That awkward moment when a new student says, “What should I do to look like Jenyne Butterfly?”

Uhhhhhh…. dedicate 5 or 6 years of your life to pole and develop a taste for pain?

...not quite Natasha Wang yet, is it?
…not quite Natasha Wang yet, is it?

For somebody who’s literally never been on a pole before, I felt like it would be mean to let her think getting to that level is anything but extremely difficult and physically painful. (Think back to your first pole sits–remember how much that hurt? And how annoying it was that it didn’t even look impressive?)

This is what bugs me about pole, kinda–I’m really, really glad people like JB are rocking out and getting respect for our sport. But, people like her are essentially Cirque de Soleil performers. They’re freashishly masterful. FREAKISHLY.

And I feel like people don’t understand that. So you’ve got the people on one hand who equate pole with stripping, and the people on the other hand that see Jenyne Butterfly and think, oh, okay, she’s a few classes in.

I mean, I have a pole at my house, I teach beginner classes 3 days a week, and I practice on my own at least 3-4 days a week. And only now am I getting my knees straight on aerial stuff. After a year and a half of total obsession. A clean climb and nice, straight layback are the only things I have in common with JB’s aerial stuff, and I freakin’ teach (though, to be fair, my classes are completely on the ground, and I’m quite proud of my clean, consistent spins, transitions, flow, and floor work… or I wouldn’t be teaching it).

But I don’t think a new student wants to hear about that stuff. They want to skip walking and go straight to inversions like Jenyne Butterfly.

Oy.

On somewhat related note, do you guys feel like there are two camps of pole: spin girls and strength girls? If so, I’m definitely the former. Are you one or the other? A tasty blend of both, but with a secret favorite? You can tell me, I won’t say anything, I swear.

It’s funny, I remember watching a lot of Leigh Ann Orsi (I think she has a new last name now…) on YouTube before I started dancing, and being totally bored with the upside down stuff. I just wanted to see her walk and pirouette. Even though she’s at a serious competitive level now, I still like her early videos best because she flows like a MOFO. For me, it’s really the distinguishing characteristic of pole from other forms of dance… the way you move around it is just hypnotic. Gah, still gives me chills.

Is that weird?

(Yes, probably).

(I’m okay with it).

Anyway, I can’t wait to post a video of me busting my ass trying to teach myself an iguana hold, but I left my camera cable at work. So until tomorrow…. here’s a video of Recent Leigh Ann Orsi doing her thing. Which is apparently a shoulder mount flip into a split. Jesus Christ I hate everything.

Happy twirls!

Cathy

6 Comments

  1. Yes to all that! I am totally spin, not strength. I’m not even sure I WANT to excel at all the fabulous aerial stuff, but I do need at least enough strength to make what I do look effortless so that’s my goal and what I’m working on.

  2. I’m definitely in the strength category. I tend to excel at anything that involves muscling up or tearing off your skin- and not so great at anything that requires coordination or grace. It is a work in progress for sure.

  3. I feel like spins and flow work require a lot of core strength (mainly for posture while you’re spinning!) and body placement awareness… which I think comes easier to me because of my background in bellydance. When you do a lot of isolations, it’s not hard to focus on where each body party should be at any given time, even in motion. But there’s also a lot of moving parts (literally!) so I can see why people have a hard time with it.

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