But wait! There’s more!

There’s more of my life I need to share with you. I am still not settled back into Park City – I’m couchsurfing in my own home town (not unlike last year – thank you, Lacey). Therefore, I can still consider this part of my trip in my travel blog. Besides, my adventures never end.

I told Emily just now that ‘this is was an Anna day.’ I slept well, woke up to a cup of chai tea, did my stretches, and then both of us went to the middle school to swim laps. It felt amazing. I didn’t feel like my muscles were getting worn out, but I was certainly breathing harder, a sensation I didn’t feel at all in San Diego or New Zealand. I miss exercising at high elevations, and I’m happy to be back to swimming! I am excited about the Masters Swim coaching on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings from 6:30am-7:30am and look forward to getting my first swim lesson in 20 years!

After our swim session the weather cleared up. The light snow ceased to fall and the sun shone transparently through the thin cloud layer. I prepared for the Studio Soiree Christmas Recital at Trails by choosing my music and outfit, then headed to Salt Lake City during twilight.

The recital went extremely well – I am so excited to see the ladies from the studio and meet some instructors from Pearl, another pole studio in Salt Lake City. To be honest, I planned my return to Utah around the December recital since I enjoyed the Rookie Night in August so much. I am going to continue my training, but will be careful not to injure myself again. I will focus on core strengthening and conditioning, and my goal is to prepare some choreographed pieces.

Oh, and my day finished up with one of my absolutely deeeeeelicious spinach salads!

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The End

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Emily and I arrived safely in Park City, Utah before 11pm MST, despite leaving Vegas after 12pm PST! We managed to avoid both heavy, damaging winds and snow storms. We ran into some snow cover on the roads in Cedar City, particularly chilly and annoying when we stopped at the supermarket and gas station. Emily drove three hours from Cedar City up to Salt Lake and I took over at the chain up area at the base of Parley’s. The air was chilly, but fresh and wholesome. 6,000 feet above sea level is where I belong!

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!