2016: Pole Tricks, Trials, Tribulations

So I’ve been mysteriously absent on this blog (as per usual) since I started it (fear not, I do have my reasons) so I thought I’d set a more realistic goal of posting once a month and seeing how it goes.

I want to talk about 2016. This has been a big year for me. A huge year really.

In late January, I got the news that I was accepted into a master’s program in England and made the decision to move (I’d already decided to do this around November but I got into my program of choice, in the city where my boyfriend happened to live). During this time, I was choreographing and training for my first competition, the Pacific Pole Championship (Pole Sport Organization).

I also managed to injure myself in January by tearing a hamstring and through February and March (Competition time!) battled an overuse injury in my right shoulder, the hamstring tear, and a couple of bouts of cold/flu horribleness just before we left for the PPC. Despite my lack of preparation and various injuries, in mid-March I got myself to Los Angeles, got up on stage, and did it. And I came in dead last. But I had a fantastic time and I was and am eager to do it again. I got a lot of helpful feedback from my judges and hope to do better next time!

I spent April choreographing a solo for what I knew would probably be my last showcase at my studio (for the foreseeable future) and performed in May. By then, my hamstring had mostly healed but it had definitely left its mark on my flexibility (or lack thereof) and I was mainly concerned with my shoulder. But I kept on poling (Just keep poling, just keep poling, what do we do? We pole, pole…). 

Over the summer (maybe in July or August) as I was preparing to leave my job, I finally caved and decided to undergo physical therapy for my shoulder and started taking it easy at pole. I’ll be the first to admit that I have lots of bad habits, the worst of which is probably not allowing myself to rest and aggravating injuries that might be more easily solved by rest and cross-training. The physical therapy was really helpful, and the exercises are easy to replicate at home. My shoulder injury seems to have finally gone for good and I have learned my lesson (hopefully).

At the end of August, I said goodbye to my family and my pole family and headed to England, where I spent the better part of a month doing not-a-whole-lot. Luckily the school year started up in late September and I signed up for classes at the new pole studio. I also joined my Uni’s Pole Fitness Society and started taking private lessons from an instructor in Aerial Silks and Hoop.img_4200

My boyfriend and I ordered a pole for the house, which we discovered sometime around October that we couldn’t mount to the ceiling due to some issues with the joists and I had my first (small) meltdown since moving. We resolved to buy an X-stage but ended up putting it off, as we were hoping to find a good used one. Alas, no dice. Today we did order our X-stage lite!

Not poling most days of the week has been a big adjustment for me in the last several months and there are definitely some pros and cons to it. Moving studios has also been really interesting. I definitely don’t overdo it anymore, and I think my spins and combos on static pole have really improved, but we don’t do as much spin pole and I definitely miss it. I also miss the sexy routines we often did at my old studio and the open pole time, but my Hoop instructor has started to set me straight about my tendency to rush through combos and it’s always good to have new teachers who approach things in a different way. Something I really enjoy is getting to do pole with my boyfriend on a weekly basis :).

In November I did my first Spin City Instructor training course to get certified to teach beginning pole in Bristol (and took myself on a mini-vacation) and signed up for the intermediate pole teaching course for February. (Still working on the assessment though!)

In December, I also decided to compete again at the Pacific Pole Championship this coming April, since it coincided with my boyfriend and I visiting the states (it will be his first time!). Song of choice in fullsizeoutput_270hand, 7 inch heels in my bag I went to my private instructor’s studio with a plan and we hammered out about a minute of the choreography in just under an hour! Our studio had our Christmas night out and we danced and had a fantastic time.

So what has 2016 taught me? I guess I learned that I want to take pole more seriously, that I could/might make this more than a hobby, and that after 2.5 years at it, I’m still incredibly passionate about the sport/art that is pole fitness. I’ve learned that I can choreograph routines that I like and get better at dancing and floorwork. I’m discovering my style (a mix of contemporary dance, powerful moves, and exotic pole). I’m working on correcting some of my bad habits and expanding my repertoire or going back over things I’ve taken for granted. I know now that the world won’t end if I don’t pole at least 6 hours a week (Shocking, I know!). I’ve also (re) learned that pole is full of wonderful people and that wherever you are, you’ll always be able to be part of an awesome pole family.

As for 2017, I have my work cut out for me. In the next three months, I’ll be:

Training my flexibility

Choreographing and perfecting my comp routine

(Hopefully) getting into better shape to prepare for the PPC in April (eat healthier, more cardio)

Completing my Spin City Beginning Pole assessment and starting my next Spin City instructor training in February

Taking a few modern dance classes to do something different and get some ideas for dance choreography

Blogging more often!

This year, I’ll hopefully be working on balancing things a bit better in my pole life (and my everything-else life) and get more disciplined, and I feel like I made a good start of it in the last few months! Wish me luck!

What kind of pole year was 2016 for you? And what are your hopes for 2017?