January 25, 2010

i'm officially a Pole Master! (believe me, i already know all the dirty puns you can make with that title.)

so! the pole recital! as most of you know i've been taking pole for a while now. the way it works in our studio is that you progress through each of 6 subsequently more difficult levels of pole - eg, harder spins, crazier inverts and other tricks requiring more upper body strength, etc. - until at the end of level 6, you choreograph your own routine to a song of your choosing, and perform it. by yourself. in front of people.

did i also mention how with a lot of these complicated tricks, you're holding on to the pole with areas like your thighs, so you can't wear clothing that, say, covers your thighs? and instead you need to wear weeeee little shorts, in order to expose your tender thigh skin for better grippage? in front of people?

you can see where this starts leading to hyperventilation.

so our recital was this weekend, and... well. it was VERY STRESSFUL, let me tell you. saturday was a full day of Pole Recital Preparations, starting at 12:30 when several of us met to get our hairs did for the big day. my sole request to the hair stylist was "big." my hair is pretty much the antithesis of big (more "flat," "stringy," and "lifeless") so i figured if she made it huge and voluminous, it would be large-ish and with some hints of body by show time. she took me at my word, and i left the salon with about 8 lbs of hairspray in my hair and the biggest hair anyone has ever accomplished on me in my LIFE.

by showtime, i had my completely lifeless, flat, stringy hair back. le sigh.

but! the actual recital part! it was nerve-wracking and exciting and i think we had about 50 people crammed into our minuscule studio watching us. and it went pretty well, for the most part. except for the part where i fell on my head aaahahahahahahaaaaOMFG I FELL. ON MY HEAD. SERIOUSLY.

remember this handy visual display?

so, i'm actually pretty good at that part. doing the handstand is totally a mental hurdle to overcome, not really physically hard to do at all. it's the whole convincing yourself to throw your legs over your head toward a 2" wide target that's the hard part. but once i got that down, i've been handstanding to the pole like a fool. the only times i've ever not hit the handstand is when i've been too tentative and haven't kicked my legs up high enough, and then you just come right back down to where you started.

except! when doing this for FIFTY FRACKING PEOPLE, i straight up MISSED THE POLE. MISSED IT. and landed sort of crumpled in a little upside-down heap next to the pole.

i cannot even begin to explain how confused i was in that minute. i mean, i was adrenalined up to the point of heart attack to begin with, and coupled with the fact that it had NEVER HAPPENED before, i literally could not figure out what had happened. i knew where i was *supposed* to be, and instead i was somehow.. on the floor? what direction was i facing? what had just happened? WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW? holy crap, did i just FALL OFF THE POLE DURING MY PERFORMANCE??!?!?!!

i heard someone from my class yell "do it again!" and unable to think of anything else suitable on my own, i got up and threw my legs right back up, hit the handstand, and i think more due to shock than anything else, hit the MUCH HARDER move from there, which was to clamp on with my legs and hold, handsfree.

i realize this is the world's poorest quality photo, but it's basically a screencap from a grainy video that the wonderful marie was sweet enough to take for me during the performance. however, what's going on here is that from the handstand, i hold on with my feet, and let go of my hands. dudes. this part is HARD. (the handstand! it is not supposed to be hard. AUGH.)

ANYWAY. aside from that one teeeensy little hiccup where i FELL ON MY HEAD HAHAHAHAOMGKILLMENOW, it went fine. people still seemed to enjoy the routine, and despite my utter mortification, seemed somehow IMPRESSED with the fall, like it proved what i was doing was hard enough to, say, FALL ON ONE'S HEAD by accident.

(are all the caps adequately conveying my horror at this? i think probably. i'll try to lay off now.)

anyway. if i just apply a nice little mental block to that portion of the evening and pretend it didn't happen, i'm actually pretty pleased with how everything else went. i DID hit all the actual hard moves, i only blanked on my routine once mid-performance, and managed to cover it well enough that i don't think anyone noticed. plus, it was honestly fun to get to show off for my friends.

how about a few more grainy, hard to make out screencaps so i can show off to you guys a bit too? it's hard to tell, but here i'm about 4 feet up the pole, with both legs held out in a wide V to either side. (you can see the reflection of my right leg in the mirror.) one of my favorite parts of the routine was right after doing this: with my legs still out in that V position, i dropped straight down the height of the entire pole, landing sitting on the floor with my legs out to either side :-)

splay leg hold

ok, turns out it's hard to get screencaps of any of the spins, since.. you know.. i was moving all fast and spinny and stuff, but this is in the middle of a spin appropriately named the "flying body:"

flying body

so overall: this has been a super, super fun thing to do over the past year. despite the falling on my head bit (HAHAHAHAAAAA OMG STILL MORTIFIED) i'm really proud of myself for doing this, and i can't believe the amount of strength i've built up - doing this stuff is HARD, yo, and you need some serious upper body power to get through a 4:30 min routine of high-aerobic strength moves. upper body strength that i most certainly did not have going into this endeavor, incidentally.

for all you locals - they're opening up a new studio in falls church in march. you should look into taking a class :-)


  1. My roommate has been taking classes for about 3 months now. It's kind of funny to see her doing handstands against the wall at random intervals.

    I had a similar miss during a musical in high school, except it ending with me bending my legs too much thus ripping my pants at the back. Thankfully no one saw it.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  2. I worship you!

    Effing awesome!

  3. Damn, girl! I am *way* impressed!!


    (You should post the vid!)

  4. I heart you. You are my hero!!!!! :) Hooray for becoming a Pole Master!

  5. WHEW> This is crazy-impressive & also sounds, um, a little painful. But mostly impressive.

  6. This. Is AWESOME. Sorry about the falling on the head part, though.

  7. As a witness to the awesome pole dancing that Alice did on Saturday, I can honestly say SHE'S NOT GIVING HERSELF ENOUGH CREDIT.


    We were all in awe of her talent and ability to climb-up-pole-hang-there-flip-upside-down-slip-down-do-handstand-swivel-around-pole and holy crap it was just too awesome for words!!

  8. hee! I am laughing so hard! I can def feel your mortification, but GOOD FOR YOU for getting back up. I probably would have been too stunned to get it back together.
    Also giggling @ pole dancing in church

  9. I am beyond impressed.

  10. Most impressive! Hell, I was impressed you signed up for the class to begin with much less going and learning and DOING all that! Yeesh!

  11. Color me impressed. Impressed you got so far in the class. Impressed you were wiling to perform in front of an audience. And impressed you were agreeable to putting photos of it all on your blog. You are my hero.

  12. Oh, HELL YEAH. Love it. Love. It.

  13. Not for nothing, I think that you were exactly right about how the fall demonstrated the difficulty of everything you were doing.

    Congratulations on your completion of the classes.

  14. Dude, so so very cool. I was impressed when you originally signed up and I'm so happy that you got to this point. I'm sure it was great and impressive!

  15. I am very impressed and now I want to take a pole dancing class. I don't even think my Friend the Stripper can do that stuff. She just takes her clothes off and giggles. They might not even have poles.

  16. That is so awesome and totally impressive!

  17. Holy cow you are awesome. Congratulations!

  18. omg, you are a BADASS! I've been so inspired by your pole-dancing antics that I just registered to take a drop-in pole-dancing class. Presumably I will also fall on my head, but just doing the most basic moves. Like, uh, walking to the pole.

  19. I am beyond impressed. I already know I don't have the upper body strength to pull that off.

    So, is there an advanced class you can take now?

  20. i so so so so missed pole posts! and the MS paint demos! and my co worker just asked me what was wrong bc i snorted over your AHAHAHAHOMFKILLMENOW IFELLONMYHEAD bits. hil.ar.ious. and great job, color me v v v impressed.

  21. I am so impressed! You should see my eyebrows! They are WAY HIGH!

    Also, the classmate saying "Do it again!" was a GENIUS SAVE. That literally would never have occurred to me, that I could, like, do it again. Also, by yelling it out, it's like she gave you not only permission but an ORDER to do it, so that the whole audience would automatically see that that was the right thing to do.

  22. I cannot BELIEVE I missed this.

    That is all.

  23. Goddamn it. That last comment was me. Stupid blogger.

  24. a) rockstar

    b) superstar (I'm not sure if the two are different, but let's assume they are and you are both)

    c) badass.

    Now, next time we're at Royal Palace and that little lady that looks like a little dude challenges you to a pole routine, you will humiliate her.

  25. ::applause::

    Way to go, girl. I hope someday to be that awesome.

  26. I die laughing every time you write about your fall. and now I'm dying thinking about you writing about your fall.

    But those last two photos? Especially the legs out in a V one? Coming from someone who was once a gymnast and who knows exactly how hard that is, bravo. Seriously.

  27. Oh my! I am so impressed!
    I am a little bit bummed that we can't see you more clearly in the photos though!

  28. I bet so many people have fallen when doing that routine, that the audience didn't care at all!

    I am so impressed with this. I cannot even begin to imagine the strength you have in your upper body now! :)

  29. Nice job, despite falling on your head! I knew you could do it. Sorry I missed it though...

  30. I love you. Too awesome. Congrats on being a master of the pole (tee hee)

    As far as the fall, anyone can fall, but it takes a real woman to get up and do it again.

    Mad impressed. But I would expect nothing less.

  31. Holy crap. That is YOU? All upside down and flinging yourself around and such? I am duly impressed. Even if you did fall on your head. Well done.