PoleCon 2012

The first major stop on World Tour 2012 is the International Pole Convention in Los Angeles, California!

While I don’t have any photos of my own to post, I invite you to see some of the performances on YouTube (though online streaming never does a true performance justice) to see some incredible talent! I would like to congratulate both Ravan and Charlee, both of whom I trained with in Salt Lake City, for winning first place in the mens and womens divisions of the Masters Cup held at Circus Disco in Hollywood, California on Thursday June 21st.

During winter 2011-2012 I was privileged to perform at Studio Soiree’s winter recital and train for four months at Onyx (the studio formerly known as Pearl). The convention was a fantastic opportunity to see my friends and instructors from Utah, as well as meet new people from all around the world.

My main focus at the convention is to meet people at different studios and see what they are up to. The creativity of the performances far exceeded my expectations, especially the costumes, props and choreography of the group performances. During Roz’s performance I decided I definitely need to make a trip to her studio in Brooklyn, New York!

Many of the convention attendees came all the way from Australia, or have Australian roots. I was greatly amused by the costumes and showmanship of the Japanese performers and was happy to see a good showing from one of my favorite countries. A small percentage represented South America, and I believe someone in the audience said they were from South Africa. There were probably a decent number of Canadians, but it was difficult to tell since they tend to blend in with Americans until they finish their sentences, or ask what all the fuss is aboot. ❤

I managed to collect a few business cards from pole studios in Boston, Connecticut, Boise, Tokyo, Calgary, and a few other scattered locations. I want to put them on a huge map and connect the dots during my travels!

Although I wasn’t in the market to make any big purchases, I perused the clothing selection. I was impressed by the craftsmanship of Pole Skivvies and fell in love with Zoraya Judd’s style of clothing and accessories (think Renn fair meets pole dancing). I did purchase 2oz of Dry Hands, and copies of two magazines, Pole Dance International, and Vertical Art and Fitness, in the hopes of one day submitting my writing to the pole community. Being paid to report on competitions or pole communities in other countries doesn’t sound like a bad career objective at all!

Pole Con 2012 was a huge success and a great kick off to my travels!

Catching Up in Queenstown

I spent a few days in Queenstown catching up with friends and doing what I love best – dancing!

Reavers Lodge, Hamilton Rd, Queenstown

A huge thank-you to Paula and Graham who welcomed me back to Queenstown. I enjoyed the company of their lovely family and a yummy pumpkin lasagna! They also referred me to the Reavers Lodge, where I stayed for three nights.

A lovely Dorm Room with Ensuite

Reavers Lodge is a newly renovated hostel on the North end of Queenstown just up Hamilton Rd. Todd, the owner, set me up with a beautiful 4-bed dorm with ensuite and fridge.

The hostel has a hot tub in the courtyard, a clean kitchen and common area, and views of the town. It’s also a quick 10 minute walk (or 5 minute jog if I’m running late!) to the Pole Studio, Fresh Choice (the supermarket open til midnight) and Mediterranean Market, a gourmet supermarket. The lodge is also only 10 minutes from Shotover St in the other direction.

View of Queenstown Hill

Back of The Remarkables Ski Field in the Distance

I was delighted to get in a refreshing lap swim on Wednesday morning, and dance classes on Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Friday night. Queenstown is a place where I can’t walk around for very long without seeing a friend! I serendipitously found Gretchen and Nate at Dux de Lux on Wednesday night, and Sam and Ruth at the ANZ bank of all places!

Wish I Were Up in the Sky...

I met up with Sandy and her new Queenstown friends for drinks and dancing all night at Tardis and Debajo and enjoyed an afternoon of sun bathing by the lake! Queenstown welcomed me back with 20C afternoons and bright sunny skies!

I looked into mountain bike trails, and am keen to buy a used bike when I return at the end of October!

Ann, Claudia and Sarah (and Al of course) were the only co-workers left up at Good Group when I went to the office to visit! When I walked past the bars I didn’t even recognize anyone! Yikes! Time to make new friends when I spend the month of November!

Well-deserved Ferg Burger after Dancing at Debajo until 4am!

Two new additions to town are Gasoline Alley, a bar by the wharf which features pole dance performances by students from the studio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, and the Ferg Bakery, for your late night pie fix! The venison and portabello is quite tasty – yum yum yum!

Tofu burger with Avocado, Chipotle Chili sauce and Lemon Yogurt - Yum!

I decided to try the Holier Than Thou (Tofu) burger with the toppings from the Bun Laden (Falafel) Fergburger, after a night of dancing to drum and bass and house music! I haven’t had the chance to dance to music like this since… last time I was in Queenstown. I love it here!

I also managed to catch the Australia vs USA game at the Cowboy Bar, a bar which had opened just weeks before I left Queenstown last year. Can’t beat $3 draft beer, a saddle for a bar stool, and a bunch of rowdy Americans and Aussies!

I’m excited to return for the month of November! See you then, Queenstown!

Bet you didn’t know that I’m a Pole Dancer

Great abs, self-confidence, new friends, and toned arms are only a few of the reasons why I began pole dancing in Queenstown last year. I discovered the Queenstown Pole Studio last August when a group of my friends who work at Coronet Peak got together to have a ladies’ night at the studio.

Anna Ashton does a phenomenal job of making beginners feel welcome at her studio and offers a progressive six-week beginner course every few months. She varies her classes so everyone can work on something at their own level, and gives positive feedback and treats every one of her students like the star that they are! Anna teaches yoga, dance choreography, more advanced dance and aerial classes, and provides open practice time on Saturday mornings.

Pole dance studios foster a great sense of community amongst their students, and the best part of training is that every time you come to class you find you can do something you couldn’t the day or week before. It’s addictive!

Studio Soiree, in the Sugarhouse suburb of Salt Lake City, is where I train back in Utah. The studio is larger than the one in Queenstown in that it has two pole rooms, and a wider range of courses and instructors. On Monday nights I love to shake it in Rebecca’s Belly Dance class, and get new bruises holding crazy aerial poses in Alexa’s Tuesday night Intermediate Fundamentals class.

When I first introduced myself at Studio Soiree they asked me how my training in New Zealand was different from the American style. The names for the spins and holds vary between countries and studios, as well as the thickness of the poles, and the studios’ focus in their classes. Anna’s studio in Queenstown features poles that switch between stationary and spinning with the simple turn of an allen key, and her choreography is about half and half for each technique. Studio Soiree offers a variety of classes centered on cardio fitness and conditioning, and invites men to join the Pole Core classes. The pole is used for exercises that strengthen the core muscles, like a vertical pilates class!

Women of varies sizes, shapes, backgrounds and points in their lives come to try out pole dancing, and most women love it! What’s almost as enjoyable as my own training is seeing the other girls who work so hard on their dance routines and moves, and welcoming new women into the studio. I see women who are nervous and confused transformed into dancers with self-confidence and grace in their movements.

Since joining the Dance Club in University at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute I have made dance an important part of my life. At RPI I would attend an hour and a half jazz class, an hour hip hop class, and then run back to the lab to complete my experiments for the night!

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions in the world – both of my parents have been pressuring me to become a science teacher for years! – and I am considering completing a level 1 Instructor Certification course and sharing this fun and flirty form of fitness with the gorgeous women of the world!