Monday, December 12, 2011

The PULSE Project!

The PULSE Project

Interview with Brook Notary - Creator / Artistic Director - The PULSE Project

Dancers: Jenn Freeman (Assistant Choreographer,) Mahalia Miner-Le Grand, Penelope Armstead-Williams, Ashley Browne, Anna Grundstrom, Jacklyn Walsh

The PULSE Project photographer: Whitney Browne

I first started seeing posts about The Pulse Project on Facebook.  Shelly Lamb e-mailed me and said, "you've gotta get Brook Notary on your blog!"  A day later, Climb & Spin released a two-part interview.  So I have asked Brook Notary to chat with us here.  Rather than rehash the great interview from Climb & Spin, check out their posts here:

For those who don't know, please explain The Pulse Project:

The Pulse Project is an Off-Broadway show in the making, combining contemporary dance on, around and throughout poles, Parkour, and Aerial Theater.  Due to my choreographic career and interdisciplinary approach to athletic movement I believe I am the right person to bring this strong and powerful female voice to the stage.  It will celebrate the beauty and raw athleticism of women. It will be loud and without high heels....  It's pole dancing re-envisioned.

Recently, there does seem to be a shift in the pole-dancing world, to take some of the "sexy" out and move more toward the fitness aspect.  Busting out sexy moves or not, pole dancing is hard work.  Here are some of my regular blog questions...I can already guess your answers, but would love to hear them anyway:

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

I prefer...Dancing....  The pole happens to be part of our playground, a fully explored apparatus, an extension of the body, and part of our 3 dimensional stage set.

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

I am not aware of this debate....  I like to stay focused on my personal vision and I tend to stick to just that. We are all 100% focused on creating the best show possible that we feel will be accessible to a wide audience and excludes no one.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

I prefer barefoot.  The floor is another texture and play space for creating.  I like to be in touch with it. 

Acknowledging that pole dancing IS hard work, here are some questions about how you stay in tip-top shape:

What is your fitness background?

I have a fitness addiction. I am a certified Pilates Instructor and have always used that as a base warm up.... I also run, swim, box, lift weights and of course dance. I am currently working on crafting a PULSE Pole / Dance warm-up with my Core 6 PULSE dancers.... It's tough but gets us very warmed up and we have all noticed that our obliques have definitely benefited from it as well as our stamina. 

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

I lift and do some form of cardio 6 days a week. I swim or just stretch the 7th day.  But I’m a little nuts like that.  Cardio helps me clear my head, organize my thoughts and just makes me more ready to attack a rehearsal.

What kind of diet do you follow?

I am very anti-diet.... I do believe in moderation and that 80% of how your body feels is due to what you put in it.  Food is energy so I just try to be smart about how I fuel up.  But diets...No way! Being happy is the best way to feel good about yourself and your body.

Do you have a dance background?

Yes. I am a classically trained dancer.  I went to an arts high school, UC Irvine for undergrad (full scholarship) which has an amazing dance program and I received my Masters in Dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts ( full dean’s Scholarship.)  I was also a nationally ranked Rhythmic gymnast and much of my performance experience is in the Aerial theater genre i.e. De la Guarda NY.

What first interested you about pole dancing?

So many aspects of pole dancing struck me when I was first introduced to this art form.  I love the athleticism, the artistry, the strength it takes and the feeling you have after learning a new skill.  It is very empowering.  I seem to occupy my place in space differently since studying this incredible and challenging dance form.  It gives you a certain internal confidence that you always carry.  It’s pretty badass.

Where do you train? 

New York Pole Dance!! Love that place.  It is where we rehearse as well.  But I really appreciate how owner Wendy Traskos takes the technical aspect of the art form very seriously.  Her teachers are outstanding and their classes are a perfect combination of challenging, artistically stimulating and fun as hell.  It’s the place to study whether you want to compete, teach or want to walk away with a great new experience.  She also holds many interesting workshops and training seminars.  The studio just has a great vibe.  Very inviting.  If you have not tried a class.... get over there.  You will love it.

Do you have sponsors you'd like to acknowledge?

Yes.  I would like to thank Mighty Grip and NY Pole Dance and The USPDF.  Most of all I would like to thank Wendy Traskos for believing in the PULSE project and allowing us to create and rehearse at her studio.  She has supported us from day one and for that I am eternally grateful.

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

My hands, straight up.  Maybe a small spray of rubbing alcohol on them.  My hands have definitely gotten tough.  They are certainly not as soft as they used to be.  But I like it. 

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

Yes this is a new issue in my life.  I just do not use any lotion on pole rehearsal day.... But that’s about it.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

Mighty Grip just sent my dancers a bunch of fun tops and shorts…  They love them.  I am personally a shorts and t-shirt girl...nothing fancy.

What did you do before, or in addition to, The Pulse Project?

I am a professional choreographer.  I have some fun credits including creating an aerial live show for Usher.  But I guess it’s best to visit my website and just read my bio if you are interested. or

I find Bios a bit boring, sorry.  I've done a ton of work that I am very proud of, but nothing has come close to how I feel about the PULSE Project.  This is my baby!

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

OHHHH.... this is a tough question. Music is such a driving force...Wow.  Ok this answer changes daily...but today I had 3 songs on repeat while I was on the treadmill.

  1. Can’t get enough… J Cole.
  2. Sonic love… Florence+ the Machine
  3. Go it Alone… Beck
When will The Pulse Project officially open?  Do you have any other upcoming events/competitions you'd like people to know about?

We are heading into Phase 2 of Production.  Aerial workshop!

We just finished a formal showing for producers and investors 2 days ago and had incredible response....  Standing ovation both nights and I have tons of meetings lined up....  I am dedicated to forward momentum.  When will we be up?  Hard to say.  We are still on the hunt for the right producer to join our PULSE family.

What else would you like people to know about you and/or The Pulse Project?

I would like you to know about my 6 Core dancers!!  They are the first true investors of this show.  Not only are they the most incredible, classically trained dancers, fearless athletes and artistic pioneers, they are 6 of the nicest most down to earth women you could ever meet.  The PULSE started out as my vision...Now it is OURS!  They want this as bad as I do.  I have a visceral response in my whole being when I watch them dance.  I am so excited for our audiences to experience their talent and energy.  5 out of 6 of my dancers had never touched a pole until 10 months ago.  They are sick!  I pinch myself every rehearsal, that I have such talent in one room.  Please visit our website to learn more about them and see video and pictures.  My 6 Core Dancer - Jenn Freeman (assistant Choreographer), Mahalia Miner-Le Grand, Penelope Armstead-Williams, Jacklyn Walsh, Anna Grundstrom, and Ashley Browne.  These are my badass sirens!!

For more information about The PULSE Project, and how to get involved, please visit:

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