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From Couch to PoleCon

Growing up in the ‘90s was, to put it lightly, a little counterproductive when it came to healthy living and fitness. We’re talking about a time where pre-packaged, over-processed foods were in their prime and marketed as “healthy” options, the idea of a fitness routine required flailing body parts in strange dance moves in your living room, and the general population started to find technology, landing them pretty permanently on their butts! This is a dangerous combination, made even more dangerous by becoming the normal routine for young kids across the country..

So there’s little me: Eyelids peeled back from staring at the TV for too long, Dr. Pepper cans and food wrappers littering the room around the worn in butt-spot I haven’t moved from in hours, and that night’s Ramen Noodles getting all toasty in the microwave. Little me does this (and nothing else..) for YEARS.

Now fast forward a decade and a half: Bigger me has no idea why she’s so big or why it’s so difficult to get into shape.

If only I knew how completely pole dancing would change my life! I went into this little pink studio just over a year ago looking for a new way to work out or, at least, someone to tell me what the hell I was doing wrong in my weight-loss journey. I was 25, over-weight, had practically no physical experience or abilities under my belt, and thought I would never achieve even the most meager of goals I had set for myself.

Pole Dancing has been so, so much more!

It’s fascinating and unreal; hypnotic and sexy; strong and sultry. A pole dancer can truly captivate and amaze.

And the best part? You don’t have to have an athletic background to dance, learn, and be a part of this amazing community. I could barely walk around the pole on my first class.. No, really, the walking was difficult.. I, naturally, have no rhythm, my body doesn’t respond in graceful ways, and I was WAY behind in the fitness game.

None of that mattered. I was instantly accepted and made to feel like I COULD do any of those things; it was all up to me now.

So I kept going, kept trying. I would create a goal for myself, actually achieve it, and make more. The moves are progressive, skills can grow quickly, and it is addictive. A year in and I’m hooked. I want to compete.

Wait, whaaaaaaaaat??? That lazy lady that took the elevator every chance she could for 20 years is going to participate in a physical competition?? Well, eventually… YES!!

One thing I truly love more than all other aspects of the Pole world is this: It’s not years of experience or what you have coming in that makes you a pole dancer, it’s the passion and what you put into it. Now, as a competitive hopeful, this is what I think I’ll need to put into it:

  1. That passion! You know the one I’m talking about! It keeps you up at night watching YouTube videos of Polers under the covers, it makes working at a job feel like time taken away from that move you COULD be working on, and it gives you dreams of traveling the world just dancing and spinning the night away.
  2. Ok, so I can’t pull off a Bird of Paradise (yet!!!) but you just give me some time!! Every day is a day to get better. Every day is progress: a little bit lower into a split, a little bit higher in your climb, a little bit longer in a sit. This is another one of those things I love so much about it! Have you ever seen such beautiful, difficult, STRONG, painful goals that you just NEED!?!? Yea, me neither!
  3. Flexibility; not just of the body. Pole has taught me that dancing requires a flexible mind just as equally as flexible hamstrings! You have to believe you can do these things and bend your will in order to tell your aching forearms that YOU GOT THIS!
  4. This one is tough. Not all of us have the soaring confidence we dream of; but that doesn’t mean we can’t. Confidence gives you the freedom to move to the music, find your voice, and interpret your own internal choreography so those around you can feel your presence. Definitely something worth working on every day!
  5. Thick skin! I mean that completely literally! Like OUCH, guys, seriously! But damn does it feel good.

What do you think it takes to be a pole competitor?? What have you overcome to get to where you are now? And where do you want to go with this fantastical movement that we’ve all been so lucky to find??

I’d love to hear from all of you and talk to you more about this thing we love! Check out my own personal blog: Suspended in Motion at www.suspendedinmotion.com for conversations on all things aerial, nutrition, and the struggle to make yourself just a little bit better than you were yesterday.

 

*Photo of Oliver Pavick performing at PoleCon 2015

Ashley Mann

Ashley Mann

Ashley is a very hopeful pole beginner that fell in love with all things aerial at the amazing Twisted Bodies studio in Denton, TX. While she doesn’t have any previous dance experience, she makes up for it with genuine passion and a drive to one day be a fantastic pole dancer. You can read in on her journey as she attempts to go from awkward to graceful aerialist in her personal blog and open forum, Suspended in Motion.
Ashley Mann

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