1/28/2010: I started with Twirly Girls Pole Fitness in Pleasanton, California a little over two months ago with my friend, Rita. I initially started looking into pole dancing a couple of years ago and took the intro class at S Factor in San Francisco. But it was a little too far for me to drive every weekend. As soon as I found Twirly Girls, Rita and I signed up for a taster class and have been hooked on the pole ever since! We take class once a week at the studio, plus I try to sign up for extras at least once a month. This month, we took an Ooh La La burlesque dance class. Just this past Sunday, I got my very own pole at home so I have been on it every day!
I printed out the core strength test that you posted this week. I failed miserably! If you do all of the things you asked, you'd be in plank position for 3 minutes. I was able to hold each variation for about 10 seconds, so the entire thing took me about a minute. I have much work to do!!
2/17/2012: I take pole class with Bel twice a week -- Wednesdays and Saturdays. However, I am now teaching burlesque (Sassy Pants) and beginner pole on Mondays. I also take Twirly Tuff with Bel's boyfriend Doug (gets us ready to be amazing polers) on Tuesdays and Saturdays (sadly, I will be dropping back to Saturdays only soon because I've been burning the candle at both ends lately). I've been doing pilates reformer, and recently just started doing pilates chair...trying to strengthen that core. I still suck at plank.
2. How did you discover Pole Fitness?
1/28/2010: I was turned on to pole dancing about two years ago when I heard the S Factor girls on the radio. I thought it sounded interesting and so I looked them up online and went in search of a friend who would be interested in coming with me.
3. What do you love MOST about it?
1/28/2010: I LOVE that I'm getting myself back into shape and having fun doing it. I lost 165 pounds about six years ago. But being thin(ner) doesn't mean being healthy and in shape. A couple of years ago, I started spending a lot of time at the gym and got into pretty good shape. In the last 6 months or so, I got lazy. And I was having a hard time motivating myself into working out again. Pole fitness is it!! I am having fun and I can already see a difference in my arms (which is good because it was my arms flapping in the wind that made me realize it was time to get back into shape).
2/17/2012: Well, as most of you probably know, I've been floundering in the weight loss/strength gaining department. I'm getting stronger but not losing weight like I had hoped. I'm also two weeks into a cold that has been kicking my ass all over the place. *sigh* I will probably always be a work in progress. What I LOVE is the camaraderie at Twirly Girls and all of the doors that have been opened for me recently thanks to pole dancing.
4. What is your favorite song to 'pole' to?
1/28/2010: I have three favorite songs right now. Actually, five. haha! My ABSOLUTE favorite is My Pony by Daniel Wesley. But I also love Rihanna's Rockstar 101, Beyonce's Video Phone, Mazzy Star's Fade Into You, and (of course -- its so cliche) Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me.
2/17/2012: I think my Twirly Girls play list has over 100 songs in it right now. Everything from rock to R&B. I need to pick a song for the Lovely Rita Fundraiser very soon. For one of the monthly challenges for February (can't remember if its Studio Veena or Pole Junkies), I'm going to do a Phantom of the Opera song!
5. What do consider your 'Pole Essentials'? (What do you need or typically use when dancing? I.e. Certain outfit or article of clothing? Certain Prop? Certain Music? Etc...)
1/28/2010: When I am actually on the pole, I generally like to wear plain workout stuff: shorts and a tank top. For learning how to climb (which I am still doing, and not very well), my patent leather boots help me stick like glue. So, now that I'm advancing, the boots are probably my must-have.
2/17/2012: Not much has changed, other than I try not to rely on boots or grip aids to help me stick. I want to get strong on my own.
6. How do you feel about the stigma that is attached to Pole Dancing? i.e. people associating it with stripping...
1/28/2010: Ugh. This was such a hot topic on my Facebook page today. I understand where the stigma comes from, although I also feel like people should get over it. I love the shirt that the Twirly Girls have for guys: Pole Dancing Is Not A Crime! Anything that encourages women to get in shape and be healthy and sexy and feel empowered should be celebrated. I feel like pole dancing has been associated with stripping (not that there's anything wrong with either one), and my attitude is this: I'm an adult, I'm not hurting anyone, and its no one's business. Shoot, I have respect for a stripper who incorporates pole dancing into their routine. That takes a lot of physical strength! Good for them!
I do occasionally catch myself bristling when people ask me if I'm wearing my g-string to stripper class. And I am trying to get over that. I have so much fun in my class, so it shouldn't matter what other people think. Bel teaches us to be sexy and strong but also encourages us to dress up, be silly and have a good time, which is totally my personality!
2/17/2012: I've stopped caring for the most part. Most people who are going to give you a hard time about pole dancing don't care if you explain the difference between pole dancing and stripping (and I don't feel like they are owed that explanation anyway). Here are a couple of posts I've done about the subject:
I actually have another blog on the topic in the works. I should be releasing that in the next week or so.
7. Favorite Pole Move?
1/28/2010: I don't know if I have a favorite move yet. I am still doing such basic moves. Pretty much every move my instructor, Bel, does is my favorite. She is so graceful and makes it look so easy. I feel like Buddy the Elf at Christmas. Every time Bel does a new move, I hear myself saying, THAT ONE! That's my favorite! haha!
2/17/2012: Pretty much any move I do. I am feeling so fat and out of shape... I guess handstands are becoming my signature move.
8. What do you hope to accomplish by Pole Dancing in general? What would you like to accomplish within the next 6 months?
1/28/2010: Within the next six months, I hope to be able to climb and invert (without breaking my neck). Ultimately, I want to have the core strength to hang off that pole like its nothing. I've been all over youtube watching pole dancing champions and I want to do EVERYTHING they can do! I'm six feet tall and probably not built to do some of the stuff they do. But I can dream!
2/17/2012: Nothing has changed. I still need to climb better and invert. I'm closer and closer every day though!
9. What do you friends & family think about your Pole Dancing? How does that make you feel?
1/28/2010: Most of my friends and family are very supportive. My boyfriend is VERY supportive of my new hobby! My mom's side of the family is pretty religious, so I don't know how *excited* they are about my new choice in fitness classes. However, no one has directly called me out for it either. My sister worked in a bar that had a "stripper pole," and she was given a very hard time about "tarnishing the family name."
That may be part of why I reacted so badly yesterday on Facebook to some of the people who were rude to me about being in pole dancing classes. But the majority of my friends think this is great, and that makes me happy. I have an amazing following of friends on Facebook who look forward to the weekly posts of photos and videos. So, its been fun to keep them all updated on my adventures.
2/17/2012: I am trying to surround myself with supportive people in general. Whether it's pole dancing or whatever...I'm tired of wasting time on people who aren't worth it. I've been judged my whole life so it gets a little easier every day to ignore those who are saying things about me. So I can honestly say that my core group are very supportive of me. Mostly because, if they weren't, I wouldn't be friends with them!
10. Pole Dancing in the Olympics. Your thoughts?
1/28/2010: I absolutely believe pole dancing should be in the Olympics! I am so impressed and in awe at the amount of strength it takes to do what these women (and men -- hello Chinese pole acrobats!) are doing. When I'm watching videos, I swear some of them must have strings holding them up. But I know they don't.
I don't even have the words to express how awesome it is to watch pole dancing. If someone thinks pole dancing is inappropriate or dirty...put them on the pole and just ask them to pull themselves up and hold it for a minute. When they can't, THEN they will understand the amazing shape one has to be in to be a pole dancer!
2/17/2012: Barely a month after this post, I weighed in officially. And my attitude hasn't changed in two years. I'm not against it but I am not passionate enough about it to rally for it. http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2010/03/weighing-in-on-debate-pole-dancing-in.html
11. On your Facebook I saw that you had mentioned something about a contest involving a Fire Dept...Tell me about that!
1/28/2010: At our studio, Bel likes to give us fun assignments each month. The winner either gets a t-shirt or can take Bel's portable pole home for the week.
Around Christmas, we were asked to take interesting photos in our Twirly Girl shirts, so Rita and I took a picture with Santa (he was a good sport, you can see the picture on my Facebook page). I also went to Texas and took my Twirly Girl shirt everywhere and put it on for some really funny pictures (hanging off of Neptune's arm in Galveston...rocking a Bumpits in Houston).
This month, Bel thought it would be fun to take photos in our Twirly Girls shirts at fire stations with poles in them. They're actually kind of rare on the West Coast, which is part of the fun...finding them!
Anyway, I shot off a bunch of e-mails to local fire stations. I was honest about WHY we wanted the photos (we are girls from a pole fitness class) but promised there would be no monkey business (a couple of girls in jeans and t-shirts...no pole tricks or "stripper clothes"). Most fire stations turned us down. Some were polite enough and just said they couldn't help us (and they may not have had poles, so that was an easy "no" for them). A couple came right out and said that they thought it was inappropriate and wouldn't help us (even though they admitted to having poles). One station actually set an appointment with me and apparently someone higher up found out and e-mailed me to say we weren't welcome. Another fireman (who was referred to me by a friend) initially said he could set up an appointment and then came back the next day and told me he wasn't willing to put his job on the line for me (uh, not sure why standing in the station taking a photo would put his job in jeopardy). It was a very difficult day for me. I felt like they were making a moral judgment about my choice in fitness classes. And I was also irritated because all of these fire stations have websites that say they are open to tours with the public. Had I been dishonest and just asked to come in and take a tour, I'd have shown up in my Twirly Girls shirt and gotten my photos without incident.
I can somewhat understand where they are coming from (they don't know me, and who knows if I was really going to try to show up and pull off some shenanigans), I just don't like how most stations handled it. So, I was (and still am) disappointed and I feel very judged. Its now become less of a desire to win the contest at my studio and more about proving that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH POLE DANCING. The saving grace is that my friend's stepdad has a station with a pole and is welcoming us with open arms. So we have an appointment next month to come in and get our photos. We will definitely come bearing gifts -- shirts for the boys that say "POLE DANCING IS NOT A CRIME" and cookies! :-D
2/17/2012: A post from March 2011: http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/03/firemen-rock.html
12. What is "Twirl Around the World?"
1/28/2010: A side project that I'm putting together to have other people find fire stations willing to take a picture with their guys and gals (and if people don't have time to go inside a fire station, just stand outside...this is more about making people aware of pole fitness and less about fire stations).
I have a logo from our studio I can e-mail. Or, they can simply write "I heart Twirly Girls" on a piece of paper. Take a picture, and e-mail it to me at tazzie at yahoo dot com (with a short description about where they're from and who they are).
I want to mark them on a map and put their photo in a Facebook album. I am calling it the 'Twirl Around the World'! So if you know anyone willing to participate, please send them my way!
2/17/2012: Definitely still taking photos for this project if anyone is interested in participating! http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/10/twirl-around-world-update.html
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Pole Dancing Lori!!