Only A F*** Boy Can’t Handle A Badass Pole Dancing Woman

La Femme Suite

Unfortunately, the internet is literally the wild wild west…and high school, or even, the Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too . People steal other people’s photos and create memes to spread fake news (that people unfortunately believe), illustrate stupid points, to be funny, or all of the above.

I’m not going to lie, I have posted memes, and have definitely laughed at many, but I do it in jest if the point being made is harmless or silly, never at someone else’s expense. Sadly, a lot of people don’t use that type of discretion. In the name of taking things too far, or trying to be funny, or to get clicks and followers, they post dumb shit like what you see above.

The person who posted it is a “comedian.” Based on browsing his social media for all of 5 seconds, I assure you he’s not funny, and is frustratingly getting the attention from this that he intended, so I’m not sharing his name. I don’t usually read comments because I don’t like being reminded how many children have been left behind, but I did this time because I knew a meme like this would attract all the fuckboys who have dumbass philosophies on life and love. I intended to laugh, but like,no. How can you when people are dead serious about this harmful way of thinking?

In fuckboy world (also known as Ashies or the Basement Boy Collective), “How to Get a Man 101” means that women are to treat men who ain’t shit like the king he is not by putting him on pedestal, fixing his plate, having amazing sex aimed at solely pleasing him, turn a blind eye to his cheating, and of course, being able to cook. Because, yes, ladies, these skills are how you get and keep a man–communication be damned, just be cute and stfu, and your relationship will be fine. It don’t matter that he ain’t shit because he’s a man, and you should be happy that someone with a penis is interested in you at all because that’s what your life is all about. Do your duty as a real woman so that you don’t become single and bitter like all these pole dancing hoes out here who can’t cook.

Okay, obviously I’m being facetious. But like, the sheer stupidity of this school of thought, and memes like this are in abundance, and it boils my blood. What this is, is a misogynist who saw women, especially black women (don’t think the subtle shade with the women in the cooking class on the bottom being white went unnoticed), being happy and deciding to TRY to shit on it. Meanwhile, women who pole dance are all like:

And like:

And like:

And like:

NYC’s most recent elevatED grads. This is what happened when we were told to be fierce 😂😁.

A photo posted by gangstarrgirl (@gangstarrgirl) on

We are amazing and confident and anyone who has an in depth conversation with a poler will walk away from that conversation understanding how much pole has actually changed lives (it has helped me overcome an eating disorder, for example, or has even given women the courage to leave abusive relationships, and much more). Men pole dance too, yes, but let’s focus on women for the sake of this asshat meme since it’s women being shamed.

I’ve met women who were doctors, scientists, teachers, and so much more who pole dance AND can cook, because the ability to cook isn’t taught in class (seriously, how many people do you know have actually taken a cooking class because they “needed to learn” how vs. it being a hobby?), and paying for pole classes vs. paying for cooking classes are two completely unrelated points, as if someone can’t do both.

Do you see how one dimensional these fuckboys are? They are literally cavemen. They are the men who when you ignore them when you’re walking down the street who probably follow you, curse you out, or tell you that “you’re ugly anyway,” aka, no one who is sane or has her self esteem in tact would want them. Sadly, some women who have been indoctrinated by patriarchy believe them. These are the women that keep these Basement Boy’s hopes and dreams alive so much that they think they’re kicking knowledge “or getting the conversations started” with backwards memes.

Meanwhile, women like us wouldn’t give them the time of day. That’s what this is about. “I see an woman who makes me feel even more insecure, so I have to make her feel small.”

Womp womp.

Fuck off, Mr. Fuckboy.

Those of us polers who are happily married know what grown, secure, mature and well-adjusted men are like. Speaking of grown and mature, “wifing” is very high school and college concept (#ByeFelipe), and anyone with half a brain understands that women don’t exist to cater to male entertainment and entitlement. Not everyone wants to be a wife, or in a relationship, and staying married is definitely about more than just cooking.

So take your fuckboy philosophies back to your mama’s basement. Ladies, iron x, shall we?

P.S. The top pic in the meme above is at La Femme Suite in Harlem.  Check them out, or come take classes with me Tuesday nights at Sweet Water Dance and Yoga.

8 Common Mistakes To Avoid When You Are A Newbie Pole Dancer

Starr

Pole dancing is an addictive excellent workout. You build upper body and core strength, learn how to make incredibly difficult strength moves look graceful, and develop a sense of camaraderie with a unique group of people who understand what you go through. Newbies may find it hard or overwhelming to approach the sport. However, pole can be simplified by avoiding these 8 newbie mistakes when you start you are a newbie pole dancer.

Underestimating It

Sometimes people underestimate how hardcore pole dancing is. This is especially true for people who are athletic, or have an athletic background. Prior or current physical activity can be helpful, but pole is pole, and it requires a different approach than anything you’ve probably ever done. It requires a lot more strength and patience than you realize, so you are still going to have to work hard. You will also get bruises calluses, and be sore in places you didn’t even know could get sore. Check your ego, and be prepared to get your butt handed to you at some point. It’s all part of the process.

Underestimating Yourself

People often seem to think that they already have to be strong in order to do pole dancing, but nope! One of the major points of getting involved in pole dancing is to build up strength. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do pushups, or pull-ups, or that you don’t have a six-pack, or that you’re “too big.” Everyone has to start somewhere. For the record, there are plus sized pole dancers, petite pole dancers, deaf pole dancers, and pole dancers who are missing limbs (true story) all making it work! So, no more excuses!

Doing Too Much Too Soon

Pole newbies tend to be really eager to learn, which is good and bad. What’s bad about it is that newbies sometimes try to do moves that they may not have the muscle strength for just yet, like choppers, for example. Choppers are usually the first on-the-pole inversions that pole dancers work toward, but the right way to get into a chopper is to lift your knees with your core, not by kicking into it and haphazardly trying to throw yourself over. Some people may be able to chopper after only a few classes, while it may take others a full year. Pole dancing is not a race. It’s better to have correct form and strength than an injury so, be patient, cross train so that you can build up the appropriate strength for certain moves, and practice. Think about it this way: You have to crawl before you can walk, you have to walk before you can run, and you have to run before you can fly.

Not Getting A Spot

Get a spot anytime you feel unsure of a movement. Your instructor will be happy to assist you.

Using Incorrect Form

It’s important to have the proper amount of strength and know what your points of contact with the pole should be because this is what assists you with executing moves. If you practice with incorrect form, you won’t nail your tricks properly, or you could hurt yourself.

Comparing Yourself To Others

This is something all pole dancers struggle with at every level. Understand that what works for your body works for your body. Everyone progresses at different rates, people have different builds and flexibility that can affect a move so work on your own time, whatever that may be.

Not Checking The Pole Before Using It

How many YouTube and Vine compilations have you seen of pole dancing fails, probably a lot, right? So, yeah, be vigilant and check how secure that pole is every single time you get ready to practice. Give it a good yank!

Not Wearing The Right Clothes

Experienced pole dancers wear less clothes as they get more advanced because the skin is a point of contact, but newbies tend to overdo it. In the beginning, you can get away with wearing a shirt or longer shorts, but stay away from full on pants. You can wear your sweats for the warm up portion, but when class starts, make sure those pants are at least above the knee so that you can hook the pole with your knees without slipping.

 

Grunty Crush of the Week: Keeley Alvarado on How to be Fierce

Keeley Alvarado Pole

My first introduction to Keeley Alvarado was at the 2014 Dangerous Curves Competition. She competed and won with a sassy, dynamic piece.  I loved her attitude and style, and was happy that she took the crown. The multi-talented Austin, Texas-dweller does photography, works as a customer services representative lead, and teaches pole and heels classes. I caught up with her to chat about her life in pole and defying body size stereotypes.

When did being active start to play a major role in your life, and what benefits have you seen?

I have always loved being active.  In high school I played basketball and swam.  My first year of college I was Texas Crew, but I stopped exercising on a regular basis during my second year in college.  I picked back up again after loosing my job in January 2012, and it all started with pole.  I saw a change in how I saw myself.  I would have never seen myself on stage in a revealing outfit and heels 5 years ago.  Being active again allowed me to find a confidence in myself I never had before. My body can do amazing things and I love it now.  Yes, I want to continue to improve on it, but now I use it to inspire people, and to do amazing things I never thought I could.  I attribute all this change to the form in which I got back into being active, pole changed my life.

How did you get into pole dancing and what was that path like?

I took my first pole class with a friend of mine in September 2011.  She talked me into taking a class with her.  I remember being so shaky and nervous before class.  I was surprised to not feel as awkward as I thought I would, and fell in love with moving my body again.  In January of 2012 I joined a studio and my pole journey began.  I have been hooked ever since, never going longer than a week (unless I was sick) without having that piece of chrome in my hand.

At what point did you transition from pole student to teacher and what has been some of the most rewarding things about your teaching journey?

I knew I wanted to inspire people after my first few competitions.  I received amazing feedback.  The feeling was amazing, and I knew I wanted to share my art with people.  My best friend, main pole instructor, and lead instructor at my studio, Dez Raven, eventually pushed me into getting my certification.  Dez had confidence in me, and it helped me have confidence in my potential teaching/inspiring abilities.  I got XPERT certified last year (February 2014) and stared teaching in March at my home studio, Inner Diva Studios.  I had been wanting to teach for awhile, and help instill a sense of confidence that pole allowed me to feel, to other women. It took a little push, but I couldn’t be happier doing what I do.  Hearing from women that I allowed them to open up, or do things they never thought they were strong enough to do is an amazing feeling.  I feel that the most rewarding moment was being booked for my first private.  People invest a lot of money in you when they book a private.  I feel if someone feels that I’m worth that much of an investment, then they are looking up to me, they see me as something of value.  I never imagined anyone would pay to have an hour alone with me. The fact that they do means people out there respect me and admire my work and that me means the world.

What’s the trick to slaying in heels, especially Pleasers?

Heels, in my opinion, are the most amazing part of poling.  I never thought I would be more comfortable in heels, than bare feet.  Honestly I took to it as a natural.  However, the trick is practice! Anyone can slay in heels if they put enough effort into them and practice.  I used to walk around my apartment for practice.  When  you have heels that hot, you want to wear them all the time! Practice can make anyone a heel savant. Another key to working those heels, get used to using that little dip by your toe, it makes pirouettes so much easier, the shoes are designed for dancing in!  Work that dip and practice. Heels will always be my first true love, just don’t tell my husband!

One concern that many women seem to have about pole dancing and many other forms of fitness in general is that they’re “too big.”  Was this ever an issue for you? How did you get over it?

Before my first pole class I had so many thoughts, my heart was pounding as I walked into class.  I remember Googling what the weight limit was for  the poles were, terrified that I weighed too much.  I thought I was going to be turned away at my first class because I was too big. Of course I wasn’t, and I am forever grateful for that.  I was welcomed with open arms, (thank you Ember!) I was hooked after my first class, and I stuck with it.  I think getting through that first class is how you get over it, you realize you didn’t die, no one was judging you, and most importantly you had a ton of fun.

What are some the most important lessons you’ve learned about yourself throughout your pole journey?

That I’m sexy, even at a bigger size.  That I have the right to feel sexy.  Pole hurts, A LOT, but I can push pass the pain because it is something I love.

What activities do you do to cross train, if anything?

I recently started a bootcamp class that I go to 3 to 4 times at week at 5:30am ugh!  I am also going to be starting private weight/strength training with a trainer.
What’s your diet like and why does it work for you?

My diet is my weak spot.  I do not eat like a should, I drink beer and eat cheese  (yuuummmm queso)!  However, it is something I have been making improvements on.  I have started cooking more at home and eating out less.  I recently did the Whole30, and went 25 (Super Bowl Sunday and all this yumminess had me end 5 days shy of making it a full 30) days with no dairy, no bread, no added sugar, no legumes, no alcohol and minimally process foods.  I felt fantastic while I was on it, it helped me with my relationship with food and I carried over a lot of what I learned.

Please share some advice for plus-size athletes who may be interested in competing, performing and simply exploring a new journey in pole or any fitness activity, but feel apprehensive due to their size and/or body type.

Go for it! I will never forget my first competition, which was also my first solo performance.  I was hooked afterwards.  That feeling when you walk off stage is so amazing.  You may not feel confident or comfortable in your own skin now, but pole will change that!  Also, invest in your pole wear.  I felt like finding clothing that was pole appropriate in plus size was so hard when I first started, and that is when you are feeling most vulnerable and uncomfortable.  I recommend Artista Active Wear for shorts and tops.  They carry up to a 2X, which is something you don’t see with most fitness apparel companies.

What’s next for Miss Dangerous Curves 2014?

I have a lot of pole related things happening this year and I’m so excited.  I am doing photography and modeling in a apparel shoot soon for Artista Active WearFirst. I get to travel to Nashville to watch Miss Pole Dance America.  Being a lover of heels, I am so stoked about the people who will be there performing. I will also be performing with the DC Family at the International Pole Convention in Louisiana in June.  I’m competing in Dallas, Texas in July at the Southwest Aerial Art Championships, and I will be submitting to compete in Miss Texas Pole Star in October.  I’m looking forward to all these awesome performance opportunities, and being able to continue to share my love for pole!

Keep in touch with Keeley:

keeley1123@gmail.com

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Grunty Crush of the Week: Phoenix Kazree Wins Pole Art Italy

Phoenix Kazree

Phoenix Kazree, the woman who is responsible for creating the Titanic pole move, is an Uh-mazing pole dancer who just won first place at Pole Art Italy over the weekend. She kilt it. Not killed, but KILT that ish man!!! Watch her in action below:

I pray to the pole gawds that one day I will be as fluid and amazing as Phoenix Kazree.

First, I have to get that Titanic, though. I’ve tried and it wasn’t pretty. Anyway, congratulations Phoenix!

Grunty Crush of the Week: Ilov is a Sexy Beast

S Factor

Ilov (pronounced “I love,” and yes, that is her real name)  is a siren. She oozes and owns her sensuality, something I discovered the minute she started speaking. We met a couple of months ago at a Nomadness Travel Tribe meet up where she lead us wanderlusting ladies in a two hour session in Intro to Pole at S Factor. This was the most unique pole experience I had ever had because the focus wasn’t so much on doing spins and working toward tricks, it was about being present, aware of yourself and allowing the music to guide you as you moved with purpose on the floor, on the wall, on the pole–it was about taking up space and spreading your energy. I am someone who over-thinks and gets really self  aware when it comes to dancing, and I have a hard time freestyling because of that. However, I left Ilov’s class feeling inspired to take more free dance type classes. It also helped that her music was amazing. Keep reading to find out how she went from a corporate job to the full time world of teaching movement.

What was your first introduction to pole dancing and how did you fall in love with it?
My introduction to pole dancing happened in 2007 when I took an intro class at Shelia Kelly’s S Factor New York and I was in love by the time the class was over. The experience of being in my body, the fun of the pole and the awesome dance demonstration by the teachers of where it all could lead had me hooked from the very beginning.

Explain how you shifted from the corporate world to teaching pole. 
Initially I was doing both. I worked full time in the financial industry and taught one class a week. Then the company I worked for went under and I decided I’d had enough of the corporate world and picked up more classes. It was the best decision I ever made and I’ve never been happier in my work life.

How has pole dancing enhanced and/or changed your life?
The more obvious changes are physical. My body is more toned, more flexible and I’ve never been stronger. I also find it very difficult to ride the subway without succumbing to the urge to spin around on the poles instead of just holding on to them for support.

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What makes S Factor different from other pole studios?
The biggest difference is that S Factor classes are without mirrors and the lighting is low. Slow movement is encouraged to get you out of your head and in to your body without judgement. The focus is placed on the emotional journey of your movement as well as learning pole tricks.

 

You mentioned that you weren’t flexible at all when you started pole dancing so how did you manage to improve?
My flexibility began to improve from just taking class once a week. I paid attention to my form and breathing into my stretch more than just trying to get through the challenging moves.

 

What else, if anything, do you do for conditioning and keeping yourself active?
I’m developing a yoga practice and just recently started going to the gym for cardio. While I know this will all benefit my movement, the main reason I started was to be more attentive to what my body needs in this stage of my life.

 

It’s obvious that you are not only a music collector, but you seem very intentional in putting together your playlist in order to invoke certain moods so, how do you find and curate your music for classes?
It feels like I get music from everywhere… movies, tv shows, students, cars blasting music on the street. Shazam is my best friend and there are a ton of forums for pole dancers to share music that works. I listen to music with my body more than with just my ears. If there’s something in the song that makes me want to move sensually then I know it’s a winner for class. When I’m making a playlist I think of it as a seduction. First I want to make you feel relaxed and comforted, then I want you to get lost in the sultriness of it all until you feel compelled to surrender to the seduction.

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What are three of your favorite songs to freestyle to at the moment?
Right now I’m loving “Creeper” by The Acid; “OG Bobby Johnson” by Que–I just can’t get this song outta my system–and “Drive (Part 1)” by Ben Khan.

 

What’s your diet like and why does it work for you?
I don’t necessarily have a specific “diet” but I make healthy choices when I can. I’ll use raw honey instead of white sugar, drink water instead of soda, have a salad with my steak instead of fries. It all depends on my mood. I’m happier when I eat what I want so that’s what I do (in moderation). Sometimes chocolate cake is preferable to fruit.

 

What else are you working on (shows coming up, workshops, etc)?
Right now I’m working on the next installment to my lap dance workshop series. Lap dancing is my favorite element in sensual movement so I’m always playing with how to take it to the next level for myself and my students. Past installments were “Finding Your Comfort Zone” and “Master Moves”. The next one will involved chair to chair communication with specific intention and will launch in late January in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

What’s your latest pole victory whether it’s new trick or even landing a show? 
I’m getting better acquainted with spinning pole. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to explore and now I’m learning to translate my static tricks and having a dizzy blast.

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What’s your intention for the rest of the year?
I’m spending the rest of the year reflecting on all the blessings in my life and expressing my gratitude to those who’ve been instrumental in me receiving those blessings.

Want to take class with Ilov? Get in touch!

grate.ilov@gmail.com
FB: facebook.com/ilovgrate
Twitter: twitter.com/ilovgrate
ilovgrate.wordpress.com

Grunty Crush of the Week: Danielle Christine Gets Poleitical With Aerial Arts

Poleitical Clothing
Credit: Alloy Images, From PPC 2012

The last time I wore my “Keep Calm and Pole Dance” shorts from Poleitical Clothing, a woman in my class told me that my “ass looked nice in those shorts.” That is the ultimate compliment for any pole dancer and it almost always happens when I rock my Poleitical Clothing gear. I don’t even know how I discovered the Los Angeles-brand but I think it had to do with me getting sucked in to their Instagram page via one of many pole related hashtags, and the rest is history.

At some point in my pole journey, I joined the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association and came across Danielle Christine. I remembered her name from handwritten thank you notes that I received with  my Poleitical Clothing purchases and we’ve been e-friends ever since. We haven’t met in person but I like her energy so I reached out to chat about her career as co-owner/co-founder of Poleitical Clothing, owner and blogger at Poleitical Diaries, blogger at Bad Kitty Exotic Wear, and her passion for pole and lyra.

Danielle and Marlo Fiskin wearing Poleitical Clothing. Photo Courtesy Danielle.
Danielle and Marlo Fiskin wearing Poleitical Clothing. Photo Courtesy Danielle.

How did you get into pole dancing and what is it about pole that has sparked your passion for the sport?

I got into pole around 2006, when a friend of mine invited me to take a class that her friend Tara was starting – it was a combination of life coaching and erotic movement. The focus was really on coaching women through blocks they had in the areas of their confidence, sensuality, sense of self, etc. I found the classes to be transformative. My initial reaction, before signing up, was one of distaste and judgment, but after a while, it dawned on me that my reaction was so strong that it was weird. I took a step back and asked myself why, and it became clear that I was scared of the class. So, I immediately signed up for it. While the classes had more floor work and coaching than crazy pole tricks (we did some spins, that’s it), they remain one of the most influential and powerful experiences of my life, and I am happy to say that it brought some amazing people into my world (one of which is now my editor at Bad Kitty!). After Tara’s classes ended (she moved away), I was out of the pole world for a bit. This was after S Factor had begun, but before the advent of pole as fitness, so there were not a lot of options available. After a couple of years of not really doing much with it, I noticed that I was feeling disconnected again, and I started vaguely looking for classes. I happened to share a friend in common with a pre-USPDF Natasha Wang, and on a group outing, we got to talking about pole. She suggested I check out The Pole Garage in Santa Monica, CA. I started classes there almost 4 years ago, and have been poling pretty consistently since that time.

As far as my passion for pole goes, I think the thing I love about it is that it is always different, and there is always more to explore. There is something for everyone in it, and you can consistently challenge yourself with some new aspect of it, so it’s never boring. I love the experience of working on something that seems impossible one week, and seeing the change a few weeks later. I’ve never experienced anything with such a rapid return on investment.

I started lyra about two years ago, when I was in a pole rut. I had plateaued and was really frustrated, so lyra was a welcome break! I took to it really quickly, and have been in love with it since day one. I started at Evolve Dance Studio, and now train at Aeriform Arts.

Lyra
Credit: George Grigorian

Describe your polerina style.

I’m really into freestyle movement right now, so I have loved exploring those classes, although my schedule doesn’t always allow for me to go to them. It’s invigorating, challenging, and freeing. I did not grow up a dancer or a gymnast, so I don’t have that sort of natural athleticism or movement, and it’s been a bit of a struggle for me to find what is mine to do. Freestyle movement is closer to what I love, which is storytelling. I was an actor for many years, and I will always be an actor at heart, so I am working to develop that craft in dance. Freestyle helps with that, as it opens up areas I hadn’t thought to explore. I guess, though, if you were to watch me free dance, I’d think you’d see me as a floorwork girl. I don’t get on the pole that much, as pole combos aren’t natural to me. I don’t flow from trick to trick, I have to work at it, but I can roll around on the floor like a boss.

Speaking of pole, tell me about your popular line of apparel.

Poleitical Clothing is a partnership with my friend, Courtney Rheuban. We were both students at The Pole Garage, and we met through a Facebook group for the studio. We had been joking about how we wanted t shirts that said, “Keep Calm and Pole Dance” on them, and one coffee date later, we were starting a company! We began in mid-2012, and debuted the line at California Pole Dance Championship that same year. I credit Courtney with a lot of the drive behind the initial creation of the business – she had experience in fashion and in starting a business, and I was just along for the ride and excited to be there. As we’ve developed, we’ve grown into our roles: Courtney handles a lot of our “business” end, with financials, wholesale ordering, etc, and I’m more of the customer contact, social media, and design side. We collaborate on each of our designs, going back and forth on possible ideas, possible products, and my background in art and design (college) comes in handy with sketching out our ideas. Our personal styles are very different – Courtney works in fashion and has great, fun, stylish taste, and I am way more casual/all over the place. Mostly, I am a jeans and white t shirt girl. I think our goal is to select wear that we find cute, but also comfortable, and we’re very careful to look for things that will look good on most figures. One of our long term goals is to expand into larger offerings, particularly with plus sizes and men, and I personally would love to begin making our own clothing, as opposed to printing our designs on sourced items. I just need to learn how to sew, so I can make some prototypes.

 

Who is responsible for the designs, and what type of preparation went into launching your

company?

Courtney and I will send each other ideas pretty consistently, and we have a backlog of ideas that we’ve saved up. We try to debut something new a couple of times per year, whether it be a new style of clothing, or a new art design. Once we settle on a new concept, I usually sketch out the artwork and send it to Courtney for approval, and if we need a designer to create a digital copy, we reach out to a friend of mine who helps on that end. While I went to school for art and design, it was right around the time that the shift to digital art was happening, and I was very much old school – I loved to get my hands dirty – so I never really got the hang of sketching in a computer program. Luckily, my friend who assists us is awesome at it and translates my real-life sketches and notes into beautiful digital files!

When we initially launched, we were beyond excited about it, and things fell into place really quickly. Very early on, we were approached by Leen Isabel from Pole Dancing Adventures about doing a giveaway on her blog, and her support was instrumental in getting the word out about our brand. She was our Pole Fairy Godmother! Since then, we’ve worked hard to build our online network, and we continue to do things like participate as vendors at local LA events, donate our shorts to events for the pole bunnies, and run fun giveaways, particularly through Instagram.

Credit: Roselle Photography
Credit: Roselle Photography

What are three of the most important lessons you’ve learned about yourself as a small business owner in the fitness apparel world?

1) Don’t get too upset when someone tries to do a riff on our Keep Calm artwork. It happens. I don’t like it, and I totally give a side eye to the other artwork, but it happens.

 

2) I love social media and really enjoy interacting with our fans through all of the different platforms. I’ve developed some solid skills in that arena, and I’m looking forward to learning even more!

 

3) It’s easy to have a passion project, but much more difficult to turn it into a money making enterprise.

 

Do you have any tips for small business owners in this lane? 

 

Try to be original. Try to cater to more than just one subset in the industry – specialty items/offerings are great, but if you only cater to the super advanced (for example), you cut yourself off from a whole revenue stream, and that’s just silly to me. Be choosy about your partnerships– if somebody has a bad rep, know that your association with them may cost you business.

 

If you’re starting a studio, vet your teachers and ask for feedback from students – and really consider the feedback. Don’t assume you know everything, or that your opinion/vision is the best. If you’re starting a product line, take care in what you offer, and take pride in it.

 

Going back to pole, what was your latest most exciting pole dancing victory?

I just performed at the NorCal Pole Presentational, which was a victory for me! I hadn’t performed in a public setting in over 2 years, and I would not consider myself a great choreographer, but I was proud that I put together a piece with a story and stuck with it, despite some minor hiccups. While training for the piece, I finally got my aerial invert to not be so wretched, and that’s a big deal for me! I also was proud that I figured out my Reiko Step Up to Cupid on spin pole with a week left before the performance (I had to throw out something that wasn’t working and needed a replacement). I’d really like more opportunities to perform, but I feel like the only real offerings in LA are to compete, which I’m ambivalent about. I am competing at PSO’s Pacific Aerial in September, but it’s on Lyra, not pole, and I signed up mostly to get the chance to perform.

 

How do you balance life as a business woman , as an everyday woman friends, and as an aerial artist?

I don’t really know, to be honest. I kind of just do what is next on the schedule and try to be kinder to myself if things don’t work out as planned. I do try to make a point to be at home with my boyfriend, if I know I’ve been super distracted with work, or busy with classes, and I try to find time just for me if I am stressed – whether it be going to a class, or just reading a book.

 

What do you wish for yourself for the rest of the year?

I am working to get myself into a new day job, so that’d be up front! I’m hopeful that my routine for the lyra competition will be smooth and fun, and I want to launch some new stuff for Poleitical Clothing. I have also really loved contributing to the Bad Kitty blog, and I’m excited about the new pieces I have in the pipeline! My hope is that I can continue to bring interesting material to the table and to grow as a writer, both for their platform and my own. I’m also REALLY excited to be attending Aerial Amy’s pole retreat in October – it’ll be my first time teaching anyone but the occasional friend, and I am excited about the workshop that I have planned for everyone. My wish for the end of the year is that the things I’ve been working toward all pan out in great ways! I’d also love to find new performance opportunities, or to even develop them myself. I’m really interested in exploring the storytelling side of pole – beyond competition and beyond “here’s a sexy night of pole” – and I hope to find a way to develop that creative side of things, for myself and for others.

 

I did this interview back in September so feel free to catch up with Danielle in real time at these places:


www.poleiticalclothing.com
 – Main clothing site.
poleitical.com – Poleitical diaries blog
instagram – @poleiticalclothing for biz, @reelsmartcookie for personal.

Passion Mix: 10 Pole Dance Songs That Light The Soul on Fire

Playlist

I have always been a music hoarder. Before pole dancing, I lived to find and collect a good song. Now that I am a pole dancer, finding a good song to pole dance to is an extra bonus. For me, good music goes on the top ten list of all things awesome in life, so I was excited that this month’s PDBA blog hop had to do with pole-related playlists.

Lately, my pole dancing mood has been all about fluid motion and music that sparks passion in my body. I can’t explain the latter, it’s just something that I feel.

The following 10 songs are sexy, smooth and great for sensual and fluid pole routines.

 

1. The Internet – “Shadow Dance”

Not much to say about this one other than listen and get lost.

 

2. Erykah Badu – “I Want You”

I wish I were good at spin pole. This song would be perfect. Perhaps this is motivation to practice more on spin.

 

3. Led Zeppelin – “Since I Been Lovin’ You”

I have a thing for blues and this song just takes me there. Those guitar riffs…swoon.

 

4. Floetry – “Say Yes”

This is the quintessential passion song.

 

5. Des’ree – “Kissing You”

This is easily one of my favorite songs ever. If I were a good ballerina, I’d kill this on the adagio tip.

 

 

6. Gary Clark Jr. – “Please Come Home”

About my appreciation for blues…

 

7. Imani Uzuri – “Beautiful”

This song is kind of in the vein of Des’ree’s “Kissing You.” You can hear the passion and intensity in her voice. I love it.

 

8. Tinashe ft. Travi$ Scott – “Vulnerable”

Yup!

 

9. Minnie Riperton – “Inside My Love”

This song is an absolute must for a passion inspired playlist.

 

10. Frank Ocean ft. Andre 3000 – “Pink Matter”

I love that Frank Ocean is being cheeky about “pink matter.” Is it just me or does this song make you want to slink around on the floor?

 

Dalijah Franklin of Black Girls Pole Creates an Epic Movement [Video]

Photo By David Hawes
Photo By David Hawes

I mentioned a couple of months ago that there was a movement bubbling called “Black Girls Pole,” and that it was spearheaded by one of my pole crushes, Dalijah Franklin. She is super dope. Do yourself a favor and look her up on YouTube. The idea behind Black Girls Pole is to connect Black women who love to pole dance and the people who them and support the idea, to come together, network, and learn from each other in the name of fitness and badassery. But let’s keep it funky, pole dancing isn’t just any kind of fitness, it’s a game changer. For many, self included, pole dancing can change lives but you wouldn’t understand unless you do it (more on that later).

Dalijah celebrated the launch of #BlackGirlsPole back in June at Body and Pole, with a series of workshops that culminated in some dope performances from fierce ladies like, Nicole “the Pole” Williams, Crystal Belcher, Meritza Chang Heyward, Delijah (of course), Ajia Maximillian, Roz “the Diva,” Sasja Lee, Caprice Burrell, and more. I’m still high from the experience. Not only did I meet some cool women with like interests, but I was also motivated to work on the craft again, and I can’t wait to see what else Dalijah has in store. In the mean time, check out what Dalijah told me about her inspiration for starting the movement, some recap footage of that epic night and general inspiration about pole dancing.

Grunty Crush of the Week: Ajia Maximillian the Fitness Savant

Ajia

I met Ajia Maximillian back in 2011. She was one of my first pole dancing instructors at Shockra Studio. I’d describe her personality as sunshine personified. She’s a patient, kind and helpful instructor as well as a kick ass dancer, IFBB Bikini Pro, and all around fitness guru. I caught up with her to chat about how fitness has become a part of her life, what it is to be an IFBB competitor and her forthcoming event, Poling For Pets.

I know that you have an athletic background, so explain how being physically active played a role in your life growing up. 

Growing up, physical activity was a staple in my life. To the point that I didn’t even think about it as physical activity, it was just how I lived. As a child I was on a swim team, was a competition cheerleader, was on a basketball team and was on a dance team; as a teenager I focused my energy on dance such as West African, Samba, Hip Hop, and Jazz; and now as an adult I believe dance is really what opened doors for me in the fitness industry. Because of my love for and desire to dance, I became a dance instructor who eventually started trying other genres of exercise and realized that I loved exercising with others and helping others find their happy place through physical activity. Soon I found myself teaching bootcamps, stretch and tone classes, and different high intensity interval training courses. I love the adrenaline rush that working out gives me, the camaraderie with others, and the feeling of accomplishment once done.

How did you get into pole dancing and did it come easy for you given your background?

I got into pole dancing completely by accident. I was a nightclub dancer/gogo girl at various NYC lounges and nightclubs such as Avalon, Crobar, Discoteque/Spy, Umbrella, Monkey Room, etcetera and some of these clubs had poles. I have always loved dancing in cages and figured a pole was no different, so I just incorporated it into my routines. It came easily and flowed naturally until I took my first pole class and thought, “Whoa!, that is so much more than what I was doing on the pole!” I had not realized there was a whole pole culture growing so rapidly outside of the nightclub industry and the tricks I was seeing on youtube were mindblowing…I was so out of the loop!

What are some of the things you love about pole dancing? 

I love that athleticism can be displayed with sexiness while dancing. I love teasing my audience and feeling their desire while I am on stage and I love how one little apparatus can help your body to do so much, it’s freeing.

Ajia Max

Describe your pole dance style.

I would describe my style has gritty, sexy, and strong.

Speaking of sexy and strong, what is an IFBB Pro and what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about yourself on your journey to becoming one?

IFBB stands for International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness and it is a competitive bodybuilding organization founded in 1946 by brothers Ben and Joe Weider and according to many, is the highest level of competitive bodybuilding in the world. Earning my procard in August of 2013 was an amazingly fun, and rewarding journey and taught me that consistency is key. I learned that if I am consistent with my diet, my body will reward me, I learned what foods make me tired, which foods give me energy… and most importantly, I learned how to eat properly because I had never before been taught nor did research on proper nutrition for myself. On this journey I was fortunate enough to have a sponsor who enabled me to focus on competing and my coaches on my team, Team Bombshell, who gave me proper guidance with a nutritional plan and a workout plan.

What’s your diet like and why does it work for you? 

I eat 6-7 times a day, approximately every 3 hours, and my diet works for me because it is catered towards my body type and activity level. My meals are pretty much equally portioned with an emphasis on healthy carbs like quinoa, steel cut oats, various fruits, and spinach; fats like almond milk and various nuts; and proteins like grilled chicken breast, ground turkey, and lean fish. If I could eat grilled octopus and tuna sashimi all day, I would. I am pretty simple, yet specific when it comes to food. I am not big on gravy nor dressings. I usually leave my salads naked or with a touch of lemon, salt and pepper if anything at all. I cannot stand mayonnaise, mashed potatoes, or cream, unless it is really unhealthy Reddi-wip cream, but I will eat an entire chocolate mousse cake once in a while.

What are some of your current fitness goals in terms of nailing a new pole trick, entering another competition etc? 

Some of my current fitness goals are to compete in another IFBB Pro competition before the end of the year, I am still working on when it is realistic for me to compete; get a muscle-up; and make my pole routines more seamless and fluid; never stop improving.

What advice do you have for women who want to start a fitness journey but may be apprehensive? 

Just do it and do not be afraid to ask for help. A good place to start is with a mentor and or a trainer and that mentor and or trainer does not have to start you in the gym, sometimes a good dance class is all you need to get your booty in gear. Also, never underestimate the power of your diet. Good nutrition is key to fitness, health, and looking and feeling good. Meeting with a registered dietician can be beneficial in your journey and many health plans cover these visits now. If seeing a RD is unrealistic, the internet is your friend. While there are many false claims out there, there are a ton of resources online now allowing us to sort through the trash and make educated choices for ourselves. Do not be afraid to experiment, especially with workouts, sometimes it is just a matter of finding what you enjoy and sticking with it. Treadmill not for you? Maybe you enjoy outdoor running instead or even yoga, or walking, or tai chi, or boxing or hip hop dancing–try everything until you find your niche.

Tell us about Poling For Pets. 

After the success of our event last year, we decided to bring Poling for Pets back.

Poling for Pets is an annual charity benefit that features variety acts with an emphasis on pole dance in in order to raise mainstream awareness on the talent, strength and diversity present in the expanding, and at times controversial, performance craft of pole dancing. In addition to our passion for pole, Carolyn Chiu and myself, we are the producers, share a love for animals and use Poling for Pets as a liaison between avant-garde performances and aiding animals in need by donating a percentage of ticket sales, 100% of raffle proceeds, and 100% of donations from the Poling for Pets event to a local animal shelter. Our charity, for a second year in a row, will be Animal Haven Shelter, which is a 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and place abandoned cats and dogs into permanent & safe, loving homes.

Poling For Pets
Ajia and Carolyn, founders of Poling for Pets.

This year’s event will be held Thursday, July 10, 2014 from 7-9:30pm at The Cutting Room. The show begins promptly at 8pm and tickets are on sale now at www.thecuttingroomnyc.com. Get them before they sell out. There will be a live vocalist, pole dance performances, burlesque performances, raffle prizes, and pets available for adoption.

Poling For Pets

How can people take your classes and generally keep in touch with you? 

Feel free to follow my class schedule at AjiaMax.com, follow me via Instagram @ajiamax, and Twitter @ajiamax. I can also be emailed directly via Ajia@AjiaMax.com.

 

Fun Facts: 

Ajia loves animals but she really loves pitbulls.

She is the owner of AM Fitness Groove, where she blogs about her fitness lifestyle.