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!