Friday, September 30, 2011

Today's spotlight is on spinnyTbags!

I know that spinnyTbags has pole inspired clothing and are you a pole dancer or just an admirer?
Hell yeah! I'm a total pole addict! I go to four classes a week at three different studios, attend workshops and jams whenever I can, I have two poles in my house and recently purchased a third on a stage for the garden or elsewhere! Even my instructors call me a hard core pole nut!  I've been poling for nearly 18 months and I'm always eager to try something new. I love achieving moves I never thought possible, at the moment I'm working on a gemini mount, it's a one-armed handstand from the floor, then you wrap your outside leg round the pole and sit up. I saw Hanke Venselaar do it when she performed in the UK this year and thought I must have that awesome move in my repertoire.

What is your fitness background?
I guess you'd call me a "late bloomer". I wasn't last to be picked for the team at school but I wasn't far from it. I spent my twenties and thirties only walking as far as the car, smoking, guzzling beer and living on instant snacks.  Since I fell in love with pole around the time I turned 40 I'm fitter and healthier than I've ever been.  I do a few Les Mills group cardio classes each week because the instructor makes it so much fun but I've only occasionally set foot in a gym. Pole has really toned my body and I'm proud to wear a crop top now which is something I never thought I'd do.

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?
I never miss my Wednesday Step class and I'm always first to arrive for all the pole lessons because I love it so much. When I'm not too busy I try to do a one hour group class every morning but sadly the pressures of life and work mean I don't always make it.  I wish I had the dedication of the people I see who train on the pole every day but I find it quite hard to motivate myself to practice alone. 

What kind of diet do you follow?
Probably not the sort of diet I ought to! I'm a grazer but I'm blessed because I don't really have a sweet tooth; chocolate and biscuits don't make it on to my shopping list but I do like a glass of wine and I have the odd high carb moment.  I'd rather be poling than cooking so salads and cold meats figure large in my diet.  A typical day is nibbling on a Ryvita and humous whilst talking to the computer operator who helps create my jewelry or scoffing a bacon and marmalade sandwich between coats of paint on my shirts and bags. Pasta is my downfall.

Do you have a dance background?
Ha ha! You're kidding! I have two left feet! I did ballet for a while at school, aged 5, and I was a fairy elephant in a pink... UGH! These days I love dance music and have to admit I enjoy an audience so you'll always find me on the dance floor at a party or club gyrating uninhibitedly and possibly uncoordinatedly when the music takes me... you'd better mind your toes though! 

What interested you about pole dancing?
The first time I saw pole dancing was when I went to a rather dodgy club and saw some girls on the pole. I wanted to be able to do a few moves without embarrassing myself or leaving in an ambulance so when I got home I googled and found a class in my town.  My other inspiration was a YouTube video of UK champion Sally-Ann Giles doing a death lay which was the most incredible thing I'd ever seen. I'm attracted to danger and a bit of a daredevil so that really rocked my boat. I saw it and I just had to do it! It won't be long before I nail it too.

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"
I really don't care, if it's pole it's all good! I do both, in my classes I train hard with endless lifts and poses.  At the weekend I let the music move me and do something more sensual in "stripper shoes" with lights in the soles at another dodgy club!

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
I absolutely love a little-known product called STICKUM!  You spray it on your hands or other body parts and it glues you to the pole. It's great for nailing new inverts but impossible to so spins with. I have ridiculously small hands (smaller than my 12 year old daughter) so I find that some moves are terribly difficult to master and on occasion my head has convinced my hands that they can't possibly hold me. The two moves that I really found hard are iguana/pencil lift and Superman. I could always feel my hands slipping off the pole but with a squirt of Stickum I had confidence in my grip and have now nailed them both. I've been quite fortunate to write a couple of grip reviews for Indigo Dance Magazine so I've had the opportunity to have tried and tested almost every grip aid there is.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days)?
Dry skin is not something I've ever really suffered with.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?
I couldn't possibly recommend anybody else's but my own! Ha ha!  The reason why I started making my tops was because I found it hard to find cool clothing that was comfy and practical to pole in.  I only sell clothes that I'm happy to wear myself and I've just added some warm, fluffy hoodies to my range for the winter. Hell, you can't wear your sequinned thong bikini all the time!  I get quite a few clothes on Ebay as I'm a bit of a bargain hunter too.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?
Both. None of my classes will allow heels but I wear my lovely flashing shoes when I dance freestyle at weekends. Heels took a bit of getting used to because at first your feet meet the floor a bit sooner than you expect if you're used to bare feet but I find the extra weight on my feet makes my splits better and the extra height gives me more room to spin.  Plus, you can never have too many shoes, right?

What did you do before opening spinnyTbags?
I've been an accountant, mother, IT trainer and sales rep in the past.  SpinnyTbags accidentally evolved after I made a single shirt for myself which the other ladies at my pole class saw and asked if I could make one for them. The next thing you know I had a website and fan base and I started sending my shirts all over the world.  It's great working for myself because I can take a day out to go to a pole masterclass now and then.

How did you come up with the name for your store?
I chose SpinnyTbags as a name because I started out making T-shirts and bags for people who spin on poles. I wanted a unique name that everyone would remember instead of being another "pole shop/store/kit/things/essentials/gear/stuff" and I liked the anecdote that Arnold Schwarzenegger was told he couldn't use his real name because it was too long and unusual. Since then I've expanded my range to include hoodies, jewelry, "I love pole dancing" stickers and other gifts however I'm stuck with the name now and most people now call me Spinny.

What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?
That has got to be the hardest question ever! I love the friends I've made, the feeling I get when I nail a new move, the satisfaction of a non-poler's awe, the muscle tone I've developed, watching other people's videos, discovering an awesome new move and dancing my head off just for the hell of it! 

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?
Another tough question.  I prefer up tempo songs and one that has always made me smile is Paloma Faith's "Upside Down" it's fun to pole to because you can wriggle and dance then when she says "I like.... living upside down" you can flip up into a great invert! I did my very first public performance to that song and it will always get me moving. 

Do you have any other upcoming events you'd like people to know about?

I'm involved with everything that I can possibly be, I love promoting and supporting all pole events from national competitions right down to local taster sessions so I've created a map of pole events in the UK at my website, listing your event is free so please send the details to events at spinnytbags dot com (click for e-mail). I've given prizes to competitions all over the world and you can check my Facebook page to find out which events I'm attending in person; I really enjoy meeting fellow polers so please come and say hello if you see me at an event.  I'm also launching two very exciting and fun unique new products very soon which I hope everyone will enjoy.

What else would you like people to know about you or your store?
Today I created the very first shirt for male pole dancers, as far as I know it is the world's first piece of clothing specifically for the men who pole dance.  I ran a competition on my Facebook page to find a body to feature as the design and I had loads of great pictures sent in to me, it was tough to choose a winner so I've decided to use three designs. 

I'm working on a new charm design to add to my range which is almost finished and looks fantastic. The new design will be unveiled tomorrow and is completely different from the existing Scorpio charm.  The charms have their own dedicated website and are available in silver or gold.

I've also got two very special projects in the pipeline for new products that will be released later this year so keep an eye out for news of those on my Facebook page and website! I hope I'll be able to go on creating original things that pole dancers love for a very long time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Twirly Girls at the California Pole Dance Championship!

All of our adventures in So Cal last weekend came about because I wanted to attend the California Pole Dance Championship.  Social Sonar took out an ad for me in the CPDC program.  Rita then offered to come with me to help me document the trip, Wes and Larissa offered to let me stay at their house, we found studios to visit, and OC Pole was having their open was like it was meant to be!

The competition was held at The Highlands in Hollywood.  There was another event going on outside (possibly a cirque du soleil opening), so gates and a stage were set up.  There was security everywhere.  I was hoping for some kind of celebrity sighting, but didn't get lucky.  We arrived about the time the doors were supposed to open but hadn't eaten dinner yet.  Since the doors weren't open yet and the line was long (and we had assigned seats), we went to grab food.  We sat at one cafe for about ten minutes without a waitress so we left and just picked up pretzels at Annie's.  It was fast and easy.

By the time we got back in line, it was probably 6:30 p.m. and the doors appeared to be just opening (so running a little late).  Rita and I were so excited and kept trying to talk to the people in line around us.  It definitely seemed like an "LA crowd."  Everyone was gorgeous, dressed up and not exactly super friendly.  It was a little disappointing, but we still had fun taking photos of the things around us while we waited to get into the doors.

Once we got in -- which took about half an hour -- we went to find the vendors.  I knew Claire from The Pole Story was going to be there and I wanted to meet her in person.  There were a handful of vendors in a room in the very back.  We looked at other pole studios, shoes, accessories, shirts, shorts, etc.  I did buy some cool feather cuffs that I need to figure out how to incorporate into my Halloween costume for the Trick or Twirl pole party.  I finally got over to see Claire, who is also the editor of Vertical magazine.  I joked with her about our ads being neighbors in the program.  We laughed and chatted for a few minutes.  I also bought a subscription to the magazine.

We got to our seats and the competition started about 10 minutes after 8.  The contestants were Jennifer Kim, Amy Guion, Faith Daniels, Rhiannan Nichole, Mary Ashton, Michula Nunez, Nadia Sharif, Katherine Voorhhees, Flying Laura, Phoenix Kazree and Nicole Williams.  

The contestants and feature performers all did such an amazing job.  Unfortunately, Amber Kittle was not able to compete due to an issue with the poles.  I was, of course, rooting for Amy Guion, since I had just met her at BeSpun and did a blog post about her.  I really liked her routine.  I was also super touched by the first performer, Jennifer Kim.  She didn't end up placing, but I thought she had a great routine!  I saw on Facebook later that Rhiannan Nichole was disappointed with her routine (I think also because of the pole change, some moves weren't possible), but I thought she did a great job too.  The winner was Phoenix Kazree, whose music went out in the middle of her routine.  She didn't even flinch.  She finished her dance, as if the music was still going.  Nadia Sharif was definitely a crowd favorite and she was the runner up, plus she received two other titles.

I will post all of my videos below.  Don't miss the feature performers:  Jenyne Butterfly (don't miss the walk down the pole!!), Natasha Wang (LOOOOOVE HER!), Alethea Austin (rocked a HAWT chair dance!), Becca Butcher (She's somewhat new to me but I really like her!!), and Timber Brown (uh-MAZE-balls!!!). 

I think the whole night was a huge success and I can't wait to be part of the next event!

 Rita, Lori and Claire
 Timber Brown
 Alethea Austin
 Amy Guion
 Becca Butcher
 Faith Daniels
 Jennifer Kim
 Jenyne Butterfly
 Katherine Voorhees
 Flying Laura
 Mary Ashton
 Michula Nunez
 Nadia Sharif
 Natasha Wang
 Nicole Williams
 Phoenix Kazree
 Rhiannan Nichole

Pro Spotlight on Natasha Wang!

I saw Natasha Wang perform in person at Poletential's Air Show.  She was fresh off her win at the US Pole Dance Championship and I had seen her perform on TV a couple of times.  She is such a beautiful dancer.  I had started trying to do the "toe slide" she did on Good Day LA (It hurts like a bitch but I swear it's going to be part of my Halloween routine), and sent a video to show her.  She seemed genuinely excited that I was trying to imitate her.  I look nothing like her when I do it...but it's a new move and I'm having fun playing with it!  Natasha is so very sweet and gracious in person.  If you have somehow missed any of her performances, you should look her up on YouTube!!

What is your fitness background?

I wasn’t involved in any athletic activity before pole, with the exception of six months of ballet in kindergarten, a summer of gymnastics when I was 12 and volleyball in high school (benchwarmer!). I found pole in 2004 at the age of 29, beginning with S Factor, then The Pole Garage and Be Spun L.A. I also spent two years in contortion training with Stephanie Abrams and David Garcia at Kinetic Theory.

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)? 

I try to pole every day and cross-train with yoga, Pilates, alternative ballet classes, Chinese pole, contortion and the occasional dance and tumbling class, although this training regimen has suffered recently because of too much travel. I soooo miss the good old days when I holed myself up at the dance studio for up to six hours at a time!

What kind of diet do you follow?

I’ve just returned from Europe where I ate enough bread and cheese to feed all of France, so now that I’m home I’m returning to my fresh veggies, legumes and fruit diet. Let’s see how long that lasts. I’m vegetarian so don’t eat meat, but I could never be vegan. I love my cheese too much.

Do you have a dance background?

No, aside from the aforementioned six months of kindergarten ballet. I used to be way into the electronic dance/rave scene back in my day, so spent a good part of my high school and college years in the club. I definitely picked up some dance tips from the club kids and drag queens in those years.

Which competition(s) do you like to do?  Do you have any title(s)?

In 2010-2011 I won the titles of East Meets West Miss Pole-AM, California Pole Dance Champion 2010, USPDF West Coast Champion 2010, and US Pole Dance Champion 2011.

Scheduling conflicts prevented me from competing in Pole Art this year, but this is a must-do for me in 2012. I so respect what the organizers are trying to achieve with this event.

Where do you train?  Do you have your own pole studio?

I train at The Choreography House and Be Spun in L.A. and have my own practice space downtown. I love the freedom of being a free agent so I can’t imagine owning my own studio anytime soon.

Do you have sponsors you'd like to acknowledge?

X-Pole USA - they’ve been so amazing to me and have treated me like a member of their family.

Kelly Yvonne of the Girl Next Door Show and The Choreography House - Kelly is the pole choreographer to the stars, and my personal muse and inspiration.

Kelly Maglia Couture - she makes the most amazing performance costumes.

Dew Point Pole - such a great product, especially for those with lizard skin like me!

What first interested you about pole dancing?

I started back in 2004 when pole dance classes were still something that women took in secret. It was like we had a back-alley VIP entrance into this super exclusive women’s-only club where we could be as uninhibited as we wanted. As someone who was shy and a wall flower growing up, I loved the freedom I felt from being able to move however I pleased -- without judgment. That’s what first attracted me.

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"

There’s room and a necessity to have both terms in common use, as there are definitely schools and competitions that cater to one style or another.

I’d like to think that what I do is more akin to “pole dancing” as I’m personally more drawn to the artistic or performance aspect of dance.

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?

There’s this fine line between strip culture and pole fitness/dance that organizations, pole brands, schools, students and performers seem always to be carefully treading. And while I understand that some organizations and corporate entities find a need to distance themselves away from the adult entertainment industry in order to gain mainstream acceptance, I think it’s a shame that some pole competitions have openly stated they will not accept applicants who are currently working as exotic dancers. This just feels like a slap in the face to those who pioneered this sport.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?

I spray Dew Point all over, then use iTac2 on my contact points and Dry Hands on my hands.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days?)?

I use Pole Physique lotion and Vaseline Total Moisture, always applied the night before I pole. I stick to the pole so much better when my skin’s properly moisturized. Dew Point has also helped with my dry skin too.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

I’m a huge Lululemon fan. I’ve swapped out my professional office clothes for workout clothes, so if I’m going to be in sweats all day, dammit, they better be cute sweats.

I also love Mika Yoga Wear, Pole Skivvies, and when I can afford it, Michi.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

I love feeling the floor beneath my bare feet.

What did you do before competing and/or opening your pole studio?

I worked as a publicist for nine years at a company called Raz PR - the coolest bunch of ladies in the world (call them if you need PR services! :) I left my job in June to focus exclusively on pole.

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?

I’m way into a UK band called Wild Beasts right now. I’ve performed to their track “Plaything” a few times already. It’s one of the sexiest songs I’ve ever heard.

 Do you have any other upcoming events/competitions you'd like people to know about?

I’m headed to Mexico City again Oct. 21st for Gravity First, 2nd Edition, then I prep for a two week trip to Sydney in November to perform at Miss Pole Dance Australia on Nov. 4th! This was one of my USPDF prizes and I’m so excited to meet one of my idols, Bobbi from Bobbi’s Pole. In December, I’ll be performing at the next Airshow in Redwood City (hosted by Poletential) and the TEASE Showcase in Denver. And of course, this year’s Pole Show L.A. (hosted by Be Spun). And if my schedule allows for it, you’ll always see me performing at the Girl Next Door show in L.A. This is going to be a busy year, so I have so much more scheduled that doesn’t fit into this interview - I’ll be posting a more complete schedule to my website:

I’ve had a really big competition year so far, so I’m being selective in the months/year ahead. I’ll likely only compete in IPDFA’s competition in Hong Kong in March and I’m potentially interested in getting some friends together to do a group act for a competition in June.

What else would you like people to know about you and/or your studio?

Find me online! I love hearing from fellow polers! And don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. I try to reply to each and every one who contacts me.

Twitter: @polecricket

Thanks for interviewing me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Project 365: Days 97-106

Day 97
Monday, September 19

Day 98
Tuesday, September 20

Day 99
Wednesday, September 21

Day 100
Thursday, September 22

Bye-bye, Bally!

Day 101
Friday, September 23

Ramona and Bailey!

Day 102
Saturday, September 24

At BeSpun

Day 103
Sunday, September 25

Day 104
Monday, September 26

At OC Pole Fitness with Collette

Day 105
Tuesday, September 27

Day 106
Wednesday, September 28

Back to the grind  :-(

Poletry in Motion: OC Pole Fitness - Aliso Viejo!

Although Rita and I were staying in Long Beach, we drove down to Aliso Viejo (Orange County) to take a class with Collette at OC Pole Fitness before driving home on Monday.  I understand they have a Huntington Beach location, which would have been closer (and I think they are building a new one -- to be opened soon!), but we really wanted to see Collette.  

As I said in the blog about OC Pole's Open House on Saturday, I really expected the people at the studio to resemble Real OC Housewives or whatever that reality TV show is -- blonde, plastic, mean, fake.  I didn't find that at all.  I guess I shouldn't believe everything I see on TV.  Collette is the anti-OC reality TV soccer mom.  Not that she wouldn't embrace them if they walked through their doors, but she has dark hair and there is nothing fake or plastic about her.  She is also so supportive of her girls.  It was really touching to see that other pole studios ARE families -- just like Twirly Girls!

OC Pole offers a GREAT program that is called A Pole New You.  It not only encourages the ladies to work out regularly but gives them the support that they need to succeed.  Check out this success story on YouTube

Anyway, back to our experience at the studio.  Rita and I arrived pretty early (we are never sure how traffic is going to be), so we sat in the aerial silks room and stretched and chatted with the office manager, Shavonne.  When Collette arrived, we formally introduced ourselves (we had attended the open house, of course, but it had been packed and Collette was busy, so we didn't introduce ourselves then).  We chatted for a few minutes, then walked into the studio.  There are mirrors in the front and along one side of the studio.  There is a small stage with three poles, then another five poles on the main floor.  There are heavy curtains along the window, so no one can peek in.  There is also a big, overstuffed chair (probably for chair dance class!), which I used as a towel rest.  It's a very warm and welcoming studio.  Most of the rest of the ladies in class claimed to be in their 40's, but you couldn't tell -- they all looked young and beautiful.  They were all friendly.

Collette turned the lights down, turned some music on and we got to the warm-up.  Collette's warm-up was extremely sensual.  She closed her eyes, moved so very slowly and smiled and mouthed the words to the song as she warmed us up.  It is hard to describe the warm-up.  I would like to say that I was warming up but I was mostly watching Collette.  She was so beautiful to watch.  Every move was sexy and with a purpose.  I mean, even her ab circles were sexy!  We probably warmed up for two to three songs.

Once we got up to actually get on the pole, we had a full house, so Collette would demonstrate on someone's pole then would walk around as each of us practiced the move.  Again, Rita and I were probably way out of our league.  We weren't as advanced as most of the girls, but we still really enjoyed the class.  I did my first spinning/floating angel, where I climbed on the pole and brought my body through on one side.  It only lasted a quarter of a second, but it was something new for me! 

Again, I loved that everyone watched each other and clapped and cheered when someone accomplished something new.  After we were done with pole, we went down to the floor for some killer ab sets.  I'm still sore!  

We sat around after class and chatted with Collette a little more.  She and Bel have spoken in the past, so it was fun to meet someone in person on behalf of Bel and Twirly Girls.  As proper pole dance ambassadors, we brought Twirly Girls shirts to share, and they gave us one for Bel (I'll give it to her tonight so we'll have photos to share tomorrow).  

I was so impressed with Collette -- as a mother and a business person.  She has two beautiful daughters (who attended the open house and looked adorable in their tutus) and her studios, plus she manages Felix Cane and is involved with the Pole Fitness Association.  I can't even imagine how crazy her life is, but I'm really glad we got to meet her.

OC Pole was a really nice studio and I would suggest a visit if you are in Southern California!

Larissa and Dermalogica to the rescue!

I've been battling skin issues for awhile -- probably a year now.  I've been going to my dermatologist whining about my psoriasis outbreak, which is the worst one I've had in probably eight years or more.  I was especially upset by the fact that I got little patches all over my face, which has never happened.  This means I'm stressed out.  I haven't been able to get rid of the stress so I had to find a patch to cover it.  This all lead to me getting Enbrel shots, which will suppress my immune system and (hopefully) stop the psoriasis outbreak.  It's definitely better but its not fixed yet.  In the meantime, I get to suffer (and by suffer, I just mean feel ugly because it doesn't hurt or itch).

Last weekend, I went down to Southern California and stayed with my friend, Larissa Singhoff, and her husband, Wesley (of Social Sonar fame).  Although I had run into Larissa before with skin issues, and we had talked about them, this was the first time I was in her home.  Larissa is an instructor at the International Dermal Institute.  As soon as she saw me, she pulled me into the bathroom and presented me with all kinds of tiny bottles of cleansers and lotions from Dermalogica.

I normally do not like changing my skin care line.  I have been using Olay for at least ten years (and I use the good stuff too, not the cheap line), with great success.  Shoot, switching to the cheap Olay way back then was a huge step for me since I used Noxema as a teenager.  I have attempted to switch to other skin care lines twice.  Both epic fails -- one, in fact, leaving an almost-chemical burn.  I did, however, use Pro Activ successfully three years ago after a stressful situation left me with a break-out that wouldn't go away.  However, it was a pretty strong product and I only used it every few days.  The break-out cleared within a week and so I just used Pro Activ for a few months to make sure it didn't come back.  I did continue to use my own line on the off-days.  I also used the Mary Kay line when I was in my early 20's.  It worked fine, mostly because I didn't have to work very hard to have nice skin. 

Anyway, I trust Larissa, and I was getting desperate.  So I used every single product she placed in front of my greedy little face.  First, I started with a cleanser with a little bit of an exfoliant powder mixed in.  Then I sprayed myself with an anti-oxidant mist.  I rubbed in some ultra calming serum.  And finished off with barrier repair (a clear moisturizer).

I noticed the changes immediately.  The redness was knocked down several shades right away.  My skin felt softer (my chin has been feeling very rough lately -- not acne, just rough).  Maybe my 35 year old skin needs more tender loving care than I was giving it?  Or maybe my skin was finally ready for a change?

I don't know what happened but I do know that only using that skin care line for the four days I was there made a HUGE difference in how my skin looked and felt.  Although Larissa did send me home with a bunch of samples, I ordered the line for myself.  (I am especially excited to get the masque for "enraged skin."  I think if anyone's skin deserves to be called "enraged" right now, it is mine.)  I had almost forgotten how it felt to have nice skin.  I have spent my life being the girl with nice skin (I think because I sweat a lot, it keeps my skin fairly clear and healthy-looking), so having ugly skin for the last year has been brutal and has made me extremely self-conscious.

Dermalogica carries lines for all kinds of skin types.  If you are having issues, I encourage you to check out their website.  I also encourage you to speak to a professional because Larissa knew exactly what to recommend to me the minute she saw my face.  Thank you to Larissa and Dermalogica for helping me get my nice skin back!  If you'd like to contact Larissa for advice, you can find here on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Studio Veena!

Another of my Facebook and Twitter friends is "Veena," who offers really amazing online pole dance courses.  While I believe I have to be careful at home since I like to injure myself, I think that Studio Veena offers some of the best instruction around!
I know Studio Veena offers online courses.  Are you also a "real life" studio as well? is strictly an online studio. I developed my own method of teaching that includes what I call the P.O.C's (points of contact) and organized the lessons so the user doesn't have to "guess" when it comes to what they should work on next. It's all laid out in order! Building strength first is my primary focus for new dancers in the lessons.  I have also done workshops, private lessons and my favorite thing.... pole jams! 

What is your fitness background?
I've trained with free weights for about 14 years now. I've been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2001. I also hold a number of certifications in various fitness related areas, pre and post natal exercise and Yoga to name a few. Ever since childhood I have always been intrigued with the human body and physical fitness. Health class was my favorite subject in grade school. I love to study and learn more about the body and new fitness trends when I can. As a fitness professional, I never stop learning.

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?  
I try to find time 5 or 6 mornings a week to workout for 1 or 2 hours. This does not always happen with kids in the house, and things like laundry, and dishes calling your name! But, I do my best to make exercise a priority. I very my workouts and rotate between pole dance, strength training, hooping and sometimes yoga.
What kind of diet do you follow?
All things in moderation!! I always eat 3 balanced meals a day and 3 snacks in between. Drinks LOTS of water is a big one for me as well!

Do you have a dance background? 
No, I wish! However, at the moment I am taking an Adult Beginner Ballet Course as part of my Continuing Education. It's been exciting for me to learn a little bit about dance. 
Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?
No. I prefer to perform. 

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"  
Really its all pole dance to me, weather its for fitness, fun, art, or a sexy tease. 

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate? 
I personally don't see it as a "vs." situation. It's all pole dance, just different styles. There is a time and a place for all styles!

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole? 
I don't normally use anything, but if I need it for those cold days, I use itac on my body. 
How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days)? 
I dance in the morning so I use whatever lotion I have on hand, on my legs the night before I pole. If I plan on dancing at night I'll put lotion on that morning.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes? 
My mom and I have designed a few outfits that I love. I have a lot of sports bra's from Target. I have a great Romper from the Bad Kitty Pole Fit line. I have a bunch of Poleskivvies bottoms that I adore. And I was recently introduced to Mika Yoga Wear and love it too!
Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot? 
I enjoy both, it depends on the song.

What did you do before opening your pole studio? 
I was a stay at home mom when we started Studioveena. But before that, I work at the YMCA for a few years and was also a personal trainer. Back in the day I owned a little cleaning business, we would clean up new homes after construction was finished.

How did you come up with the name for your studio? 
Veena was a "stage" name for my first Youtube account.  Once I decided to start offering online lessons I figured everyone knew me as Veena, so I stuck with that name.
What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole? 
The freedom of expression!!

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)? 
Anything that come on my XM radio. BPM, Chill and Octane are my favorite stations.
Do you have any other upcoming events you'd like people to know about? 
No events for myself at the moment. However, we do have an Events section on the Website, everyone be sure to check that out for events happening in your area! 
What else would you like people to know about you or your studio? 
At we are always looking to improve and grow, there's always something new in the works! I recently added Flexibility and Foam Roller Lessons to the line up. 

OC Pole Fitness Open House

Saturday after our class at BeSpun, we drove to Orange County for the 80's themed open house at OC Pole Fitness.  It was like crossing into the promise land.  Most things in Los Angeles seem to have a slight tinge of grey...and the OC is all painted in gold.

OC Pole Fitness had an open house at their Aliso Viejo location.  We had an awesome adventure driving over -- learning much about driving on toll roads (next time, we will bring Fastrak!).  (P.S. Non-OC drivers...always have change so you aren't standing at a bucket trying to dig out quarters so you can pay $2.50 to drive one mile on a toll road through the canyon.)  The studio is in a strip mall.  When you walk in, there is a reception area, with silks in one room on the right and the pole studio in the back and to the left with a door for privacy.  It is a BEAUTIFUL studio.

We watched the teacher showcase, student showcase, lyra, hoop, silks and silk hammock demonstrations.  I was absolutely amazed and inspired by these performers.  I saw curvy ladies absolutely ROCK their performances -- proving that you don't have to be a size two to do aerial arts.  I saw THREE generations of pole dancers stand for photos.  I met a bunch of super friendly women who, like the Twirly Girls, are so supportive of each other.  I loved that OC Pole's owner, Collette, cheered and clapped and called out to each dancer as they rocked their difficult moves.  It really felt like a family and it made me feel like I was home. 

I will talk more about OC Pole with my Poletry in Motion post (we took a class on Monday before we came home), but I have always heard that The OC is filled with fake blondes with big boobs and no brains.  And there was none of that there.  There were larger ladies, smaller ladies.  Blondes.  Brunettes.  All kinds of body shapes and personalities.  There was no cookie cutter perfect woman.  I loved it.

I saw a lot of ladies that I'd love to interview for this blog.  If any read this and are interested in participating, please let me know!  :-)

Here are videos from their performances:

Collette's solo:

Aerial silks:






Silk Hammocks (unfortunately, the audio was disabled due to copyright issues):

Student Showcase:

Weight loss success story: