I’d been attending the weekly classes for about 6 weeks when I got moved from the beginner pole to the intermediate pole. Some of the others who I’d started with also moved across. We’d been learning the basics really – spins and a couple of skin grips. Other than frequently being covered in bruises, particularly on my knees, I was really enjoying it. I could feel my upper body strength improving all the time, which considering it was non-existent when I started, wasn’t bad at all. I was struggling with one particular move though – Carousel. It was my nemesis and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get it.
The girls in the intermediate group were all really friendly and we all spurred each other on to try new moves. It was at that point when I first inverted – for those who don’t know, inverting is when you go upside down on the pole. Given how accident prone I can be I definitely had my reservations. With help from the instructor, I managed to do it. The sound effects that accompanied my first invert went something like ‘wwwaaaaaaarrrggh’ followed by lots of giggling, followed by me sliding to the floor in a heap.
I really learned a lot in that group. My favourite move was the Fallen Angel. I felt safe in that move, and I really liked how it looked. Plus it was great for your abs! I was still having issues with the Carousel spin though. I was getting so worked up about it. It seems that everyone has that one move that they really struggle with and Carousel was mine. I tried for weeks and months to get it and then one day it just clicked into place, and I was able to do it. I don’t even remember how long it took me to get it, but it was a long time! It’s still one of my least favourite moves and it’s certainly one of my weakest.
In November 2009, I went along to watch the Essex Pole Dancing Competition, which is organised by Pole2Pole, and takes place annually. The competition is a chance for amateur dancers to showcase what they can do in a competitive environment. It was great to see the girls from the dance school in healthy competition with each other. I got a lot of inspiration from watching them and it made me want to learn and improve even more. I’d never been to a pole dancing competition before, and I got the chance to see Sally-Ann Giles perform. As the British Isles Champion of Champions, she was incredible! And it was an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved with hard work and super human strength!!
By Christmas I’d moved onto the advanced pole. Whilst I didn’t consider myself an advanced dancer, I was improving a lot by having the experienced girls give me tips to improve my moves. In January 2010 we moved to a new studio. We were still the same group but by this point we’d all got to a fairly similar standard of dancing, as well as built up a great rapport with each other. It meant we were learning as a group and had a good understanding of what we were all capable of. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We socialise outside of classes and I would consider them all friends, rather than just people I go to a class with once a week.
As a group we had started to work on more difficult and advanced moves. It was collectively what we wanted to learn. A particular one I had been trying to learn was called Brass Monkey. With a lot of help, I’d gotten into the final position, but I hadn’t been able to do it alone. The move required quite a bit of flexibility in the lower back and a strong straight leg Fallen Angel. I was quite confident with my crossed leg Fallen Angle, but not so much the straight let. On my first attempt alone, I managed to completely lose the grip in my legs, slipped from ¾ of the way up the pole towards the floor. I managed to get my arms out in time, but I hit the floor on my elbows with my back arched…it hurt. A lot. Since then, I’ve tried it a couple of times and been unsuccessful. It’s knocked my confidence with that move, but I will get it one day. It’s become ‘that move’ which I really want to be able to do confidently.
To the present day, I am still learning every week, and building up my strength to improve on spins and tricks. I always look forward to the Wednesday night class. I’ve also entered some competitions to challenge myself and also so I can demonstrate what I am able to do.
That’s basically the whirlwind story of the last 2 years as far as my dancing goes and you’re a bit more up to speed on where I started and where I’ve got to! I’ve also entered some competitions which I’ll tell you all about another time
Much love x