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Was cleaning out my old drafts folder (because I have 24 of them, whaaaat) and found yet another little half-finished post from 5 (!!!) years ago.
Updates: 1. I still use hairspray in a pinch, but I like Urban Decay’s All Nighter Spray better now for keeping my makeup in place during times of sweat (2 pack during a Sephora sale, still going strong!).
2. I still immediately take a chunk of out the polish on my big toes every time I pole #somethingsneverchange
3. I haven’t taught in a LONG time and I’m seriously thinking about getting back into it. You truly do learn the most when you teach, and I had so much fun doing it. I still subconsciously make mental playlists for class… gotta look into this.
4. New additions to this list: stretched out shirts (since I tie them in a knot in front for moves that require belly), and a weird mullety hair style because the pieces in the back always fall out out of my ponytail first.
Okay, let’s all jump into a time-machine to 2012!
BEEP BEEP BOOP:
I taught almost four hours straight last night, and I really should have snapped a before and after class picture. Because it was not pretty.
Then again, time doesn’t really make a difference… one hour or four, I always walk out of class MESSED UP:
Filthy, from the floors. And I always manage to rub half of the polish off of my big toenail. I think this is because I do a toe drag when I walk.
Sweaty, obvs, but then there’s the extra nastiness that comes from repeatedly running fingers through your hair that are covered in dry hands. Ew.
Actually, my makeup stays weirdly perfect. Hairspray. On the face. Just do it. You can sweat right through that ish and eye makeup stays put. Which is important because I have to wear a lot of makeup to my classes (house rules AND helps me get in to character. I’m shy, you guys).
Depending on what I’m doing, if I’m demonstrating (re: performing the same move or spin over, and over, and over) I’m coming away with some teeny little purple dots on my shins and the tops of my feet.
5. Red wrists
Hair ties. And watches. And sometimes, just a lot of damn time on the pole.
Hours of nonstop poling through alternating sweat and too-stickiness (Dry Hands) mean a lot of friction and wear and tear.
Ugggggh this is so gross, but no matter how in shape I think I am, a class will leave me with a damp spot on my lower back and chest. Boob sweat. It’s the best.
What’s your after-pole look?
I’ve been having a series of breakthroughs out of nowhere lately, and I have some thoughts on finally making progress!
This is especially shocking to me because lately I’ve been feeling like I’m throwing everything I have at pole (getting up a little earlier to do 15-20 minutes of conditioning before I jump in the shower, abs/pullups/shoulder training on my lunch break, pole, flex, floowork or barre classes in the evening and on weekends. But the progress has been sloooooo0w.
Until suddenly it wasn’t. Suddenly the dots started connecting and trying (and failing) at a Jamila for several frustrating weeks meant nailing a violator on my first try in three years (an experience so traumatic in 2013 that I haven’t attempted it until now haha); struggling to get my outside leg hangs with that little leg shimmy (you know the one) suddenly got me aerial inverts, monkey climbs, and straight leg inverts (which barre REALLY came in handy for–that is serious quad work, holy crap).
Moves I thought were impossible for me are now (marginally) accessible and make some sense. And I’m feeling crazy inspired to tell you all immediately: DO NOT GIVE UP, because it might be just around the corner.
And it’s not linear. You don’t do X amount of work and get Y result within a set amount of time. I work out sometimes just to deal with anxiety, or out of habit. I stopped expecting it to pay off immediately quite some time ago. But damn, the results come when you least expect them. It’s just so important not to quit.
So here’s my continued list of progression tips:
1. Whatever you do, hang in there.
Learn to love the work. You never know when a jump forward in your skills is going to happen, but it probably WON’T happen if you aren’t hitting the studio, conditioning, and/or crosstraining. Take a break from one thing for a while if you get burnt out but don’t go inactive. I skipped pole classes for a week but kept doing my Core XTREEEEEEME (extra e’s mine) and barre classes, and then when I went back to pole I felt great and got a new trick.
I saw a girl in my level 2 class a few weeks ago who was brand new to the level. And she was struggling and clearly looking defeated and embarrassed to be struggling. And I just wanted to freaking hug her, because leveling up and 1. no longer being the best in your class in the lower level, and 2. suddenly being the worst in your class and everything’s hard and hurts is no small thing.
Also, at my particular studio (and in many, I’m sure) level 2 is miles away from level 1. The two almost have nothing to do with each other. In level 1 you spin, in level 2 you’re doing upside down. It’s almost cruel how big that jump is.
But anyway, mad props to this girl because in her freestyle–ie. the time to do easy fun stuff that you’re good at–she attempted a chopper and leg hang she JUST LEARNED, and bailed out, and looked so frustrated with herself. I wanted to give her a medal right then and there just for trying, because that’s the whole point.
Side note: I almost NEVER attempt upside down stuff at the end of a 1.5 hour class unless there’s a gun to my head.
(Hasn’t happened yet, but hey, this is New York).
2. Keep Trying and Failing at Hard Things.
Because failing at them is practice and conditioning too. And give yourself props for freaking TRYING and being willing to wipe out in front of Level 3 girls who are straight chilling in Level 2 classes because they don’t have your balls. #respect
3. Partner Up With Someone Better Than You
Last night I monkey climbed (ie. chopper, outside leg hang, aerial chopper, outside leg hang, drop exhausted to the floor). I didn’t know I could. I tried it because the girl I was partnered with (who also happened to be really friendly and chill, which is essential) did it first.
[Monkey climb see, monkey climb do! (hehe)]
Now normally I like to hide in the back and partner with somebody who’s doing their first Level 2 class so I can feel helpful and not totally clumsy.
But, this has definitely not been me to push myself (duh). Don’t be like me. Share a pole with someone who’s pushing herself. This is especially effective if you’re a competitive person! Your pole buddy can also give you helpful tips, like mine did, because she’s probably been there and already worked out the kinks with moves she’s mastered.
4. Record Yourself
I know I’ve said this before, but it’s so important for getting better. Pole can be hard when it comes to seeing yourself. We’re often spinning or upside down, so it’s hard to catch a good look at yourself in the mirror. That doesn’t excuse you from looking, though.
I have a good friend who’s much more advanced at pole than me. But she’s a “jump from trick to trick” type who’s addicted to progress. She doesn’t like doing the same move over and over–least of all Level One moves. But at her first major competition recently, she lost points from every judge over bent knees and sickled, flexed feet. (Something I feel guilty for not telling her I noticed, but one sort of looks like an asshole saying “maybe you should straighten your legs more” to someone who’s doing handsprings while you’re doing yet another pinwheel spin).
Don’t wait for someone assigning you points in a competition to read your bad habits. Video early, video often, and troubleshoot. Which reminds me…
5. Master Moves, Don’t Settle for “Good Enough”
If you’ve ever watched a non-poler watch pole dance, you’ve probably noticed that the stuff they’re most impressed by isn’t particularly hard stuff. It’s Level 1 skills performed with confidence, mastery, and expression that elicit the gasps.
So aim for that. Don’t check a move off and move on. Explore it. Try it big, try it small, try it in new combos, with different emotional notes, with different tempos and song choices. A dip turn can go 100 different ways–but each time you work with it, yours gets stronger and more versatile.
Work on new tricks, but aim for total mastery of your Level 1 stuff. And also (sorry, this is the longest post ever but I have SO MANY THOUGHTS): Level 1 mastery=the strength, control, and deep understanding of moves to learn to add on or do similar (but harder) variations of them in higher class levels. If you still don’t know how to get good momentum without jumping, or muscle your way through climbs instead of push-pulling, you’re going to struggling with tricks that build on theses elements (and possible get hurt trying to learn them).
How do you feel about your progress? What made a difference for you for a certain nemesis trick? What advice would you give polers on the cusp of giving up? And have you ever given up yourself? I feel like burnout combined with injuries makes for a lot of “ex” polers… Share below!
Jesus I need to refresh my pole vocab. This is very much something I’m just learning but took a vid to try and remember. V. cute and fun combo courtesy of Emily @B&P! Wish I could explain it better, but hopefully the video shows all.
He was just there. Being a pro athlete, but pretending he was a normal person.
Anyway, bae and me snuck a quick video because we have zero chill. Sorry for being creepy, Colin! Please keep coming to our gym!
How’s everybody’s pole goals coming? I’m fully committed to a new “2-pole-classes-a-week-and-one-flex-class” routine, plus twice weekly abs/pullups and once a week barre. Wow, now that it’s all on paper I feel like less of slacker. I also just put up my pole at my new place (FINALLY) so I’m hopefully to get some much needed practice time back into my schedule.
So I’m taking this emerging media platforms class and it’s all about incorporating cutting edge technology into reporting and telling stories (being that my study track is “journalism”).
My final assignment (omg I’m so close to being done with school I CAN TASTE IT you guys), is to pick a technology and try out a new way of ~doing journalism~ with it.
This is a tall order because so far we’ve studied:
- 360 video
- something else I’m probably not remembering because I’m really outta my element here
Frankly, I’m not that interested in any of these things. But sensors caught my eye. Did you know there are stores for different kind of sensors that measure different things that you can buy and use???
Actually this is not quite true, but more on that in a minute. (Note: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is).
Anyway, I found a MUSCLE SENSOR that measures muscle movements, yo!
(PS. Sorry for the “yos,” I’m watching Breaking Bad again. #jesse #bitch)
I immediately got excited about this because of POLE. (one track mind y’all, my classmates are fed up with my ass, I swear).
I thought: what if you could measure shoulder and grip effort in different grip patterns? This is mainly because I’m keenly aware of all these twisted grip controversies and was wondering if there was an objectively way of measuring words we tend to just throw around like “dangerous” and “difficult.”
Is twisted grip dangerous because it requires more strength than some of us objectively have? It it actually safer because it requires less hand strength to hold, and is therefore more suitable to beginners with very little grip training?
I set out to answer these questions in my field test, and wow, did I underestimate how hard this was going to be.
First of all, sensors, LOL, they do nothing alone. You have to build a mother fucking circuit you guys.
I’m really pressed for time because I’m working full time and taking another class, so this is me soldering in my night gown on a Saturday morning because this is my life lately.
PS. I HAD TO LEARN TO SOLDER FOR THIS CLASS, ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME.
This was definitely an all day thing so we pumped some jams. I woke up just feeling like I needed to hear “Magic Stick,” so I made a Magic Stick playlist. This came on. Soldering was LIT:
Anyway, after several hours of watching YouTube tutorial videos on things like wire stripping and solder bridge removal, I realized this field test was just not going to work.
For one thing, the numbers streaming in (just… numbers, like 42, 86, 90) weren’t really showing any discernible patterns, even as I flexed a muscle. At first I attributed this to poor soldering, and spent another $34 on a new sensor and resoldered that shit. But on testing this new one, it became clear to me that the slightest motion of the wires (draped on a table as I tested the sensor) was skewing my results, big time.
Proooooobably safe to say that that my idea of strapping this on and trying out pole grips is now doomed, but, I’m going to try it this weekend anyway and see what happens.
Soldering/breathing fumes into the night:
So what do you guys think of this idea?
If I get better at soldering and MyoWare makes a much less motion sensitive and accurate muscle sensor, would this information be useful?
Would you read a story about the muscle output for different poses on the pole, or be into a new system of categorization for pole moves using this info?
I could definitely see this being useful to people working with injuries. Knowing that one grip puts a lot more strain on a bum shoulder than another could be very useful. But that’s just me.
Say something interesting and I might quote you in my final presentation on this ;D
Still the right place for a woman and I don’t care who knows it.
But yeah, my mom bought these mugs for my sisters and me a couple of months ago to give us at Thanksgiving. #sad.
Everybody have a nice thanksgiving? I treated myself to a stupidly large package of dance and conditioning classes at my studio for Black Friday, but was able to resist the Dragon Fly deal. (I already binged on bras and shorts a few months ago).
Here’s what dinner upstate looked like:
Unrelated: my dad ruined Thanksgiving (an annual tradition) by insisting that banana and mayonnaise sandwiches are a thing and thus killed everyone’s appetite. That’s not a thing, right?
Other things that happened: bae made my new niece cry, OG niece got her first haircut, and I tagged along with my little sis to her Body Pump class which SUCKED and I HATED and I was sore for like 3 days. (Anybody else take this class and want to explain how a person can do lunges for 6 minutes straight? I don’t get ittttt).
What’s new? What’s everybody working on? I can’t wait to be done with grad school in January and start beasting out on the pole again!!
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, NOT DANCING, lol.
No seriously I’m being really bad.
I did have a private lesson because I have to use them up before November (like seriously I got 5 private sessions for my birthday in AUGUST 2015 and I’m still struggling to finish them up. What’s wrong with me). But aside from that, damn man, this last semester of school is kicking my butt.
The only thing that seems to motivate me to do anything besides school and homework is cold. Hard. Cash.
…wish is why I made a video for a contest at work!!!
Yes, there is a cash prize, and my broke ass is coming for it. The theme of our contest is Halloween, duh, but people usually try to sneak in references to online education as that’s our line of work. Since I’m personally taking classes online as part of my degree, I definitely have some inside jokes in there for all my virtual peeps. Mute is a consistent issue, ya feel? Other constraints: had to be under 3 minutes. But like… who has time to make anything longer than that anyway? I was very okay with this constraint.
Anyway, wish me luck, but enjoy this video in case it bombs because life is short.
Cost: $52 worth of zombie-related supplies at Party City
Time: 3 hours of shooting at my parents house in Utica before we had to jump in a car back to the city. Fun fact: we listening to the debate in the car on NPR and it was so. entertaining.
Fun fact: bae and me were very concerned about his makeup scaring my 3-year old niece who was visiting, but she was not even phased and was just like, *blinks* “…You look ugly.”
TO HIS FACE.
My niece savage AF and I’m into it. (note: her parents are better people than me and told her that wasn’t nice to say but I immediately undid their hard work by laughing and calling bae ugly too. #badaunt).
Anyway, what’s everybody being for Halloween? Sexy Ken Bone? No?
I’m planning on being whatever requires the most makeup possible.
PS. New York City peeps–POLESQUE IS HAPPENING THIS YEAR. Ping me if you’re planning on going!!