Aerial Amy - Pole dancing blogger
Posted: Jan 04 2012
Blogging is becoming more popular in the pole dancing world with more enthusiasts sharing their love of pole, along with great tips and articles. Let's meet Amy, the brainchild behind the Aerial Amy Blog.
1. You’re blog has become very popular. What made you start it?
I've been blogging in some form or another since about 2001, and I actually worked for a few popular blog-publishing sites in my professional life after college. I've always kept a journal in some form or another, so starting a pole blog was a natural extension of my desire to keep a record of what is important to me. My initial goal in starting Aerial Amy was really to try to help other pole dancers avoid the mistakes and frustration that I had gone through by giving support, and sharing the information that I've picked up over the years. Simple things, like how to avoid dry winter skin while still keeping your skin oil-free and pole-friendly, or how to deal with the inevitable self criticism that happens when you see how quickly others are progressing when you are feeling stagnant.
2. Where do you get your inspiration for the articles you write?
From all over! My pole friends and students are a huge inspiration. Sometimes the seed for a blog entry comes from something that I've gone through, but I'd actually say that a lot of the articles that I write come from conversations that I have with others. The thing that has been the most interesting to me is that many times, you will think that you are the only one going through something... But those emotions and that frustration may be much more common than you think. I feel like part of my role has evolved from voicing my own story, to being a little bit of a voice for the every day poler so that we all feel a little bit less alone in this difficult and trying journey.
3. How and why did you first get interested in pole dancing?
A friend mentioned that she was taking a pole dancing class, and it was amazing for her body and emotional well-being in a way that was beyond her expectations. I was looking for a good workout--I had just joined the 9-5 workforce and was finding that I was feeling really blobby with my newly sedentary lifestyle-- and she made it sound like a really great, fulfilling thing to do. I took an intro class, and signed up immediately after leaving the classroom. I loved the idea that physical power and sensuality could translate into the confidence and grace that I saw in the instructors.
4. What was your first lesson like? How did you feel?
I took to pole dancing like a fish to water! I loved the opportunity to really revel in the round, fluid movement that is so out-of-place in regular life. I loved the idea of taking a couple hours a week to focus just on myself, and I think I knew that deep down, forcing myself outside of my comfort zone was a good way to deal with some of the baggage that I carried that kept me from really being as positive and happy as I could be. I loved the easy laughter and camaraderie that formed in the classroom from facing the challenges of classwork. From the first moment I did a fireman spin I was completely hooked. I loved the feeling of weightlessness!
5. What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
There's a lot about pole that I enjoy. The friendships that I have made, and continue to make, have resulted in such a huge impact on my life. It's so hard to overstate the appreciation that I have for the women that I have met along this journey, and how much of a positive change has resulted in my overall well-being because of the confidence and self-acceptance that I have gained through pole dance. I'm happy with my body and proud because of what it can do, and how far I have come-- not because of what size I am, or what it looks like. I love that I can go to the studio and put on a song blaringly loud and get out some of the crap from my day, or just revel in a sexy, 6" heels dance that makes me feel amazing. I get to express my nerd side by deconstructing and nailing a difficult move and the rush of accomplishment that comes with learning something difficult-- that never gets old!
6. What are the main fitness benefits of pole dancing? What benefits have you noticed?
Pole dance has been my gateway drug to fitness! I have gone from skinny-fat (no muscle tone, no strength, no attention to diet or health whatsoever) to going to the gym, having an awareness of a balanced diet, and a real connection to how my body is feeling and what it is experiencing on a daily basis. I can do pull ups (many of them, in a row!) and pushups (good gracious!) and I have abs that are defined and visible. I do pilates, strength train, take circus classes, kickboxing, and love every minute of it. Because pole is actually fun, it's actually motivated me to get stronger and fitter so I can be better at it-- I never found that drive in any other kind of movement or discipline.
7. What are your 3 favourite pole moves?
Oh. That's a toughie, especially because it depends on my mood! I do have some sentimental favorites though: the shoulder mount, because I never thought that I would be strong enough to lift into it, and the day that I did, it changed my perspective completely on what limitations to set for myself. The corkscrew/body spiral spin, because I love the feeling of weightless floating (especially when you do it no-handed!). And for a third, I would have to say that any kind of drop makes me feel like a little kid at the playground-- I love the way that they look, and the daredevil side of me can't get enough of them. I love that my body has the control and instinct to pull myself out of the fall a foot before I hit the ground-- it makes me feel like a well-oiled machine!
8. Do you have a pole at home? If not would you like to?
I don't, and I can't fit one in my Manhattan apartment without taking out all the furniture and my boyfriend isn't too crazy about getting rid of our couch. That, and my dog sheds like a beast so I'd have to vacuum before I ever got on the thing. However-- I have a Pole Flight Club that I've set up with my friends, and we rent a dance studio every week and put up a bunch of poles, and play and explore for a 4-hour session at a time. It's been tremendously helpful to me in really experimenting with combos and tricks and I feel like I've grown a lot as a result. And I love the camaraderie and support that I get from these amazing ladies. I would rather pole with them then at home by myself any day!
9. What pole dancers inspire you?
I've already talked a bit about my friends and colleagues, but I adore my students too! Beginners who have never touched a pole, who show up for their first class ever, are just the bravest people in the world. It's so hard to put yourself out there and the change that I see from week 1 to week 6 is tremendous. The joy at accomplishing something, the "a-ha" moments, the support that they give one another and the positivity and smiles that you see, are so rewarding. You can see self-confidence grow! I also have an advanced class that I teach on wednesday nights that puts me in the most amazing mood. These ladies trust me to push them, and they are always willing to try and work hard, and they trust me to know their bodies and abilities. It's really the most amazing relationship and I am so humbled that they are willing to share their time and energy with me in such a complete and full way. I'm really lucky!
10. How has pole dancing changed since you started and how do you think the industry should change for the better?
Well... when I started in 2007, it was before USPDF existed and before this worldwide network of pole had formed. We didn't know what was possible, and trick work was really limited and studios were really insulated from one another. I think that back then, it was a lot easier to not compare yourself to others, to be patient with yourself and the speed of your improvement, and to feel a little bit more confident in what you were able to do. Hardly anyone I knew could do a shoulder mount, and then we saw Sarah Cretul do a twisted grip lift, and Jenyne Butterfly’s winning routine in the first USPDF competition, it was like falling down the rabbit hole and ending up in Wonderland! Now that we know what the body is capable of on a pole, I think we're all a little harder on ourselves and I wish that people would enjoy the learning process a bit more instead of being so concerned about "getting good" right away. I think that the way that pole dancing has evolved in the larger sense is very positive, and I'm looking forward to see where we go!
11. If someone has never tried pole dancing before how to they get started?
I think that nearly any pole is good pole-- at home, in a studio, wherever you may find it... BUT, I would do a lot of research and try as many different studios or online lessons as possible to see what fits-- there are a lot of styles out there and not every one is going to feel comfortable or right at every studio, and not every style of instruction is going to work for you. The first studio I studied with didn’t talk at all about a lot of important safety concepts, and I have a wonky right rotator cuff as a result of years of damage from lack of shoulder engagement in spins. The demands on your body can be extraordinary, and if you’re going to work on the physical aspect, you need to make sure you’re training in a way that is safe and makes sense for your body.
12. What’s next for you in the coming year?
Wow, that’s a good question! Aside from teaching pole, and work -- well, hopefully the blog will celebrate it’s first anniversary, with daily entries all the way till then... That will be a huge personal accomplishment. I’ve also got a few fun events coming up: I’ve started a “Flight club”-- we rent a dance studio, put up poles, and everyone who wants to work on anything is invited to come and play. It’s been a ton of fun, and it’s reminded me of all the reasons why I love pole and why I started in the first place. We’ve had a lot of really positive response, so hopefully that will continue to flourish and be a place that people can go in the coming year. I’m organising a pole showcase in NYC as well-- we’re still finalizing details but there has been really positive response for that also. The goal for that is to give people of all skill levels a chance to perform, if they want it-- and I’d love to see it become an event that happens a few times a year.
Find out more about Amy and her blog here http://aerialamy.com/