Monday, December 30, 2013

Freestyle Friday: Motivational January. Handstand Challenge.

January is the month of new year's resolutions.  Often times, these resolutions are centered around fitness as people decide to get a fresh new start for the new year when it comes to their health.  Or if you've already established a regular fitness routine, you may find yourself reviewing your fitness goals for the year.  Whatever your situation or reason, January generally brings about a renewed interest in accomplishing long sought after fitness goals. 

This month we decided to focus on handstands.  Handstands are fun moves that can be practiced with or without a pole.  They can be done in a variety of ways and initiate muscles that attribute to the essential muscles utilized in numerous pole and aerial moves.  To go along with the new year theme, this month's challenge will also include a month long theme using the photo sharing social media site, instagram.  If you'd like to participate, we'll be sharing a handstand photo a day via our instagram account @poleharmony.  Can't commit to a photo a day?  You can also participate with a weekly handstand photo.  Just be sure to include the #poleharmony with your picture uploads.  Have fun with this challenge.  We hope your participation leads to the motivation you need to strengthen your handstands for strong and smooth execution.

Join us in our Freestyle Friday January 10th at 7:30pm for our handstand themed class where you will learn a variety of handstand techniques, proper form, and how to integrate a handstand into your pole dancing routine. Click the button below to sign up via our online scheduling system.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trickster or Flow Artist?

Does it really matter how we categorize our dancing?  Do we have to put a label on it?  Doesn't all that matters is we have a perfect balance within ourselves and our dancing that we are content with what we present- then, now, and in the future? 

I guess one can argue dancing is about continuously growing and evolving as a dancer.  One must seek out opportunities to grow.  This is a good point.  I get it.  But not everyone will grow in the same way at the same time.  Some people think of growing in different terms.  Evolving in your dancing may include the ever popular tricks only.  You're banging out trick after trick.  Can you seamlessly dance in between those tricks? No. Do you care? Probably not.  That's not your intention.  Not everyone has an intention to create beautiful dance flow that intertwines movement harmoniously.  I'll be the first to admit, dance flow is not easy.  It's a hard concept for many to grasp.  Maybe that's why tricks have taken the cake in the community so to speak.  It's easy and they're about the thrill of accomplishment. 

The pole community is constantly evolving.  What's popular today will inevitably be boring tomorrow.  It goes through phases of what is happening "now".  That's not to say tricks will dominate the mainstream in the pole community forever.  Tomorrow everyone could decide that dance flow takes precedence over the latest cool trick.  I think that is what is so inspiring about pole dancing.  As it continuously changes, dancers are constantly getting a dose of skills they need to evolve.  Whatever your intention, just make sure you feel content with the balance and progress of your own evolution.  At the end of the day, all that really matters is how you feel about your dancing.  You dance for no one else but yourself. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What to Expect in a Pole Dancing Fitness Class!

I've seen a couple recent blog posts where students or instructors have been writing about what to expect during a pole dancing fitness class in order to offer a perspective towards potential students that may be apprehensive about signing up for their first class.  I thought this was a great idea to shed some light on what could be a critical decision towards walking through those studio doors.  Obviously every studio will differ on the process and how they teach their classes.  This is just a summary of your experience if you are coming to take an introductory class at Pole Harmony. 

Getting Started....
The first class you will take prior to any of our other classes at Pole Harmony is a Pole Discovery intro class (for pole) or an Introductory to Aerial Dance class (for aerial silks).  Since this article's focus is on pole dancing fitness classes, we will proceed with the Pole Discovery intro class.  Many fitness studios and gyms have all moved into the technology age when it comes to signing up for a class.  This means to register for your class, you will do so via the studio's website.  There are many different scheduling systems out there.  Most studios use MindBodyOnline.  At Pole Harmony, we utilize a different online scheduling system known as Bookeo.  Bookeo has the same great features as MindBodyOnline, however it allows users to individualize the user process for simplified use.  We have found our customers enjoy having total control over booking their classes and being able to make executive decisions based on purchasing or cancelling their memberships.  Customers have total control over their experience at Pole Harmony by using our online scheduling system through Bookeo.  (For studio owners inquiring about Bookeo, please contact us via email and we will provide additional information.) 

Moving on, after you have clicked the "Book" button for the Pole Discovery intro class on our schedule page and completed payment (if you'd like to pay cash, email us your first and last name with the date and time of the class you want to take and we will enter you into the system reserving your spot in class), you now will need to plan your attire for your first class. 

What to wear. For your first class, we recommend wearing a comfortable t-shirt/tank, yoga pants/capris, or shorts. Footwear is optional and limited to dance approved foot protectors, socks, or gym shoes. It is recommended students attend classes bare feet. Certain moves may require extra mobility and students may want to bring a pair of socks to protect feet. Please refrain from wearing lotions or oils on your skin as well as strong fragrances and perfumes.  Most of our students wear socks in classes as hardwood floors and bare feet don't always feel so great the next day.  I like to wear ballet flats.  I actually purchased a great pair of flats from Kinney Dancewear in Broadripple for $18.50- they're black leather Blochs that are really comfortable.  I used to have a pair of canvas ballet flats that were light pink but they always looked dirty and the canvas wore holes in them, hence the reason why my most recent purchase was leather flats. 

Now that we've established what to wear- let's get to the actual class!  You'll want to arrive a few minutes early to complete a waiver and any pending payments.  Class will begin with a head to toe warmup followed by the class curriculum.  Classes will always end with an five to eight minute cool down session.  The bulk of the class consists of the curriculum which includes proper postural form and pole technique, discretionary movement, fundamental skills of flow, fun moves facing the pole that can be easily brought home for practice, and an easy beginner level spin.  Moves are modified for every body shape and size in addition to physical limitations.      

The studio.  Our studio space consists of a spacious open area with hardwood flooring, a wall length mirror and ambient lighting.  Our music is played comfortably low to allow students to hear proper instructions. Our poles are dual mounted for extra stability utilizing a permanent ceiling mount in addition to pressure mounting which expands the poles for a solid placement.  Our poles are chrome finish, 45mm, spaced 10ft apart, and Xpole brand.  They are essentially two poles in one- static and spin. Basically our poles unlock to a spin feature.  Spin pole is reserved for our intermediate to advanced students only.  All beginner level students will learn on static mode only. Although we boast our poles are industry standard, the industry is continuously changing their standards in pole recommendations for studios and competitions.  As of July 2013, our poles were considered industry standard.  As of 2014, the industry standard will be making a shift towards 40mm poles.  Because of the way our poles are mounted, we are able to offer versatility in regards to the diameter of the poles our studio houses.  Students may look for future changes in our poles in 2014 as we shift towards providing the current industry options for poles on the consumer market.     At the end of your first class and studio experience, you will be guided through a relaxing cool down session targeting areas strongly used during class.  One of the most common questions I am asked by students following the intro class is: 

 What Class do I Take Next?  The next class you can take is our Pole & Flow class which focuses on the intro class moves and forming them into routines.  Students will also learn additional moves and spins in this class.  This class is great for all levels as the routines will be catered to your specific skill level.  The other class new students enjoy is Sensuous Flow & Flexibility.  This class loosens up tightened areas on the body by introducing flow movement and a mix of dynamic and static stretches to increase flexibility.  This class has been described as a relaxing and a detoxifying experience for students. If you're looking for series classes, you may be interested in signing up for one of our Pole Foundations Series classes.  These classes meet once a week for a given period of time and build upon a routine on a week by week basis.  Our series classes are great for working on flow and perfecting skills or movement to assure proper execution. Each level builds upon skills acquired in the previous level, therefore we recommend students take all the series classes
to benefit the most from the curriculum.  

We hope this article was full of information that answered many of your questions.  If you have any additional questions regarding our classes or studio, please visit our website Frequently Asked Questions or contact us via email or phone.    

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Best Holiday Gifts for Pole & Aerial Dancers

This holiday season we decided to compile a list of our all time favorite pole and aerial related items for those looking to buy a little something special for their favorite pole dancer or aerialist.  Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and is purely for entertainment as it contains our own personal opinion.  Let's get started!

1. A Gift Certificate to her favorite pole or aerial class! Of course I'd include this as number 1- I admit, I may be a little biased here being this is my business' blog. But what pole dancer or aerialist would pass up on a free class? Great little stocking stuffer.  So if it isn't a gift certificate to my studio per say, it is still a great idea to get them a gift card to whatever studio it is they do attend.

2.  Leg warmers.  Perfect for both pole dancers and aerialists.  Studios are cold and these are the best remedy to warming up when there is a chill in the air. Once our chilly bones and muscles are warm, leg warmers are easy to slide off which is why they are a must have favorite item. Dance Wear Solutions and All About Dance have a great selection of leg warmers that a specifically designed for dancers.

3. Leggings.  No longer do you need to worry about boring solid color leggings.  There's a variety of fun prints out there for these form fitting bottom attire.  Nothing is more fun than being fashionable- unless of course you're old school and like to wear your hard work with pride through your dance attire holes and all. But for those of us that love accessorizing, leggings are a must.  Leggings are the preferred attire for so many aerialists because they cling comfortably to your body.  Clothing that allows effortless movement is more about safety than anything else.  And if you can love what you're wearing while doing it, why not? A friend of mine posted a link of her wearing some awesome leggings with #blackmilkclothing. Upon looking up what exactly "black milk clothing" was, I discovered an amazing collection of leggings appropriate for circus style fitness fashion.  Check out these amazing leggings here: Black Milk Clothing.

4.  Sports bars and boy shorts.  You can never have too many of either of these items.  Guaranteed to never go out of style in a pole or aerial class. Bad Kitty Exotic Wear sells an assortment of pole specific attire including their PoleFit line designed specifically with pole fitness in mind. 

5. Foot wear.  Aerial classes are generally conducted in bare feet, however pole classes may or may not incorporate foot wear.  For those attending the studio environment know all too well that hardwood floors and bare feet don't always make the best combination.  For this reason, I love wearing ballet flats in my classes.  Recently I purchased a pair of black Bloch leather ballet flats. I absolutely love the feel of these dance shoes and highly recommend them.  I purchased mine from Kinney Dance Wear in Indianapolis. 

This concludes our list of favorite holiday gift items for pole dancers and aerialists.  We hope you found some useful ideas for your holiday shopping!  Have a wonderful holiday season from Pole Harmony! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Indianapolis RAW Performer of the Year 2013: Aerial Evolution

It's official! We are proud to announce we won the title of Indianapolis RAW Performer of the Year 2013!  What is RAW?  RAW is an international community of artists ranging in a multitude of genres including fashion, independent film, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists, and more.  Local artistic talent is chosen by a local RAW Director and showcased in one of the many once a month circus like events that run every year from February through October all across the nation and globally.  The season ends with a large RAWards (RAW Awards) show in Hollywood featuring the top artists from the global community.   
This past summer, I had the honor of performing with my friend Patricia Boylan-Riggs, owner of Pulse Fitness and Dance in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in her professional pole dancing performance group, Aerial Evolution.  Little did I know, that performance would set the stage towards a powerful duo in the pole dancing community that would capture the essence and powerful meaning of pole dancing as an artistic form of expression.  Coming into this experience, we had no expectations of where this opportunity would lead us. We both danced as though we always do and at the end of the night, we were happy to have been a part of such a unique show.  In October 2013, we were informed we'd been selected as semi-finalists to attend the season finale RAWards local Indianapolis event.  Again, with little expectations of what the night would truely mean for us, we went and showcased our interpretive routines and called it a night.  Neither of us believed we'd be waking up the next morning with a new title of recognition next to our names.  At the moment of reveal for the winners, neither of use were around when we were officially recognized.  I, who also works full time as a Registered Nurse in a public health and community management role as well as being a small business owner and solo operator of Pole Harmony part time teaching 7 classes a week, left the event around 9 o'clock because I had to report to early riser duty the following morning.  Patricia broke down the portable stage and went to replenish her energy by having a delicious meal with her husband.  The thing about pole dancing is, it strips you of all your energy and reserves and if you don't eat shortly thereafter, things could get unpleasant fairly quickly.  For the dancer and everyone around them.  (Ha-ha).  Our sincere apologies for being absent during the big reveal.  I can honestly vouch sleep and hunger won the debate with these two performers.   

Aside from our own personal win, there were many other artists in attendance that won in their respective categories.  The show was certainly a "circus-like" event as described in RAW's own words.  It was thrilling to performers who attended and I can only imagine it was even more so for those experiencing the event for the first time or as a repeat spectator.  The organizers did an amazing job at presenting such an ecclectic assortment of artists under one roof for one night.  I am extremely happy to have been a part of this magnificant event in Indianapolis.  Much gratitude to all those who attended, organized, volunteered, and especially to Patricia for choosing me to be a part of Aerial Evolution.  I look forward to next year in hopes that we will again experience RAW as we continue to show Indianapolis what pole dancing is really all about.    Reference What is RAW? (2013) Retrieved from:

Monday, December 9, 2013

PDBA December 2013 Blog Hop: The Best of 2013 in Pole!

2013 is coming to a bittersweet end.  This month's Pole Dancing Bloggers Association blog hop theme is to highlight the BEST of 2013 in pole.  First things first, I'm going to start off by informing you all that I am not very privy to what all the cool kids are doing or have done within the community, therefore this entry will lack any mention to the global community of pole.  I don't know who people are in the community unless I have personally met them.  I also don't watch videos of competitions so I have no idea what the Best of 2013 performances would be.  What I do know is, that Indianapolis had a pretty rocking 2013 when it comes to pole and aerial!  Put us on the map- we've got a lot of talent here in the Midwest. 

As many of you know, 2013 is the year I decided to embark on my own journey of business ownership.  I was struggling to find meaning in my life when it came to pole dancing and through my frustration and overwhelming stress regarding the issue, I came to the realization that I needed to independently create the vision I knew would bring clarification to the passion I feel for pole dancing.  It was the birth of Pole Harmony as a business.

The next milestone for what I perceive to be the Best of 2013 would definitely have to be finding my voice within the community.  The mere act of knowing what I wanted and being able to portray these ideas.  Yes, I'm talking about the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  This organization has given me a renewed perspective on my writing and my dancing.  I have always thought of pole dancing as being another way to tell a story- the partnership that exists between writing and dancing is astounding.  It's the nature of realizing one's own thoughts and being able to convey them for a therapeutic exploration of self discovery.  My writing has helped me within my own dancing in numerous ways.

Another moment I also identify as being crucial to my ongoing process of learning as an instructor was back in May when I was part of the judge's panel for the Pole Sports Organization Central Pole Championships in Chicago, Illinois.  It was an honor to have been selected to judge the advanced level competitions.  The entire experience was an amazing learning opportunity for me.

This year I didn't get to travel as much as I have in previous years.  I worked on and completed a second degree in nursing which involved a lot of my time during the summer months.  I did however, get the opportunity to join friends during our annual beach trip where I attended my favorite go to destination pole studio, Flow Fitness in Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was during one of the many classes I attended that I formed the concept of my future Pole Harmony class offering, Body by Pole.  I have always encouraged students to take as many classes as they can.  No class is ever beneath you.  It's this idea that is so important in building character as a disciplined dancer.  Every experience is an opportunity to learn.  Even ones we perceive as being little, they can turn out to be bigger than we'd imagined.

The final Best of 2013 would definitely have to be winning Performer of the Year in Indianapolis' local RAW with my dance partner, Patricia Boylan-Riggs and her professional pole dancing performance group, Aerial Evolution.  Receiving the RAW award this month was the perfect summary to my year in pole dancing for 2013.  It's been a wild ride this past year full of ups and downs amongst a lot of hard work.  I sincerely hope that everyone else in the community- those new and old to the scene have had as much of a year as I have.  Looking forward to 2014 and all that is to come!

 Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association December Blog Hop entries: click here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

PDBA: November Blog Hop. Gratitude.

November has always been the month where people ponder and reflect everything they have been grateful for in their lives.  We all come from different walks of life and for some, looking deep within one's life and journey can be a feeling of overwhelmed gratitude for our life's learned lessons and accomplishments.  This month's theme for the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association blog hop is gratitude. 

Many of my readers already know that pole dancing has made a huge impact that has changed my life for the better.  I was at a pivotal turning point in my life in regards to my health when I discovered pole dancing.  It was through pole that I was able to relinquish treatments as a lung clinic patient and eventually cease taking medications and treatments that assisted my respiratory function.  I'm very grateful for the challenge pole dancing offered me towards obtaining goals that were acheivable and fun.  A huge factor in my success was the constant motivation pole dancing presented to me.  In five years, I have accomplished a great deal of physical health, knowledge, and strength.  The wisdom I have obtained from dancing this journey has impacted my life and many others today. 

In the bigger picture and beneath all the hard work, the core of my accomplishments can really be attributed to the supportive community pole dancing has created.  This community can consist of the greater international group, national, local, or the more intimate community within a studio.  Through the years there have been issues within many groups and not everyone has gotten along.  These instances remind me that playing a significant role within the international community doesn't relate to the impact one has on a smaller scale within their own studio.  This is where my gratitude for success has grown and I feel my energy is better spent and appreciated.  There will always be a new name or talk of the moment.  Then those moments pass and those names are forgotten.  The real names and moments that matter more to me are the ones that happen within the confines of Pole Harmony- my community, my sanctuary.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

"We appreciate your business and dedication to making Pole Harmony a fun and accepting environment. We take all of our customer feedback very seriously and value your input in making Pole Harmony's classes the best we can offer."

It is a statement I include in every one of my newsletters to my clients.  You may have read it once or twice.  I wrote it from the heart, because it has true meaning of my gratitude towards what I have created here within Pole Harmony.  I don't want to be just another studio.  I realize the history of pole studios here in Indianapolis have been come and go every few years.  I know the reality of my own studio's fate may take the same road as others before me.  I will accept whatever happens as happening for a reason.  In the meantime, I want to enjoy the present and live in the moment.  It's the moments that we share that create memories and lasting lessons that will forever be remembered through dance.

Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association November Blog Hop entries: click here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: Vertical Athlete: Fundamentals of Training Pole Fitness and Dance

ACE certified Personal Trainer, PoleMoves certified Pole Instructor, and Neuromuscular integrative action white belt, Bethany Freel recently released her 2013 book, Vertical Athlete: Fundamentals of Training for Pole Fitness and Dance.  I purchased this book from The book consists of 114 pages and 5 chapters of content written in the form of research based articles complete with continuing education review questions and references at the end of each chapter.  The contents are as follows:
  • Chapter 1: Cultural Influences on Training (page 9)
  • Chapter 2: Sports Physiology (page 15)
  • Chapter 3: Principles of Training (page 33)
  • Chapter 4: Overtraining (page 45)
  • Chapter 5: Training Program Design (page 83)
I thought the book was well written in a basic enough terminology that included integral aspects of the necessary knowledge athletes should know regarding training.  The book covers essentials that potential competitors wanting to progress towards higher levels in their training should be knowledgeable about.  Freel discusses the societal norms within the sport and clarifies the risks athletes are subjected to in traditional training.  This book does a great justice at dispelling the ignorance that exists in the competitive culture of the pole community.
Because this book’s main focus is on training, the content regarding overtraining is of utmost importance.  Chapter 4 begins with defining the term overtraining.  Freel further defines the term in relation to physiological, psychological, and performance effects related to pole fitness.  To further support the effects of overtraining, Freel discusses the numerous factors that lead to overtraining.  I felt like this list of factors was a real eye opener as I have witnessed many fellow pole dancers training for competitions exhibit behaviors that Freel discusses as high risk behavior for serious injuries.  By educating yourself as an athlete in pole fitness, you can prevent injury that can complicate your lifelong progression.  After all, isn’t your ultimate goal to progress injury free?  The culture of pushing yourself to be better faster is a dangerous culture.  Freel defines these issues that are rampant in the pole world.  I hope more people read this book.  Instead of pushing ourselves beyond safe limitations, wouldn’t it be better for our culture to continue to shift towards embracing a safe progression of training?

In conclusion, I recommend pole fitness athletes and instructors to read this book.  You may feel as though some of the literature is redundant- especially if you possess any number of fitness certifications.  However, even though much of the content was review, I did feel as though I learned a lot that I can integrate into my own knowledge base for teaching my own students.  As the pole community continues to evolve, I hope that more research based literature becomes available.  It’s through education that the culture of aerial dance can effectively and safely evolve.  For additional information on Vertical Athlete: Fundamentals of Training for Pole Fitness and Dance, visit:

Freel, B. (2013). Vertical Athlete: Fundamentals of Training for Pole Fitness and Dance. Poler North: Anchorage, Alaska.

Monday, October 14, 2013

PDBA October Blog Hop: The Sanitization of Pole Dance: Trick or Treat

Me circa early 2011 at Pole & Body
What do you think of when you think pole dancing?  More often times than not, I get the stereotypical responses from people about pole dancing and the adult entertainment industry.  The vast majority of people don't realize there is a whole world out there of men and women athletes that train hard for pole dancing competitions and elite world titles.  It's a growing industry that is not restricted to it's exotic night club origins.  There's a real athletic and highly respected industry of pole dancing that is making head way towards the Olympics.  Debating the reasons why or why not and for or against are an entirely different discussion all together.  However, one of the key elements in the various Olympic debates has been the "sanitization of pole." 

What does "sanitization of pole" mean?  PDBA board member and fellow blogger, Sheena states, "When some people talk about “sanitizing pole”, they are referencing the need to take the “sexy” out of pole (October, 2013)."  It is no secret that pole dancing in the United States has origins within the adult entertainment industry thus explaining the high volume of misconception that still exists when people respond to the mention of pole dancing in such manner.  Or the shock many display when they find out children are participating in pole dancing. 

There has been a huge debate among the pole community regarding the movement of many groups who prefer not to incorporate sexiness in pole.  Many feel that the sexiness is what sets pole dancing apart from other forms of fitness and dance.  My personal stance on this matter remains open minded.  I feel as though dance is such a versatile form of expressive movement that no matter what form the dancer decides to create, all is equal.  I tell my students there is no right or wrong way to move your body in pole dancing.  The only thing we should be concerned about is technique and form.  The possibilities within your own personal realm of movement are endless.  These possibilities breed creativity for you to explore the different forms of dance.  All of which have made their way into the world of pole. 

Many pole dancers have extensive back grounds in various forms of dance.  Dance exposure is important as it fuels one's own style and character of movement.  I never took dance classes prior to pole dancing.  When people ask me my dance back ground, I say pole dancing.  It wasn't until I felt I needed to enrich my own practice of pole dancing that I decided to participate in ballet and modern dance.  Understanding other forms of dance have given me a deeper appreciation and understanding of the way I prefer to move as a dancer.  It has also helped me gain insight into the movement of my students as well. 

So when it comes to the removal of sexy in pole?  I think it's a personal choice.  Some people want to continue to honor the sexiness they have always known as pole dancing while others want to tap deeper into the athleticism of the sport.  Whatever your decision, it's important to find balance and acceptance within yourself as well as a willingness to explore all the options presented to you.  Your practice will be more enjoyable and better for you in the long run. 

Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community.  To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association October Blog Hop entries: click here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Playlist Picks

It's been requested per my students that I write a blog featuring some of the music selections from the class playlists.  For those of you that don't know, Pole Harmony offers a unique dance fitness class experience by only playing local independent musicians.  We've partnered with a local online radio station, Indy In-Tune, which plays only local independent musicians.  This concept at Pole Harmony basically started with my overwhelming frustration with local mainstream radio.  I can't count how many times I've been driving somewhere listening to my radio and a song comes on and I change the station to find that same song on another radio station then change to yet another radio station only to find the same song playing again! Now don't get me wrong, I do really like popular songs.  However, after the one hundredth time I've heard that song in an hour, it does have a tendency to get played out. As a business owner, taking these same pop culture hit songs and bringing them into my classes after they've been overly played offers no real inspiration for my students to explore within their dancing.  I want music to create an experience for my students by giving them something fresh to listen to and feel out while they dance.

Another perk to offering local independent artists in my classes falls into the category of strategic marketing.  I'm giving artists a platform for promoting their work to an audience that is using their music for what it was intended for: dance. Many of Pole Harmony's students are new to the Indianapolis area.  By playing local music in class, many women are being exposed to Indianapolis' local music scene.  Not only do women come to pole dancing for fitness classes to get in shape, many women come for the social experience.  I hope that another experience my students enjoy is the sense of community my business is all about and by learning about local artists, many will become fans and get to enjoy the local shows from making a connection through dance.  Aside from business motives, I have personal reasons for wanting to reach out to the local music scene.  Growing up, my family was heavily involved in local music.  It was a way of life that brings back such fond memories for me.  I believe local musicians deserve the exposure and I've found many are happy that their music is out there being heard in a different venue and by a different audience in a fitness studio. 

With all that said, I decided to compile a list of my top three picks for this month from the class playlist.  Many of these songs are what I've had the most feedback from and students asking the most about. I've also included links for download/purchase of this month's selections.  
  This month's top three music picks are:

1. Michael Miller's "Dance" featuring Zacaria James

2. Jessica Phenix "Dreams"

3. Bashiri Asad "Running on Empty" : Click to Listen and Purchase on iTunes

We are always looking for unique sound to add to our current eclectic mix of danceable tunes.  If you or someone you know is a local independent musician wanting to contribute your music to our class playlists, please email

Want to take Indy In-Tune Radio on the go? Download iphone/android app SHOUTcast Radio to your phone and listen to local music where ever you want. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September PDBA Blog Hop: Beauty, Body, & Wellness.

This month's blog hop theme is Beauty, Body, & Wellness.  The theme was generated when a fellow Pole Dancing Association Blogger, Leena Isabel of Pole Dancing Adventures, made the statement “Pole has made me rethink how I treat my body inside and out.”  As I pondered this quote, I found myself coming to the realization that pole dancing has also changed the way I treat my own body both internally and externally.  For many bloggers, this topic was about discussing various feminine products out on the market that a pole dancer may find beneficial for all the different needs women have.  I wanted to write my perspective in a different angle.  I couldn't recall the discovery of holy grail products outside of epsom salt for pole, therefore I wanted to discuss the most important discovery I have made since beginning my journey in pole.

Pole dancing has made me really listen to my body. The kind of attention I gave my body pre-pole and now post pole is completely different. When I say really listen to my body, I mean I have let my body make decisions based on what it needs versus what I want.  There's nothing more exhilarating than enjoying a beautiful day out at the park on an aerial apparatus.  Beautiful weather must be taken advantage of whenever it presents itself.  But when it comes to my body, I often let my body make the decision as to whether I am going to enjoy a strenuous workout.  Any lingering bit of soreness speaks volumes to me.  It's a warning that if I push my body through, I could risk serious injury.  An injury lasts a lifetime.  It's always best to err on the side of caution.  Especially when it comes to the type of fitness activities such as pole dancing, aerial silks, and aerial hoop/lyra.  Your body must be taken care of properly to continue to function.  A properly taken care of body includes adequate rest, hydration, and nutrition.  These three essential components are what keeps us full of healing and physical energy. 

As an instructor, I am faced with having to take it easy and know when I need to do so.  It's important for the longevity of my career.  This is a major reason why I do not compete.  I can't push my body to limits that borderline injury.  I've seen so many people take the road of harsh training that it does more harm than good in the end.  I want to be able to dance a long time- a lot longer than the trick of the week or month is in it's peak popularity.  Pole dancing can be an exciting workout because it forces us to face our fears, set goals, and take risks.  All these things can sound dangerous but they can be done safely.  The secret to having a satisfying pole relationship is to pace yourself and know your limitations- which aren't necessarily the same as anyone else's.  This is true across the board for all aerial and fitness activities.  Know when to tell yourself no.  You'll thank yourself in the long run. 

*Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community.  To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association September Blog Hop entries: click here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Freestyle Friday:Sexy September.Emotion & Music

This month we’re exploring music and sensuality with a song and freestyle concept that allows you to dance based upon your connection to the music.  One of my favorite songs to dance to is At Last by Etta James.  This song signifies the soulful rhythm that allows us as dancers to reach inside of ourselves and connect our soul to our dancing.  Etta James is considered one of the most influential blues vocal artists of her time.  She has also been known as Miss Peaches, The Matriarch of Rhythm and Blues (Wikipedia, 2013).  I love this fun fact about her.  I think it fits perfectly in the sense of pole dancing.  I’ve read about other studios and how they encourage their students to create an alter ego for their pole classes.  Sometimes our dancing comes alive if we disassociate our personal ties and every day worries from our identity.  By creating an alter ego like “Miss Peaches”, we may find ourselves able to let go and become that alter ego through our dancing.  If you are able to connect with the Queen of Soul by letting her voice lead you towards an emotional connection, I highly encourage you to challenge yourself this month in our Freestyle Friday.  We’ll keep the lights low and supply the music.  You just need to show up ready to dance.  Feel free to bring a recording device- phone or camera (tripod available if needed).  We strongly encourage the use of recording devices for your own personal reflection and growth in your dancing journey.  For more insight regarding this month’s freestyle dance exploration challenge, check out WeFly Tracee Kafer’s Emotion & Music video contribution:

Tracee Kafer on Emotion & Music
Pole Harmony Freestyle Friday Sessions:
  • Friday September 6th 7:30pm-8:30pm
  • Friday September 27th 7:30pm-8:30pm
Sign up online!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August PDBA Blog Hop: Social Media and Pole Dancing

Within recent years the pole community has exploded online with the use of various social media outlets.  Social media has contributed to the success and growth of the pole dancing community.  Within the last year, the addition of instagram has added to the creativity within the community with the sharing and connecting of fellow polers around the world.  This connection with so many through the common interest of pole dancing has fueled the connections through the social media circuits and helped form many bonds with dancers from around the world.  People who may never have otherwise come into contact with each other.  For this month's blog hop, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite social media sites and some common usage for business purposes.1.  Facebook.  I share all the business class information, special deals, events, pictures and educational information for my students in my blog posts through the Pole Harmony Facebook page.  Facebook was my first social media connection to family and friends.  It's easy to use and great for sharing to a larger base of people because almost every one has a Facebook now a days.
2. Twitter.  I've just recently begun to explore the ins and outs of Twitter.  I've made some great connections and it's been a fun way to correspond with a different crowd that I may not be connected with through Facebook.  I share similar business related posts on my Pole Harmony Twitter to what I share on Facebook except my statuses are restricted to 140 characters or less.  Twitter summarizes my Facebook posts.
3. YouTube. Where would the pole community be if it weren't for YouTube?  YouTube introduced me to pole dancing.  It's where I first began to learn all about spins and tricks.  I consider myself to be of the "old school" generation of polers- those who didn't have the luxury of learning in a studio setting.  We relied heavily on YouTube videos. Watching and rewatching, pausing, and rewind.  We spent countless hours watching dance video after dance video.  Analyzing every detail and specific movement of a dancer.  Maybe that's why so many of us are instructors now.  We trained ourselves to have an eye for movement specific to pole moves.  Now a days, I no longer have a personal YouTube channel.  Instead I only have my Pole Harmony YouTube channel.  I like having my channel for business only.  It gives me the opportunity to post videos and still have the connection to everything I work hard for.
4.  Instagram.  I have been completely in love with this form of social media.  Instagram is perfect for the pole community because so much of what is involved in pole is about being able to take a picture of yourself accomplishing an awesome move or trick and then sharing it with your friends.  Instagram connects to other means of social media which makes it the perfect addition to the pole community.  In the past year, many studios and pole specific groups have begun to integrate pic sharing challenges.  This has added to the fun and never boring theme of pole dancing.  It has also encouraged more networking among dancers.  I love being able to separate my Instagram and share all of the pole studio related images on the Pole Harmony Instagram. This has probably become one of my favorite forms of social media.  What did we do before Instagram?
5. Google+.  I'm not sure if this one is as popular as all the others but I decided to get on board with it because it's connected to YouTube and so many other necessary accounts integrated through Google.  I share everything on my Pole Harmony Google+ page that I share on Facebook.
6.  I think this one is necessary to mention because I have always described it as the "Facebook for Pole Dancers." StudioVeena is the major networking and resource site for the pole dancing community.  I have made so many friendships through this site that not mentioning it would be a complete disservice.  StudioVeena has really become all the aforementioned social media sites in one.  It has status and event sharing, pictures, discussion boards, and video uploads.  A one stop shop for everything pole related.  In recent years, many polers have crossed over into other forms of dance and dabbled in some aerial.  The community is an eclectic assortment of information regarding all things aerial and alternative fitness.
So you're probably thinking, how in the world do I manage all these social media sites all while managing a business and working a full time Monday through Friday job?  Well personally, I don't sit at my computer every day keeping all my sites up to date.  I utilize a social media manager.  With so many social media sites out there, now a days a social media manager is an important addition to keeping one's business organized online. At the end of the day, I can rest comfortably knowing my business is in good hands.  This also frees up my time to allow me to focus on the social media aspects that tap into my creativity such as YouTube and Instagram.  Both of these require more of my attention and I enjoy being able to devote my energy towards these accounts as opposed to the others.
To recap, below I've listed all the Pole Harmony social media sites.  Feel free to "Like", "Follow", or "Share" any or all.  Thank you!
*Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community.  To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association August Blog Hop entries: click here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pole dancing. It's an expression.

"The sexy style of pole dance is as much an art form as any other, and a legitimate form of expression," 

I had the opportunity to welcome two well known competitors training for the upcoming August 2013 Midwest pole competition to train at Pole Harmony this past weekend.  During their training session, several prospective students stopped by to check out the studio and got a glimpse into the world of pole.  One of the topics that got discussed with one of the many women that stopped by was the various classifications of pole dancing.  It really left an impression on me as I heard the words I commonly preach come out of the mouth of another fellow pole dancer and instructor.  

Pole dancing can be anything you want it to be.  It isn't just all one sided, there are many sides to pole dancing and each dancer interprets movement differently.  The various interpretations are what make it so interesting.  It's about keeping an open mind to accept that dance is an expressive world where the possibilities are endless. I love the sensual fluid movement that creates a sexually charged dance.  It's just the way I've identified personally with how my body looks the best when it moves.  Of course there are a lot of people out there pushing to de-sexualize pole dancing.  There's a movement to make pole an acceptable and well respected sport and many believe the only way to achieve this is to remove anything deemed sexy.  At Pole Harmony, we accept all forms of pole dancing.  Each form of dance is respected as it all serves as a learning experience that fuels our artistic souls.  The unity of dance creates the perfect balance and harmony within our expressive nature.  

We welcome all dancers to join us in creating an environment that grows creatively through all our differences.  Join us in Pole & Flow Tuesdays at 7:10pm for routines designed specifically to introduce concepts of discovering your personal movement.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome to Pole Harmony: Dance Fitness for Mind & Body Wellness

The past couple weeks have been very busy for me! A few weeks ago, I finally found a space to open my own studio.  I'd been through several set backs with multiple landlords and commercial realtors and was getting very discouraged.  I decided to return to an earlier proposition that was presented to me early in my quest for the perfect location to open my business.  With a little bit more research and agreement from the landlord, we were able to work out the perfect situation and put into motion the birth of Pole Harmony.

This past Monday, July 8th, I officially began offering classes to the public as Pole Harmony, LLC.  It was the perfect way to start off the second annual United Pole Artists annual Bringing Sexy Back celebration! Although, I have yet to post a sexy inspired pole dance video in honor of the event (I'm hoping that will be coming soon!)  I've had several students this past week and have been amazed at how quickly they have caught on.  I'm really excited to be starting this new journey in my life and happy to be back teaching at what I truly love.  So without further ado, I present to you: Pole Harmony.

"Pole Harmony offers women’s only pole dancing for fitness classes for women ages 18 years of age and older. Pole Harmony is located and operated within INdy SHAPE Fitness Studio on Indianapolis’ south east side. Classes include beginner level pole dancing, pole themed dance classes for intermediate to advanced levels, a selection of specialized aerial classes and a variety of cardio infused group fitness style classes offered by INdy SHAPE’s certified instructors . Additional services include studio rental for instructor lead parties for special events such as bachelorette, birthday, and ladies night celebrations."

 The above picture is of the studio and poles.  The poles are Xpole brand, 45mm, and 12 feet tall.  Pole Harmony is the only studio in Indianapolis to offer a full studio of 45mm poles at 12 feet tall with the option to spin.  I have had several people working on competitions contact me about using the space for their competition practice which I am happy to provide accommodations.  We offer open studio sessions open to competitors for $12/hour.  If interested in utilizing Pole Harmony for competition training, my only request is to either call the studio or email with your name and letting me know you're signing up for one of the many open studio sessions so I will know you need to bypass the required intro classes in the online booking system.   

For the first couple of weeks, the Pole Discovery intro classes will dominate the schedule.  After the first couple of weeks, the regular schedule for summer semester will be in effect with Pole Discovery intro classes on Mondays at 8pm and Saturdays 9am.  There will also be a beginner pole workshop 4 week series for students wanting to expand on beginner level curriculum.  This is not mandated and is completely an optional addition to the already existing classes.  The classes at Pole Harmony are a pay as you go format.  Sign up online when you want to come or commit to a monthly membership.  The flexibility of offerings and scheduling at Pole Harmony allows you to develop a workout plan and schedule that will suit your individual needs for maintaining motivation.  If you are financially motivated then the unlimited monthly membership will be perfect for getting you to dedicate yourself to a healthy and fit lifestyle through dance.  You may cancel your membership at any time if for any reason life circumstances interfere and renew just as easily when you're ready to get back at it.  You are in complete control of your workout at Pole Harmony when it comes to scheduling.  If there's a certain day or time you'd like a class, then we can rearrange the class schedule.  Any schedule changes will occur on a semester basis.   Our next schedule of classes for the fall semester will begin October 1, 2013.  Please submit any suggestions or requests for classes prior to Monday September 16th (the Monday 2 weeks before new semester goes live).   

Thank you for taking the time to acquaint yourself with Pole Harmony, the latest addition to the Indianapolis pole dancing for fitness and aerial community!  I look forward to this new path on my pole journey and can't wait to see where it all goes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IT'S OFFICIAL! I'm a studio owner.

Over the past several months, I have been VERY busy.  I decided a few months ago that the options of my now previous instructor position were very limited in my ability to teach and grow, therefore I came to the conclusion early on that other options existed and I would dedicate my time and energy towards pursuing those options.  It's been a wild ride of learning the ins and outs of business.  And it's all paid off.  I have joined forces with an existing fitness studio where I will offer pole fitness classes as the entity Pole Harmony, LLC.  I am super excited to pursue this independent path of owning my own studio.  The space I will be renting has the ability for me to expand in my teachings and take full advantage of everything the aerial arts has to offer. Since announcing Pole Harmony, LLC, I have found myself submerged in the glory of business ownership.  The response has been phenomenal for the area I have chosen and I look forward to working with all the future students by introducing to them this dance form that I've had a deep passion and long standing dedication to for the past five years.  This year's pole anniversary holds a much more meaningful celebration for me as not only will I be celebrating five years of pole dancing for fitness, I will also be celebrating my business opening in the same month.  It's been a wonderful five years full of ups and downs.  If anything through all the persistence, I've learned that there are always options and never to let anyone hold me back from pursuing my passion. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

If I only knew then what I know now...

It's June Blog Hop time! This month I chose to write about resources I'd wish I knew about back when I started poling.  I started pole dancing in 2008- back then there weren't many resources outside of YouTube videos.  Not long into my pole journey, I stumbled upon a website dedicated to my new love of pole,  The website had just launched a few months prior to my discovering it.  Studio Veena became my main source of information and where I would grow into my dancing.  There was very little resources available to me in regards to local studios.  One thing I'd wish I'd done more of in those earlier days was take advantage of traveling opportunities and explore pole studios.  It wasn't until several years after I started pole dancing that I begun to take classes at any studio that would be within proximity of any number of my various travel destinations.  I think my mindset in the earlier days was focused on the level I'd convinced myself I was at in my progress.  Thinking I was too advanced for beginner level classes also hindered my progression.  As I know now, you are never too advanced or above taking a beginner level class.  Every class opportunity serves as a learning experience and it's important to embrace every opportunity as it is presented.  I also would have loved to have started working on flexibility five years ago.  Flexibility training is something I'd wish I knew about when I started poling.  Flexibility progression is not an overnight or even something easily accomplished in one to two weeks.  I've learned flexibility is an ongoing process that takes many years and lots of patience. 

That about sums up three of the most important types of resources I would recommend to someone just beginning their pole journey. Along the way, I have learned the great thing about pole is it is very forgiving in that it's never too late to make use of what you learn today. 

*Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world.  Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community.  To read fellow pole dancing blogger's June Blog Hop entries, click here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Pole Blog Hop

This month's blog hop topic is pole related questions.  Here are the questions and here are MY answers....

  1. How long have you been pole dancing? Since July 2008
  2. What’s your favorite song to pole dance to? Right now, Rooster by Alice in Chains.
  3. What’s your favorite pole dance move? Any form of a pirouette.  Always so pretty and so functional!
  4. What pole move is your nemesis? At the moment, the janiero.
  5. If you have to classify your dance style, what would it be? Sensual. I'm a big fan of the old school pole dancing where it's sexy but not raunchy.  More closely related to what I was exposed to as I first discovered pole dancing. 
  6. What inspires your movement? Why do you dance? I dance because it makes me feel good- physically, mentally, and emotionally. 
  7. Do you study/participate in any other kinds of dancing or other kinds of training? If you've been reading my blog, then you'll know in the past year I've begun to explore other forms of dance.  My favorite is pole. 
  8. How often do you train, dance or attend class per week? On a good week, every other day.  Realistically- maybe once or twice a week. 
  9. Any tips for training? Listen to your body.  When it says NO, then it means no. 
  10. Do you train on both sides when you pole? Why or why not? To an extent.  There are certain moves that are dangerous if I attempt on my non-dominant side.  I generally do try to work both sides to equalize my workout. 
  11. If you’re not a full time poler, how do you balance work and pole? Friends and pole? Life and Pole? I work during the day with summers off, I don't really have many friends, and my life is fairly uneventful.  LOL.  I guess balancing comes naturally for me. 
  12. Is pole dancing, which happens to be a hobby for most, worth the investment? Of course!
  13. Why did you start a pole dance blog? I have always enjoyed writing.  It can be very therapeutic for me.  Just like dancing. 
  14. What does your pole dance blog mainly focus on? Dancing and fitness.  All things pole. 
  15. What’s your favorite post on your pole dance blog? Patience, Persistence, & Pain: The 3 P's of Pole!
  16. What’s your favorite non-pole blog? I don't read many blogs.  Generally if I do, they're pole related. 
  17. What is your favorite dance studio? (If you teach or own a studio, please list one other than where you teach.) My favorite studio that I've been to would have to be Impulse Studios Pole Dancing and Exotic Fitness in St. Petersburg, Florida. 
  18. If you teach, why did you start teaching, and how did it change your practice? If you don’t teach, do you think you’d ever want to teach? Why or why not? I'm currently an instructor.  I started teaching because I wanted to share my passion for pole dancing with others.  I didn't have the ability to have someone teach me so I really strive to be the best instructor and teach what I would have liked to have been taught.  Teaching has affected my practice in that sometimes I don't always get to have my own personal practice but in the end it's worth it because I am sharing my knowledge with others. 
  19. Heels or No Heels? Also any good recommendations for heels? It depends on my mood.  I haven't poled in heels in a long time.  I love Pleasers stilettos.  I usually wear dance paws or ballet slippers. 
  20. What are your favorite pole clothes? I'm happy in a pair of shorts that are not too revealing and a sports bra or tank top.  I'll even pole in my yoga pants. 
  21. What’s your favorite pole? Size? Material? Height? Static? Spin? My favorite is my 45mm xpert xpole, chrome finish, static, standard ceiling height. 
  22. If you have ever performed, how do you usually prepare your performance? I normally just practice up until my performance so I have the routine well memorized.  Before I perform I'm nervous then during I get lost in the moment. 
  23. What’s something you love to do or experience aside from pole dancing? I love kayaking, going on walks, traveling (usually includes to area pole studios during my travels..LOL), watching racing with my husband, makeup, reading- regular stuff like that. 
  24. How has pole dancing affected your life? Pole dancing has impacted me in more than just being a diversion to the monotony of my daily living.  It's helped rehabilitate my lungs when I was diagnosed with a lung condition and was told if I didn't engage in an exercise regimen my lungs may not have recovered.  Prior to meeting my husband, my pole has also been the most consistent relationship in my life through difficult life changes, losses, and loneliness.  It's given me a reason to reach deep inside myself to find my inner and outer strengths. 
  25. Looking back at your life, are you surprised that you’re a pole dancer? Like were you a nun five years ago and now you’re a pole teacher? Or does pole dancing seem like a natural fit into the progression of your life? I think pole dancing seems like a natural fit into the progression of my life.  I found pole dancing the same month I lost my Grandmother.  She was always an eclectic woman that was open to having fun and it makes me think that there is a reason I found pole when I did.
  26. What’s one pole stereotype that you wish would go away? Any time people find out that I pole, they always ask -were you a stripper?  I don't have any problems with women who choose that career path.  I did not strip my way to pay for college.  I have never been a stripper.  I would like people to realize there are many different sides to pole dancing- there's the adult entertainment pole industry and there's the fitness pole industry. 
  27. Best reaction when you told someone that you are a pole dancer? I don't recall any specific reactions.  People are usually very intrigued and want to know where they too can take a pole dancing class. 
  28. Also, since its May… does your Mother [or any maternal person in your life] know that you pole dance and what does she think? My Mom knows I pole.  I don't really know what she thinks. She's never said anything to me about it and I talk to her about my "pole problems".  She's never offered an opinion of sorts so I assume she approves. 
  29. What’s your pole fantasy or dream? My dream would be to open my own studio.  I guess you could say that's a fantasy?
  30. Finish this sentence. Pole dancing is what you make it. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's official! I'm AFAA Group Fitness Certified!

Last night I completed my AFAA Primary Group Fitness Certification training via AFAA's online Group Fitness Instructor certification course.  Over the past several years I have contemplated pursuing my Group Fitness certification.  Time and time again, I kept putting it off as I was always uncertain whether or not I wanted to ever teach anything outside of pole dancing.  I have also taken Discoveries Dance Pole Instructor Certification course via a live training which I completed in September of 2011.  As a Registered Nurse, I am fully aware of the importance of educating one's self in the area of fitness when it comes to injury prevention.  There are reasons certifications and programs specific to the fitness industry exist.  I believe that you should be educated when it comes to properly teaching body mechanics so as not to teach someone right into an injury.  Everyone's body moves differently and sometimes being made aware of what the limitations are and proper techniques can enlighten even the most experienced instructor.  Aside from my advocacy on furthering education, I also felt it was a necessary step for personal reasons.  Unfortunately, pole dancing is a fitness trend in certain parts of the world.  A lot of people are going to go through the trials and tribulations of opening and closing a pole studio.  I can't rely on pole fitness always being there as a position I will always be able to fulfill when it comes to teaching fitness.  Unless of course, I take matters into my own hands.  So in an attempt to secure a place in doing what I continue to love doing, I decided it was time to embark on exploring my options and expanding my capabilities. 

My Experience with AFAA's Online Course

I would rate my experience with AFAA's online course as satisfactory.  I really enjoyed having the ability to work at my own pace.  The structured study guide really set the bar for the program and enabled me to cover all the necessary criteria for my test out phase.  The structured format for the program is designed to be completed in 30 days.  I completed the 30 day format in a week during Spring Break.  The curriculum consists of reading 32 chapters, viewing 14 online lecture videos, and completing a 48 page study guide. Upon completion of the recommended study materials, you are able to schedule a live one-on-one video conference with an AFAA team member that will be proctoring your practical portion of the test or to answer questions over the written material.  I did not take advantage of this feature.  AFAA also has a set of 30 multiple choice practice questions available to prep you for the exam.  I really liked this feature as it got me thinking about the type of information the exam would cover. 

The Test

The testing phase is broken down into 2 parts- a multiple choice proctored exam consisting of 100 questions pertaining to the material in the reading, videos, and study guide and a proctored practical exam.  The multiple choice test went very well.  My initial setup of the proctored exam had a few glitches but the technician was able to remedy the problems and get me started on my exam.  I immediately knew I had passed as soon as I completed the exam.

The practical portion of the exam was more involved.  It required me to study the muscle groups and create a routine similar to a class lesson plan.  The beginning of the practical was a warm up and cardiorespiratory movements.  Following the warmup portion, the muscle groups were listed by the proctoring instructor.  For each group, you had to demonstrate two muscle strengthening exercises and a static stretch.  After the muscle group demonstration portion, each participant in the exam was to teach a progressive exercise.  For my progressive exercise, I chose an abdominal stabilization exercise broken down into level 1, 2, and 3. 

During my practical, I did standing Flys for the pectoral muscle group.  Upon receiving feedback from the proctored instructor, the group of participants in my exam were told that standing Flys do not target the chest muscle group.  An appropriate exercise for this muscle group would have been supine Flys. 

My overall impression coming out of this course is positive.  I really liked the program and would definitely recommend this program to others. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The practice of Yoga: From class to home

I recently began revisiting my Yoga practice as a means for stress relief and recovery post surgery.  Unfortunately, I've been exposed to a lot of negative energy and decided it was time to stop letting that affect me and start working on ways to release the building tension.  A more practical approach would be to eliminate the sources of negativity from my life, however at this time this action would only be a temporary solution.  So onward to my rekindled practice.  I began practicing Yoga in high school over 14 years ago.  I used to come home and every day at 4 o'clock, Fit TV would have a program they offered every week day.  This is where I began to discover the benefits of Yoga on my mind, body, and spirit.  I would feel rejuvenated from these practices.  As life began to get in the way and program scheduling changed, my Yoga practice changed throughout the years and every once in awhile, I'd find myself revisiting my practice.  In 2010 while teaching at a pole dancing studio, I decided to study the various forms of poses to incorporate into a class that would be designed specifically towards increasing flexibility for pole dancers.  Instead of incorporating just body poses, I utilized the apparatuses that were made available to me through convenience and my willingness to put forth the extra effort to design substantial tools to benefit my overall goals.  Thus was born, Sensuous Flow & Flexibility.  The class incorporates the breath and Hatha Yoga technique.  Areas of target are specific to pole dancing moves that require flexibility.  Anyone can create a class for this purpose and many studios do.  I didn't create anything new that people weren't already doing.  The only difference between my class and the many others out there is mine is individual to what I found to work best for me through my own experience.  As I'm sure is the case for the many other classes out there. 

Recently I decided to rejoin the ranks of reacquainting myself in the student role.  I've begun to take classes at various studios, enjoying the variety of Yoga practice.  I've also begun to use this as an opportunity to enhance the healing process of my body post surgically.  I'm limited in movement now in my core, when I used to have a substantial amount of flexibility in both my core and back.  Two areas in pole that flexibility is beneficial.  I have always been an advocate for listening to your body and knowing your limitations.  I have listened to my body and it craves the gentleness of Yoga as a means to progressively heal and strengthen to it's former capabilities.  

In addition to taking the occasional studio class, I've also found an alternative means of practice for at home.  DVDs can get boring after awhile.  They're great to have to give yourself variety to work on specific poses but when you really want to explore other routines, I've found online Yoga classes to be the perfect substitution to the real class room experience.  I've recently discovered Free Online Yoga Videos through  The site has multiple videos explaining poses, meditations, breathing techniques, anatomy, an online community forum, and class routines for beginner-advanced curriculum.  You can also search for a specific class based on difficulty, class duration, style, and instructor.  I have found the addition of online Yoga videos to be great for when I can not find a studio class to satisfy the time I have available for my practice and when I want to let go of my own typical structure of practice and experience something different.  There are other sites out there that offer Yoga classes online, however I mentioned because it is free and does not require a monthly membership fee to access.  Over time, I may subscribe to a membership online.  Right now I've found what works for me and will continue to use the free resources made available until my practice needs enrichment through other sources. Namaste.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To compete or not compete? The era of pole competitions.

I've debated this topic for quite some time now.  A few years ago, I decided to enter my first competition.  It was a new competition- the first of it's kind for the region.  One of the competitions to bring about a variety of performers that had not previously been recognized.  It was promoted well and I felt like this was the competition for me.  Like so many pole competitions, the first round was based on online video submissions.  A panel of judges was selected- all of which were well known pole performers within the industry.  These selected judges reviewed all video entries and would judge your performance based on a scoring system and add a comment for improvement.  I received a fairly decent score and some great constructive criticism.  I did not move on beyond round 1.  The following year, after working hard towards improving, I re-entered that same competition.  This time, I received less feedback and still did not move on beyond round 1.  After reviewing the entries of the competitors that did make it through to the next round, I found myself becoming very discouraged.  When you're watching the videos of those who got in and comparing yourself to these people, it could result in a very negative mindset.  How have I been working so hard and much longer than these people and they are getting in on their first try and only poling for 6 months?! This is the point in time I began to feel a great shift in the community.  There was a divide- those who compete and are elite within the community and those that were not good enough.  It started to feel like a popularity contest after awhile- the same people kept getting into the same competitions.  I understand there is a lot of hard work- I've worked hard too.  So hard I worked myself into an injury because I pushed myself to be that "image" of what the judges comments said I should be.  I should be inverting a certain way.  So I pushed myself to invert and make my body do what I was told I'm supposed to do.  And then I got to thinking about what competitions are and how they affect the dancer.  I have friends that have competed and it's hard on their bodies. I've known people who feel as though they need to prove themselves because their fans expect a certain element of entertainment.  I've seen competitions change people into divas.  There were times I was expecting them to make requests for a bowl of M&M's without any of the green ones in their dressing rooms just because they didn't like that color.  I've seen competitions hurt people and turn their self image from positive to negative.  Thoughts of I'm not good enough, I need to be better, I can do better...just to name a few.  I've also witnessed a massive online debate via social media sources where people have lashed out against certain competitions and the way they are run.  Some have been accused of being unethical.  I've seen so much negativity surrounding competitions in a community that embraces positivity that in the end, I don't feel like competing is a culture in the community I want to be a part of.  It's a subjective event where there is no formality across the board.  I think competitions have divided the community.  It's unfortunate that there is such a strong emphasis on competing.  I'd rather take part in showcases where you don't have to be the next pole star eager to be the next big name.  I could care less about the super human moves someone can do that looks just like the competitor that was on the stage before them.  I like the individuality of someone who doesn't have to stress their entire being and can just perform.  I'd like to see more shows incorporating real dancers who enjoy the movement and don't have to be better than everyone else.  But that's just my opinion.  After all, the best performers I think, are the students in my class.  Those are the performers I'd rather pay to sit in front row to watch any given day of the week. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The gray area in the pole community....

As an instructor, it is a well known fact that there are no fitness regulating agencies/organizations that are out there making sure pole studio instructors are certified or have had any formal education to teach.  As a student, this is probably a very surprising fact.  Anyone can be a pole fitness instructor or declare themselves "professionally trained" in the aerial arts.  It depends on what they define being professionally trained.  In my opinion, professionally trained means you've taken a specific certification or training that covers all bases of proper terminology, technique, form, posture, injury prevention, spotting, CPR/Basic First Aid, etc.  Not to mention you've trained at a legitimate school or facility over a prolonged period of time.

It's becoming an increasing trend that people who lack the aforementioned training are deeming themselves "professionally trained" and marketing themselves to a student population.  This poses many dangers for both the instructor and their students.  I've seen so many "professionals" as they claim, teaching movement that is considered dangerous and unnatural movement that over time can lead to chronic injuries.  I've preached so many times in the past and will continue to do so, that the student is responsible for doing their research.

But how can you differentiate or know when someone is bluffing on their supposed "professional training?"  Ask for proof.  Ask for references.  Training facilities will know who their students are.  You have every right to ask for references of their training and follow through with the training facility to confirm their expertise.  In aerial, you are putting your life at risk- it's completely appropriate and responsible as a consumer to do the necessary research to assure your safety.  Know if your instructor is insured.  Ask to see their policy.  As an instructor that is independently insured through a private insurer outside of the studio I work for, I make sure to carry around my policy with me where ever I may teach for this specific reason.  People ask and have a right to know.  Ask to see proof of CPR/Basic First Aid certification.  This is in a form of a card provided by the American Heart Association.  Qualified instructors should be proficient in the basic skills in case of an emergency.  Again, you are trusting someone with your life- there is absolutely no reason you should flake out on making sure your instructor has all their ducks in a row and are who they say they are. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Exploring the world of Fitness Certifications

I've decided to pursue getting my AFAA Primary Group Exercise Fitness Certification.  I chose AFAA over other certification programs mostly because of the overall price and availability of affordable continuing education courses that are offered online.  There seems to be more online courses available through AFAA that appeal to what I'd like to utilize my certification for.  I think this is a smart move for me as it will make me more marketable to teaching fitness classes as well as open up opportunities.  I currently work in a nursing position where I have my summers off, therefore filling my off time with fitness classes only seems to be the ideal solution.  I'd like to expand my ability to teaching group fitness and taking it outside the pole studio.  Currently, I work with children and their parents as a Registered Nurse.  I have many opportunities to expand upon my role as a nurse by introducing physical fitness to the community where I work within.  Next month, I will be participating in a Family Fun Fitness event where parents and their children will participate in activities geared towards education about exercise and nutrition.  Just recently, I participated in a fitness fair sponsored by the hospital organization I work for advocating health and fitness.  I really enjoy getting out into the community and teaching children and their parents about the importance of integrating a healthy lifestyle for their over all well being.  Next month, I will also participate in a Health & Fitness Expo sponsored by one of the major news stations in our city.  The pole studio I work for has decided to participate in the event and I will be working the booth promoting fitness classes. 

For quite some time now, I've been considering whether or not to pursue my group fitness certification.  For the longest time I'd decided against moving forward with this process as I never foresaw myself teaching anything outside of pole dancing or aerial silks.  I have my pole dancing certification and for awhile I was completely content with just that.  As opportunities have been presented to me, I've decided it'd be in my best interest to seek out an additional certification that will broaden my capabilities in classes I'd really like to teach. 

When searching for a certification course, you want to make sure you are choosing one that meets your individual needs.  Some questions to ask are:
  • What is it you want to accomplish with your certification?  
  • What types of training do you want to pursue once completing your certification?  
  • How much is it going to cost you? 
  • How flexible is the program?
  • How reputable is the program?
It's important to research the available programs to make sure you are getting the best course for your needs.  With AFAA's certification course, I am able to do independent study at my own pace.  I have a year to complete the exam and obtain my certification.  I'm very self motivated when it comes to online at home study, therefore I felt the program offerings through AFAA were suitable to my needs.  I'll continue to update you all on my progress and overall thoughts about AFAA's program so stay tuned for future updates!