Monday, September 19, 2011

Meet Meagan, SHE-BEAST!!

Here's another great Chwenny find (Chwenny's interview will be up soon too!)!!  This is the She-Beast!  She is a blogger and pole enthusiast and I am happy to include her in our ever-growing circle of pole love!

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?
Normally I try to do two days of strength training (weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, core work etc), and two days of pole work per week. This can vary; right before a competition I switch to more pole work and start to phase out the strength training, and, to some extent, vice versa in the off-season (which for me happens to be now.)

Still working out a flexibility regimen. The sweet spot for me seems to be 4 - 5x a week for 40 mins to 1hr per session. When I did this, I was seeing real gains. I lost my momentum when my competition training kicked into high gear, however. It's hard to fit this into your schedule on top of practice but I'm attempting to make it work. I'll let you know how it goes!

 What kind of diet do you follow?
I've been following the paleo diet to some degree for almost a year now. You can get
a ton of info on it on various websites (I recommend Mark's Daily Apple - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/) but the gist of it is: no processed foods, no heavy starches or gluten. Lots of natural fats and protein, and carbs from all natural sources like fruits and veg. I follow it to varying degrees of strictness depending on what my training is like at the time. My weakness is definitely cocktails and the occasional sweet treat!

Do you have a dance background?
Yes, if an odd, sort of patchwork one. :) My mom is a former dancer and a gymnastics judge, and both she and my dad were national level gymnastic coaches. So I grew up doing low-level gymnastics and all the dance associated with that. I stopped around 12 years old due to a knee injury. I did about 2 years of tap and jazz classes, and about five minutes of ballet (I was atrocious!), and then nothing until college, where I was a theatre major. I had some movement and dance classes at that time, and then nothing again until pole, which I started in March 2010.

So, bits of training here and there… I think my style has mostly come from experimentation and character work.

Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?
I just competed in the The Great Midwest Pole Dance Competition (http://www.midwestpoledancing.com/), Rookie Division, and placed first! It was my first competition and it was completely amazing. Mary Ellyn Weissman, the competition organizer, did a phenomenal job and the event turned out beautifully. The talent both in the competition and behind the judges' table was incredible. I met so many wonderful people… I really hope I have the opportunity to do that competition again next year.

I'm not sure I'm ready to apply for any other regional or national level competitions at this time. Most of them are at an incredibly high level, even the ones with an "amateur" division. I'd really like to within a year or so - it's a goal of mine. It's not impossible - it's just going to take a lot of work to get there.

Do you teach pole classes?  If so, where?
I don't teach currently. Aerial Amy wrote a fantastic blog post (http://aerialamy.com/blog/2011/04/13/becoming-an-instructor/) about considering why you want to teach; essentially you have to do it for your students, not for yourself. And teaching students just isn't my focus at this time. Plus, I just feel like I'm not experienced and confident enough to be in that instructor role. Eventually I'd like to put my theatre background to good use and teach a "Character Movement for Pole" workshop. But until then I'll blog about it.

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"
It depends on context, honestly. If I'm trying to convince someone of the merits of it, and I think they are quite conservative, I'll generally say 'pole fitness' until I can tell they are warming to the idea. With people who are already comfortable with it, I almost always say 'pole dance.'

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?
Exotic dancers are just hardworking independent contractors. I realize
we all want pole to be seen by the public as a sport and / or an art - but I don't think looking down on strippers or banning them from competitions is the way to do it. I personally think we just need to be proud and patient, and state that pole fitness is different from stripping - not better or worse.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?
For hands, I tend to layer Tite Grip (antiperspirant) on my palms first, and when that's dry, follow it up with some Dry Hands. I've been experimenting with a Tite Grip / Mighty Grip combo for sweaty legs in the summer.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days?)?
It mostly affects me during the winter, and mostly on my legs. Usually I do these things in order:
1) Try to avoid the situation all together by making sure I don't take a shower within 5 or so hours of my pole session, so my skin will retain some of its natural oil.
2) Apply some Dew Point to see if that helps.
3) Change my strategy to work on moves that don't use the affected areas.
4) If all of that doesn't work, I'll wind down and do some floor work, dance, and flexibility.
I bought some Pole Physics lotion but haven't tested it out much yet; excited to see if that will help!
As for off-pole days… I'm not terribly diligent about applying lotion. I really should try to be better about it!

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?
For a super secure fit, if not terribly sexy, Moving Comfort's Fiona bra is a staple of mine. Love Bad Kitty's Pole Fit line, love Mika Yoga wear. There are some cool sellers on Etsy as well - always looking for new togs!

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?
I LOVE to dance barefoot. I do it 97% of the time. I think I am actually going to start sneaking in some freestyles in heels just to give myself some range… but I'm a barefoot girl at heart.

What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?
Pole has changed my life. It's gone from something I did once a week for fun to a full-blown obsession. I've changed how I eat, I've gotten a zillion times stronger, I'm doing things I never thought I could. I love my body, I love how it works, I love pushing it hard and seeing what it can do. I would have NEVER said that two years ago.

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?
Oh, I could talk about music FOREVER. I have been on a mini-pole break to focus on strength training, so the artists I was last rocking out to were Kings of Leon and Marina and the Diamonds. And while on this break I've queued up a TON of new music - Hem, Frightened Rabbit, and Miike Snow, to name a few bands - I'm really excited to try it out.

What else would you like people to know about you or your studio(s)?
I blog at she-beast.net (http://www.she-beast.net/) I love getting new pole friends on Facebook and Studio Veena (screename Meaganoff), so look me up. I love this community and I feel like this is just the beginning of pole in the public eye as an art form. It's so fun to be on this adventure! Thank you SO MUCH for this opportunity, Lori!! :)

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