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!!!