Friday, 24 October 2014

Australian Pole Festival 2014 - My experience

I'm not quite a whole week home from the Australian Pole Festival. I have worked through my pole depression, my muscular aches, and am comfortably ensconced back to being a blogging recluse in my blogging cave. I have to tell you about my experience before I forget the cool stuff. Prepare yourself, this kind of shit happens when you get older, and is part of the motivation behind this blog - to help me remember my poling adventures, experiences, and opinions.

So, you may or may not know the Australian Pole Festival (from here on to be referred to as Pole Fest) was held at Coolangatta, a part of the southern Gold Coast of Queensland, from October 17-19. I arrived Thursday afternoon, the 16th, to check-in to my hotel and join in the welcome meet and greet that evening.  
Thursday night's meet and greet
The venue: In a nutshell it was perfect. On one side of the road was the accommodation - the Outriggers Resort. Walk across an air-conditioned, carpeted, security monitored, above the road walkway and up one flight of stairs, to the workshop/market stalls/buffet luncheon/chat chair area; the third floor function rooms of  the Twin Towns Services Club. 

I just loved how this venue enabled us to stay almost in a complete Pole bubble for the whole time we were there. No catching transport to a multitude of various locations. No rushing to off site timetable events so no having to get changed. No awkward gawking, okay maybe a little bit of that but enough to handle. Having it all on one site just made it so relaxing and stress free. I thought it was just the ideal set up and I can't rave enough about it.
One of the workshop rooms
The workshops: In total I attended twelve workshops. Six on the first day, which I thought was going to kill me but in hindsight was the best thing. Three workshops on day two and three workshops on day three. There was optional yoga each morning as well as a final yoga option on the last day before leaving Pole Fest. I'm not yet a yoga devotee so I dodged that one and either lolled about in bed longer or dawdled a bit getting ready.

The workshops covered a broad range of specialties, all relatable to poling and to the level group you were placed in to. I was in a beginner level so the workshops I attended involved activities like: acro lap, twerk & pop, flex, pole vixen, heel bangs, lyrical pole, spinning pole, stretch, choreography, pole moves, and bringing sexy back. Great range covered you'd have to agree.

One of the keys to really enjoying Pole Fest is recognising the information, tips, and routines are for you to take away with you, not to perfect then and there. These are new skills to be developed and honed once back at your home studio. Pole Fest is about establishing the baseline, the expectation, you then take from that what you want and develop it further.
During a workshop
The instructors:
Lou Landers: the queen of booty/twerk
Amber Ray: the queen of lyrical, organic dance
Kristy Sellars: choreography queen, technique wizard, contemporary dancer
Michelle Shimmy: the stripper gymnast herself
Jedda J Jordan: getting your flexy on, Miss Pole Dance 2014
Leigh Ann Reilly, the only import this year. From LA, yes as in USA, as in California, as in Los Angeles. *whispering breathily* Leigh Ann is my pole crush!

First up I have to say the instructors were all AMAZING. When giving their workshops each was unbelievably professional, incredibly helpful, patient and understanding. They altered their approach to each group, and even each person, based on what we could comfortably and confidently do. We were encouraged to push ourselves and guided each step of the way. And they were generous beyond a fault. We were allowed to, and even encouraged, to record routines, techniques, tips and tricks. Of course on the proviso we kept the recordings personal and didn't publish or share them. Fair enough as far as I'm concerned, this is how these guys make an income. Using it beyond your personal use is just not cool. And really, they didn't have to let us record them, they could have justifiably said no to protect their business, their brands, and their knowledge. Allowing and encouraging this just makes me love them all the more.

Even when on down time, in between sessions, or taking a break, these ladies were so real, so approachable, so friendly. They mingled, they worked their stalls, they even wore each others merchandise, mucked around and laughed. Hell I'm just gonna say it... THERE WERE NO DIVA'S... and definitely no diva moments, well certainly NOT from the instructors (I can't give details cause I'm not that kinda blogger, I'm the type to tease and hint... buy me a coffee one day and I may spill).

I think the thing I was most proud of in spending time with the instructors is what an opportunity Pole Fest gave to show the talent we have in this country. These professional pole dancers and quality educators, with some serious qualifications I will add too, each of them are just wonderful. The years of experience in honing their craft, and the generosity in sharing even the smallest of tips, which in my case helped me overcome a huge block, well I just can't thank them enough. The Australian Pole Dance community definitely has professionals we can be very proud of.
Instructors before the Hollywood Glamour Showcase
I guess you can tell I had an amazing time at Pole Fest. I can guarantee that any time it's on in the future I will most definitely be attending. I'm glad I didn't let being a beginner or alone in my group stop me either. I got so much out of it, I brought so much home with me to work on, and I've been motivated and inspired. Seriously consider saving your money to attend, or pay it off weekly when it comes up next. Keep your eyes open around March when information starts to filter through. My suggestion is like the Pole Fest Facebook page, make sure you check you want notifications, that way you'll definitely know when things are about to happen.

Hopefully I'll see you at Pole Fest 2015, heck we may even be in the same group, yay!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Going solo to the Australian Pole Festival

In a week and a half I will be attending the Australian Pole Festival. Three days of workshops, socialising, markets, and connecting with pole dancers from all over the country. And I will spend every day in the presence of, or being taught by, pole guru's, pole wizards, and polebrities (pole celebrities) both home grown and international.
The Australian Pole festival is being held on the southern Gold Coast. It's only been in recent times it's referred to as the Gold Coast. I actually call it Tweed Heads and Coolangatta, having been an Officer with the Naval Cadets (TS Vampire) in the early '90's and Tweed Heads was my stomping ground during this time, that's what I know it as. Yes, you may "Hello Sailor" me anytime.

Anyway I'm digressing. With only a bit more than a week and a half to go until this three days of pole fabulosity, well, I'm starting to get a bit anxious.

I haven't become as fit as I'd hoped before the festival, I haven't lost as much weight as I'd hoped before the festival, and I am going solo. Yep, that's the one that's got me more apprehensive than anything else.
Because I'm solo, aka friendless, aka Nigel no friends, aka Harry high pants (just threw that last one in) well, I don't have a room buddy so I will be allocated a buddy. Oh god, the anticipation is the worst bit. You see I'm terribly shy. I fight it and force myself to be 'out there' but I'd rather kick back with a coffee, in a quiet room and read a book after dinner, and not socialise that much or certainly not socialise too late. I can be a bit of a Nanna after all.

Not knowing who my room buddy is I'm full of questions. Will she be the stereotypical young party thing out drinking most nights, staggering in late? A smoker - blah? A snorer - gasp? Someone who spreads their stuff everywhere - frowning? Doesn't pick up after themselves - sigh? Inconsiderate and loud - groaning? Will she be all dark, gloomy with ear buds tightly shoved in her ear canals and blocking any form of communication, yet forcing me to listen to the tinny whining of the metal banging beats coming out of the gaps in the buds? Will she be up and down pee'ing all night? Hell, do I flush at night or will that wake her up? Do I wear my usual pyjamas, are they stranger worthy, too daggy, too mummy, to lazy, oh god should I just go buy a new set? 

Then there's the ablutions question. Who will shower first, what if she takes foreeeevvvvvahhhhh? What if I can't get ready in time in the morning's before we head out to our respective workshops. My day would be wrecked. I need to do some things a certain way, I need to present a certain way. I'm old okay think 'set in my ways', does that help?

God, then there's the 'gas' question. How am I not going to explode from holding in farts? I can't fart in front of a stranger. I'm not sure I'm gifted enough to slowly baby fart tiny bubbles of fart out all quiet and stealthy like. What if I snore? Sweet Jesus what if I fart and snore! I'd be asleep so I'd be completely unaware of it. I'd be mortified, okay maybe that's a bit dramatic but I'd certainly be embarrassed. Worse, what if she farts and snores in her sleep? Once the novelty wore off and my giggling settled, well I think I'd be over it pretty bloody quickly and just want her to clamp her orifices shut and be quiet so I could get some much needed shut eye. 
I'm such a light sleeper too. Even my son grinding his teeth in the room away from me I can hear it and I wake. I wake when my daughter coughs. I wake when I hear the kangaroos snuff and snort outside our bedroom window. How will I ever stay asleep sleeping with a stranger.

I've just got to hope for exhaustion, sheer bloody exhaustion and complete muscle drainage that when I fall into the bed at night I just stay asleep, completely and utterly, deeply asleep. 

Oh, here's a thought, maybe I should make it a veggie free weekend? My thinking being veggies make you fart, so no veggies equals no farting, right. Hey, that university education hasn't been wasted!

You know what, I think I'm just going to take a deep breath, relax, and just let things happen. Best case I'll make a new pole buddy, worse case I'll have a huge amount of material to write about in here and next Pole Festival I'll negotiate a single room option. So I suppose in the grand scheme of things it's a win/win. In all honesty the way things have been organised I think I'm going to be way too busy to worry, way to tired to care, and besides my room buddy will be a fellow pole dancer. God, if you can't gently drop your guts in front of a fellow poler what's the world coming too.
Update: 9th October
Just found out I'm rooming with THREE other women!!!!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Letting go my X-Pole Stage Lite

Funnily enough it's been exactly one year since I received a HUGE lesson about buying a pole for the home. Feel free to laugh yourself senseless reading about what I did by clicking the following link: A Pole For The Home

In my naivety and enthusiasm of being a baby poler and wanting to improve at my new found love, I rushed out and bought what I thought would be THE perfect pole for me to practice on at home. Though to be honest I wasn't just going to practice with this pole, I was going to transform myself, my skills, and my abilities. I was going to become nothing short of a national champion on this pole, a professional, an in demand teacher and demonstrator of all things Pole Awesome, pffft we're talking about me after all. 

Yes, in case you've not realised already I have been known to experience delusions of grandeur, but it's okay, reality gives me a not so surprising HUGE slap in the face that brings me crashing back to the real world and real life. I'm then left with dealing with the consequences of my actions, okay stupidity. Luckily for me I'm not too proud to expose my faults, okay alright, the correct word is stupidity, usually in here or on my page. I figure the following particular quote applies to me, and quite regularly too I will add.
This applies to me, certainly in this instance...
It's taken me a year to accept my limitations and accept the crashing to earth of my pole awesomeness plans. No, no pity for me, seriously I'll just be awesome in here and in my mind. 

Anyway, someone was asking about poles for sale in the private pole group I belong to and I finally let the words breathily escape from my lips. Okay, okay, I breathily mouthed them as I typed in reply I had one available that was brand new, had only been half assembled before being pulled down, and was in perfect condition.

We negotiated a paying off plan, and this Wednesday evening I delivered my X-Pole Stage Lite to it's new home and new owner. I did get to peek inside and they have AMPLE height for it. And I know the pole awesomeness I planned to achieve with this X-Stage Lite, well, she will now. It's been passed on with good vibes and wishes for only the best.
Ready to be delivered
So, please learn from my mistakes and measure the height of your ceiling before ordering your poles. Enjoy browsing the online images and imagining how the pole will look in your space, but measure the height of your ceiling. Check out poles your friends have and continue to imagine how awesome yours will look when it arrives, but measure the height of your ceiling. Did I mention to measure the height of your ceiling!
Measure, check, and then measure again :-)
Learn from me polers, just learn from me. And keep being the awesome people you are... 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Blog Hop, September - Back to School

For our Northern Hemisphere poling friends it's that time of year when it's "Back To School". 
For those of us "Down Under"... IT'S SPRING!

One of the loveliest times of the year, it's certainly lovely if you're a pole dancer. 

No longer is the Pole studio too cold, we get to enjoy this warmer heat for a while before we're complaining it's too hot. 
No longer do we have to turn up to pole dance classes in our sweat/yoga pants, jumpers, and slippers. 
No longer do we have to cuddle the pole prior to the class commencing in a vain attempt to warm up the bloody thing. There's nothing quite like trying to grip a freezing cold brass pole between your thighs, the squeals that ensue are not in the sexy realm at all. 
No longer is it too dark, no longer are there valid excuses (well in our heads they're real, everyone else knows we're just too chickenshit to go out in the cold and drizzle). 
Hell, summer's just around the corner, time to get toned, get fit, and just get back into it and get serious again.

I love this time of year. I use it to reassess anything and everything. It's a time when I get better organised and sometimes actually stick to a plan. I know, it excites me too.

So while the Northerners are back to school for us it's time to Spring clean. 

When it comes to pole, this is the time of year to tip the entire contents of your pole bag out and go through it without mercy; likewise your pole wear drawer. 
There's a bobby pin in there... I don't wear bobby pins hmmmmm
When I say go through the contents I'm talking deciding what needs to stay, what must go, deciding what needs to be brought in, and being vicious about it... remember, mercy is for the weak. 

I learned a long time ago hoarding or clinging on to items or products just because you paid good money for them, or the bottle isn't empty, or you might need it, or they were your first, or whatever, is no good for your wellness, physically or psychologically. Besides that kind of thinking is going to get you lugging about a suitcase full of crap before you know it.
I have destroyed my gloves, time to chuck them
It's not all doom and gloom I promise. 

You can get to pass on the love. 

In my case I have yet to find the perfect grip aid that works consistently for me. I do know what doesn't work though, Dry Hands. So instead of continuing to carry it around with me and not using it, I will put it in the share basket we have at our studio for students to use or test a product before they buy it. The others I'm still experimenting with and once I find what works the rest will be shared.
My assortment of current grip aids
Another bonus of this time of year, and spring cleaning, is an entire reassessment of the pole wardrobe can occur. Sometimes winter/colder months leads to indulging and less activity and somehow the pole clothes shrink, maybe they get cold too and just huddle together a bit more. I don't know what's going on with that really. I just know that mine at times can be a bit... snug.

So ditch the old, the tired, the worn, the shrunken and grab some fresh stock. Luckily for us a few places seem to have sales at the start of spring. I recently purchased three new tops and am awaiting the arrival of three new bottoms, Nothing like a wardrobe freshen up to reinvigorate and motivate yourself to really get back into it again, enthusiastic and looking the part as well.
My latest pole tops
The same rules apply for clothing. If it's in okay condition then pass it on, some polers may not be as financial, or have other commitments. They'll love you for it. I don't know that handing them in to a charity store will guarantee them going to someone in need, but you never know, right.

So, school is back and Spring has sprung. It's time to clean out the crap, clear up the thinking, reinvigorate, motivate, and get yourself back into the swing of things. 

Get yourself back to school so to speak, and get yourself back on that pole.

This blog entry is part of a Blog Hop: a monthly writing event that enables independent Pole dancing Bloggers the opportunity to provide a unique perspective on a common theme.

To find out more about this months blog hop please click on the link: PDBA September Blog Hop

Monday, 8 September 2014

My experience with That Pole Guy

Okay, I've been staring at the screen for a while now wondering how do I describe my experience with That Pole Guy, aka Travis Scott.

It's so hard to put in to words because it's not so much an experience, Travis takes you on an adventure.

Travis is first and foremost a performer. From the moment I laid eyes on him at the studio he was performing. He was loud, funny, flirty, and had that sense of naughty about him. Everything was exaggerated: the moves, the quips, the laughs, and everything was fabulous. I have since determined that's The Pole Guy, he's just fabulous personified.
I thought the Death By Stiletto T-shirt apt
The class I did with Travis was a Beginner Heels Workshop. If you don't know much of Travis's work he can do the most AMAZING eye boggling things on a pole and on the floor in 7 inch heels, be they thigh high black patent boots or strappies, he just makes you gasp. I did a lot of gasping. Oh, he's spectacular without the heels too, but this day, this workshop, was a heels day.
My 6 inch Pleasers
One of the first things I noticed about Travis's physicality is the man is just lean muscle. I don't think there is an ounce of excess fat anywhere on this man's body. It did cross my mind that I'd like to take him home for a huge pasta meal followed by cake but I think that was just the maternal instinct surfacing in that moment, or bitchy jealousy, I'm not 100% sure - could go either way.

Next was how Travis moves. You would have to be blind to not immediately see this man IS a dancer. He is graceful, he's elegant, he's smooth. Even when he's crashing about and stumbled it just looked like he was doing his own choreography.

So the class started with the obligatory warm up, Travis spoke briefly about himself and found out what level we were at and if anyone had taken one of his classes before, a few had. I was one of the few baby polers in the group. Yep, I am old and wizened, but a baby poler still. He took us through how to walk in heels, walking forwards, backwards, sideways, using our hips, counterbalancing, all the necessary elements. Then we went into a short choreographed dance sequence. This was where the skill of the dancer came well in to play. Travis could make up and retain choreography on the go. If it didn't work he just tweaked it a bit and ran us through it all again. I marvel at this ability, some days I amaze myself that I manage to get dressed completely before heading out the door. And lists, lists, I am the queen of lists - no list, no recall.

Throughout the 90 minute session Travis talked about his history, people in his life, and his future plans. It was nice to listen to someone so well known on the Australian pole circuit reveal a bit of themselves. It made him real and not just this amazing performer. I liked that.
First a hug
After the workshop was finished it was group photo time followed by individual pics too. Travis was so patient, holding people in different poses, trying to make each one unique and special. When it got to my turn I stood next to him and next thing he lifted me onto his hip. Such strength and such ease, yes I was impressed. I sat perched on his hip for quite a few minutes as one of my friends took pictures. My camera shit itself (I will write more about my love/hate relationship with my Samsung Galaxy S5) so she took a heap with hers while Travis and I chatted, no awkwardness at all, well not on my part, it seemed like this was a not too unfamiliar occurrence, sitting on some gentleman's hip talking about anything.
Having a chat
Our studio kindly handed out free posters and Travis hung around signing each and every one of them. I was the last to have mine signed. While we were sitting on the couch talking as he wrote, I asked him about injuries - having not long returned after a 6 month rehab I am kind of obsessing about injuries and how to avoid doing them. That's when Travis switched off the performer to briefly become this serious young man. He told me about his many broken bones and injuries, he moved his knee so I could hear the bone on bone crunching - the exact same sound my ex-ballerina daughters right knee now makes. And he gave me good advice.

In that brief glimpse of the performer being rested and the quiet, genuine, serious, young man appearing, that's the exact moment when I developed a respect for this young man beyond that of a talented performer, to that of a professional with genuine knowledge and wisdom. That was when I was impressed, truly impressed by Travis Scott. That's when I decided one day I would love to sit down and do a serious in depth interview to get to know the man behind the performer better, one leisurely day, somewhere, sometime.

So, if you ever have an opportunity to do any kind of class, workshop, private, anything by Travis Scott, I recommend you do. You will be entertained, educated, enlightened, and leave feeling very accomplished, that you've moved your body and then some, and trust me you'll be feeling pretty damned fabulous yourself.

Thank you Travis... xox
He poses so well, me - I think I'm channeling my dirty old woman

Friday, 22 August 2014

Blog Hop, August - 10 songs I Pole Dance to.

Wow, what a challenging Blog Hop topic!

There are so many amazing songs to pole dance to. Each as diverse as the mood or story the dancer wants to convey, be it sensual, playful, energetic, or whimsy.

My taste in music has always been eclectic, and I love it that way. I embrace the diversity, I embrace how different music reaches a different part of who I am, how it can touch my soul or open me emotionally and expose me.

For the type of pole dancing I do on my own, in private and for my own pleasure, I will confess to burning up over the sensual, blatantly sexual, and sometimes pounding music. It's the rhythm that drives how I'll move my body, the sways, the swivels, the flicks and kicks.

Now to set the scene...
Low lighting, be it candle light, fairy lights, or a soft lamp.
Take your hair out, set it free for those head rolls and essential hair flicks.
Put on your favourite pole clothes, or bikini, or lingerie set, or whatever.
Strap on those 6 inch heels.
Turn the music up loud, really loud.
Start with a slow song and as your body warms up and tunes in to your dancing progress to faster rhythms.

Happy pole dancing... xox

*Addendum - Since posting this piece I've had to stop myself from coming in and switching out songs for others, there are just so many awesomely brilliant songs to pole to. My faves change on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, especially when I stumble across a 'new' artist :)

1. Amy Irving - WHY DON'T YOU DO RIGHT

2. Chris Isaak - BABY DID A BAD, BAD THING

3. Lenny Kravitz - AMERICAN WOMAN

4. George Michael - FREEK

5. Rihanna - ROC ME OUT


7. Joel Fletcher & Savage - SWING

8. Flo Rida - HOW I FEEL


10. Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj - BANG BANG

This blog entry is part of a Blog Hop: a monthly writing event that enables independent Pole Dancing bloggers the opportunity to provide a unique perspective on a common theme.
To find out more about this months blog hop please click on the link: PDBA August Blog Hop

Friday, 15 August 2014

I get a Do-Over

I get a real do-over. Not just one I fantasize about in my head, but a real, authentic, tangible, do-over.

I started pole dancing one year ago, on the 16th of August, starting my first level course at the Pole Gym.

The ensuing twelve months have a been completely unexpected, unpredictable, and not even hinted at on my radar.

If you want to know more in detail just scroll through previous blog posts, but a basic run down consists of:
Joining, level one, loving it, training, graduating, performance night. Level two, loving it more, more training, pole at home, lap dance classes, more training, casual classes, more training, performance night. Pain, training, more pain, ignoring it and training, unable to lift self to support body weight on the pole, hopeless doctor, clever physio, torn ligaments in both elbows, six months rehab, no poling, no training. The sadness arrives, frustrated, eating too much, daughter has surgery, son has a serious crisis, external family breakdown. Given a great massage therapist, psychologist for the family, feeling hopeful, start returning to light courses, floor work. Daughter okay, son smiling again, all clear to re-start training. Pole Gym's first birthday special - do two level courses and second one greatly reduced. Clever me thinks hmmmm, perfect. Enrolls, starts a good diet, mentally ready, physically all good to go, so let's get back into it: better, healthier, stronger, and wiser.


And here I am.

I am back at the beginning. I'm doing Level One and Level Two concurrently during this six week term.

My way of thinking is I already know the tricks and moves expected of my body and my muscles, I just need to strengthen them and draw on their memory to execute the moves. This first week I think I have done okay all things considered.

The hardest part of this week was being the 'sorta' newbie. My old crowd are now progressing beyond Level Seven, contemplating Graduate Programs, participating in Pole Games, and just generally being the awesome pole people they are.

Then there's me, I'm back at the start and with a whole bunch of people I don't know at all.
So there was the usual 'new kid' anxiety that comes up when you're on your own and meeting a new group. I was never one of those people who brought a friend along, I just did it cause I wanted to for myself. And being on my own I could be selfish if I wanted to stay longer, linger, chat, or just skip it if I wasn't well without letting anyone else down.

My level one group is lovely. I'm the only repeat in it, the others are first timers. When we went around and did a brief intro I told them I was an oldie and that my original group were the 'big' girls (as in the experienced strong polers we all look to in awe, like the seniors in school when we're juniors). So I told them they were now my new crew, and they will be.

Our Level One routine is the same one I did when I originally did it a year ago. I think this is great because I can concentrate and focus executing the basic tricks and moves really well, yet the choreography is already implanted in my brain. Nice huh!

My level two group I met last night, I again knew none of them. One lady is a repeat from last term taking up the special offer and using it to perfect and really nail the moves and tricks. Good for her I say. The others have progressed on from the previous Level One course. This routine is a different one to the one I learnt. It has the same tricks and climbs but a different choreography and a different song.

Just between you and me, I really like this one more than the other one, it's prettier, flowy-er, and seems more contemporary dance like. I love it and I'm really getting into it and can't wait until it's done and we make it more dance like. I just love that kind of stuff.

So I'm back.

Today my muscles ache in such a familiar way that I can't help smile. I've done the hard part and met my class mates and my instructors, two strong ladies who I already know I'm going to learn heaps from.

I feel like I'm a newbie again, but with an experienced head.

I'm definitely wiser for this past year, and I know it will make me a better, stronger, fitter, and lasting pole dancer in the long run.

Because I've already had a disjointed, interrupted, and stalled year of poling, I can unequivocally declare pole dancing is wholly and solely for me and it is something I definitely want to improve at over time. I will take it slower. I will nail each level to my satisfaction before I progress up, and I know I will get there because I want this.

I'm in it for the long haul and because I'm not going anywhere I'm gonna totally enjoy the ride, the climb, the spin, the tricks, the combos, the performances, and the competitions.

If you don't know me, let me introduce myself: I'm Deb, I'm a blogger, and I'm a pole dancer.