Thank you! Yes, 2012 has been incredible. I think my Pole Art piece and my USPDF piece were two of my favorites so far. They were both so different and only a 4 weeks apart so it was very stressful to separate the creative process in two and inevitably have to push one to the side to focus on the other. I did not want to neglect either piece even for a second!
For USPDF, I saw "Crazy Horse" in Paris in January 2012. Seeing that show brought me back to life in many ways. I had been in a drought of creativity for months. I had done USPDF Amateur, Pole Dance Universe and Pole Art and worked and traveled a ton. My well was dry. And it was sad. That is the worst feeling. I had nothing I wanted to create. No inspiration. Then I saw "Crazy Horse." The girls were unabashedly sexy and topless yet so clearly classically trained and refined in their dancing that I don't think I blinked the entire time. Every piece was more intoxicating than the last. The music went right through me and made me want to get out of my seat and into the studio and dance. So I bought the cd of songs and I was particularly attracted to the "Jungle Fever" piece - a desperate, wild, sexy girl trapped in a cage like a leopard in a zoo. My mind started racing with ideas and I knew I would create something with this. And months later when the deadline for USPDF arrived and I decided to submit (which was wrought with unnecessary drama fueled by the passive aggressive and dangerous viral nature of the internet. But I digress. That's for another interview!) I knew if I were accepted this would be my piece. This piece would be sexy, animalistic and fierce. Perfect for me, my style and for a competition I knew I had to try to devour. I labored for hours upon hours in the studio to choreograph the beginning and so much got left of the cutting room floor I could've created a whole other piece. Making choreographic decisions was really, really hard for this one. It took a very long time to put together. During the performance I channeled my inner caged animal and the sexiness and refinement of the "Crazy Horse" dancers. And every moment when I felt muscle fatigue and exhaustion, I chanted my friend's name who was going through chemotherapy. And her strength kept me going.
I think one of the best moments of the year was being awarded the winner and looking out into the audience to see my family, friends, students and colleagues stand up and cheer for me. They all help, support and inspire me everyday. And I had done them proud. Tear!
Being part of the USPDF legacy and being listed among Jenyne Butterfly, Natasha Wang and Alethea Austin is really important to me. We are all so different too, and I love that! We represent a diversity in styles and the inclusive nature of pole dance. Part of the USPDF legacy is to go to Australia and perform at the legendary Miss Pole Dance Australia competition. And that was one of the best experiences of my life! I love the Australian pole dancers so much. They reminded me, too, of something I often forget about - that pole dancing is a room full of girls in little outfits, high heels, being wild and crazy and free! And MPDA was by far the most amazing production I have ever been a part of! The opening number even had pyrotechnics!
I saw AERA perform Chasing the Sun in Los Angeles in June and it was an experience unlike any other. How did AERA come together and what does the group want to accomplish in the aerial world?
Well, you would really have to ask Kyra Johannesen! She is the co-owner of Body & Pole, who created AERA with her husband Kyle McBeth and aerialist Jen James. I'm so glad you liked "Chasing the Sun," that was a labor of love for all of us. We were so excited to show the pole world what we like to do—create performance art where we dance and interact with every element of the stage—the pole, hoop, hammocks, silks, lighting, sounds and even the truss. AERA forces me to be cross-disciplined and I love that. I look forward to whatever crazy gig is next!
I am so lucky. I cannot say that enough. What started as one pole in Lian Tal's living room has grown into one of the best studios in the world. It's become a destination for many who want to come to New York City and study at Body & Pole for a week or a month or a season. We have A LOT to offer — from a variety of pole classes to hoop, hammock, silks, ballet, flexibilty and more. I know people know Marlo, Kyra, Steven and Tracee but every single instructor is incredible and highly experienced in what they do. It is an extraordinary place to be and learn and grow.
What kind of food fuels a body like yours?
Clean, unprocessed foods of mostly plants, animals and water! When I am training, I eat eggs, veggies, chicken, turkey, fish. And repeat! I need carbs to get through training, like a banana, nuts, sweet potato or trail mix. I've also recently fallen in love with shakes - it's the easiest and most delicious way to get my veggie nutrients! My current favorite is: Kale, spinach, banana, orange juice.
Sort of! I feel like with my ipad and iphone glued to my palm I am always "working," even that means just connecting with people online, sharing my thoughts, posting videos, booking classes, etc. To me that's all "work," and thank goodness I love it. When I have significant down time, I am creating new programming, classes and workshops for both Body & Pole and my specialty touring workshops.