Interview with Pole Factor 2012 winner Rebecca Howard

Posted: May 20 2012

May has been a busy month for pole dancing competitions and we've been really impressed by the standard of competitors this year.  One winner that stood out was Rebecca Howard who took the 2012 Pole Factor title and we talk to her about winning and her love of pole...

1. How and when did you first get interested in pole dancing?
I first became interested in Pole Dancing around 3 years ago when I attended a one off taster class with some girls from work. They had been trying out different forms of dance and when I heard they were going Pole dancing I thought it sounded fun and tagged along. I came away from the class with a few bruises but realised that I was quite naturally strong and wanted to do it again. I was instantly hooked and signed up for a beginners course at my local gym in Dartford a few days later.  I then went on to train with schools such as Pole Dancing School in London, where I still train now and also at Ecole de Pole.

2.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the sense of achievement that you get when you master a new move or get through a routine. For me the benefits such as improved fitness and strength are a bonus, the fun factor and the amount of friends you make are what really makes it so addictive.

3.You recently won the Pole Factor 2012 competition. How do you feel about winning and will you be entering more competitions in 2012?
I am over the moon to have won The Pole Factor 2012. I just wanted to get through my routine without any mistakes or falling on my head! It wouldn’t have mattered to me if I didn’t place, so long as I performed the routine how it was meant to be performed.  If I had made a mistake I would have been really upset.  I trained really hard, about 4-5 times a week for the last 6 weeks after work and at the weekends just to make sure I was strong enough and could do the moves with confidence. I even learnt the Phoenix especially.  Everyone did really well and it was a really good night.  As I was last I didn’t really get to watch everyone’s routines as I was too nervous so I am hoping I get to see them on video at some point.

I will be entering more competitions, I think it’s good to have something to aim for and to push yourself. I am already looking on YouTube for new moves and thinking about what I will put into my next routine. I am hoping to enter The British Isles Pole Championships in October and The Pole2Pole doubles cup with my good friend and doubles partner Jo Gray.

4. What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
There are so many pole moves that I like, my top three would be:
1) Iron-X - I love the Iron-X, it is my favourite move. I like it because it shows so much strength and agility.  When I first saw the pros doing this move I just had to learn it!
2) Russian Splits - The Russian splits or (Oona split) is a move that I am working on at present, I recently attended the Rebecca Butcher master class and she managed to get me into this impossible position. I like it because it shows off flexibility and looks a lot more impressive than other split moves such as the Jade.
3) Circle - The Circle is a doubles move that I love. The trick is to get the distance between each other right and make sure you don’t spin round.  I like this move because while not being overly complicated it looks very effective.  

5.What are the main fitness benefits of pole dancing and how has pole dancing improved your fitness, strength or bodyshape?
The main fitness benefits of Pole dancing include: strength training, all areas of your body will get stronger, mostly upper body and core. You also improve your flexibility and coordination as well as gaining confidence. My body shape has changed since I have been pole dancing; I am a lot more toned and have lost body fat. I have been training more over the last year and as a result have lost around a stone and I am a lot stronger and have a lot more stamina.

6.What’s your favourite move for strength training on the pole?
Most pole moves are good for strength training but I think conditioning exercises such as sitting on the floor and pulling yourself up until you reach the top of the pole is very good for increasing your strength.  Trying to hold moves such as the iron-x for as long as possible is also very good for strength training.  I have been told that when training moves, you should hold them for as long as possible so when you do a routine they will be easier than when you practice.

7.What pole performers do you admire or inspire you?
There are so many fantastic pole dancers. A few to mention are:
Elena Gibson – she is a fantastic teacher and performer, she is so beautiful and elegant.  I always hear her voice in my head telling me to point my toes!
Rebecca Butcher – she is so strong and comes up with unique combinations
Natasha Wang – I always think her routines are unique, I like her style and the fact that is doesn’t have a dance background

8. If someone has never tried pole dancing before how do you advise them to get started?
I would advise them to go to one of the schools taster classes and explain all the benefits. People who have never tried Pole dancing always say “I could never do that, I can’t even lift myself” and I always explain that everyone feels like that when they start and when they start being able to do the moves they will fall in love with the sport like the rest of us have.

9. What’s next for you in the coming year?
I am going to continue juggling Pole dancing with my day job as a Web developer.  As described I am going to enter another singles competition later this year and compete in a doubles comp. I am performing in the “Grip” showcase in the summer to raise money for breast cancer. I am then off to Ibiza for my summer holiday and I am sure I will be up a pole in one of the clubs or bars. Other than that who knows where it will take me, one thing is for sure, Pole dancing is now a massive part of my life and part of me. 

Watch Rebeccas winning performance here

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