoy the totally improved video of us goofing around and testing it out!

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ralgSgDHNUU&w=854&h=480]

 

It took us a minute to get in the swing of things. You've got a pole, you've got fabric, you've got crazy cirque ideas running through your head, you've got squealing women yelling "try this - try that" so its easy to get a little mixed up and while all of us had a background in pole or aerial, none of us had ever used a Pole Flight Pro.

Once we got our bearings we had a blast!  The thing that I really love about the unit is that while it's brilliant for marrying pole and aerial it can also be extremely useful for strength training and spotting as well. I noticed that I was more willing to try pole moves I didn't feel as secure in previously, due to it's "spotting" nature.

All in all, I really loved Pole Flight Pro and if you have access to permanently mounted poles, I would recommend it as a tool for your studio, personal use or both.

For more info on Pole Flight PRO please go to PoleandAerial.com

Have any additional questions? Feel free to post them here.

Love & Glitter,

My Rockin 2nd Date w/Cleo! A Review Of Cleo’s Rock N Pole Part Deux

Warm up, choreo, cool down, warm up, choreo, cool down...work on these Veruca! So yes it's been about 3 months now - high time for a check in regarding my progress with Cleo's Rock N Pole dvd. I would love to say that I have managed to look like this...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1OILXkbJO0]

But I haven't.

What I have seen is a huge improvement in my cardio during pole workouts, improvements on my never ending split work and more hair flips & head rolls in my dancing - and kids I'LL TAKE IT!!

Click here to check out more about the dvd from: - CleotheHurricane.com

Click here to check out my previous review of Cleo's Rock n Pole! 

The 3 areas I decided on really diving into this time around are the warm up, choreo & cool down.

Warm Up: I really liked this warm up. While it's much faster of a warm up than I'm used to that's not a bad thing.

Choreo: While I like this section the choreo was really hard for me. It moves pretty quickly and while I definitely feel like I have improved I can't say I feel comfortable doing it. But if I did, I guess I wouldn't need to work on the routine. I also feel that this style of choreo moves much faster than I do when I normally dance, that being said I have picked up a bunch of hot moves and added them into rotation!

Cool Down: Loved the cool down - great stretches and a much needed break from all of my hard work. It actually could have been longer for me but other than that I loved it!

All in all I really like this dvd. The floor routines were my favorite. While there are routines for beginner to advanced I feel a true beginner might have a slightly harder time with a some of the routines - she/he might want to start with the floor work first.

So...Will I be using the dvd again - yup! And while I do feel most of it is better suited for non beginners, there is a goddamned lot of content in this dvd usable by everyone. I think it's a great buy and something people, myself included, will be able to refer back to on a regular basis.

Love, Glitter & Rock N Roll,

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of thePole Dancing Bloggers Association. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

10384284_10204082638609299_2372442334198529041_n

Rub Me The Right Way: DIY Arnica Muscle Balm

cd1d0-massage-1.jpg
cd1d0-massage-1.jpg

Looking for a customizable, super easy, DIY arnica rub to ease your aches and pains? Check out this article I wrote for Bad Kitty! As pole dancers we like to think we are invincible. We proudly wear our “pole kisses” as a badges of honor, but really they’re just bruises. And they hurt. And I’m over them. It’s summer and they don’t look cute in my little sun dress.  Admit it. Aren’t you tired of the nurse asking if “everything is okay at home” each time you go to the doctor’s office? I’m thinking there has to be a better way.

I’ve heard great things about arnica rubs/salves/balms. They are supposed to be amazing for aches and helping bruises to heal faster. But the all organic, yummy smelling ones can be expensive and really – how hard could they be to make?

I like to think of myself as a crunchy, granola, DIY diva. Plus if I make it in a lavender scent I can turn this salve into a sexy massage/muscle balm combo. I’ll get the hubby to rub away some of my pain and I’ll smell pretty, instead of my normal mentholated mess. I am so very smart. I got this.

So I set out to whip up a few batches. The first two attempts were not my finest hour but the last batch turned out rather nicely. I’ve learned from my mistakes – so you don’t have to!

DIY Lavender Arnica Muscle Balm

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut oil (you can use any carrier oil, almond for example, but I chose coconut. It’s cheaper and has a light but summery smell)

  • .6 ounces dried arnica flowers

  • ½ cup beeswax granules (you can use solid bees wax but if you do, shave it – I didn’t at first and it takes too long to melt and kind of messed up the oil)

  • ¼ tsp. Tea Tree essential oil

  • ¼ tsp. lavender essential oil

*There are lots of different places to get the supplies from on the internet but I ordered my flowers, oil & tins from here: Mountain Rose Herbs.

Supplies:
Crock Pot, Cheesecloth or old cotton t-shirt, additional large bowl and measuring cup (to pour it into the tins – I tried to just do it from the crock pot because clearly I’m cute but not so smart). Containers for balm – get something pretty!

Instructions:
1. Bruise the arnica flowers – either by crunching them up (my choice!) or whizzing a bit in a food processor if you’re talented (I tried this but I made a huge mess and I sprayed flowers everywhere in my kitchen so consider yourself forewarned).

2. Melt the coconut oil in the crock pot on low.

3. Add in the arnica flowers, stir to make sure they are completely covered in oil and steep on low for 12-24 hours – stir from time to time to make sure they are covered.

4. When done let cool for a bit – 15 minutes or so should do. Enough that it’s not lava hot and too dangerous to pour (my mistake the first time), but not completely cool – you don’t want it to solidify (like mine did the 2nd time).

5. Use cheesecloth to strain out the flowers and make sure to get them all out.

6. Place oil back into crockpot (make sure there are no left over straggling flowers in the pot). Turn the heat on high.

7. Add your beeswax and stir until completely dissolved. Add more bees wax for a thicker balm – less for a softer. Once everything is melted, remove from heat and let cool for about 30-60 minutes. Add in essential oils (I like tea tree for its antiseptic value and lavender for its calming effect but you can use whatever oils you prefer), scoop it out with your measuring cup and pour into your containers.

Store the balm in a dry cool place and it should last for up to a year!

*Please let me know how this recipe works out for you and what scents you end up using. I’m thinking about adding a fine grade glitter to mine!

Love & Glitter

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

My Rockin Date w/Cleo! A Review of Cleo’s Rock N Pole

cleo-slider1

Totally excited and slightly scared I jumped at the opportunity to review Cleo's Rock N Pole DVD. I mean it's Cleo for damned sake, it's going to be bendy, it's going to be hot, there's going to be heels and I assume some neon. "Am I going to be able to keep up?" I hoped so, "will there be modifications?" cause I'm going to need them. Oh Veruca get over it - download the damned DVD already and get at it. [Tweet "I'm an 80's child so Cleo's dvd spoke to me. Any excuse to wear neon colors and fringe tee shirts will immediately draw me in."]

Here's a little bit about the dvd from - CleotheHurricane.com

"Cleo’s Rock N Pole is a fun and high energy workout combining strength, flexibility and cardio training by a two-time Australian Pole Dance Champion. Choose from 4 heart racing routines from Pole to Floor-work danced to a HOT Rock N Roll soundtrack. Not only do you exercise your body, but your brain is getting quite a workout! A challenge conquered can be so rewarding, learning new skills that test your memory ability AND improve your dance skills. Plus, once you know the routines it raises your heart rate so you reap the maximum benefits in cardio fitness!"

The first thing that hit me about this dvd is there is a goddamned LOT of content, 113 minutes of content , that's almost 2 hours so at $34.95 you're getting your moneys worth.

You get:

  • 1 warm up
  • 3 choreographed pole routines
  • 1 sexy floor routine
  • 3 strength routines
  • a cool down

Plus breakdowns and modifications for each. While there are routines for beginner to advanced I feel a true beginner might have a slightly harder time with a some of the routines - she/he might want to start with the floor work first. Also I opted for the digital download not realizing there aren't chapter breaks. Knowing that now I think I would pay the slight extra for the dvd version. Since I was feeling less then bendy I thought I would watch the dvd and concentrate on the floor work and strength training - clearly areas I need to work on! Next week I'll review the warm up, choreo pole section and cool down (with modifications thank you!) and then end the week with a review of where I'm at! I'm hoping to see some flexibility & strength improvement but I know I need to actually put in the time.

IMG_0070

The 3 Strength Routines: The 1st routine consists of pull ups on the pole (with modifications for beginners), tricep dips on a chair, more pull ups, push ups, shoulder/bicep stretches and then seated pole climbs from the floor only using your arms to climb. I was good until that end part and then FAIL - I think I did two baby climbs lol. The 2nd routine consists of oblique crunches with one leg on the pole and side stretches using the pole. The 3rd routine consists of laying down on the floor on your back with your head near the pole, cup griping the pole and with straight legs using your abs to lift your legs up and butt up off the floor - not quite a full plow as your legs are going straight up in the air. Then you do the same type of lift but with your legs in a center split (or your version of a center split) while these are not the easiest moves they are great building your strength for achieving a correct basic invert and chopper while safely on the floor.

The Floor Routine: I loved the floor routine (I even videoed myself doing it - and NO not gonna post that shit but...) it has a lot of leg moves in it that look great if you have sexy splits and while I don't, I can see how doing this routine and the others will help me get closer to that goal. The nice thing about this routine is you can take pieces of it and incorporate it into your own routines OR just use it for a warm up after your normal pole warm up, plus its sexy and great for people who may not have a pole in their home.

So far I'm loving the dvd, while it is harder for someone who isn't as far along in her flexibility as she would like to be, I'm hoping by using it on a regular basis I will see some improvement on that front. After completing the warm up, 3 strength routines and floor routine I was EXHAUSTED - which is a good thing. One note I will add, don't make my mistake, have some knee pads or leg warmers around to protect your knees for some of this stuff (notice how in the 1st two photos I don't but the last one I do - trust).

I'm going to go take a nice hot shower now but check back in with me next week to see my review on the warm up, choreography and cool down sections!

IMG_0095

Love, Glitter & Rock N Roll,

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of thePole Dancing Bloggers Association. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Black Box Interviews: Uncut w/Lori Myers

All of our Black Box interviews are uncut, unsanitized and real, so don't say shit you don't want to see in type. Lori agreed to be my test subject and she was a doll! Join us as we dish cupcakes, NorCal, pole dancing, weight & comic books!

VB: Hi Lori! So fyi I’m so ill, I’m really sick.

Lori: You poor thing.

VB: Yeah. I just had a horrible day. I did not work out because I can barely breathe. My throat’s messed up. So I thought this recorder was the new--, interesting way to try to do this for me.

Lori: Well you sound good.

VB: Yeah, well, because I’m sitting outside in the sun but if I had to type or try to write while we’re talking, it would be awful. And I type with one finger anyhow; I’m like a horrible typer.

Lori: Got it. That’s hilarious. You’re a ‘finger-typer’.

VB: Yup! So I wanted to talk to you about a bunch of things but first I wanted to get a little background on you. So if you could just kind of tell us about yourself, what you’re about. And I don’t want everything to be about pole…

VB: I want to know a bit more about Lori as well. So, yeah, if you could just give me a little bit of your background…

Lori: Got it. Alright, well, I grew up--, so I guess I should say it for your recording, my name is Lori Myers…

VB: Yeah.

Lori: … and I write ‘Confessions of a Twirly Girl’. I grew up in Brentwood and not the LA Brentwood that everyone thinks about, where OJ lived, but the real Brentwood in Northern California - that was farm towns and ranches. My grandparents had actually an apricot orchard so I grew up eating fruit off the trees or off the ground which sounded better because it was easier to reach but you know whatever. I got into the legal field when I was 18 and I’ve been in the legal field ever since, I worked as a litigation secretary even though I have a paralegal certificate. A few years ago, I also started writing and helping companies with their social media and in connection with a lot of pole stuff and started doing that for pole companies and I’ve done that for non-pole companies as well so, my professional background really is in the legal field but when I started writing a few years back I picked up all different kinds of clients and different companies and things like that so I think outside of pole I enjoy, although I haven’t been able to do much lately, I enjoy horseback riding and all the outdoor stuff, like if I could live on the beach and ride horses I would die a happy girl.

Yoga at Grace Cathedral

VB: Yeah, that’s one of the questions I wanted to ask you about, whenever I see you online I do see a lot of non-pole activities. I see that you’re really kind of involved in Yoga now and I was really jealous of the Yoga class that you were able to do in the church; I thought that was absolutely beautiful…

Lori: Yeah.

VB: So, what do you like to do just for you, in your non-pole, non-legal time?

Lori: Well, you probably know I had gastric-bypass 10 years ago; my anniversary is actually tomorrow on St Patrick’s Day but I lost a lot of weight that way, but I’ve always been involved in some kind of exercise so when I was a kid it was step-aerobics because I thought that was huge when I was in high school and so that’s what I started doing, the step-aerobics and then probably about 15 years ago, so before I had gastric bypass and I was still pretty large, my highest weight was pretty close to 350 pounds but I could still do Yoga and that was kind of my--, you know, I would go to Yoga a couple times a week and I was pretty active at the gym, lifting weights and I would do step classes or spin classes but Yoga has been pretty consistent for probably a good 15 years.

Lori: And then after I had surgery I did get a little bit lazy because the weight was coming off and so you forget that you’re working out to be healthy not to be thin so when I came back to it, Yoga has always been huge for me so I got back into Yoga. When I was probably in my best shape, I was doing Yoga three times a week, I was taking Pilates Reformer class and I was doing a cycle class a couple times a week and meeting with--, I had a little group of people that we would just lift weights and stuff at the gym but regardless of what I do, whether it’s pole or whether it’s all the other stuff Yoga has been pretty consistent for a while now so the Classic Grace Cathedral in San Francisco was my favorite.

Lori: That is the only thing I really missed about working in San Francisco, you know, after that class on Tuesday night you just go down to grace cathedral and you set up and 500 people would come to this class. The instructor would wear a microphone and there would be assistants that walk around too, not just kinda willy nilly doing yoga, nobody’s helping you but it was amazing, it was a really beautiful building. That’s something I may; every once in a while maybe ask if I can leave work early here so I can get back into San Francisco and do that because that’s one thing I miss about San Francisco.

yoga in tahoe

VB: That’s cool, here in LA we have Hollywood Forever cemetery and with movie nights there...

Lori: Oh.

VB: … There’s this big huge white wall there and it was an old cemetery that had a lot of old Hollywood stars and it kind of fell in disarray and it was sold and these young guys; think in their early 20’s, bought it and revamped it and brought it back to the beauty of what it was before and one of the ways they were able to do that when there were tourists and you could see all the graves, it was a really lovely cemetery but one of the ways they did it is, they have movie nights in the summer and then into fall.

Lori: That’s funny, I’ve actually heard of that.

VB: Yeah, it’s amazing and you go and you sit in the grass and there’s this huge wall and they have a DJ and they played movies and they have this huge grass area, it’s not like we’re sitting on people’s graves so you know.

Lori: Right

VB: It’s in a certainly different area but it’s still kind of a fun funky thing and I always thought they should do a Yoga night there

Lori: Right, that would be cool; my boyfriend’s friend goes to that, his name is Corey and he’s talked about that before at that cemetery so that’s funny so you guys have probably crossed path without even realizing it.

VB: Probably.

Lori: Next time we’re down we’ll have to go.

VB: Yeah definitely. So, you touched a little bit on your weight loss journey and your surgery, did you find pole before or after that journey?

Lori: I found pole after my surgery. I had surgery 10 years ago and I having been poling for little over 4 years now so, 6 years out from surgery. I was in fairly good shape right before I started pole dancing and then it’s like life catches you, I tried the new medication and I gained 25 pounds in a month, horrible. And then I got a hip injury and then I got a foot injury last year, it’s just been a trickle effect and like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong so, I’m actually probably in the worst shape ever right now, so I’m kind of battling back from the foot surgery; I had foot surgery in August so it’s been kind of a frustrating journey because I was in a fairly good position to improve myself and do well in pole and then, just little things happened and it just never happened so I feel like I’m in worst shape now than when I started pole and so I really don’t want to re-injure myself. I really could go up from here. That’s the only place to go because I’m as bad as I’m ever going to let myself get so I’m doing Yoga, I’m going to cycling classes and trying to pole 2 to 3 times a week because I may never be thin but I need to be in shape. It’s not an option for me; I have to be working out. I don’t have the option to be lazy because my body has the memory of sleeping fat and it loves being fat and it’ll go back there as quickly as I let it so, I try not to let it.

VB: So now with the whole weight loss surgery, how do you think your outlook on pole classes or your pole journey would be different or how do you think that--, do you think that you have a different view of it having gone from a couple different sizes? How do you think that that affects pole - weight I mean, because a lot of times we tell people, “Oh, you know, anyone at any size can pole”, and that’s true, everyone at any size can pole but the reality is that if we’re lifting more weight, which I am, which you are, it is harder and people don’t really like to say that a lot, I find. I think that it’s great in which it empowers women and men of any size, any age, any disability to do pole but there is the reality that it is a little harder or different; you’re going to have to do things a little differently.

Lori: Absolutely.

VB: And I think people kind of gloss that over and so I’m always interested to hear other people’s views on that and what they think of that.

Lori: Right. So, it’s hard because I like to say pole dance is for everybody but I also can fully recognize that it works better for different bodies and not even just thinner bodies but even shorter bodies although I think that you have to find out what works for you because tall people will say “Oh well when you do this move, it’s really hard to have long legs” and short people will say “Well if I have long legs I can do this move”, so for me it’s finding the move that is going to work for you and then working on it. I shocked everybody I think when I did my first hand stand and I swear to God my arms were going to fall off the first time I did it because as soon as I got upside down all the air went out of my body and my blood stopped pumping but I did it. That’s my thing am I lifting into it properly; absolutely not but I can do a hand stand and I can shock the shit out of people and that’s what I do. So I’m trying to take the moves that work for me and become better and get stronger at those moves because I’m probably never going to; like I’ll never do a spatchcock I can guarantee that and that’s not being negative, that’s just being honest and realistic.

VB: Um I think it’s kinda ugly – shhh don’t tell anyone I said that.

Lori: I don’t really want to, it’s not my favorite at all but there’s a lot of moves; even a basic invert, I struggle with a basic invert and not just because of my lack of strength but because when I get upside down, my body decides that it’s going to start sweating and I will lose my place in the world and so until I get use to inverting and then being able to hold up myself up there without sliding to my death, it’s not the move for me. I feel like if I can’t do tricks, whatever kind of trick very well then I’m going to take the moves that I can do and I’m going to make them as pretty as I can so I’ve been taking a lot of dance; like my Saturday classes are a contemporary dance class.

VB: Yay.

Lori: We’re in the pole studio but we’re doing mostly contemporary with a pole move in our routine or whatever so, if I can’t invert and I can’t do tricks and stuff like that then I’m going to take what I can do so I think that whatever your issue is, whether it’s weight or height or you’ve got an injury you’ll have to find out what works for you and then just kind of rock that because no matter what it is not even just weight holding me back, like, I’m super inflexible so when people are like “Let’s do a hello boys” and I’m like “Oh well, here’s mine]. I don’t have a ‘V’ split that I can show you guys so I don’t have anything there so I have to just kind of work with fake splits and things like that because I can’t do any of that stuff so rather than sit around being sad that I can’t do any of that stuff, I try to figure out what I can do and make that as amazing as possible.

VB: Cool, so how did you end up finding pole, what brought you to pole?

Lori: First I heard an ad on the radio and not really an ad, just some of the girls from ‘S Factor San Francisco’ were on a radio show and as soon as I heard them I was like I’m going to try that. I’m going to go, I’m going to find somebody to go with me so I found a girl from my gym and I was like “I want to go to S Factor and try this class, will you go?” and she said “Yeah” and I live about 30 miles outside of San Francisco but getting into the city can be a pain in the butt if there’s traffic so I think it took us about an hour and a half to drive to the city and we literally barely made it into the class before they closed it because we were going to be late and it was a great class, we had a really good time. The S Factor; I feel like not everybody loves S Factor because it’s not just about pole, you got 10 people in there and 2 poles so you’re there to find yourself not to learn how to pole dance really but I really enjoyed it. But I couldn’t realistically drive that many hours every Saturday, give up 4 or 5 hours just to go into the city for S Factor so I just kind of waited it out and randomly; I want to say about a year, little over later, one of my friends got an email that a studio had opened up in Pleasanton. Pleasanton is still about 25 miles away but it’s along a freeway that’s much easier to travel so it takes me about 30 minutes to get there. So in December of 2009 I took my first class with one of my friends and we both are still going so 4 years and 4 months later we’re still members.

VB: That’s Twirly Girls right?

Lori: Yea that’s Twirly Girls pole fitness in Pleasanton so that’s kind of been my home ever since and Belle who owns studios is in her 60’s but she is a little spitfire and she fosters a really great environment for people to come in and flourish so it’s been easy to be there, so it’s great.

VB: Right, well how did you end up teaching there as well?

Lori: About 2 years after I started we were at a Christmas party and Belle pulled me aside and she’s like “I have visions of you teaching” and I was just like “You’re crazy and probably drunk so you should probably sit down and think about that for a while” and she came back like “No, I’ve really been thinking about it, I really think that you should”. And she’s been teaching pole for years, she had taught at a gym and then kind of built Twirly Girls out of that class and then opened her studio; her very own studio in July of 2009 and so she’s been teaching for a long time and she was expert certified and she’s like I’m going to teach you how to teach people. So I started shadowing her; I came into her classes and I started just basically watching how she taught because you don’t realize if you’re in class to learn you’re not learning how to teach so I had to come in from a different kind of angle and be like now I need to learn how to teach other people. So I shadowed her for about 4 months and then she gave me my very first class; my class actually just turned 2 years old just recently so yeah she kind of surprised me with it, it wasn’t what I was expecting and my biggest concern with her was I will only be a beginning teacher. My students are going to surpass me and there has to be a point where we all have to agree that that has to happen and it’s kind of funny because it’s just now that it’s starting to happen.

my class being silly

Lori: One of my students Robert that you’ll see on Facebook a lot, he has surpassed my level and I keep telling him to stop coming to my class but he won’t. So he comes to our class and he goes to other classes and it feels nice because he likes being in class with us and we like having him in class but this was kind of also my nightmare, where someone was going to surpass my skill level and I wasn’t going to be able to teach them but I feel like there’s always stuff you can learn from people, even if I can’t teach him tricks we’re working on his dance because he’s not dancing. It’s probably not his forte but he’s doing really well with the tricks and he’s learning how to dance so it’s still fun.

VB: Yeah, I always feel there’s something people can learn. There’s so many people who can do great tricks but are they beautiful, are they pretty, are they perfect tricks? I know people get tired and once they’ve gotten that trick they want to move on to the next thing but until you can really do it perfectly, it’s something you should still continue to work on so it’s not to say that you can’t move on but I kind of actually like the idea of taking multi-level classes whether you’re in a class that is a higher level and then you go to a lower level class because sometimes when I would go back to a lower level class you’re like wow, I forgot all of this and I really didn’t do this and I really should do this, so I think there’s something to be said there for everyone.

Lori: I agree, when I went to the California Pole Dance Championship last year, I was floored and slightly saddened by the number of neo-competitors busting out sloppy fonjis. I mean, you’re an amateur performer, you probably shouldn’t be doing fonji in the first place and especially not if you’re not flawless with that movement, it’s so dangerous. I feel like the competition world is going a direction where they’re pushing people into things they’re not ready for but they feel like they have to do it because if the whole neo-division is doing their fonji then you feel like you have to come with something better than that next year so what do you do that’s more difficult than a fongi? I mean you’re doing death lay to start every single routine or something I don’t really know but I think they’re getting back to because I feel like the routines that win these competitions are well balanced so they do have beautiful twirls and transitions and they have the tricks but I think for a second there people are just kind of like rabidly; what ridiculous trick can I throw into this to make people go crazy and not realizing everybody doesn’t want to just see the death defying tricks there’s got to be something like a whole story around it or something.

VB: Alright boom - which leads into my next question perfectly; you have created the Northern California Pole Presentational and I wanted to know what prompted you to want to do a presentational vs a straight on competition? What was the thought behind that?

Lori: This exact idea came from a friend of mine; Amy Bond came to me last year and she was like “I want to put on a pole event in Northern California and I need you to help me” and I was like “Cool, this is going to be so fun”. What do we do, we just call a couple people and everybody shows up? I had no idea the amount of work that was going to go into making this thing happen. This is what she tells me and I completely agree and basically it was that, I feel like when I go see pole showcases, there’s less pressure and I feel like the routines come off so much better because there’s no pressure to compete, so it kind of came from ‘hey we want to put on a great show’ but sometimes people are preparing for events and so initially I think she wanted it to be ‘come showcase your routine for PPC’, not really thinking that people aren’t going to want to give up their PPC routine because then if their competitors are there watching then they’re not going to want to show it. So initially there was a push to get this done in February of this year so that people could do their PPC routine, have judges give them feedback so that when they got to PPC they would be completely polished and they would have had all this great advice. And I told her as soon as she told me that, a part of that was like people aren’t going to do it and so we talked to some other studio owners and they kind of agreed so we kind of put it on the back burner where we were like, you know what, we don’t need to get this out before PPC but we still like the idea of come and showcase your routine on a big stage.

Lori: People want to be on a big stage, they want to have the lights and they want to look pretty and you put on their routine so their friends and family can come watch, because there’s a lot of events in Northern California that are based out of studios so Poletential does Air Show and Twirly Girls does ‘Trick or Twirl’ and the Lovely Rita Fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation, Studio Botan has one, and also Entangle & Sway, I think every 6 months they do showcases in their studio for their students. There’s nothing in Northern California that is just independent from any studio, so initially we kind of wanted to maybe go PPC style, make it big and we’re still kind of there making it. You just pay your fee you’re in and you can come showcase your performance but we will have judges there so people who want to receive feedback on their moves, they can. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds without the pressure of ‘I have to make third place and get a title otherwise this was all for nothing.

VB: So how many people put together this with you?

Lori: Ok so Amy came to me in January, Amy Bond and she was in Boston and then she came out to California and took the California Bar and she went to law school in Boston and took the California Bar out here. She dropped out in January and basically was like, “My life is just crazy I need to focus on other stuff”, so then I talked to Ellen Lovelace and she teaches up here; she’s teaching at Twirly Girls, she teaching it at a couple of other studios. She used to be at Poletential and I just respect her as an instructor and as a poler so I just kind of went to her initially just kind of feeling out like what did she think about this idea, was it worth continuing with and she’s been amazing. She came on board, she’s been my partner ever since and she does a ton of work having to do with this. I mean if I had known what it was going to take just to get a rigger, oh my God down there in LA I’m sure there’s so many shows It’s not a big of a deal; nobody up here has ever done rigging for a pole show and so every single one of them is like you want to do what? Can we do this? Like no, we can’t do that, It needs to be this or well maybe can we get--; no you can’t do that, we need it this--, and it’s been crazy but she’s been doing a lot of work and she claims I’ll be making up for what I haven’t done on the day of the show.

Lori: She’s awesome; she’s really awesome so I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

VB: So how did you actually start or what prompted you to start your blog?

Just me

Lori: Initially, I really just was like ‘hey’--, I don’t even remember, I feel like somebody was just like “Hey you should keep an online journal.” I didn’t even think they called it a blog cause I figured people who wrote blogs were like real writers, like you had to be a professional writer or something and so I initially started it on a defunct site and I remember I wrote a couple of posts and I was just like “Ah, this site isn’t working for me” and I remember someone mentioned ‘Blogger’ so I moved over and started with Blogger and it was really just to kind of chronicle my adventure. I think I started poling in December and I think my first blog on Blogger was like January so within a month I was already blogging.

Lori: So I really didn’t expect anybody else to read it, I just kind of thought that it would be a place for me, one place for me to go and look at what I’m doing so it was really just kind of random and I never in beginning was like “Oh, people are going to read this”, you know, maybe a couple of my fellow Twirly Girls might but never in a million years did I think that it was going to go as big as it did and so it’s been kind of cool but sometimes I think that when I sit behind my computer and write, it’s never occurred to me that other people are going to read these words and then that affects other people in my life when I’m especially sharing very personal stories about growing up and stuff and so it’s affected my relationship with my mom and many of my other family members so…

VB: Is that hard?

Lori: Well, it is sometimes but then at the same time there is great quote and it was like “Write about your experiences”, you know “people are upset that they know your writing about how they treated you and they should have treated you better so it’s like if she’s mad that I’m writing about stuff, maybe she shouldn’t have done that stuff” so, yeah but I do try to be mindful and not write completely shity stuff about my mom but, you know, a lot of ‘why I am the way I am’ is because of her and my upbringing so yeah, it is what it is.

VB: Yeah, my blog--, I don’t really think there’s anything in there that was annoying my mom in my blog. But I never really told her about it and then the other day she called me and she’s like “You know that recipe in your blog and blah blah blah blah blah" and then she’s saying “I can’t really tell if it’s supposed to be a cup of sugar or a cup and a half because in one place it says a cup and a half and then it says a cup”. I was like, my blog? What are you doing on my blog?

Lori: Well, my mom doesn’t have the ability to find my blog on her own, thank God because even though she’s not that old, she acts like she is completely--, well she doesn’t act, she is completely technologically retarded so--, but what will happen is that she has a expletives friend who will find the really juicy ones and send them to her and incite violence between the two of us so they have all been de-friended on Facebook so now they can’t look through my stuff anymore.

VB: There you go. It’s a start. Yeah and the day my mom called and said why haven’t you accepted my friendship on Facebook? I hadn’t even noticed and I was like “Oh shit, on Facebook?" How did my mom find Facebook?

Lori: Right?

VB: Okay so what’s the one thing that we don’t know about you that you can share with us?

Lori: I really hate fish to the point of it making me want to puke every time I smell it?

VB: Really? So you don’t do sushi?

Lori: I don’t do sushi, I don’t eat tuna, I don’t eat anything fishy. I don’t do shrimp, I don’t do fried shrimp; I don’t do tuna fish sandwiches. Everybody thinks like “Oh, you could do fried shrimp.” Nope, I don’t want any of it.

VB: So no lobster?

Lori: Nope. No lobster.

VB: Freak! And if you were a cupcake, what flavor would you be?

Lori: Mmm, all the flavors. Oh, apricot.

Lori: So my favorite cupcake place is a truck, it’s called “Cupkates”. It’s apricot-almond. Oh my God, they only did it one time last year, they do it for a month, they have a specialty flavor. If I could eat that cupcake, I would eat it every day for the rest of my life.

VB: Apricot-almond, that’s a weird combo.

Lori: Totally. But it’s delicious.

VB: Speaking of delish what’s up with the whole comic book character thingy?

Cosplaying as Candy from Chunky Girl Comics

Lori: Last year, I started trying to find more "fat positive" things on Facebook. I was kind of tired of the "Fitspo" memes that all told me I didn't have six pack abs because I was lazy. So I found Chunky Girl Comics' Facebook page. A bit later, they were casting cosplayers to play their characters. A Twirly Girl friend tagged me and said, hellooooo, you'd be perfect for Candy. I had looked at the characters and remembered thinking I was tall and built like Candy but I have red hair, so I wouldn't qualify. Marisa Garcia, the writer of the comic came on to Facebook (because we were having this conversation on the fan page, of course), and said I would be perfect to play Candy and could wear a wig. So Lori as Candy was born! I did a comic book event in Stockton and had a really great time. In November, I went down to Los Angeles for Stan Lee's Comikaze. I had a great time, took lots of photos with people shocked to see a 6'4" in girl (in my boots), and received quite a few complimentary comments about how much they admired my guts for wearing such short shorts in public. I really feel like younger girls especially need to understand not all bodies are created equally and they don't need to be ashamed if they aren't tiny. Marisa also created Super Hero Within and goes to schools to give speeches on self-esteem. I feel very fortunate to be part of a great group of ladies with "non-traditional" bodies!

VB: Amazing! My god Lori we’ve been on the phone for like an hour, thanks so much for speaking with me and being so candid!

NCPP is Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at the San Jose Stage Company Theater Please visit their web site for ticketing info.

You can Find Lori swinging it all around here: http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/www.facebook.com/TwirlyGirlConfessionswww.PoleNorCal.com

The Body: 5 Questions Answered & Asked

Human Canvas Abstract Projection by Duerring Photography CC BY-ND 3.0

The Body Is Art. What does that statement mean exactly, to you, to myself, to others? This month the PDBA asks us to explore our bodies. What moves them, what they are to us, how we express them, how we celebrate them. What is your version of "Body Consciousness"?

I spent a lot of time on this question. I wrote a lovely inspirational article, one that said all the right things, one that set up the "Body Consciousness" that people, including myself, think they should have. But for the life of me I could not hit "Publish" and then it hit me, my body was fighting writing this article, O.M.G. my body was faking it!

Secretly my body doesn't want to go to class tonight, it really wants a cheese steak, a beer and to watch Survivor Man reruns so when I ditch all of my responsibilities and run off to the rain forest I will know how to make fire and eat. Fuck my body is a cheese steak eating traitor. My body doesn't want to pretend it is as tight and light and airy as it was when it was 25, it kinda wants to put on some hammer pants and grab its snuggy and veg. My body & I clearly need to have a talk.

Triangle Connection by Duerring Photography CC BY-ND 3.0

Is that art? What's happened here? My body needs to remember all of the reasons why its amazing. And it IS AMAZING! Hopefully these 5 questions from the Speed Round can help jump start a little self love.

  • Describe your body in one word. STRONG
  • In what environment, do you typically feel the most amazing? The beach, skiing, the mountains, the beach. Yeah I live for the beach.
  • What do you love about your body and about yourself in general? That it is smart enough and strong enough. That it allows and empowers me to live, be & create a life I love.
  • What feels really good to your body? Hot Tubs, Chocolate, Sleep, Sex, Sleep, The Ocean, Sleep.
  • How does your body feel when it is dancing? Alive!

Think about what these questions mean to you. I would love to hear how you celebrate your body.

Love & Glitter,

Social Culture & Pole: What Should Pole Dancing Be?

Whenever I am writing a blog post I get so hung up on the "tags". I know that for the internet they are important but I am over them in life. There are so many different views on what pole dancing is, where pole dancing originated and what pole dancing should grow to be. Society puts enough pressures and labels on us already, I'm overthose tags, I choose to embrace these...

POLE DANCING IS LIBERATING "you can be who or what you choose with only the music and movement as your audience!" ~HD

POLE DANCING IS GANGSTA' "It pushes you to your limits and beyond. its makes you feel like you can conquer anything ... and you can!" ~Makeda Smith

The confidence makes it sexy ~Lena Fumi

POLE DANCING IS FOR EVERYONE "If we were to limit pole dance only to those who already can pole dance "perfectly," we would deprive so many people of the joy we feel when we dance. The emotions that I personally suppress in my every day life are often brought out when I dance." ~Lori Lolorashel Myers

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-PI53028b8?rel=0]

POLE DANCING IS SEXY"The freedom of the movement makes it sexy. The undulation of a woman's hips makes it sexy. The potential for wild abandon in movement makes it sexy. The way you can slow things down or speed them up at your own leisure makes it sexy. The tease makes it sexy. The heels make it sexy. The tug at a piece of clothing makes it sexy." ~Claire Griffin Sterrett

POLE DANCING IS FEMININE

POLE DANCING IS STRENGTH "redefining what your muscles are capable of..." ~Roz Mays

POLE DANCING IS HARD "But because it is hard it is also rewarding. There is nothing like putting a move on the shelves for months because you never thought you would get it and you gave up, just to pull it out one day and find you nail it. It breeds perseverance and with that perseverance confidence. ~Pam Labratski

POLE DANCING IS"ADDICTIVE" ~Shayne Evans

I mean damn, who doesn't like swinging around a pole in 7 inch shoes? ~Veruca Blue

POLE DANCING IS MASCULINE "Masculinity has a different weight to it than femininity. The experience of holding, manipulating and creating with your own body weight that Pole requires feels powerfully masculine to me." ~Chad Everett Allen

chad & iris

POLE DANCING IS"medicine for the soul" ~Claire Griffin Sterrett

POLE DANCING IS FREEDOM "Finding the strength to let go and express ones emotions while being so exposed is freedom" ~Veruca Blue

To me pole dancing can't be or shouldn't be put into a box. It's many things to many people. I would love to hear what POLE DANCING IS to you?

Love & Glitter,

My Emotional Rescue - The Power Of Music & Movement

Photo by Blue Muse Fine Art CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

My first time, I remember it well. The lights were low, the room was quite - less some heavy breathing on my part. It had been an annoying day at work and I just wanted everything and everyone to disappear. Tonight needed to be all about me. I distinctly remember being in a funk that I was sure would last for days and decided on the spot to not worry about pointed toes or smooth movement or tricks or balance...and then the music came on. That night by letting go of "perfection" and not giving a shit, I had the perfect dance. While I couldn't tell you who was in the room or what I was wearing I remember with all clarity the emotions, the music and the dance. It's ironic because while it felt great for me I thought it probably looked like crap for everyone else. As my teacher screamed "SHIT that's your song - never seen that from you before!" I realized apparently my letting go resonated across the board.

 

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPpDyIJdasg&w=640&h=480]

 

From that moment on I became obsessed with music and movement. While I recognize the beauty in "perfection" I also recognize the beauty in different emotions. I realize I like to get angry and wild and sad and happy and stunted and loose and free and large and full and small and dirty. In realizing what moves me isn't always perfect or clean, my definition of "dance" has become less narrow.

Numerous studies show a strong coloration between emotions and movement. The word emotion stems from the Latin "emovere" which means "to move out". De Rivera’s A Structural Theory of Emotions suggests "When we examine individual f.t motions they reveal different types of movement and these different types suggest that an emotion is not an isolated entity, but rather part of a system that governs object relations..." (De Rivera, 1977 p.12). Our emotional experiences reflect our relation to the world and life around us.

What moves you? Which emotions does your body want or rather need to express?

I would love for you to share your first time with me. The first time you REALLY felt your dance, the first time you were completely out of your head and fully in your heart, the first time you truly felt the emotionality of movement.

Love & Glitter,

*various forms and styles of movement that I love!

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAqzpDwIq_M&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMmL6kIx-w&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EklN7_lQ8U&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpVfF4U75B8&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8xwPBCx08I&w=854&h=480]

Bad Kitty® Blog re-launch!

"Big Announcement!!! The bigger, better, bad-ass, new Bad Kitty® Blog has just re-launched!"

I am so proud be a contributing writer in this community of inspiring bloggers. Please check it out! There are lots of amazing, new entries up for April - including my piece, "When I Grow Up".

Dance - Getting Down On The Floor To Learn How To Fly!

One day I was sitting around the studio trying to think of class ideas that would compliment aerial & bring more cardio into our lives, lord knows I need more cardio. I started poking around YouTube and it hit me - I secretly want to dance. Just dance.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMmL6kIx-w&w=854&h=480]

 

And not "pole dancing" with out the pole (which is admittedly fun), not in the air in a hammock (which I love), not spinning in a hoop, or wrapped up in silks, I want to embrace some contemporary dance, some modern, maybe throw up a jazz hand or two, dance on the floor - on the ground.

Just dance.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8xwPBCx08I&w=854&h=480]

This actually seems to be a theme among a lot of my friends lately. Maybe it's all the competitions or the need to push our selves to extremes? Maybe with our busy lives we just need a release from our hectic days or training schedules, maybe we need an excuse to buy more leg warmers, maybe we need to learn to incorporate other forms of dance into our aerial routines? Who knows, but the drive is there and it's strong. I can't remember the last time I went out dancing for the hell of it and I'm pretty sure I used to love it.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”   ~Friedrich Nietzsche

 

So we rolled around the floor, we leapt, we spun, we got sweaty, we giggled at how much we were out of our element, we became invigorated and acted like giddy children.

And we just danced!

Sometimes you just need to get down on the floor to learn how to fly!

Why not challenge yourself to take a break, get off all of the apparatuses & just dance, however that dance might look for you.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpVfF4U75B8&w=854&h=480]

Gender, Men & The Art Of Pole: There’s a man in my pole class. PT3

Photo by Poleagraphy

By Danielle Giannantonio

“Is he gay?” That’s always the first question. When people find out that there is, often times, a man in my pole classes, their first concern is if he's gay. Most of the time the answer is yes, but it's not like I've ever actually asked. It shouldn't matter. It certainly doesn't matter to me. In fact, when I was first asked to give my opinion on having men in my class, I was worried. I was worried that I didn't have enough of an opinion about the topic.

I hadn't ever put much thought into it. And with that realization, I immediately felt proud of myself for my forward thinking. And I felt brave for stretching and bending and strutting around, barely clothed, in a co-ed class. But don't get me wrong... it's not like pole dancing isn't sexy. And I understand why the topic of men in pole classes should be explored. Some, maybe most, women may not feel so comfortable straddling their legs open or body-rolling with a man looking on. But I suppose it's all about point of view. Pole dancing is a sport. And the amount of booty shaking involved is completely up to each individual. Man or woman.

Which leads me to my next realization: When I am in a class full of women, we will often times learn a routine. A routine that includes hip rolls, figure eights, crawling, etc... the sexy/sensual stuff. But when we have a man in class, we never do. Never. The class is always focused on tricks. Something I had never put together before I sat down to write this. Once I realized this, I experienced a bit of a perspective change. I began to think about how a man might feel in a pole class. Maybe teachers at other studios aren't so aware. Maybe they don't change-up the plan depending on who's in class. How would a man feel about being told to "lead with his ass" or "arch his back and stick out his chest"?

I realized that maybe it isn't us women who are brave enough to include men in "our" classes, but the men who are brave enough to ignore the stereotypes and do it because they love it. Gay or straight. I don't care whether they want to embrace the sexy or the strong... or, like me, both. All I care about is if they are serious about learning and are supportive of their fellow students. And I hope that all instructors are as considerate as mine is to who is in class on any particular day. But, mostly, I hope that "Is he gay?" can no longer be an issue. In more than just the topic of pole dancing.

"Male pole enthusiasts are extremely fun to work with! They are usually open-minded and eager to learn! The only thing I wish was different about male pole students is that we had more of them!" - Performer & Instructor Veronika Pole

*This is the 3rd and final article in our series exploring Gender, Men & The Art Of Pole. I hope that each of these perspectives can be a jumping point for conversations. Communicating our fears respectfully to each other can be amazingly empowering. I know that by starting this discussion with my friends, students and others in the pole community, I have a better understanding of some of the challenges men face in pole dancing, as well as the women who dance along side of them!

PREVIOUS PT 1 - Gender, Men & The Art Of Pole

PREVIOUS PT 2 - Gender, Men & The Art Of Pole: It's A Mans World - Or Is It?

This post is part of our entry for the “Pole Dancing Bloggers Association” Feb Blog Hop on Pole Dancing & Men

Click here to enter your link and view all the additional Pole Dance Blogs in the Hop…