As it's the new year and it'll be two years at the end of this month since I started pole dancing I'll do a little review and set some goals for the next year.
I went to my first pole dance lesson at the end of January 2008. I'd started an MA course in the previous October, before that I'd had two jobs that kept me active. Transferring from that to no exercise made me feel terrible. I tried to get into some new sports and old ones I'd liked, but couldn't. I'd heard a lot of fuss kicked up about pole dancing from feminist writers and seen defenses of it from other writers and about that time I heard of two people who were friends of friends who'd started pole dancing. My now-former housemate and a friend decided to go for a lesson and I decided to join them. They pulled out, but I got the details of the class and trekked out across Sheffield to go to the class. I loved it. To my surprise, I picked things up easily and found them fun. I hurt for days afterwards and had massive bruises, but I felt great. It felt like a natural extension of types of movement I'd done all my life (I was lucky enough to grow up next to sub-tropical jungle - I spent the first 18 years of my life climbing things).
This year I entered three competitions and came second in two of them. That's better than I'd ever expected. I've managed to discover my own style of tricks and go further with it that I knew I could. I've taken classes with Sally-Ann Giles and Jenyne Butterfly. I've mastered a number of tricks I thought I'd never be able to do. I overcame my serious fear of the shouldermount and now love it.
This year I am going to be less tricks-focused. My initial learning of pole had a fitness slant, which is about mastering tricks - and for me, it can get a bit like going through a checklist. Having seen how pole dance as dance actually works I want to aim for that. I want to be able to do things gracefully and move smoothly. So, one of my main goals for this year is to work on my presentation. I need to make sure I point my toes and sort out my hands and arms so that they make good lines. I also need to work on my dance style more and get confident just dancing. I've been working on it for about a month now and it's already paying off - I feel quite happy about the last challenge I did:
My other big goal is to work on my flexibility. I am capable of getting front splits, I just need to dedicate myself to it, which is something I'm really rubbish at doing. I will try and get them by March on my good side if possible. To help this I've already started to go to yoga classes to improve my overall flexibility and to help me with technique. I'd like to get splits on my right side and box splits, but I'm certain they'll take a long time. I will also work on my back flexibility, which is the one type I have naturally. I want my head to touch my feet :)
Having said that I'll focus more on technique and transitions than learning tricks, there are two that I really want to be able to learn this year. They are the phoenix (reverse grab to twisted grip handspring) and to be able to handspring up the pole.
Now that my money situation isn't as completely dire as it was I will start taking circus classes. Greentop opens again on the second week of January and I'm dragging people to a trapeze class. My boyfriend's Christmas present to me was to buy me a place on an aerial silks and trapeze workshop at the end of January. I really want to learn trapeze, silks and hoops. I may also have a go at chinese pole.
Looking forward to the rest of 2010! I've sent off my entry for UKAPP this year and intend to have loads of fun making a routine for that!