Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pole Expo 2014 from the perspective of a plus-sized pole dancer

There are a lot of bloggers in the pole world now (although shockingly few came to Pole Expo).  Anyone could tell you about everything that was going on at Pole Expo.  I'm sure every pole dancer's feed was filled to the brim with Pole Expo/Las Vegas shenanigans last weekend.  So rather than *just* talk about my weekend, I wanted to talk about attending Pole Expo as a plus-sized pole dancer.

First off, this year I was really excited (and strangely, somewhat surprised) at the body diversity at Pole Expo.  I don't want to say there were a lot of "big girls" (sorry, Roz, I just can't stop myself from using that phrase) at Expo, but there were definitely a lot more than the oft-seen tiny pole dancers.  There were also a lot of tall girls.  It was really cool.

That being said, of all the vendors at the event, I found ONE that carried up to a 2X.  I would like to give a shout-out to Artista Active Wear for thinking about us (they were practically sold out of plus sizes the first day, if that tells you anything).  Wink would take measurements for a custom costume, but there's something about impulse buys and walking out of the vendor hall with your purchase in hand.  Bad Kitty does carry up to XL on their website but only brought up to size medium for most styles to the event.  I know there were a few other places that carry up to XL but I still want to point out that Artista is acknowledging that life doesn't end at extra large.  There are pole dancers beyond that size and it can be difficult to find good 2X pole shorts.

I generally stick to floor workshops at events like this.  I know I am not advanced enough for pole workshops, and feel like I would be uncomfortable and lost on a stage pole with one to two other people in a huge room full of stage poles with one pole star trying to instruct us all.  Last year, I signed up for a beginner workshop and the first move they did was an inversion.  "Lucky" for me, I was in a boot post-surgery, so I had transferred my workshop to Robert.  If I *had* shown up, I would have been very disappointed.  This year I took Cleo the Hurricane's floorplay workshop and Michelle Shimmy's booty workshop.  Both had simple routines that were mostly done on the floor.  While both required more flexibility than I really have, I felt like they were simple enough for me to at least follow.  I may not have looked sexy doing either routine but I really enjoyed them both. 

In the free Expo room, Nia Burks gave a talk on the challenges of pole.  I believe she was discussing body diversity and acceptance.  I was in a yoga class, and was extremely upset I missed her.  I hope I can get into contact with her and am hoping someone videoed her piece.  I was very happy that I got to see Roz give her speech about affinity groups in pole dance.  She used black girls and plus sized polers as examples in her world, but she really touched upon why it *is* okay to have these affinity groups in the world.  [Watch that speech HERE.]

I was very happy to see Mone't from Sacramento participating in the burlesque showcase and the go-go contest.  She is a plus sized dancer who always impresses me with her moves.  [Watch her Star Wars performance HERE.]

I was also excited to meet Emma Haslam O'Toole from Britain's Got Talent.  I really admire her pole dancing and can only hope to be as strong and flexible as she is one day!  I'm really bummed I didn't get a photo with Roz and Emma.  I call us the trinity of plus sized polers.  I just want to pretend I am more epic than I am. 

So, now that I've given you my plus size highlights, I want to just tell you about how the weekend went in general.  First off, our very own Patrick from Twirly Girls Pole Fitness competed in the Pole Classic.  He did so well!  I was really proud of him!  [Watch his video HERE.]  The competition and showcase was on Thursday night this year inside the Pearl theater, which is so much bigger than Rain Nightclub.

On Friday, a few of us walked part of the strip to see the sights.  I'll include some photos below.  I also had my Cleo workshop.  [Watch hot video of our dance HERE.]

Saturday was all kinds of awesome [read sarcasm].  I felt like I was running around a little too much.  As soon as I got into the pool, it was time to go to a meet-up at the Adult Playground.  I went upstairs and immediately jumped on to a Fly Gym, which I have been on a bunch of times.  I flipped upside down once and realized it was too close to the ground, so I jumped out and made it higher.  I then leaned back again, didn't open my legs wide enough and immediately flipped out of the thing.  On the way down, I hit four of my toes on the wall behind me and smashed my face on the floor (giving me carpet burn on my face, bruising my cheekbone and cracking my neck pretty hard).  It knocked me silly but I jumped up and said I was okay.  Definitely as the day progressed, I realized one of those toes was pretty badly injured.  The bruise is fantastic.  I actually had an x-ray this week to find out if it is broken.  Mostly, I was just embarrassed that I pulled such a rookie move in front of everyone. 

Sunday was a little more relaxed.  I had my Shimmy workshop (which was pretty difficult with my injured toe).  [Watch video of the routine HERE.]  It is also the day I went home.  I had a 5:45 PM flight (delayed due to weather, once again), so I got to relax around the hotel most of the day.

I feel like I should have done way more than I did.  More workshops.  More free seminars.  More pool time.  More going out.  I need more hours in the day to do *all* the stuff!!  But I also need my 8 hours of sleep and time to recover from the workshops.  There has to be some balance.

In the end, I did have a great time.  I got to see old friends and make new ones.  We have outgrown The Palms.  Pole Expo next year will be at Hard Rock, which is closer to the airport and will be able to hold all of us a little better.  I believe Pole Expo had between 1,200 and 1,400 attendees this year.  In its third year, it has certainly grown into one of the largest pole events in the world.  I am happy I have been able to attend all three years to watch it grow and flourish.  Successful events like these help breed more success in the industry in general.

Did you go to Pole Expo?  Which vendors did you love?  Which workshops were your favorite?  I want to hear about your experiences below!  

Emma Haslam from Britain's Got Talent

Steven Retchless from America's Got Talent

You can't take us anywhere

Had to jump back on the horse immediately
Cleo the Hurricane

Shimmy workshop - photo by Nina Reed Photography
sad toe

Cowboy Wild and me at Caesar's #splitsontree

ahhhhhhhhhhh the sugar factory!!!!


  1. I'm so so jealous I didn't go this year!!! It looked amazing and your cleo workshop makes me super jealous it is so fun!!

    1. It was so much fun!!! Next year should be even more epic!

  2. Happy I ran into you! <3 Always lovely to see you, hun. xoxo

    1. I'm always so happy to see you! I wish I had commissioned you to draw me!! Next time!

  3. Thank you for posting the link to Artista Active Wear. I've been wanting some cute pole clothes and my studio tends to only have small sizes. I'll be placing an order tomorrow!

  4. I think I was sitting right next to you when you took that Cleo video!

    1. That's so funny! I need to start wearing a Confessions shirt or something. I've had a couple of people say they were in the same workshop but didn't realize until I posted photos or video. :)

  5. So jealous of all my friends from the online and Toronto pole community that made it to the expo. Hope your toe feels better soon... Thanks for sharing the link to Artista Active Wear I have a soft spot for anyone that supports our fellow plus size pole dancers as I used to weight over 200lbs and have struggled with my weight my whole life.

    1. Thanks! My toe is very stiff but the x-ray showed no break so I will be fine in a week or so. :) I'm happy to spread the plus size love for all to share! :)