... yes, being curvy has presented some challenges, but I decided early on that I was not going to let it be a problem! I've always been overweight, and yet I was a gymnast as a kid, and then a ballet dancer in college. I always figured I would just have to be that much stronger than the other girls to lift my body weight. Which in my head was no big deal. It's like lifting weights at the gym. Ok, so a 110 pound girl has less to lift than me. So what? It just means I have to be stronger - and isn't that cool? It became a little game I played with myself! All that is to say that ANYTHING is possible with enough desire and belief. I know for sure that curvy-ness need not be a limitation. And isn't it nice to show the skinny girls what's up? :) :)
I first saw Kelly Maglia Couture during the California Pole Dance Championship last year. Were you a clothing designer or pole dancer first?
I've been a costume designer for the last 10 years. I began designing custom costumes for "regular" dancers. This developed into a catalog collection, Triple Threat Dancewear, that I still run with my sister. Finally, once I discovered that there was a viable market for "pole couture", I launched Kelly Maglia Couture. Since then, I've been lucky enough to have my costumes featured on "So You Think You Can Dance", as well as in Dance, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, and Vertical Art & Fitness magazines.
I understand you also run Kelly Maglia Vertical Theatre. Tell us about that (especially when we can come see the next performance)!
Although I'm currently writing a full-length rock operetta, the next Vertical Theatre show will actually be a "rock and pole" cabaret. It's called "Once Upon a Pole" and it will utilize the various fairy tales we know and love to explore the pleasures and pitfalls of modern romance. I'm really excited to add men to my cast this time around, and I will be holding auditions soon. I'm primarily casting pole dancers, but I will also be looking for aerialists, hand balancers, contortionists, etc. The show will feature a live band and we're looking to open in May. And of course, I will design all the costumes!
I saw you perform recently at BeSpun for Pole Show LA 2012. Do you enjoy performing?
I do enjoy performing - but don't ask me if I do on the day of! Most of the time, I'm pacing around back stage wondering why I agreed to do this. :) I still get really nervous, and I have to talk myself off the ledge sometimes! But once I get onstage, I feel like I belong there.
What first drew you to try it?
Do you have your own studio? If not, where do you dance?
I do not own my own studio. I currently train at BeSpun and Cirque School LA, but I have been to pretty much every pole studio in Los Angeles. I spent a lot of time at X-Polesitions before they closed. I find that studying with many different teachers is the best way for me to learn new things, as each person will have a different style and will teach you in a slightly different way.
What else do you do to keep your body in shape to pole?
I cross-train in ballet, contortion, hand-balancing, and I've recently added hiking and strength-based conditioning to my regimen. Needless to say, I'm a little busy. :)
How do you feel like pole has improved or changed your life?
Words cannot even begin to express how pole dance has changed my life. I can only describe it as bringing me back home to myself. It feels to me that Vertical Theatre is what I was born to do. For a long time, I felt like I was wandering - dabbling in dance or music or creative writing. And then Vertical Theatre appeared on the horizon like a lighthouse. And I was home.
I'm a super nerd! I was that girl who cried over getting an A-. I also won a British Marshall Scholarship (which is the equivalent of a Rhodes Scholarship, but you don't have to study at Oxford) to pursue theatre in London. I love to 18th and 19th century British literature, the French language, social science, animals, and astrophysics. If I weren't an artist, I think I would've been an astronomer or a zoologist!
What does 2012 hold for you?
A new costume collection, and of course "Once Upon a Pole" - which I hope to showcase in a variety of arenas, including the Hollywood Fringe Theatre Festival and the Sunset Strip Music Festival. That will take us up to the Fall, and then I really will have to finish my rock full-length operetta. That's the show I've been waiting to write my whole life...