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.
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!