I officially became a gym rat in March 2007 at Crunch in NYC. I saw it on their schedule for months but never took the class because I thought I would get home too late. However, my curiosity just grew stronger and stronger and I tried it one day. Holy mama, I was hooked the second I started winding my hips during the warm up. It was, by far, the most physically demanding thing I've done with my body, but also the most awesome. I will be celebrating my 4th year on the pole next month!
"Voluptuous" or "Curvacious"?
What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?
I love working out. Aside from the pole classes I teach (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays), I try to hit the gym 3 days a week. I love love love my hip-hop class and occasionally drop into hot yoga. On the days I don't do a specific class, I do some kind of cardio machine for 45-60 minutes and am learning how to incorporate strength training into my routine.
What kind of diet do you follow?
Diets suck and I don't rock with them. I do, however, believe in a healthy eating lifestyle. I gobble up as much fruit as I can and try to make at least 2/3 of everything I eat so I can control what goes into my meals. Over the last few years, I've definitely noticed a change in my palate; cooking without tons of salt and sugar, I now know what foods naturally taste like (and I love it!). My biggest struggle is portion control, which Weight Watchers is helping me with.
Do you have a dance background?
Not even a little.
Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?
I have competed in all three Polesque competitions. Polesque is a showcase of artistry on the pole that focuses on the story and movement -- not the tricks -- that one does in their performance. The first time I competed, I made it to the top four. That was great, but it left a thirst for winning in my mouth. Fast forward to May 2011, Polesque III, where I was finally crowned champion. I feel like I finally "made it" in the pole world. I will never forget the roar of my fans and hearing them chant "Diva!"
Where do you teach pole classes?
On Wednesdays and Sundays, I teach at Sacred (197 Clifton Place, Brooklyn; www.sacredbrooklyn.com); Thursdays, I rock out at Alter Ego Pole Fitness (197 Market Street, Newark; http://www.alteregopolefitness.com/mrburrell/Welcome.html). I LOVE teaching just as much as I love performing. I am ridiculously proud of my students! Give me a class full of pole virgins and I will turn them out.
Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"
I don't see a difference between the two, but I usually use pole dancing.
What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?
There is a big difference between strippers and pole dancers, but I love both equally. I would define stripping as an activity purely for sexual arousal. I think pole dancers can also turn people on, as I strive to do in my performances, but they do so with physical feats of the human body. My dances are oozing with sexuality because it is a safe, supportive environment for me to live out my exhibitionist fantasies.
What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
DRY HANDS! Or as I like to call it, cocaine in a bottle.
How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days)?
LOL, this is such an issue! In the black community, it is a sin to leave the house with dry and ashy skin, but I usually forgo lotion altogether on pole days. However, since I have occasional eczema outbreaks, dry skin is really obvious and itchy as hell. As a compromise, I lotion right after I shower at night. This way, my skin still get a daily dose of moisture but I have minimal slippage.
Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?
This is a tough one. For practice, I throw on a tank top and some booty shorts from wherever. But when it comes time for a performance outfit, I have to hunt. Since I have an un-traditional body for a dancer, I usually don't have any options at popular places like H&M or American Apparel, but there are a few places that I can usually count on. For anybody size 14+, I highly recommend Lane Bryant for lingerie that fits and flatters. Surprisingly, I have also found a few things at exotic dance wear stores and Conway. Corsets are my best friend because they define my waist while supporting my 42DD's.
Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?
I used to be really into heels all the time, but that's changed in the last few months. Bare feet allow you to really point your toes which makes your leg muscles look amazing.
What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?
1. Flaunting my sexuality in public.
2. Making it rain on stage.
What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?
Nasty, Naughty Boy by Christina Aguilera is my all time favorite pole song, but I'm really into Rhianna's Skin right now.
What else would you like people to know about you or your studio(s)?
I am also passionate about helping others advance their careers and their education. Whether your professional goals are to get a summer job or take over the White House, I love helping others see their dreams come to fruition. See why I'm also known as The Career Diva: www.RozMays.com.