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Instructor Spotlight – Elyse Q

elyse quail 1 When did you start Pole Dancing? 
E: I just had my two year pole-iversary at the start of January!

Why did you decide to start Pole Dancing?
E: After experiencing a trauma while living overseas, I needed something to help me heal. I wanted something that would allow me to develop an appreciation for my body, but also become a part of a social community and make new friends in my new country. The opportunity came to me at the perfect time. I loved my first class so much, I signed up for another class that same night! I was hooked.

What kept your interest in pole dancing? Why did you want to continue to the next level?
E: It wasn’t hard for me to stay interested! Living in a foreign country was lonely, and as a result of my trauma I was often really sad. Pole became a place for me where I could feel safe and supported by my classmates. My instructor Kylie was so encouraging and always made me feel like I could succeed. Every class I came in carrying the weight of my week, and I left feeling like I could do absolutely anything I set my mind do. I started taking classes with a group a few levels above me, and everytime I saw the amazing things they could do, I knew I wanted to one day be that graceful! Pole made me feel so good, so I just kept coming back.

How do you find the pole community differs from Canada to the UK?
The wonderful truth of that question is that I believe the pole community is GLOBAL! I’ve found especially from making connections online that wherever you are in the world, your pole family is all around you. The difference for me was that while living in the U.K., I just hadn’t discovered that yet. I attended a small studio in a town just outside of London, and the community there was always encouraging and amazing. It wasn’t until I came to Aradia that I realized how large the pole community really is! Now I am happy to say that my pole family is all over the world. Here in Edmonton, across North America, and overseas in the U.K, where it all started for me.

What would you say that, besides strength building, pole has help you with the most?

Pole has really changed the way that I view myself – physically and emotionally. My entire life I remember struggling with my body image, at some points to devastating extremes. Pole has brought me to a place where I now view my body for what it can DO instead of how it looks. Emotionally, pole allows me to see myself as strong and capable of overcoming hardship. Pole gives me an outlet for whatever I am going through. There are very few things in my life that can’t be made better by a good freestyle session!

Do you ever face any struggles with pole? What are they, and how do you overcome them?

My biggest struggle with pole is definitely comparing myself to others. In this amazing pole community, we have so many incredible athletes! Sometimes I look at them and feel defeated about my own progress. Thankfully one of my besties does pole too and she often reminds me that the people I admire on Instagram spend HOURS a day training, and that my progress is perfect considering the amount of time I put in. As for the amazing students and instructors here at Aradia, I trust to remember that we all start our pole journey with different strengths. Some of us come as dancers or gymnasts, some of us come having never worked out a day in our lives! Every pole journey is unique, and I know the way for us to all be our best is by loving and celebrating each other AND ourselves.

 

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What do you find challenges your students the most about pole?

I fully believe that the most challenging thing about pole dancing is the mental side of it. The moves are physically challenging, but with consistency, our muscles adapt to what we are asking of them. Mental strength can be much more challenging to build and maintain. When we come to our first pole class we bring with us an entire lifetime of beliefs forced upon us by others or sometimes ourselves. If we’ve spent our entire lives believing we aren’t capable, then suddenly come into a pole class, it can be really restricting. The hardest part for many of my students is breaking through the barriers and limiting beliefs. That’s why I celebrate my students with such enthusiasm… I see that they are amazing and I want them to understand that they are ALREADY incredible and capable before they have the move. Nailing the move is just showing all of that in physical form. My students laugh at me for jumping up and  down and screaming praise at them just for TRYING a move, but I see them taking on positive beliefs about themselves, I see the smiles on their faces, and I see them coming back each week. It’s hard to break through the mental barriers, and I love helping my students experience and then overcome that challenge, because the reward is so incredible.

When you tell people that you’re a pole instructor, what do you find the most common response is?
I’m happy to say that people are usually excited, and impressed! Often I have people commending me for my strength, and then telling me that THEY want to come try a class! I always try to encourage those people to step outside of their comfort zones and try it out. It could be the best decision they’ve ever made.

Do you have any upcoming goals related to pole? Tricks you’d like to achieve, etc? Why have you chosen those goals?
I have a naughty habit of learning new tricks, doing them once, uploading a picture to instagram and move on to the next thing. So this year I’m focusing on filling the gaps and conditioning and building my fundamental skills. I’m not worried about getting the big tricks this year. Instead, I want to have flawless aerial inverts and a shoulder mount that I can nail every time! This way, when I’m ready to go back to learning the big tricks, I have the strength to do it, because I’m allowing myself to work on the little things. I can’t wait to get stronger and see where my pole journey takes me next!

Pole Choreography – Tips On How To Create A Piece

View More: http://hempelphotography.pass.us/aradiafitnessshowcaseAradia Fitness Instructor Asher is known for her seamless ability to create beautiful choreography pieces – and sometimes in a short matter of time! How exactly does she do it? In this blog piece, Asher will be sharing her tips and tricks with you!

Asher:
First off, let me start by saying that I am no dance professional. I have no experience or background in any form of dance, so when I write this; I’m basing it off of my personal experience and routines for how I create my own choreography and routines!

First thing that I like to do is pick a song. Pick a song and figure out why you like that song. Is it because you like the music? The words? The beat? Second; what kind of theme comes into your head when you hear this song? Is it sexy? Is it emotional? Is it upbeat and fun? When it comes to music, it needs to speak to me in a way that makes me want to dance! If I don’t feel like I want to dance to this music, then it’s no good!

Once you’ve picked a song, turn it on, and just dance! This is my personal secret and best time that I can give someone. Just dance! Turn on your phone and record your freestyle session to your song. Don’t think of what to do, just let your body do the work for you. Feel the music in your body, and the moves will pour out. Don’t worry about what may or may not “look good”. Do what FEELS good to do! I recommend doing this multiple times. Just have the song on repeat. Once you feel you’ve dance enough, take a seat and watch your video. I find that once I go back and watch what I’ve done, there are lots of things I put together that I didn’t even think about before. I see them on my video and decide “yeah, that seems cool,” or “that didn’t really work for me.” Once I’ve seen my video, I try to re-create some of the moves I did unknowingly and polish them up to blend them into pieces that I can add into a routine.
asherIf you are trying to put together a piece in one day, then I recommend this next step: Watch pole videos from fellow polers! There may be something in their videos that you like, that you can make your own! No, this is not copying. There is no such thing in the pole world. When you become intertwined with the pole universe, you become a part of a huge family! And we ALL love to share and be inspired by each other and try out new things! Pole is like a spider web of connectivity. We all get caught in this web, and then we’re watching each other like “OH MY GOD, I NEED TO TRY THIS!” So we try it out, and if we like it, it becomes part of our own practice. So don’t be afraid to try out someone else’s move or technique. Take it and add your flare to it! But hey, it never hurts to give credit where the inspiration came from 😉
(And believe me, the inspirers will be SO humbled that you claimed them as your inspiration!) Naturally n ow try adding in your new learned moves to the freestyle ones you’ve created. Start just putting them together to see if they flow. If they do – great! If not, try again!

Those are the things that I find help most. I also have a couple things for you to keep in mind as you are trying to put your choreography together:

  • ALWAYS record what you’re doing! Looking back on what you like and don’t like is important. And NO, you are not obligated to show anyone thins
  • REMEMBER: Pole choreography does not just mean POLE. It means floor work, freestanding moves and tricks, and what I call pole prop (moves with the pole that are not just tricks or spins; using the pole as a prop. Example: standing in front of the pole holding on to it and doing body waves)
  • HANDS: My god, always do something with your hands! We always have legs going, and hips swaying, and hair flips… but if your hands are hanging there like dead limbs, it’s not going to look nice. I mean, unless you’re doing a zombie type themed piece. Don’t ask my why it’s called this, I created the name I think and I haven’t quite figured out why I say that. All you do is flex your hand and separate your fingers slightly
  • CLASSES: Take dance classes for yourself! Other dance classes than pole. You’ll find that some things transfer nicely to pole as well!

These are by far the best things that I have found that worked for me when I try to put pieces together, and I hope that they help you as well. I know I said that I’m not a professional dancer, but that’s the beauty of pole; you don’t have to be to create a piece. We’re all dancers, hence why we started pole in the first place!

-Written by Instructor and Admin Assistant Asher

Pole Dance Instructor Spotlight – Josh V

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Pole Dancing Classes instructor – Josh

 When did you start pole dancing classes?

J: I started Pole Dancing in June of 2014 at Aradia Fitness Sherwood Park with their first all-male pole dancing class!

What got you interested in trying a pole dancing class?

J: Many of my friends from work had been getting into pole fitness, including two of my closest friends. Seeing their pictures and moves inspired me to join, I had no idea how much of my life pole would take up.

How did it feel coming in to a sport that is predominately female-based? What were your feelings towards that?

J: I work as a swimming teacher and aquatics is predominately female, so this didn’t bother me. However, the societal restrictions on men to do anything considered female, pole dancing being one of those, does bother me. I have hoped to create an atmosphere that is not identity exclusive, and bring pole dancing to everyone.

What do you think are some of the main differences or challenges that men face in comparison to women in pole dancing, and vice versa?

J: I think that different challenges only exist due to the way we construct gender, but due to those contrictions many men tend to be less flexibily focused and more strength move focused. This leads to a very “Male style” of dance that is less flow and flexibility based. In contrast, I think women then are more flexibility based and tend to struggle more with gaining strength moves. However, these are generalizations based off of observations that I have seen in my classes. There is no outline and no list of what your challenges will be as a dancer. You can work towards whatever your personal goals are

 

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Pole Dancing Classes instructor – Josh

What do you enjoy about being an instructor?

J: The biggest thing that I enjoy is seeing my students grow. When they succeed, I get to be proud and help them perfect their journey. I also really enjoy learning from my students. They challenge me to come up with harder and newer things everyday!

Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a “pole plateu”, or maybe even lost enjoyment in the sport? Did you find a way to overcome it? What is your advice for this?

J: Many times, and I know that this is not a unique milestone in my journey. Mine tend to occur after a performance or showcase. I have given a lot of effort and I have put in all I think I have and I get tired. The biggest thing for me is taking breaks. Pushing yourself too hard and too far in a short period of time will result in burn out. I also have to constantly remind myself of how far I have come, and to return back to some of the skills I have learned in my past, and repractice those rather than looking forward. The pole world grows so fast, it’s impossible to keep up and I don’t think we should expect ourselves to.

What have you learned about yourself through your pole journey?

J: Personally, I have learned that I can be confident in my body, and my own creativity… which is something I am still weirded out by to this day. I also learned that having a creative and physical outlet really helps me cope and maintain my mental and physical health!

 

 

 

-Josh V – Aradia Fitness Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and St. Albert instructor

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