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Jessica is our Member of the Month!

Jessica - Defy Gravity

Jessica is one of our Unlimited Members so you can usually bump into her in almost every class! Which as an Instructor I am overjoyed about as Jessica always goes out of her way to say Hi to newcomers and make them feel welcome. Jess has a long standing horse riding injury, and because of this has had many challenges during her pole journey. Not that you could tell, as she always has a positive attitude at class and has attained 3 of her big goals: Really good flow when dancing, upside down leg hangs and a butt on the floor (ok, on a small yoga block) in her splits.
A true ambassador for Defy Gravity!
 
So Jess, how long have you been a Pole Dancer?
I’ve been going to classes at DG for about 2.5 years, and I love it! 

What made you start Pole?
Initially I just wanted to tone up, but the idea of a gym just didn’t inspire me.  Also pole has all of the sexy, you don’t get that on a rower!  I had heard about classes from a friend, and I’m so glad I decided to try it!  It’s a wonderful way to work out, gain strength and flexibility.  

What do you get out of it?
I’m not a natural dancer, but I’m amazed at how much more ‘flow’ I have now compared to when I first started.  I love learning the dancing as well as all the tricks, and there is a perfect balance of both within classes.
 
Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?
My advice for anyone thinking of starting out is to just go for it!  It took me a year to pluck up the courage, for no good reason!  For those starting beginner/improvers. I know some weeks I found I had reached a plateau as far as improvement went, and if you find yourself in the same place, don’t let it dishearten you
 – another level of progress is just around the corner, and it’ll happen sooner than you think!   
And definitely get the shoes!

Do you have advice for the Intermediate pole dancer?

Advice for inters?  For me I found dipping back into the beginner/improver classes now and then is beneficial.  When we’re upside down or working on bigger tricks and bolder spins, it’s easy to forget the pretty basics, they’re all still important.

Pole dance is the only form of exercise I have stuck to, the atmosphere in the studio is always positive and we have so much fun!  Jamie is a mesmerising dancer and a wonderful teacher who gets the best out of every single student, not only on the pole but in the RLNA classes too.  I’ve noticed such a massive improvement in my strength and flexibility since joining DG, and my waistline is also trimmer, all good stuff.  Give it a go, nothing to lose and you could gain a whole load of awesome!

Interview with a Pole Dancer! With Samantha Hughes

This week, with the run up to the Authentic Pole Dance competition in June. in Interview with a Pole Dancer, we ask Samantha Hughes about her upcoming competition experience. Samantha attends the Advance classes and Rockin' Legs n Abs at Defy Gravity.

How long have you been a Pole Dancer?

I first became a pole dancer in October 20013 when I joined Bangor Uni Pole Society. And I have to say, this has been the best year and a half ever! Every time I was down about Uni work or anything, I would either hop on my pole or watch some YouTube videos and it would immediately cheer me up.


What made you start Pole Dance classes?

A friend of mine had been pole dancing for a while and kept putting up photos of her new moves on Facebook. It looked incredible and I could see how fit she was which made me want to give it a go. I didn’t know of anywhere to learn so the idea sort of went to the back of my mind until I saw the BUP stall at the societies fair at the beginning of my 3rd year in uni. I immediately signed up, only to be told that all the spaces had been filled! I was first on the waiting list in case someone dropped out, and luckily for me a week later I had a phone call telling me that a space had opened up for me! After my first lesson with Tracey (Pagan’s Pole) that was it, I was hooked. It rapidly became the highlight of my week, and I took every opportunity possible to practice. It wasn’t long until I purchased my very own pole so I could practice at home. Pole has given me so much confidence, not to mention my overall fitness! This is the only type of exercise that has ever been able to get me off the sofa and actually enjoy being active!

What made you decide to compete?

By nature I am quite competitive. But more than this, I just wanted more opportunities to practice and perform and really progress. The first competition I was in was the Inter Uni Comp in Essex. We had heats to decide who would perform, and I was lucky enough to be picked as part of the group we took. This was such a brilliant way to begin competing, as it meant that (being a beginner who had never performed before) I could rely on the advanced members of our group to lead the creation of the routine, having had experience of performing before. After this I got the taste for competing and couldn’t wait to do it again. The next competition I performed at was the All Wales Championships in Conwy. I didn’t compete this time, instead myself and my doubles partner opened the competition with doubles routine. This was such an honour for us, and it was such a thrill to be kicking off such a great competition. The next competition I am competing in is the Authentic Pole Competition in Wigan. This will be my first solo performance, which is both scary and exciting!

What do you get out of it?

It is such a good feeling to be standing on stage, gasping for breath and beaming from ear to ear as you hear the audience clapping and cheering you after a great performance. And nothing will get you more motivated to practice than knowing there is a competition fast approaching!

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?

It’s easy to be disheartened when you first start out, seeing other progressing faster than you or watching videos of incredible polers and thinking ‘I’ll never be that good’, but trust me, you’d be surprised. If you had told me when I first started that in a year and a half I would be able to half the things I can do then I would have probably just laughed. Don’t get me wrong, it will take a lot of work, and you’ll probably have days when you feel like you’re not progressing, but if you really want it, you’ll make it happen. And with just a little work you can see such massive accomplishments! So go for it, take a chance and you may surprise yourself!

Do you have advice for the advanced pole dancer?

Compete! You’ve clearly got the skills and dedication, or you wouldn’t have made it to this level. Just work hard, and never give up. This is just the beginning of an amazing journey!

 

Interview with a Pole Dancer! With Lauren Red

This week, with the run up to the Authentic Pole Dance competition in June, in Interview with a Pole Dancer, we ask last years Professional Category Winner Lauren Red, about her competiton and love for pole.
Lauren owns Flight Fitness in Leicester http://flightfitness.co.uk/

How long have you been a Pole Dancer?

I have lost track! About 6 years I think?! I was very on and off at the beginning as studying at uni and volunteering for lots of different charities took priority that's probably why I can't really remember!

What made you start Pole?

Ballet and dance have always featured strongly in my life and I carried them on while I was at uni. However I was too advanced for the adult class and was put into the advanced one class alongside a lot of 15 year old girls. As I was much older than them they didn't take very kindly to me and I felt really unhappy going to classes there. One of my friends had started doing pole dance classes and asked me to skip ballet class and come along to see what pole dance was like. I really struggled with fear and strength at first but what made me come back time and time again was the fact that everyone was accepting and supportive of eachother - everyone clapped when someone got a new move or when someone really tried hard. I had never experienced that before and absolutely loved it.

What made you decide to compete?

When I first started competing was the only way to get on the stage and perform. My instructor at the time suggested it and I just went for it as there was nothing to lose really! I'm glad I did as it was such a great experience!

What do you get out of it?

Competing for me is a chance to get on stage in front of an appreciative audience. I used to perform a lot at club nights and corporate events and just experienced indifference or abuse most of the time. It made me question why I was busting a gut until 5am when people didn't even care! So competing is my way of performing to people who appreciate what I have to offer. I don't always make it to the final or win but I enjoy the process and the challenge of pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?

Stay positive, don't compare yourself to anyone else - everyone moves at different rates and struggles with different things. Enjoy the process, don't race to the advanced moves or feel pressured to be doing certain things. When I judge competitions I would rather see simpler moves done in a clean, controlled and safe way than advanced moves that are messy / unsafe / wobbly.

Do you have advice for the advanced pole dancer?

Always play and experiment with linking things together. For example an old move can become new when teamed with a new exit. Set yourself little challenges (how do I link these two random moves together etc.) and never neglect your stretching!

 

Maintaining your pole dance lifestyle

Moisturiser -
Pole Dancers skin takes a battering, what with pole burn and the occasional bruise. (Bruises get less and less the more you pole).  Moisturiser is banned at class (as all Pole’rs know) Even self tanning the day before can cause problems. Moisturiser from your arms, legs and hands onto metal is super slippery, think about it. Think about those sharing a pole with you, and the ones who have classes after you. But it is really important to moisturise when you’re not Poling.

“But I Pole all the time???” I hear you cry! Not when you’re sleeping. So do what I do, oil bath/shower before bed. Wash it off well in the morning. Even wash the bath/shower in the morning before you get in! It’s strict, but its worth it. I use Aveena Bath Oil, smells amazing, makes the water all cloudy so you can pretend you are Cleopatra in a milk bath. I also like bath melts and massage bars by LUSH.

Look after your skin, very dry skin will not grip the pole, and battered skin does not feel fun during tricks.

Sleep/Rest Days -
If you’re anything like me you love sleep but hate rest days? Both are important for recovery. Also if you have a One2One/Private class booked, plan your week so you will be ache free, not tired and ready to make the most of that training opportunity.
I try to get one alarm free lie-in a week, it seems to heal a lot of niggles from that weeks training. Especially if I twin it with an oil bath the night before (see above).
Rest days are annoying, but you’ll know when you need one; When stretching does not feel good, when your arms refuse to lift you nicely, and when training that day feels like a punishment for your body rather than you and it working together.
When you feel your body is yelling “Whhyy, I thought you loved me??” then take a day off…or at least cross train! Bit of gentle Yoga wont hurt ;)

Protein -
Your muscles need tearing down in order to built back up even better than they were before. What makes you think they can do that without help, in the form of protein?  Be good to them and feed them the stuff they need. Find a protein source that suits you, and if you do not eat meat, essentially take Amino supplements , and maybe also B12 and Iron.
I am currently loving Purition Wholefood Protein, which is available at class.

Time management/ training -
Block out slots of time, ahead of time and stick to them.  Not only will it help your pole ability increase, but having a weekly practise gives you much deserved time for yourself.  Time to get selfish, its all about you. There are two main types of home training:
1) Trick Training- Go Hard or Go Home (you’re already home so you have no choice but to go hard!) , this training makes you feel like a boss, smashes goals and makes you buzz with your success for hours! No amount of chamomile tea can bring you down from this high. You have been warned night-owl polers!
2) Dance and Floor - Lights low, shoes on, in front of the mirror. This type of training is therapy. In my opinion every single woman should have a pole at home for this reason.  This is all about dragging those shoes across your floor, swaying your hips, leg twirls, cat crawls and checking out your curves in the mirror and lounging upside down for ages, or in a sitting layout.  Side effects are increased self-esteem and self love, and that solid secure feeling of knowing what you’re worth.  Bliss.

Your home pole -
My favourite out of all my 8 pole’s is my home pole, old style screw together  xpole 50mm (with a P.S top plate- it’s a bit of a hybrid). I am 5`4 and can touch my ceiling when I am on tip toes. There is 3 and half foot in one direction from my pole to my bed (3 of my feet literally, I stepped one foot in front of the other  to measure this), 4 and half from my pole to my mirrors, about the same from the pole to a wall, and enough room for me to lay down from pole to bedroom door.  So don’t come telling me you have no room for a pole at home. I find the only maintenance I need for it is to hoover around it. So…that’s all I have to say about this part. Buy a pole, dance on it for life-simple. Oh, and also put it up and down YOURSELF! I know the new Xpert Xjoint design is a bit confusing at first but once its done, its done. No woman needs to rely on a man to find beams or put up a pole.  There is only one main difference between a man and woman and that part does not help at all when it comes to putting up xpoles!

Training clothes-
If what you wear for pole already makes you feel like a queen then congrats, you done it right. If not, then either root around your wardrobe for a better option or make an investment.  Your shorts need to be short enough for pole sits and lay-backs, and flattering enough to show off your pole dancer butt.
Bad Kitty USA make good shorts, so do Wink UK and Mika Yoga Wear. For the more daring among you, try Yandy.com or even Dreamgirlshopping.co.uk
Unless I’m performing I have a sports bra on , every time. Cleo the Hurricane sells `crop tops` that work like very secure sport bra`s if you want something cool. Although there are some types of Shock Absorber sports bra that look very pretty and not boring and sporty, too!
Lastly for uber cool tops and t shirts either look again at Cleo’s website, or if you are not easily offended, the Merch page on defygravity.info. My best selling t-shirt on that page is not for the sensitive. At the same time, I don’t know many Poler’s in the UK who does not own one. ..or two. They are even being used as prizes in the goody bags for the competitors at this year’s Authentic Pole Dance Competition. As with everything Defy Gravity- Adults Only, please.

 

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Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor
Defy Gravity - Jamie Taylor

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Certified Pole Fabric Instructor
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