Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Pole Dancer Exposed: What's in My Bag?

I got this idea from another online blog.  I'm frequently asked about product recommendations for pole and over the years after trial and error I have become accustomed to many personal favorites I thought would be fun to share with everyone.  I'd like to start with introducing my bag.  It's a wonderful little bag that surprisingly fits an enormous amount of pole gear- along with multiple pairs of stilettos.  I received this bag this past Christmas as a gift. (My studio also sells these bags too!)  On one side, the studio I work for has their logo printed.  On the other side there is a zippered pocket where I usually keep my lyrical foot covers, ipod, wallet, and car keys.  Behind the zippered pocket there is a pocket where I usually slip my cell phone.   This bag is light weight and easy to maneuver. It has a detachable shoulder strap and two handles for carrying.  One of the biggest perks I've noticed with this bag compared to my old bag is that when I get into my car, the bag effortlessly transitions from me to passenger seat.  I no longer get caught up on my steering wheel or driver door as I'm struggling to quickly get myself into the car safely after a night of classes and post work out exhaustion.  So, like a nosy house guest who likes to go through the medicine cabinet, I've decided to spare you all the agony of guessing what is inside that cute little bag....
What's in My Bag? 
1.) Lesson plans- I've printed out my class agenda for each week to stay on track with the curriculum. I keep these in a folder along with notes for warm ups, updated phone numbers/emails of fellow instructors, and dance routines.  

2.) Capezio Foot Undeez in black- These are easy to slip on when I need to get moving! Check out my recent review, The Perfect Pirouette to learn about why I prefer these to the many other forms of lyrical foot covers.

3.) Blistex Chapstick- What can I say? I hate dry lips. 

4.) Ipod Nano- I've got play lists specifically for pole, feeling sexy, aerial silks, and my sensuous flow and flexibility class.  Music sets the mood. 

5.) Corn Huskers Lotion- I used this as a grip aid.  Rarely do I rely on grip aids but when I do, I find corn huskers is an affordable and natural product that works great! I carry this with me for my students who often in the beginner levels perspire more frequently in their hands. This has been a life savor in classes!

6.) Mighty Grip Knee Pads- Floor work is harsh on the knees and nothing is sexier than healthy pain free knees as you get older.  These knee pads are designed specifically for pole dancers and can be used for inverted leg hangs.  Pads also have tack on posterior for secure holding in knee pit moves.

7.) Mighty Grip Trixie Toes- These are my latest addition to my pole accessories! Similar to foot undeez, Trixie Toes are specifically designed for pole dancers and have tack on the top of the foot to aid in climbing. 

8.) Mighty Grip Tacky Gloves- I used these a lot when I was working on my cartwheel mount and twisted grip hand spring.  These are great for moves that require hand strength- especially during slippery pole days.  A great alternative to grip aids. 

9.) Leg Warmers- I love leg warmers!  I will use these during my warm ups at the beginning of class or double them up to protect my knees.  Leg warmers are not only functional for pole dancers, they are a sexy addition to any outfit and accentuate the beauty of stilettos. 

10.) Video Camera and Tripod- I record all my practices so I can review and self critique my dance flow and trick execution.  

11.) Travel Manicure Set- I hate hang nails especially when working with silks.  Finger nails can snag on the silks so it's important to keep a nail file handy to fix problems.  

12.) Stilettos- I prefer Pleasers.  I have multiple colors and designs and my favorite size is 6 3/4" heels.  These are a must have for pole dancers.  Shoes to a pole dancer are like ice skates to an ice skater.  They make the sport and are fun and sexy accessories!

Pole Essentials
In addition to the items in my bag, there are a few items that are necessary for my classes/practices.  One would be my attire.  I always wear pole shorts and a sports bra or another pole specific top during my classes.  While teaching, I wear my studio logo top.  If I'm teaching silks, I wear leggings that offer maximum coverage. I can usually get away with a tank top for silks but I like my students to wear shirts that are short or long sleeved to prevent fabric burn on sensitive skin areas.  Before class I have on my studio logo super comfy sweat pants and zippered hoody.  I generally always show up to the studio in a pair of Uggs- spring, summer, fall, & winter- that's right- I'm an all year Uggie girl.  ;) 

Second, I always make sure I have bottled water or a sports drink (typically Gatorade).  Proper hydration is important for over all well being.  Hydration also targets muscles and helps prevent post work out soreness.  I always preach hydration at the end of every one of my classes.  I can't stress enough the importance of properly hydrating. 

Third, I always have a half alcohol half water solution handy in a spray bottle with some pole towels. (My studio provides these for us.)  I like my pole to feel clean and fresh.  Not only does alcohol clean the pole, it also doubles as a grip aid.  Sometimes this is more than enough in my classes but on occasion I need an extra little something- so I will bust out my Corn Huskers. 

I hope this entry will inspire others to share with me what they keep in their pole bags.  Feel free to leave me a comment, I'd love to hear what you all have found to be must haves for a great class! Happy poling!

Additional pictures of my pole bag can be viewed here:

Monday, January 23, 2012

I LOVE Valentine's Freebees!

I am so excited for this limited time offer that I just had to write a blog about it!  StudioVeena.com has decided to offer their online lap dance lessons for free as a gift to members for Valentine's Day!  For those of you unfamiliar with Studio Veena, I recently wrote about the online pole dancing community in my Resolution Challenge entry.  When we think of Valentine's Day, we're often stumped on great gift ideas that show our gratitude and appreciation for that special someone in our lives.  Valentine's Day is a holiday to celebrate love.  Love should be something fun and what better way than to show your appreciation for that special man in your life than by having him watch his favorite person in the entire world perform a saucy little number for his eyes only? It's the element of a personal and private connection that make performing a chair dance a fun and memorable gift for both.  To add a little extra spice, I've decided to list some ideas for affordable and sexy attire to complete your personalized Valentine's gift performance. 

 1. Bad Kitty Exotic Wear Day or Night Corsets
Great for that inner Burlesque vixen! I love all the variety of colors and styles offered.  These ensembles are a must have for any one wanting to add that element of modestly sexy meets mysterious enchantress. 

2. Victoria's Secret Closet of Lingerie
The epitome of femininity. Victoria's Secret IS sexy and the always dependable go to for any occasion.

3. Yandy.com
I've yet to order from this site, however I have a few friends who have and they have been very pleased with their purchases.  I love the video clips of outfits which always tell more detail than just a picture is able to.  This site offers a variety of affordable pieces that allow the ability to mix it up and create custom ensembles that will inspire a creative and unique experience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Breathtakingly Beautiful...

I wanted to share this video and article via my own blog because I feel like there is a deep inspirational message here worth sharing.  I'm blown away by the beauty, sensuality, and confidence this woman portrays through her movement and the story within the article clearly depicts the realities of struggle and life. This video has stirred up quite a controversy. Read article here.

.....Now I feel like slipping on a pair of lace boy shorts and a sports bra of my own and turning on the fireplace while my husband sleeps and rolling out my mat for my own sensual yoga practice- quite possibly why I identified so much with this video- it's completely raw and REAL.  The image portrayed is everything yoga embodies for women- strength, control, confidence, sexiness, and health.  I want to be this woman.  I want that euphoric feeling as my body detoxifies. To feel that balance in that moment of serenity.  It's a powerful force worth identifying with.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Resolution Challenge

I realize we're already a couple weeks into the new year, however I do believe it's never too late to claim a resolution. I hadn't given much thought to what I'd like to improve upon or change in this new year, but after some thought I finally came up with a reasonable resolution I'd be willing to work towards. I've decided to make an effort to participate in the monthly challenges on Studio Veena. For those of you unfamiliar with Studio Veena, it is an online community for pole dancers. Members can join for free which enables all access to posting online pole videos, community message boards, blogs, and the weekly Friday live video chat with other members- including the creator and owner of the site, Veena herself. Studio Veena also offers a paid membership option where the user has unlimited access to pole lessons twenty four hours a day from beginner to advanced with conditioning, stretching, and foam roller exercises as well as lap/chair and hoop dance lessons. The site is a wonderful resource for those wanting to learn on their own at their own pace or a supplement to their current studio classes. I've been a member since a few months after Studio Veena first launched back in 2008 and have watched the site grow. I've developed close relationships with many other pole dancers all over the world and have even met many of the members in person this past year at events- Veena included.  I'm very grateful for all this site has accomplished and the opportunities it has given so many of us in the pole community. I think it's such an amazing gift what Veena and her husband (who both created and run the site together) have given to the pole community and without it, I don't know where many of us would be in our great love affairs with pole.

Veena & Me @ Metro Detroit Spring Showcase March 2011

In addition to feeding your pole addiction, Studio Veena enables members to participate in monthly video challenges. Every month a theme is chosen and members can create a video based on the theme to post on the site. It's a creative and fun activity that allows members to showcase their latest progress in their dancing. In the past I've done a challenge here and there, but this year I'd really like to make an effort to participate on a regular basis. I'm taking on a lot this year with school and teaching more classes which have left me with little time to regularly make videos from all my practices. I'm also getting bored. I'm finding all my videos as of lately have the same moves so I'm hoping by cutting down my videos to one a month, I will be able to find that creativity I feel I've been lacking and the progress of my dancing will be much more evident. So here's to a new year an a new promise to myself for another great year of pole!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Perfect Pirouette

Dancing can be harsh on your feet. In pole dancing, we often begin our classes in bare feet in order to work on proper foot exercises and form while dancing. As an instructor, I teach my students to point their feet creating clean lines beginning from the foot up the leg while maintaining weight on the balls of the feet. The balls of the feet often get sore with repetitious movement during a dance practice. In order to prevent soreness, the dance industry has introduced products that protect the dancer's sensitive areas of the foot. I have been fortunate enough to try out three of the products currently on the market: Dance Paws, Capezio Foot Undeez, and Toe-Kini.

Dance Paws, Capezio Foot Undeez, and Toe-kini are elastic half socks that dancers place on their feet. Dance Paws require the user to place each toe in it's own cut out in the half sock. The bottom of the half sock is made with a thick suede pad that allows smooth movement for the dancer on hard floor or carpeted surfaces all while protecting the ball of the foot. Dance Paws are available in light nude, dark nude, and black. Dance Paws also have an adjustable elastic strap secured with velcro or the option of a fixed strap. I have the adjustable elastic strap in light nude. I really enjoy using my Dance Paws. The thickness of the suede pad keeps my feet comfortable during dancing. I'm also able to climb the pole effortlessly with my Dance Paws on.

Capezio Foot Undeez look like a pair of tiny underwear with two holes- one for the big toe and another for the remaining four toes. The suede pad on the ball of the foot is divided into two separate pads and placed where weight is distributed in the foot as opposed to the Dance Paws which have a single one piece suede pad. The division of the pad when wearing the Capezio Foot Undeez appears to be slightly thinner than the Dance Paws, however the difference is not significant enough to cause post dancing soreness in the areas of intended protection. The Capezio Foot Undeez are easy to put on and remove quickly compared to the Dance Paws which require careful placement to assure all toes are correctly inserted into the toe holes and the additional time to adjust the elastic strap. Capezio Foot Undeez are available in trendy designs and colors which appeal to dancers of all ages.

Toe-kini are a less expensive version of the Capezio Foot Undeez. Toe-kinis are comparable to the structure of the Foot Undeez, however the difference is a significantly thinner suede pad. The Toe-kinis allowed me to perform as desired, however post work out I experienced soreness in the balls of my feet. The durability of the Toe-kini is inferior to the Dance Paws and Capezio Foot Undeez, however I highly recommend the use of Toe-kini if you are considering whether or not you'd be able to tolerate dancing with the half socks on your feet. Toe-kinis are inexpensive and was easily found in the foot care department at my local Meijers or Walgreens stores. Please note that the intended purpose of Toe-kini are for wearing with high heels to add extra cushion in shoes that are otherwise uncomfortable, however they also advertise the product is suitable for dance performance in addition to it's common use.

All products are easy to clean. I use a nickle size amount of laundry detergent with warm water in the sink, rinse thoroughly, and air dry. The nude colored products have a tendency to look dirtier from walking around dance studios, so I recommend purchasing a darker color. Overall, I found these products to be wonderful additions to the dance industry. There are some days I don't want to wear my shoes and I find these to give me the perfect alternative to bare feet that allows me to incorporate smooth, beautiful, and painless transitions in my dance practice.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Beginnings

The new year is here in full swing and in the pole community things have gotten off to a bitter start. Many situations have occurred that I will refrain from even mentioning. The overall effect of these multiple situations have left me feeling uneasy and noticing a shift towards a great divide in what has always been such a welcoming community. In light of recent events, I have been left to wonder what has happened to our community moral? Is the future of our existence to rest in a division amongst friends and enemies? How did our passion lead us down this path to our own self destruction?

Drama. There will always be drama no matter what. You can not have a group of strongly opinionated individuals get together without some one's opinion conflicting with another. Pole dancing is a performance activity that strives to create drama within the dance. Sometimes that energy we muster up to embrace in our performances becomes greater than our boundaries and takes on a life of it's own. The drama grows as our creativity creates conflict and before we realize it, we've created a monster that claims victim after victim in it's massive path of destruction. Leaving no one in it's path unharmed. People get hurt. Some forgive and move on and others never get past the injuries they sustained. It's an evil process with no winners in the end. Like a tornado that hits without warning, leaving the community survivors to piece together what little that was left. As a community of pole dancers, we are left to piece together what little we have left after a dramatic situation and start over, wounds and all.

It can be difficult to be a member of a community where everyone has grown so close only to be outcast within the society because in retrospect, you created or were part of a situation that erupted the devastation that ensued. Those around you affected, the nameless victims, are left having to make choices or remain silent until the storm has passed. No one wants to see someone beaten down because of the drama. In the heat of the moment, it's often difficult to see past the horizon and through the fog to the light in the whole matter. Through it all, the one thing that will always remain the most important aspect and root of every moment is and will always be pole dancing. Our passion. Our reason for those reasons. Pole dancing is the one commonality that brought us all together and it will always be the one thing that holds us together.

I hope that as we press on into this new year, that we as a community can come together and continue to dance. I truly hope that all that has happened within our community within the past can serve as a learning experience that makes us stronger. Just remember when drama creeps up trying to find it's place, that there is a reason for what we're fighting for and that reason is to just dance. Sometimes instead of the fight, maybe we truly just need to take it to the pole. Let your dance become your therapy.