Slowly but Surely…

Feeling good after 2 amazing classes last night – and after posting yesterday, it only feels natural to do a quick re-cap.

Yesterday was one of those days I was wishing I could call B&P and whine that I wasn’t feeling great and go home a read.   I was a little tight in my right calf muscle and have been HOT lately.  The weather has been cooling down in the city – but I can’t seem to.  This was leaving me tired and cranky.

But as blah as I was feeling – my new BlackMilk leggings motivated me enough to get my spandexed ass to the studio.

I started the evening with FLEXIBILITY TRAINING with Allison Wardwell.  I really like the flow of Allison’s class.  She starts out nice and slow “getting the crunchies out” with lots of circles, circles, circles.  Circling the shoulders, the hips, the back.  Luckily, these circles don’t make you dizzy, they just loosen up your body – and when we move into the tougher stuff – splits, backbends, handstands – my body says “Bring. It!”

I’ve been sloooowly improving and going a little farther into my stretches. Ouch.  I was encouraged when Allison came around a couple times and said to me “Look at you Lizzy-poo!” Awe – *blush!  There is still tons of room to improve, but there’s nothing like some good instructor encouragement to get you there!

where i am VS where i want to be! – with allison

Next up was my fave – SPINNY POLE –  with Danielle Romano.  Danielle was subbing for Ms. Stanek who is off being amazing in Stockholm for Pole Art. NBD.

I was so impressed with Danielle last night!  I took a class with her a few weeks back – again a sub at the time – and she seems to have grown and really come into her own as an instructor.  Note, the class before was not bad in any way – but Danielle did not seem as self-assured.  She really brought it last night.  Straight from the warm up I was so happy to be where I was.  Danielle’s super positive personality was radiating and the energy in the room was fab.

She broke down a few combos for us.  We worked on some pretty spins and did some “air-walking” before working on the big skill of the night. Chopper into an Inside Leg Hang – luckily I had worked on this on static the night before in Michelle’s class (ESPN!)  – and then reaching back for the outside foot.  This skill has a name, but I didn’t catch it.

At the end of class she demoed how we could put everything we had learned into one smooth sequence of combos.  Loved it.  I actually felt like a dancer for once.

I’m off the pole for a few days.  Traveling back to Ohio for some fresh air, home cooked meals and *sigh time.  Feeling great that my last classes were so good.  I will miss the pole these next few days – but can’t wait to be back again.

Love & Pole xx

Finding a Balance

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to really sit and reflect on my pole life!  It’s been well over a month since the last time I sat down to write so I had to back track and see where I left off.

I had just started my “lifestyle change” – eating a more natural diet and preparing the majority of my food at home and had talked about the addition of group exercise at Equinox Fitness for the first time.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been pretty darn good about keeping up with everything!  I do admit to having an off-day  – or weekend for that matter – here and there, but the idea of eating healty foods prepared at home is well on it’s way to the norm. It’s become easy – easier than I ever thought it would be – and it’s working for me.

My biggest pride and joy since the lifestyle change was the juicer I bought while visiting one of my besties from High School in Deleware.  She had one and we juiced every morning.  I love juices, but the price of them in my neighborhood is ridiculous. $8 – $10 for a medium juice.  She took me to the store and I bought a cheapy one – $50! And tax free! Thanks Deleware! –  to try it out, see if I would use it. Ever since, I’ve been juicing nearly every day.   My faves are:

“Riley’s Juice,” a juice I used to order at New York Muffins in Williamburg almost daily: Spinach, Kale, Green Apple, Grapefruit and Pineapple.  I usually have one of these with breakfast.

Some other faves that I have for snacks or with other meals are Carrot/Strawberry/Pineapple and a lot of Watermelon, with a little bit of another fruit I have laying around – usually strawberries, blueberries or mango.

The big challenge I still face is alcohol.  I enjoy drinking socially and find it nice to have a drink with dinner or when I get home after a long day.  If I’m famous for anything, it’s always having a bottle of champagne near to celebrate – and I celebrate the small things in life. This will be where the biggest challenge lays for me.   I mean, how can I say no to a glass of wine with my girl Jal after a hard class?!

As far as group exercise, I have been maintaining at least 2 classes per week and sometimes up to 4.  Most of these are power or cardio sculpting classes and I’ve noticed myself getting even stronger and having slightly more muscle definition in my stomach, arms and legs.  I’m happy with my progress and have found a nice balance of gym workouts and pole.

On the pole front.  Things are really exciting!  I’m learning new skills, working on perfecting ones I have and have been having a great time with my amazing pole friends.

I made an attempt to add more level 3 and 3/4 pole classes into my weekly schedule.  Sometimes this meant taking 2 pole classes back to back, and after trying it a couple times, my body was telling me it was too much.  My shoulders and neck seemed sore all the time – so much so that it was even effecting my sleep.  So even though those level 3 classes have been getting me new skills like JADE, which I can pull off in a freestyle now!  And more attempts at Allegra! – I’m worried that I might be pushing myself too hard too fast.

After a week break due to a quick work-trip to LA, I had some time to thing about how things have been going and how I want to move forward with my practice.

I took a step back and vowed that from now until I leave for another 2-week trip in which I will be off the pole – I’m dedicating my time to the basics.  I’m going to do as many level 2 classes as I can.  I’m going to try to maintain one level 3 class per week to keep it exciting, but my focus will really be on perfecting the skills I have.

I’ve been working on Leg Hangs – trying to get both sides solid, with smooth transitions in out and POINTED TOES – STRAIGHT LEGS – and FLUIDITY.  I’ve had a lot of opportunites to work on shoulder mounts and I’m excited to be getting closer and closer to getting up with no assistance!  I’ve tried VERTICAL BALLET BAR at B&P and I’m loving the results in my toe point and body awareness.  And I’ve been trying to stay flexy – working on my splits, back bends and head/handstands.

I’m happily finding a balance of pole and health that is changing my lifestyle, but working with my old one. Feeling so good and re-energized this week and – as always – looking forward to classes tonight!

FemmeFITale

I had a successful week on the pole as well as some break troughs in my overall fitness and health which has me feeling energized, happy, and excited about the week ahead.

The summer sunshine and wearing a bikini out in the daylight rather than only in the dark studio has me motivated to – really –  whip my ass into better shape. My goals being to tone up my arms and stomach and shed just a couple of pounds.

About a month ago I joined the Equinox in my new neighborhood and began adding in some cross training by taking 2 – 3 Group Fitness classes a week before work.

Over the years I’ve found Group Fitness to be the best way for me to work out – aside from Pole, of course.  I get bored doing cardio on a machine and I tend to not push myself hard enough when working out on the floor.  With Group Fitness I don’t have to THINK about what to do – I just have to follow along.  And working out alongside other people and encouraging instructors keeps me pushing through for the whole hour.

The first 2 weeks were rough as I got used to my alarm going off an hour and a half earlier and forcing myself to drink a shake – my fave being peanut butter, bananas and milk –  before class rather than just a cup of coffee.   I found that although my energy was up in the morning, but I was crashing about mid day.  I felt sore for what seemed like all the time and my muscles were fatiguing on the pole and getting through classes was tough.  But I stuck with it and – finally! – last week I started to notice changes in my energy, and overall tone.  I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m on the right path.

Adding extra fitness into my routine made me pay more attention to my diet.  With a kitchen all to myself and a Fairway on my way home from the subway I’m out of excuses.  I started packing my fridge full of Marlo’s recommended “Meat, fat, fruit, veggies… Repeat!”

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve managed to prepare 90% of the food I’ve eaten over the last week or so.  Again, the adjustment was hard at first.  I had to invest in some Tupper wear, build in the time to prepare lunch and snacks and carry it around with me in my backpack.  At first this felt like a hassle – but again, it’s starting to become routine and what seemed like a hassle is now saving me some trouble.  Instead of heading out into crazy Times Square for lunch everyday and fighting a crowd to pay $12 for a salad I – think and hope – is healthy, I simply reach into my office mini fridge and pull out one of my prepared snacks.  Instead of racing out of the office to grab an over priced snack and eat it without enjoying it on the way to class, I simply reach into my fridge and – well you get it.

My initial fear was that I would burn out on this really quickly.  I’m not trying to “diet” but rather start a lifestyle change and that’s hard.  I thought writing about it here would be a good way to keep myself in check.  So if you read this, and later see me eating a giant slice of greasy pizza I grant you permission to take the pizza and smack me in the face with it.  Please just be sure it’s me though.  Getting smacked in the face with pizza by a stranger would be pretty awful and I know you would feel bad.

Also, note, if you see me with a cocktail, please don’t pour it on my head.  I’m working on a lifestyle change, but still enjoy a drink or a mid day second cup of coffee.  I figure if I’m eating well 90% of the time, I’m doing pretty damn well, and will allow myself a vice here and there.

With my new fitness plan in full effect I attacked the pole this week.

I was amp’d that Michelle Stanek was back from California and took LEVEL 2 and 3/4 FLUDIITY on Tuesday with her.   We started Level 2 with some floor work, and I struggled.   The move was a swivel on your hips that swooped you around the pole and onto your feet.  I kept rolling onto my stomach and couldn’t find my way to my feet.  Luckily, Michelle broke it down – it took about 10 times of “No Liz, not onto your stomach – yes, hips, no – yes HIPS!” – and I finally got it. We also worked on transitioning from a butterfly into a sit and then a 3-part drop that started from a sit. It was a nice combo when all strung together.  Butterfly, sit, drop, floorwork.  Boom!

Level 3/4 was more of a hot mess.  We worked on the same floor combo.  I was excited, as Michelle had broken it down for me! I was ahead of the game – but no – started rolling onto my stomach again like an asshole.  I had to work hard not to get frustrated as class went on.

We worked on a fan kick into a sit that I couldn’t get.  After a few attempts I was getting the basic movements on the ground, but once I took a climb on the pole I was unable to get the momentum to finish – or honestly get halfway there.  I’m not even sure what the next combo consisted of because it was above my skill level.  So I worked on what I could – the first part of it.  It’s a move I’ve seen a lot – and although I’m sure there is a name for it – bad blogger – it’s escaping me now.  But basically, from a climb or 2, you hook your inside leg on the pole and “stand” on the pole with your outside leg, leg go with your hands, and arch away from the pole.

It took me a few attempts –  and some dry hands on my feet – but I stuck one and heard Michelle exclaim “Yeah Liz!,, That’s it!”  Proudly I looked down and asked her ‘What do I do next?”  “You… You… just come down” she said jokingly – but serious.  And I was ok with that.  Class seemed to fly by and it was time to freestyle.  After a rough class I felt like my freestyle was terrible. I didn’t even bother watching it on the subway home as per usual.  But when I got home, I watched and was surprised!  I had done the full combo from Level 2 as well as some of my other go to skills and it was actually pretty good – much better than I thought and that lifted my spirits.

Wednesday I opted to sign out of classes and enjoy the Holdiay – Happy 4th everyone!  I relaxed in the sun, cooked myself a nice crab dinner, watched a movie and stayed away from BBQs and bars.  I’m not deep enough into the lifestyle change to be trusted around hot dogs and beer. I was content with my simple day of rest.  Thanks America.

Thursday I was back at it in LEVEL 3.  Lian Tal was subbing for Marlo and I was super excited since I hadn’t made it into her Monday Level 2 class.  I shared a pole with my friend Meredith and we had a badass class.

First up was a Superman drop into inside leg hang.  Lian showed us what it looked like fast and my jaw dropped.  Wicked cool.  Then she broke it down and encouraged us to try it slow.  I was able to do it slow and was thanking my stars for all the work I’ve been putting into my leg hangs.  With enough practice, I’ll be able to whip it one of these days.

Up next was “handstand practice.”  We didn’t work on getting into a handstand, but instead worked on the position from a butterfly.  It was all about feeling that position – a lot of control, strength and balance is needed.  Lots of work to do here.

Last we practiced Jade –  and after a couple spotted by Lian – I’m so happy to write that I got it all on my own, and even did one in my freestyle!  Of course, there is still a ton of work to be done.  I’m more in an upside down V than a full split at this point, and it’s takes me about a minute to get into position and get the guts to let go with the back leg.  But just getting that first step of being able to hold it all on my own feels fabulous! Woo!  It was a great way to go into the weekend – which I unfortunately don’t have time to write about – because I have to run to the studio.

Love and Pole!xx

(Butter)Fly Girl

With so many B&P instructors in LA for Pole Con, Polesque and AERA’s Chasing the Sun Performance, the past week or so of pole was a little different – but never the less fabulous! – and full of pole, flex and my very first P3 class with Nerijus Bagdonas.

The first thing I heard when I walked into B&P on Monday was “Speak of the devil!”It was Kat and Jal – Kat was wearing fluorescent pink leopard print, posing and saying “who am I?! who am 1?!… “Liz!”  Bahaha.  Nice one.

I  was there for LEVEL 2 POLE DANCE instructed by Tiffany Chanelle.  Tiffany is sassy as can be.  Her class had some sass too – and my girl Jal and I had fun sharing a pole.  So proud of Jal for trying –  and getting – her first superman!  Welcome to the world of bitch skin burn.

We also worked on leg hangs (GOAL!) and butterfly. I was able to work on my new favorite way of coming out of it (thanks Marlo!) Straddle.  Boo-ya!

Tuesday LEVEL 2 FLUIDITY was being subbed by the diva-licious Lauren Goldstein.  It was a treat, as Lauren’s policy is “Heels are always an option.”  We were all excited as Lauren brought in the giant box of heels the studio keeps on stand by.  We all swarmed the box and strapped ‘em on.

Lauren’s warm-ups are by far the hardest as some of it is done in shoes – which adds extra weight to all the crunching and leg lifting.  I was dying before we even made it to the pole.  We worked on a piece of choreo for most of the class and by the end I was literally drenched in sweat – but determined to flutter my legs in a violator.  What up!

Since Lauren wanted to continue the choreo on Thursday in her usual DIVAs class, I was signed up in a flash.  This time I brought my own shoes – the first time I got to wear my new hot pink heels!

Because of all the hard work, I decided to treat myself to a massage after class.  It was truly a Diva Thursday!

Skipping back to Wednesday and FLEX being subbed by Olga Karmansky . Olga! Over splits and handstands and scorpions. Oh my!  I’d been a while since I’ve taken “an Olga class.”  Around the studio, we don’t even call it “Flex” it’s just simply “Olga.”

The class was intense, but after 3 classes with Olga in the last 2 weeks I’m starting to feel an addiction to the pain… err stretching – and new goals are formulating.

FLEX GOALS

1.  Both sides splits – with my HIPS SQUARE and BACK LEG STRAIGHT!  It’s not enough to have crotch to mat anymore.

2.  Middle split.  I want it by the end of the 2012.  It’s been a goal for a while, but one I haven’t been attacking.  It’s time to start fighting.

And 3.  BONUS goal:  Scorpion.  I shall make my feet meet my head.  Someday.  I’m lacking back flexibility, control and core strength.   I’m challenging myself to do at least 3 hands stands everyday.  Even if I have to bust it out in my office with the door closed.

After FLEX, I stayed for SPINNY POLE with sub Brookelyn Suddel.  Note to self.  Never take Spinny after Olga.  I was spent with no strength for spinning.  For me Olga + Spinny = Martini (dirty) –  which I enjoyed before passing out that night.

Saturday was a big day! I am finally free on Saturdays – I froze my restaurant gig for the summer – and can now take more classes offered at B&P.  One I’ve been dying to try is P3!

It felt a little strange to be in a studio full of poles and not dancing – but there was no time to get hung up on that. After a quick demo of each “station” we were off for 3 sets, with only :10 of rest between each exercise and a minute or two between each set.  Thoughts of poles were over shadowed by the concentration needed to work through the burn.  By the end of class I was bright red and dripping in sweat.  It felt AMAZING.

The best part of it all was the support and attitudes of everyone at the studio.  There we were on a beautiful summer Saturday – we had forgone the beach, brunch and beer crawls to come to the studio and work on our bodies.  After a rough emotional night on Friday, nothing could have made me feel better than the positive energy everyone brought with them to the studio Saturday.

So here’s to another week of pole.  Can’t wait for FLUIDITY with Michelle Stanek tonight!  Welcome back girl!  BOOM!

Love & Pole xx

Ready, Set, Goals.

What’s the first thing you do when you have a pole goal?  If you’re lucky – you book a private session with Marlo Fisken.

My latest big pole goal was to work on my inside and outside leg hooks.  I was shy about asking Marlo to work with me before she leaves us – sad face – for a busy summer schedule of workshops, X-pert training and performances.  But my pole buddy and good friend Meredith was relentless in encouraging me to work with her.  As I’ve gotten to know her better, I’ve come to realize Meredith is one of the most hard working people I know.  She gets up early – like before I know a world exists early – to workout at gym or trains PT.  She’s in as many classes as me each week at B&P and trains with Marlo privately on a weekly basis.  I’m exhausted and I only do half of that.  And since she can do all that and still gush that her privates are amazing then what have I got to lose?

I spoke to Marlo and even with all she has going on, she happily squeezed me in with a Monday early AM session.

I had been keeping a list of skills I’ve wanted some extra attention on, but just before handing it off to Marlo, I had written above everything else, in big capital letters LEG HOOKS.

When Monday morning rolled around I was stoked.  I can safely say I’ve never looked forward to Monday morning more.  I couldn’t bare the thought of showing up late so  I had prepped everything from clothes down to my healthy snack to eat right after class as – as Marlo recommends – and my Arnica to bathe in after.

I rode my bike to get my body loose and arrived 30 minutes early to do the best stretch I could.  Since I’m used to dancing at night, I knew my body would need a little extra push to get going.

We started off with hand stands on the pole to get warm and then went right into leg hooks.  She pushed and pulled my body into position and gave me tips as I held on as long as I could. After the first set of both inside and outside, I was already starting to bruise and my skin was on fire.

We took a break and worked on upper body skills before going at it again.   This time we started on the floor.  I layed in a leg hook position on the floor with a block under my lower back so I could practice without the strain of holding myself on the pole.  This was so valuable to me, as it’s something I can do before or after every class or in pole play. Bam!

After another set, I was dead.  On my last one I had to give up, the pain was so intense.  I was frustrated and felt a bit like a quitter, but when I look at the bruises on my legs it makes me feel better. Bruises like this don’t come from something that just kinda hurt just a little bit.

So it was back to some upper body work before trying a Jade, one of the skills I’ve tried, and love, and want to do so so so badly! Unfortunately, Jade uses a lot of them same – uh – skin, as leg hooks. I could only manage one and Marlo and I found ourselves laughing when my body gave up and Marlo was literally holding me up on the pole. “Uh I don’t think you’re doing anything right now” she said.  I had obviously had enough so she showed me a few flexibility exercises I can do at the office, at home, or apparently in an airplane – as she does – to keep my hips from getting tight throughout the day.

Marlo is a world-class dancer.  She’s awe inspiring to watch.  Her body is flawless.  Her dedication to heath and fitness is incredible.  She’s always rockin’ a cool pair of leggings…   And she’s a great instructor.  I’m still a little amazed by all the things that finding Body and Pole has brought into my life. In this session I realized just how aware Marlo is of every move.  Her ability to give tips, correct and improve – even if that means using force to stretch your body into the correct position – is fabulous.

Marlo and her bad ass leggings

In my double booked classes on Tuesday I was sure to add a least one leg hook into my freestyles and like with any goal there’s a before and after.  So here’s to my BEFORE.

BEFORE inside and outside legs hooks during freestyle June 19, 2012

What are some of your pole goals?

Love & Pole! x

The Swing of Things

I’m officially moved into my new apt in Manhattan and starting to get back into the swing of things.  As a Virgo and a creature of habit, I’m so happy to have my life begin to settle back into it’s usual routine.  A routine that includes dancing in my panties, supermen and trying to touch my head with my foot.  Ahh, feels good to be sore and bruised again.

First up was FLEXIBILITY with Marlo Fisken.  I was unsure how my body was going to react to being thrown back into bending.  I thought for sure I was going to have to take it slow and was mentally prepared to not get upset with myself.  But I was pleasantly surprised!  It actually felt amazing to be stretching out again and perhaps it was the rest my muscles got that let them cooperate because I found myself sitting in both of my splits.  Felt pretty good to have crotch to mat.  My back is another story.  It felt good in class to start bending the back again, but I was sore sore sore after class.

Then it was on to LEVEL 3.  I absolutely loved our warm up.  It’s hard to explain how it was different.  Most of the stretches were the same, but it was something about the music Marlo picked and the moves we were doing with it.  We started off super slow and then worked our way up, going from super emo to super sassy.  When warm up ended and it was time to put our mats away I was shocked.  It seemed to fly by and I loved every second of it!

Before we got on the pole, we did some movement exercises across the floor.  First up was moving across the using only floor work. Something in me was just READY to let loose and I happened to be wearing sweat pants so I was able to slide pretty easily and I really went for it.  I don’t’ know what I looked like, but I didn’t feel like a hot mess – for once!  I’m happy to report that I’m getting more comfortable on the floor – an aspect of pole that I’ve been struggling with.  I’ve been trying to remember and incorporate moves that Michelle, Tracee and Steven have been teaching.  And although I still really want to work with the master of the floor Jeni Janover – I’m excited to feel the improvements.

After the  movement exercises it was time to get back on the pole for my first official class in 2 weeks.  Mentally, I was psyched but again I was a little unsure of my body.   I was shocked to find that my body was ready and it was my brain that was slacking.  Marlo demonstrated moves and I just stood there like wha??  I had to keep asking questions. “Can you show it one more time?”  “Outside hand on top?”  Once I got back into the groove I was fine, but it took my brain a second to get back up to speed with being able to see a move and give it a try without a 2 page step by step manual.

We worked on a really fun tuck spin that opened up to a spinning helicopter, shoulder mounts, then my first attempt at an Eisha, and some work on Marley – oy, welcome back dear bruises behind my knees.  I have – not – missed you so.

The energy continued last week as I’m now back to my normal – and by normal I mean crazy pole schedule.  Who wants to be “normal” anyways?

Monday I was finally back in my staple class, LEVEL 2 POLE DANCE with Lain Tal.  I was excited to be back with Lian, sharing pole with my girl Jal even if that pole was a fatty.  We started with the Rockstar Spin.  I have been doing Rockstar on spinny for a while in Michelle Stanek’s class, but I hadn’t practiced it on a static pole since the first time it was introduced to me forever ago.  I looked at Jal shaking my head “I can’t do this at ALL” – but I went for it – and whoa!  Practicing on spinny really does help – thanks Michelle! – and I was able to pull it off.

Next up was more spinning helicopters – which is quickly is becoming a favorite skill.  We revisited what I call a layout (sitting on the pole, then laying back) – I’ve noticed there are multiple names for skills and that’s what has stuck with me! It’s a skill I’m very comfortable with and I appreciated the time to work it out and start feeling really confident on the pole again.  The confidence came in handy as we worked on a brand new skill to me – the Iguana mount.  A few tries was all I had in me as my body, with 2 weeks off, had quickly grown tired.

We ended class with a freestyle and Jal caught me at an angle in which no one is dancing behind me.  I guess there are perks to those fatty poles!  I love this song and this was a great cover – I was able to let go and try to feel the music.  I’m a little wonky at times, but overall I was pretty happy with this one.

I was signed up for a double with LEVEL 3/4 following and didn’t want to chicken out even though deep down I was feeling insecure.  The class was being subbed by Mina Mortezaie, who was fabulous!  I, however, was not.  For the most part I hid in the back corner,  twirling my hair, modifying and doing what I could to keep up – but mostly twirling my hair. I tried not to get down as I watched Lian, Tracee, Michelle, Dalijah and Allison rockin the front poles, but I’ll admit that I felt a little deflated.  But always looking on the bright side, it was a good reminder to work really hard so I can get there someday!  I did immediately sign out of the following 3 weeks classes I had booked.  Boo.

Tuesday Kyra Johannesen was subbing LEVEL 2 FLUIDITY.  Finally, a class with Kyra!  I was not disappointed.  It was fun watching her choreograph as she went – a short dance combo for fluidity practice.  After doing it a couple times, I caught on and felt pretty good.  “Now you guys are dancing!” Kyra exclaimed.  Smile face. We then worked on spinning helicopter – see above “new favorite skill!” – more smiles!  In the spirit of fluidity, we helicoptered and then found a really pretty way down by hooking the outside foot to the pole, letting the other foot come down to the floor, pausing in the nice pose and then swinging the top leg down into a split on the ground.  Bad ass.  And may I say, way cuter than the hello kitty in my freestyle video above.

Wednesday I doubled up again. FLEX with Marlo and SPINNY with Prana Liano Ovide-Etienne who was in NYC from Paris and subbing for Michelle.

Flex amazing – if you can consider stretching till it hurts like hell amazing.  The room was hot and I had sweat pouring down my face – cute I know – but I’m seeing slight improvements and can feel myself going a little deeper into my stretches. (Emphasis on little).  So yes, amazing.  Or as my girl Jal would say… “AMAZEBALLS!”

After a hot, sweaty and yes, painful FLEX class it was onto SPINNY. I wanted to chill and take it easy but Prana’s energy is impossible to ignore.  She had me right back into the swing of things with her loud, fun, music and teaching style.  We worked on a bunch of skills – each one a combo that landed in a specific way.  When Prana hit the end she’d say “Ding!” in a voice that resembled a bell.  The girl is freakin’ strong and I was struggling to get to the end of the combos but the extra incentive of proudly saying “Ding!” at the finish kept me going.  Needless to say, I slept hard on Wendesday night.

The week ended right back where this post started. In LEVEL 3 POLE DANCE with Marlo.  I was thrilled to start the class by learning this cool kick into a straddle that Marlo rocked in her most recent Fin De Siglo performance.  In her performance she hit it so hard and quick, it proved that you don’t have to be doing the hardest of skills to drop jaws – though she did some of those too.  I tried a few attempts and I realized that although it’s not the hardest of hard… it was still hard.  We moved onto aerial climbing – helicopter, hook, reach up, re-grab, straighten out and then start again – helicopter, ugh! hook, oof!, reach up, gah!, re-grab, eek!, straighten out – and hmmm debate if you can seriously go up one more time, deep breath and UGH! helicopter…  all the way to the top – only to find now you have to get back down.  We did so by switching inside and outside leg hooks.  I thought I was going to die.  And I came to a realization that my leg hooks need some serious work.  Marlo came over to help me break it down.  “My inside hook sucks” I said as I flopped out of one.  “Yeah, it’s kind of shitty” she joked.  I just shrugged.  She was right.  I decided then and there I needed to work on them hard.  Goal:  Super strong inside and outside leg hooks on BOTH SIDES.

So with that said, here’s to looking forward to another week of pole and goals!

Love & Pole x

Friday Night Freestyle

It’s almost Friday – my favorite day of the week!  Just two week ago I was lucky enough to be one of the 8 dancers to take Tracee Kafer’s new workshop FINDING YOUR FREESYLE at B&P.

In the middle of a pole-drought due to big projects at work and at home, it was the perfect Friday night activity to help me shake out all the stress and frustration I’ve been feeling.  For a full 2 hours I forgot about everything else and just danced (da da do do)!

I was beyond excited to be back at B&P and see friendly faces.  It felt like I had been gone a month, not a week!  There was a great energy vibrating throughout the studio.  All 8 of us making the choice to spend our Friday night – a time usually reserved to play out on the town – to play on the pole.

Tracee warmed us in a circle making us feel united.  The very first thing she said was  that there were absolutely no mistakes in the workshop.  Something about that hit a nerve for me.  As a Virgo perfectionist, I’m always self-doubting and worrying about doing every little thing right.  It was nice to hear “no mistakes.”  I thought “awesome, I can’t eff this up!”

She had a lot of things to say about finding your freestyle; about taking what you are feeling and expressing those emotions through dance.  Tracee is one of the most expressive dancers I know and I felt honored to have to sharing her approached to dance in this small, dark intimate setting.

After warming up we proceeded to do a lot of exercises that took us out of our comfort zone – like dancing around the room doing whatever Tracee commanded. “If I asked you to walk like a duck, you will walk like a duck!” she said playfully.  We didn’t walk like ducks, but we did find ourselves in what has to have been one of the hottest conga lines ever formed.  The exercises from the night will stick with me.  I learned about listening to the beats of music, about making eye contact and lots of floor work tips.  The lessons I learned from each one now come to mind when I’m dancing, or even when I’m just listening to a song I want to dance to.

After the exercises – it was performance time.  Say what?!  We were asked to pick a song from our own ipods – one we have wanted to dance to or something that has been stuck in our heads.  We were given 4 (!) poles and about 2 minutes to give it all we had.

The experience of watching 7 other girls freestyle was magical.  Each of us had a different style and energy.  I was so inspired watching everyone’s personality come alive through dance.  Everyone had unique moves that made us all ooo, ahh, woo, clap and whistle.

When asked to pick a song, I freaked out.  Tracee laughed and said “just pick Britney and be done with it.”  Truth.  But I actually went with Madonna – big stretch.  I danced to “Turn Up the Radio” an upbeat song about letting loose when you’re feeling insane.  I think I did more bouncing than dancing I had so much adrenaline pumping through me that when I got on the spinny pole, I went too fast and thought I was going to fly off.  But even though my dance was a little out of control – I couldn’t keep a cheesy smile off my face and that feeling stuck with me through the weekend and still makes me light-hearted when I think about it now.

The next FINDING YOUR FREESTYLE workshop is at B&P on Friday June 29th.