Meet our Instructors | Catherine
We hope everyone had a great long weekend. We're starting this week with another board member and our CPA, Catherine. This will be her first time in an instructor role and we are excited to be a part of this next step in her journey.
What drew you to teach at Ascendance?
Our mission speaks so closely to my experiences with pole - I've met so many different types of people, gained confidence, strength, and feel when I'm in the pole studio - I can truly be myself. I am really excited we have the opportunity to make this experience more accessible to people in the Renton and surrounding area.
How long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?
I've been pole dancing a little over two years. I was close friends with Tara Steed and had seen her posts for years and years, but never found the right timing & bravery to try. Two years ago I mentioned to Tara I might try it out after my busy time at work, and she helped coordinate the timing of me attending an introductory course to take it along with a mutual friend that was also interested in trying it out.
What made you try Pole Dancing?
Boredom of the standard gym routine and sitting at a desk for over 12 hours a day. I needed to move and was moderately unhappy.
What advice do you give beginning pole dancers?
Remember that everyone starts at the beginning, so enjoy the process. Make friends with your classmates. HAVE FUN! Advanced students? I think patience with yourself and having an open mind is really important in this community. We generally don't become advanced students in everything - so give yourself some grace when things don't go your way.
Why did you start teaching?
I have always enjoyed helping others succeed or break down moves in class. It is really fun to see someone do something for the first time, and have a glow of confidence around them.
What is different about your teaching style that you think students are drawn to?
I will be teaching Pole Orientation starting this fall and it will be my first teaching experience! However, as I am planning on continuing to be a student as I teach, I am hoping people are drawn to having an instructor they will see in class along side them as they gain more knowledge.
What would you say is the biggest struggle or obstacle among pole dance students that you come across?
I've recently had a lot of discussions with people that have an interest in trying but are struggling to commit. What I've noticed is that the large majority are hesitant to feel vulnerable around others because they feel they are awkward or imperfect.
What would be your advice to them?
Do it anyway. It is that easy and that difficult, but honestly, there is so much beauty and confidence in letting yourself be vulnerable in a safe and supportive environment. If you can allow yourself to be brave enough to give it a shot, you will be so proud!
What would your advice be for students who want to find their own style in dance?
Music has always been important to me, so I think a lot of it can stem from what music you enjoy the most. When you're sitting in your car in traffic and the right song comes on, how does your body react? Next time you're in studio or dancing at home even, put that song on and just lose yourself to the music. The biggest hurdle here, in my experience, is to stop thinking and just move.
What are your feelings about pole dancing for fitness being associated with exotic dancing/stripping?
Pole dancing for fitness IS associated with exotic dancing/stripping! I don't know how we could separate the two. The real question here, for me, is that why is it an issue? Why, as a society, have we demoralized this industry so much? There absolutely are issues and real people being hurt within the industry, but we cannot sweep that under a rug. Instead, we need to continue to build up the community, bring confidence and self-worth to more people. Maybe if the lens becomes more positive, changing the issues and harmful things that happen will become the focus.
What are your thoughts about pole dancing being included in the Olympics as a sport?
This would be so cool!
What is your teaching philosophy?
I'm still building this, but my plan is to build a class where people feel safe, have fun, and give themselves a chance to try something new.
Where do you see Pole Dancing ten years from now?
I look forward to seeing the community grow.
What is special in pole dance for you in your opinion?
One in which I lose myself in the movement instead of thinking about what to do next or who is watching me.
What has been your biggest challenge in your pole journey?
Body awareness - like understanding how to move certain muscles to achieve a lift or move.
How did you overcome the difficulty/challenge?
Listening to as many people as I can explain a move to me. Then forcing myself to practice the move and not succeed as long as it takes until I finally get it.
What has been the most challenging move/trick to learn?
I have more difficulty with moves that require strength (as opposed to flexibility). Inverting into a chopper on pole, and basket hang are probably the moves that are proving to take the longest for me to acheive.
What is your favorite pole dancing move?
Ballerina on spin.
What is your greatest achievement so far in pole dance?
I am most proud of the confidence and the self-worth I have found. Pole helped me realize the level of unhappiness I was in, and gave me peace in times of stress. It also gave me the confidence to change my life to be happier.
What are you currently working on?
I really enjoy gaining more flexibility, so am pushing myself to train more in this area.
What are your goals for this year?
My goals for the year were: inverting into a chopper, gain both side splits, have a basket hang on the lyra, and do ONE pull-up unassisted.
Besides Pole Dancing, are you involved in any other activities?
I enjoy taking lyra and am excited to try aerial yoga. My dream is to someday learn silks.
What is your proudest moment in your career?
I can't remember a time I was more excited than the first time I inverted into a chopper
What has made you stick with Pole Dancing?
The way I feel after leaving the studio from taking class or being around the friends I've met while pole dancing.
How did people around you react when they learned that you were doing pole dance?
It has changed over the time I've been dancing. I honestly think a lot of it comes from the way I have presented it. If I'm shy and afraid of their opinion on it, I've had negative and disappointed reactions. If I am confident, unapologetic and excited about it, most people respond the same way.
Do you perform regularly?
What is the most important in a pole dance performance in your opinion?
That it makes the dancer happy.
What is your favorite pole workout wear?
I don't think I have a favorite brand yet, but I enjoy building an outfit I feel cute and confident in..
What are your other hobbies?
I enjoy learning how to take landscape photography photos, strategy board games and watching TV.
What do you do in your free time? Off the pole?
Usually I am lazing on the couch watching TV.
What is your all-time favorite song to pole to?
I don't think I have one yet. I do enjoy dancing to a slower tempo best.
Give us a sexy floorwork song.
PILLOWTALK by Zayn
Do you have any pole idols?
@tututara, @kpbueno, @kittenscratch, @dirtybirdy, @titojane, and @jordankensley ...to name a few :) Anyone in the pole community who inspires you? I think almost everyone in the pole community inspires me.