Ascendance

Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts is a nonprofit studio coming soon to the downtown Renton, WA area.

Competition Tips with Kelsey

With competition coming up, we have some awesome tips from one of our very own instructors and fellow competitor, Kelsey, to share with you all as you prepare for Emerald, Nationals, or other pole competitions this year! She has participated in three pole competitions since 2015 and will be competing in the PSO Emerald Championship Level 5 category. We hope you find her tips helpful on your competition journey!

Kelsey PPC

1. Start early! They recommend you start three months in advance. I usually spend the first month experimenting with moves I want to do, then the second month I map those moves to choreography, and then the third month I just practice practice practice!

2. Try not to do new moves in your routine. Take something you have already learned and reinvent it for your routine. Maybe find a new entrance or exit to that move or a variation. Trying to unlock new moves usually adds extra stress to the process so stick with something your body is familiar with!

3. Ask for help! It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Find a friend and practice together, it will also hold both of you accountable for completing your routines!

4. Take care of your body! It’s very tempting to come in a practice every day but your body needs rest, make sure you are taking rest days, drinking lots of water, epsom salt baths, massages, or whatever you can to prevent your body from getting burnt out!

5. On the day of the competition, relax! This is all for you and your journey. Go out on stage, have a good time, and don’t worry about the result. You will have good days and you will have bad days. If something doesn’t go your way on competition day, then you try again at a different one! Be proud of yourself for being able to get up on that stage and show your community your passion!

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Meet our Instructors | Yael

Our next instructor feature is on Yael, who joined our teaching staff this year as well. Get to know her better below!

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What drew you to teach at Ascendance? 

 I am drawn to Ascendance for several reasons:  First, I was there for the inception of a big idea: That a feisty and determined group of pole people could come together and create something new and fresh, with an emphasis on diversity, inclusivity and seamless management.  We all have a shared goal of helping the pole and aerial industry move forward in a positive direction, changing for the better as the industry evolves. Together we combine years of aerial and dance experience, along with business  and other expertise to make something special. We've collectively created the most beautiful space I have ever trained in, and I am proud to teach all levels in our stunning studio. 

How long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?

 I have been poling for nearly 12 years. I started in 2007 at the encouragement of my Mom, who knows me really well. This was back when pole was a slowly rising "trend" and not widely understood or accessible to the wider public.  But she found an ad for a studio, and somehow knew I would love it. She was right. I took my first class and never stopped.   

What advice do you give beginning pole dancers? Advanced students? 

My advice to dancers of all levels is something  I regularly remind myself of:  "If you are going to doubt anything at all, doubt your limits."  This sentiment has pulled me through some really hard times with my practice, physically and otherwise over the years. And similarly, remember that the beauty of pole and aerial is that there are many paths you can take, and your journey is uniquely yours.  Whether you have been dancing for 2 weeks or 2 years. . . pole can and should meet you where you are.  And wherever that may be, remember that you are good enough as is, and your practice is worthwhile. Pole and aerial is a very personal journey and one that never stops changing.  

Why did you start teaching? 

I started teaching because I wanted to have a greater presence in the pole community, and start to share my knowledge and passion with others.  

What is different about your teaching style that you think students are drawn to? 

I'm really attuned to what is going on with my students. I meet them where they are, and help them through the emotional and physical task of learning. Whether it's a simple spin or a more complex series of challenging moves, my aim is to break skills down the way that I learned them, and make them as accessible as possible. I change how I teach depending on who I am with, which is a dynamic and intense undertaking.  With many years of practice, this is a skill I have intentionally honed, and I take a lot of pride in it.  I love teaching, and my hope is that passion shines through to those I work with. 

What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping? 

I'm a passionate supporter of pole in all it's forms. Pole is where it is today in part because of exotic dance. When I began in 2007, exotic and sensual dance was the main ingredient in poling.  And I was very attracted to that form of self expression, because where else can you find a safe and encouraging place for sensual dance in our arguably "prude" society? And it's entirely liberating to dance sensually, especially with other like-minded people!  As pole has developed over the years, the aerial and gymnastic aspects have skyrocketed, and I absolutely love that too.  Exotic style has developed significantly as well as more and more people advance the field.  I have been a witness to so much change and growth, and my main sentiment is this:  There is room for all of us in pole. Pole is an apparatus that can be used for any variety of activities, sensual, sexual or otherwise. And all of it is OK.  Do what you love, and maybe try something new as well.  And at the very least, have nothing but respect for our roots in the exotic, and choose to lift up those who work in that industry. They are our sisters (and brothers!) , even if we have personally never done anything other than take classes at a studio.  I firmly believe that modern feminism requires a rebellious streak that responds to raised eyebrows with "YES, I do dance sensually, provocatively, in heels, etc etc, and so what?"  We need to stop associating female sensuality as something to be hidden and/or shamed.  And even if you don't participate in exotic style pole for whatever reason, be supportive of those who do. 

What are your thoughts about pole dancing being included in the Olympics as a sport? 

I'm totally in support of pole getting into the Olympics. I think it's the ultimate honor for any sport. I also think we'll need to be careful to protect and value those in our community who might be marginalized by the rapid growth of pole as sport. Olympic pole will be but one facet of a very diverse group of dancers, and we need to be careful not to value one version of pole over another. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a new doubles piece with my dance partner for a gig in February!

Do you perform regularly?

I like to take the stage semi-regularly and my favorite thing to do is doubles pole!.

Share a favorite non-pole-life photo:

Here’s a photo of me and my daughter together, and she poles with me!

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Meet our Instructors | Vera Kim

We are excited to have our team grow as we start off 2019. As we catch up on our Meet our Instructors series, we’d like to start if off by introducing you to one of our newest instructors, Vera Kim! Get to know more about her below!

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What drew you to teach at Ascendance?

I was drawn to teach at Ascendance to join a team of individuals who are dedicated, passionate, and encouraging. I love the diverse, yet inclusive, community and that the focus is student-centric. Most importantly, I appreciate the safe environment provided for students to grow inside and outside the studio.

What would your advice be for students who want to find their own style in dance?

Spend lots of time freestyling! Notice your nuances and explore them further. Take classes from many different instructors and in many different styles. Take a non-pole dance class (ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, social, etc.) to gather inspiration. Find what feels good and listen to how your body wants to move naturally. You don't have to be 100% in line with one particular style. Don't be afraid to be different!

What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping?

I think it's important to recognize that the roots of pole dance are in exotic dancing/stripping. There are different styles of pole dance being developed and defined and sub-categorized each day -- all should be respected equally. 

What has made you stick with pole dancing?

For me, pole dancing is therapy! I get something new out of it artistically, physically, mentally, or emotionally on a regular basis. It never gets old; it's always exciting and challenging. Plus, I've met some of my best friends through pole dance. 

What is your proudest moment in your career?

Winning Exotic Generation Poland, Old School, 2018. It was an incredible experience from start to finish and it will go down as one of my proudest achievements. 

What is your favorite pole workout wear?

Flow Movement apparel by Marlo Fisken makes THE greatest pants to get your dance on. I feel like they're magical and they bring out some of my best pole flows. American Apparel bodysuits are great for slinking and sliding. Rad Polewear, Artista, Cleo the Hurricane, random stuff on Etsy, Yandy, and Dolls Kill. And of course, Pleasers. 

Check out Vera on our schedule and be sure to give her a warm welcome when you see her!

#AscendanceHasMyHeart | 2019 Valentine's Day Photo Challenge

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This year for Valentine's Day, we'll be holding a photo contest with V-day inspired moves and poses! We have poses for every skill level, plus there will be a bonus opportunity!

Rules: Photos and/or videos of your pose must be tagged with @ascendancestudios and #AscendanceHasMyHeart. Only posts with both tags will be considered for the drawing. Only one entry per pose (with exception to the bonus entry). If your account is private, we won't be able to see your post, so please be sure to send us a DM with a screenshot of your post so we can add it to the drawing! There will be a total of 3 winners selected by a random drawing. If you are in a photo with a doubles partner or larger group, note the entry will only count under the username it has been posted under.

Each pose is worth one entry. There is an opportunity to gain up to 6 entries, including the bonus entry below.

Poses include:

1. Cupid

2. Sit & heart hands (pole/lyra/aerial hammocks)

3. Doubles heart pose/embrace

4. Bow & Arrow

5. BONUS: Group of 3 or more in a heart shape (If you complete this with 3 or more people, you will get a total of two entries for this post).

Prizes include:

Prize 1: Room Rental for you, logo sticker, and a free class for your "Sweetie"

Prize 2: Three free Open Pole, logo sticker, and a free class for your sweetie

Prize 3: Grip aid, logo sticker, and a free class for your sweetie

a free single class to give to a friend - can be any class

This contest will end end on 2/14/19 at 12PM. Winners will be selected at 3PM the same day.

Good luck and have fun! We can’t wait to see your posts!

Reflecting on 2018

As 2018 comes to a close and we enter the New Year, we’d like to reflect on how grateful and thankful we are for our journey this past year at Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts. From our inception, to our grand opening, it has been such an incredible experience for all of us. We’d also like to share a few reflections below from our very own Board members.

“As we enter 2019, I am both thankful and excited. I am grateful for the commitment and hard work of Team Ascendance in launching our studio. We would not be here were without the sheer dedication of Ascendance's staff, Board, and volunteers. We are happy to have launched successfully in Renton, and thankful for the warm welcome from the City and the community as they drop by to take our classes. In 2019, I hope to see more of YOU - the community of Renton and beyond - as you consider taking up pole and aerial arts with us. We look forward to expanding our classes and making them more accessible by offering scholarships and pursuing partnerships with community-based organizations. “

- Cynthia T.

Coming together and building this studio has reinforced to me the power of the journey our students go through when they come through our doors.  It has been a while since I was a beginner, but I felt all of those first day nerves and growing pains all over again during our construction. We got outside of our comfort zone, learned new skills, progressed, laughed together, cried together, and came out the other end with a sense of accomplishment and achievement.  I’ve genuinely never worked so hard for anything in my entire life. There were days I wanted to give up and stay in bed and cry, but we got through it together.

At the end of the year, I look around at all we have accomplished and the love we have surrounded ourselves with, and I feel so happy and lucky.  I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be, or a group of people I’d rather work with. The new year brings new friends; new instructors like Yael and Vera, new students, new members of our community.  I can’t wait to get started!

- Maggie N.

It's been amazing to be a part of Ascendance growing from an idea into the incredible space it is today.  As I reflect back on 2018, I am still humbled by the amount of hard work and dedication it has taken to make this lofty goal a reality.  The day that the first students came through the doors made it all real, and every single one that has joined us since then has made every long night and build-out headache worth it.  As I look forward into 2019, I'm ready to blaze a trail into the great unknown of what a nonprofit pole studio can be!  We have lofty goals and aspirations, but with this amazing, dedicated team, I know our hard work will bring them to fruition!  My goals for 2019 are to build an outstanding daytime program that offers new and prospective students a variety of classes, and to develop an even stronger Aerial Yoga program for those looking to advance their cross training options. It's all so exciting!  I can't wait for 2019 to mark our first full year in business!

- Candace V.

Thank you all for your support during 2018! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has to offer. Also going into the new year, we have a few studio updates including a new schedule, new instructors, and a few updates to our policy (class minimums will now be at 2). Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates!