March 12, 2012
Level 3 Progressive Series: Day One
Last week I earned my yellow garter and tested out of the Boulder Spirals Level One/Two Progressive Series, thus paving the way for the Level Three Progressive Series. In some ways it feels like a completely new beginning. The time, place and people are the same but there is a sense that one thing has ended and another has begun. Then there is the feeling that we are following a continuum, which we most certainly are. The best part is that I don’t feel like the new girl anymore.
No doubt I have learned a lot in the last nine weeks. While I feel years away from being proficient on the pole, I also know how far I and everyone else in the room have come. I know I’ve got it in me to do this so that tough layer of self-doubt has softened quite a bit. I trust Sasha’s technique and the power of hard work and practice. Sasha lamented not videotaping us on our first day of the first progressive series. The truth is that it would have really freaked us out if she had, but in retrospect it would have been a gas to see us on that first day trying to bust a body wave but more likely humping the pole in a really unsexy kind of way.
Level Three builds upon the foundation that Level One/Two laid, but it feels more like a launch pad. Sasha stepped up our strength conditioning with seated pole-ups (sit cross legged on the floor with your legs around the pole, grip pole at eye level and heave!) more push-up and crunches. We also busted out a Standing Crucifix, which is one of those moves you just have to do without thinking too much about it. You climb up a few feet and wing your arms out to the side, as in nothing is keeping you on the pole but the sheer will of your inner thighs. I felt pretty badass.
Sasha informed us that to test out of Level Three we must be able to climb all 14 feet of the pole on both sides. I can already do that so I have one less thing to worry about. Then she demonstrated how to take the climbing to the next level. It’s one thing to get to the top and it’s another to look sexy doing it. She shows how to undulate to the top and rotate around the pole. It looks awesome. Now that I’m picking up on the nuances of climbing, it hurts the top of my feet less and I can see the potential.
Sasha taught us a fairly simple French Fireman spin which simply confounded me. I watched my classmates execute it and thought I can do this, but kept messing it up. Hopefully I can get some studio time to nail it on my own.
The rest of the class was spent learning a combination. It was nothing huge but tremendously challenging. We had to do a French Fireman, go into a back hook spin and then add one more spin to it, I favor the pinwheel myself. The key was to do it with the minimum number of steps in between and on both sides. There were varying levels of success at this, me being the least successful, but again, that’s what practice is for.
Sasha likes to end class on a high note so she put some music on, killed the lights and told us to go for it. The new strobe lights added a certain je ne sais quoi and I felt myself get loose as I danced. Drills and lessons are great but it also feels wonderful to simply be in your own skin and see where the music takes you.
Level 3 Progressive Series: Day Two
Something struck me as I am getting to know my fellow students better. There are roughly two demographic groups in my class. (Even as I write this I can think of exceptions. Whatever. I’m going with this line of thought.) There are the college/young professionals and then there are the moms. More specifically there are the mothers of six year-olds. I’m guessing this has something to do with six being the magical age when children enter school, thus freeing up vast amounts of time for moms, at least in theory. Given that I fall squarely into this group, I feel qualified to speak for them (us). Aside from the free time, which may or may not exist, there is something about knowing that your outfit won’t get smeared by grubby hands or that you won’t be required to stand for hours in a sandy playground, you are more likely to wear a nice outfit or sexy shoes. Nice clothes and shoes get you thinking about your appearance, feeling sexy, getting in shape …. the next logical leap seems to be the pole. At least for some of us.
Then there is everyone else in the class. This, too, is really cool because it gets moms like me out there and meeting people that have something to say that is not related to kids. This alone is practically worth the price of admission. But I digress, back to pole dancing.
This is day two of the Progressive Series, Level 3. Today we learned the Chair Spin, which I have to say is nothing short of magic. I’ve seen it done a bunch of times but there is nothing quite like doing it. It just flies and it isn’t as hard as it looks. I love the way your body is sitting out there in space while you are flying around the pole. I gotta say, pole dancing is so cool, and there is simply nothing else that can prepare you for it, not like in the way a skateboarder will pick up snowboarding easily because the movement is similar. It doesn’t hurt to be athletic, a gymnastic background would definitely be helpful, but the muscle groups and skill sets needed are so unique. This is a nice equalizer for fledgling polers.
Another exciting thing about this class is that I was forced to wear “corrective shoes.” Sasha caught me doing “monkey foot”, this is when you put the sole of your foot on the pole, and barked at me asked me nicely to cut it out. Then she asked me my shoe size. Desi pulled a pair of six-inch clear, lucite stripper platforms from the corner and I put them on. Everyone else was totally jealous of me, I’m not kidding. I might just need to get a pair for around the house. Wearing the proverbial dunce cap has never been so much fun. They were surprisingly comfortable and I was able to climb the pole with them with only a little more effort. Thank God for Sasha, she’s always got my best interest in mind.
Today I felt strangely stilted during the freestyle portion of the class. I found it challenging to go inside and get my sexy on. Instead I was looking around the room at what the other ladies were doing, hoping for some inspiration. Given that I can’t spend all my time busting amazing tricks (hahahahaha!) I need work on my floor game. It looks like I will be paying the Groove Shop a visit on Monday night. I’m looking forward to meeting Shawneen, especially after I saw a video she made of her students. I’m psyched to branch out.