Our grand opening is just around the corner and we wanted all of you to get to know our instructors better with a fun interview-style blog post for each of them. First up is Tara who is not only an instructor, but also the Treasurer of the Board and Program Director here at Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts.
What drew you to teach at Ascendance?
I was drawn to help build Ascendance out of a love for the Community aspect of Pole. I think community this sport/art's biggest strength and asset, and saw there was a need for something in the Renton area. While thinking about how we could foster community in a unique way, and to how encourage a place where students could fit in, grow, and thrive in their personal journeys (both physical and emotional), I wanted to center it around a different kind of studio model. After briefly entertaining the idea for a co-op, for better or worse, I helped push our little group into pursuing a non profit model and am excited about what doors that will open.
I'm looking forward to being able to have ownership in this project and to be able to be a leader in this space. We will be able to use our resources to invite and support people into our community who might not otherwise get the chance to participate in pole and aerial and that is very exciting. I'm looking forward to being able to teach and share with a whole new audience!
How long have you been pole dancing? How did you start?
I've been pole dancing for just over 7 years. I previously had danced ballet all my life in a pre-professional setting. I took a break to get married and focus on building my career and when I was ready to move again, I found Pole through a Groupon and never looked back!
What would you say is the biggest struggle or obstacle among pole dance students that you come across? What would be your advice to them?
I think the biggest thing I see student's struggle with is comparing themselves to others. You will never move exactly like another person, you do not have the same body, and you do not have the same flexibility/strength/proportions, etc. So stop trying to be someone else! Embrace you for you, enjoy your personal journey, and gravitate to what comes easy for you. In a similar vein, everyone always seems to be in a rush to nail that next trick. Set goals - yes! But don't be too hard on yourself if your progress looks different than others around you. Slow down and enjoy the moment and the movement you are currently in. With pole, there will never be finish line.
What is special in pole dance for you in your opinion?
I love Pole for the community. I've never experienced anything like it in any other avenue. With Pole, I've seen people instantly connect with others and be supportive in the classroom a very genuine way. It doesn't take too much of incredible support and optimism before people actually start connecting outside of class and true friendships are formed. It's so hard to make new friends as adults and the community that gathers around pole seems to help fill this very real need.
What has been your biggest challenge in your pole journey? How did you overcome the difficulty/challenge?
Taking time away from pole and coming back has been challenge for me. The first time I took a long break from pole, I had hip surgery and needed time to recover. Those 12 weeks felt like years! I was terrified I'd lose everything I'd worked hard to build. It was a temporary setback, and when I look back at it nearly 2 years later, I see it made me train in new ways that helped unlock new strengths and uncovered a new movement style.
Now, I'm coming back to pole after having my son and it's infinitely more challenging. More than the physical challenges, I find that this time I'm struggling with the mental challenges. I'm working through this headspace of figuring out who I am, what I want, and how all this relates to Pole. It's humbling, but is giving me new perspective and a renewed passion for beginners, and a huge appreciation for mothers and all the badass things they do. I'm still working to get back into my former physical condition, but I'm incredibly excited to love on myself through pole and to share in that excitement with new dancers and other new moms. I keep experiencing this over the course of my pole journey, but pole and the intention of movement can evolve and change depending on life circumstances. You might start for one reason, but stay for a completely different one!
What are you currently working on? What are your goals for this year?
My goals for this year are to work with my team and with the input of students to build an amazing community and set of classes and curriculum. I'm also working on finding my "new mom" groove and carving out more time to just enjoy dancing for myself again.
Do you have any pole idols? Anyone in the pole community who inspires you?
I adore many artists, but will never not watch anything Yvonne Smink creates. Her movement style is so incredibly unique, creative, and provocative in a very different way. You all should watch this video https://vimeo.com/274403640.