Archives > September 2015

Confessions of a Pole Dancer – Pole Convention 2013

West Palm Beach FL. Pole Convention 2013

I decided a few months into 2013 that I would attend the Pole Convention in June. It was something I always wanted to do since the best pole athletes in the world would be teaching workshops. After careful planning, I decided on seven workshops over a two day period with a few classified as VIP (in essence smaller class settings). The flight from Calgary would be quite long and included several layovers but I was determined to make it happen.
It was Friday afternoon when I made it to Florida. I welcomed the heat and humidity although I have to admit my first thought was how it would affect my grip on the pole. In any case, I got to the hotel as quickly as possible so I could change and make my way to the Convention Centre. I had registered for three workshops in the late afternoon with Hanka Venselaar, Michelle Stanek and Oona Kivela.
The first workshop with Hanka was a small group of about 6 which was amazing. She took the time to work with us individually. Natasha Wang, a pole star in her own right, was taking Hanka’s workshop too. It was a nice reminder that anyone and everyone can learn from each other. We learned how to do a variation of a cartwheel on the pole and several combos. I loved the creativeness in her moves.
The next VIP workshop was with Michelle. I was so excited as I had seen several transitions from Michelle’s videos that I wanted to learn. Michelle was so friendly and encouraging. I learned so many awesome moves, both transitions and tricks that had eluded me up to that point. I felt like I was really progressing fast but having said that, after 3 hours on the pole so far, my body was starting to feel it and I still had one more workshop to go.
Oona is known for her strength but what I didn’t know is that the warm up at the beginning of her workshop would be unbelievably difficult. By the time we got through the first 15 minutes, I was gasping for air and sweating as if I had completed a triathlon. I collected myself and took solace in the fact that this workshop had over 30 people in it and we were sharing poles so theoretically I would get some breaks in between. Some really cool combos were added to my repertoire that hour.
When the day was over, I took count of the ever increasing bruises all over my body. I questioned why some call them ‘pole kisses’ as they certainly didn’t feel like kisses. Walking back to the hotel I could only think of three things. Food, hot bath and sleep.

I woke up the next morning looking more and more like a Dalmatian. I assumed I wouldn’t be the only one and therefore would be in good company. I thought I would take it easy by skipping the flexibility workshop. That still left me with 3 more workshops! Oh my goodness… I told myself to get it together and besides, I was in two workshops with Natasha today which would be so great! Felix Cane was supposed to do the pole and champagne workshop but she was unable to make it so Natasha was taking over that session as well.
Prior to having champagne, there was the main workshop with Natasha. Her flow is outstanding and I worked hard on the combos despite the pain my body was feeling. I absolutely loved a combo with a reverse meat hook that I actually added to my competition performance that fall.
Next was a workshop with Jamilla Deville. She was the sweetest person and so helpful in the instruction. I loved learning how to do the Jamilla invert. Her grace was so evident when she was teaching us. I came away realizing that there was literally no repetition in the workshops. Everyone not only had their own style which I expected, but had their own repertoire of moves, transitions and tricks.
In all honesty, I took it pretty easy at the Champagne and pole workshop at the end of the day because my body was screaming at me. I left the convention that evening with a sense of accomplishment. I did it and now I was so excited to pass along my new knowledge with the other instructors and our students!!

Everyone knows their body best but for me, seven workshops in a little over 24 hours was a bit too much but on the other hand I learned so much in that short period of time. I will be going to another Pole Convention in the future no doubt about it. It was such a great experience, meeting new people and progressing in pole fitness. If you get the chance, go! You won’t regret it I promise!!!

My Pole Journey

I’ve always had people ask me about how my pole journey started as well as why and how it has shaped my life. The answer is complicated but simple at the same time. So here’s my pole journey.
I was at a Stampede event in Calgary in 2009 where my sister introduced me to her friend from Vancouver. The Vancouverite was fit, confident and self assured. I wondered what her story was so I asked what she did in Vancouver. She talked about her career, her family and then mentioned her passion was pole fitness. She said she got bored doing the same thing over and over again in her fitness regiment and when she started doing pole, she was rejuvenated. I walked away from that conversation thinking, “Could I really do this?”. I played soccer, floor hockey and went to the gym the odd time. Growing up I was a tomboy. Talk about a 180 degree turn. Nonetheless, I had always wanted to feel more feminine, sexy and more confident as a woman so I signed up for a six week class at Aradia.
To be completely honest, I was terrified. I thought I would be the least coordinated in the class and all the rest of the negative internal dialogue we all think from time to time was going through my head. I built up the nerve to go to my first class. My instructor Jayna was really nice, cool and encouraging. What I didn’t expect was how quickly all the women bonded. We were supportive and had fun together. Although I was active prior to pole, I had very little strength in my upper body. I wondered how far I would be able to go. Jayna explained that the floor work trained the necessary muscles in each level to accomplish our pole spins and tricks. By the time we finished Level 1, I felt more confident, stronger and more comfortable in my skin.
I continued on, completing the next levels and sometimes having to take the same level twice when I felt I wasn’t quite there to move on to the next, but I kept at it. I had fallen in love with the way it made me feel. It was something I was doing for myself and it was my own personal adventure. When I reached level 5 my instructor Serena asked if I had thought about teaching. I told her at the time that my career as a sales manager was much too busy to take on instructing. Serena kept on me as she did in my classes. My common phrase was ‘I’ll never be able to do this spin/trick’ and she would respond ‘Yes you will just watch’. After about a year, I became an Aradia Fitness instructor. I went though rigorous training, written and practical exams as well as an internship for another 10 hours. It was worth it! I enjoyed teaching and passing on my knowledge to others that were on their journey. I continued my own training and became certified in all levels by 2012.

Fast forward to late 2013… The owner had decided to sell the Calgary studio in order to have someone local take it on. I mentioned to friends that I would be interested in buying the studio if I had a partner. Within a day I got a message from one of my master students that wanted to chat about it. In March 2014 we teamed up and bought Aradia Fitness Calgary. We worked all year to find the perfect spot for our vision. I have to say we are so happy with the studio, the design, the height of the poles and the instructors we have. It was a dream (that I didn’t realize I had) come true!!! I’m still teaching because I absolutely love it. It gives me great pride seeing my students accomplish their goals and being able to be a small part of their experience.
Now to answer the final question… How pole has shaped my life. At the age of 40, I am more self assured, confident, fit and happier than I have ever been. Pole fitness has had a lot to do with my wellbeing. I have met lifelong friends along the way. It makes me feel like the best version of me I can be. I love it and I know I always will. It is a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way!