Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Star Spotlight on Kelly Yvonne!

I am starting to make connections between people I've seen on Facebook and people I'm meeting in real life.  At the CPDC, I was standing in line near a woman that I recognized, but couldn't place.  I later realized she was Kelly Yvonne -- famed pole dance choreographer!  I heard later that Kelly had actually choreographed some of the routines for the competition.  When I initially connected with Kelly on Facebook and Twitter, I was intrigued, not only because she was a pole dancer but because she was from Berkeley (which is local to me).  I have asked her to join our pole sisterhood -- so this is Kelly Yvonne!!

What is your fitness background?

I am a classically trained, competitive dancer. I competed nationally in high school and danced/choreographed for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers dance teams.

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

I train on the pole between 6-10 hours per week and I work on flexibility a minimum of 2 hours per week. This month I will start strength and conditioning with Amber Richard in her Rock Hard Body class at The Choreography House. I also take and/or a variety of dance classes for cardio.

What kind of diet do you follow?

My diet is horrible! With my crazy schedule, I drink coffee all day and eat when I can. *hangs head in shame*

Do you have a dance background?

I have been dancing (informally) since birth, according to my mother. I began my formal training in jazz and hip hop at the age of 12. I competed nationally in high school and was a member of the dance team at the University of California, Berkeley. I also danced in the NBA for 3 consecutive seasons.
When I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 I was selected to be a scholarship student at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio where I trained intensely in ballet, jazz, hip hop, african, salsa, tap, jazz-funk, etc.

Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?

I have participated in almost every major local and national competition for the last year as a choreographer. I began working with Natasha Wang and helped her win 1st place titles at 2010 East Meets West, 2010 California Pole Dance Championship; 2010 USPDF West Coast Championship and 2011 USPDF National Championship. 

I have also choreographed for athletes that competed in the 2011 California Pole Dance Championship (including Jennifer Kim; 2nd place, Most Entertaining, Most Artistic Nadia Shariff); 2011 Great Mid-West Pole Dance Championship (2nd place Charley Crystal and 3rd place Emiko Jaffe); 2011 Miss South Carolina (1st place title Karri Telford); 2011 Miss Texas Pole Dance Championship (Sarah Marsh); and 2011 American Pole Fitness Association Championship (Faith Daniels and Laura Martin).

I do plan to compete some day but for now, I love creating concepts and providing choreography for these amazing athletes!

What interested you about pole dancing?

I was initially attracted to pole dance for the fitness potential and a desire to get reacquainted with my femininity after a horrible break up. Pole dancing inadvertently revived my dance career as I had “retired” from this pursuit in 2005.

Consequently, I created and launched Girl Next Door - a pole dance soirée after only 3 months of pole training because I wanted to develop my pole performance abilities while learning how to pole dance!

Do you have any pole dance heroes?

My pole dance hero is Natasha Wang. She auditioned for my show, Girl Next Door - a pole dance soirée, in January 2010 and was selected because of her beautiful lines and unique movement articulation. She and I began collaborating to continue developing her “pole voice” shortly thereafter and now she is the current USPDF National Champion. I have watched (and aided) in her evolution and I am so proud of her diligence in continually pushing to take her skill to the next level. She’s my hero and friend and I am so proud of all of her success - SUCH an inspiration!

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

Due to my dance background, I prefer pole dancing but appreciate the fitness aspects. Honestly, I think the two are one in the same because, either way, you’re getting a great workout!

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

I believe the difference between exotic dance and artistic/fitness pole dance is the intention behind the movement. Exotic dancing is performed to entice patrons in adult entertainment. Artistic/Fitness Pole Dancing is also performed for the purpose of entertainment but tends to ignite a wider range of reactions, from fear to humor to reflection to arousal. 

I do embrace this correlation and recognize that the majority of public exposure to pole dance has been in the erotic dance genre. As a result, the purpose of the Girl Next Door - a pole dance soirée shows is to demonstrate the range of pole dance as a performance apparatus, which includes both exotic and artistic/fitness forms of expression. 

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

I use Dry Hands.

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

I have extremely dry skin, so I actually use lotion in the morning on pole days. When I pole in the morning, I use lotion the night before.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

The majority of my pole clothes are hand-me-downs from Natasha Wang and Jennifer Kim! Whenever they buy something that doesn’t fit, they give it to me! :)

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?
I love to wear the heels, but I prefer to dance barefoot.

What did you do before opening your pole studio?

Before opening The Choreography House, I was/am the creator, director and producer of Girl Next Door - a pole dance soirée and was just beginning to provide choreography for a number of pole dance athletes preparing for competition. I opened the studio to have a place to rehearse with my cast and choreograph for athletes. 

How did you come up with the name for your studio?

The Choreography House name is a combination of the purposes for the space. “Choreography” because I spend most of my time choreographing routines for shows, competitions and events. “House” is in reference to “Girl Next Door” as it is the official ‘home’ for the cast to train, rehearse and prepare for performances. 

What profession were you doing before pole dancing?

I majored in architecture in college and was working in the construction management industry for several years after graduation. Currently I work for an architecture consulting firm that provides business management services for the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

In my spare time, after I “retired” from dance, I worked in production and public relations for a number live shows including a french-style cabaret, a rock opera, musical theater, etc. Shortly after discovering pole dance, I created Girl Next Door - a pole dance soirée, the longest running pole dance revue in the nation.

What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?

My favorite thing about dancing on the pole is helping the public see that it is a completely unexplored apparatus for creative expression. Each time I perform, each show I produce and each routine I choreograph, my goal is to help the audience see what I see.

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

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues by Elton John

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

Girl Next Door  - a pole dance soirée: The first Sunday of each month! Next event: Sunday, November 6th

Hide and Seek - a pole dance speakeasy - PREMIERE: Friday, October 14th

www.girlnextdoorshow.com  *shameless plug*

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

I just want to thank the pole community for being so welcoming and gracious. I’ve only been poling since 2009 and, since then, I’ve met some of the most creative, talented, friendly and generous people on the planet! This sport/hobby attracts people from all walks of life and it’s so beautiful to make a new pole friend in person or virtually. Like anything, it has it’s lows but OVERALL I’ve had a blast and I want to thank all my pole sisters for an amazing LIFE CHANGING two years!


Kelly Yvonne is one busy lady!  I am planning to head back down to Southern California to catch Girl Next Door VERY soon!  Please connect with her here:


  1. Most people need to understand the difference between Stripping and Pole dancing this was a great definition of pole dancing:

    "Artistic/Fitness Pole Dancing is also performed for the purpose of entertainment but tends to ignite a wider range of reactions, from fear to humor to reflection to arousal".

  2. Great interview. Kelly truly is a modern-day renaissance woman and has touched so many dancer's lives with her brilliant creative voice. Thank you for letting us be your canvas!