Interview with Amber Ray
Posted: Sep 24 2012
We go down under and talk to Amber Ray, one of Australia's top pole dancers and probably the most fun too...
1.How and when did you first get interested in pole dancing
I started in 2006 because i wanted to be the Little Mermaid at Disneyland. She flys through the air, and would have a better chance of getting the job if i had aerial skills. Turns out i liked pole so much more than i initially thought!
2.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
I love performing the most. Getting to fly up high and create interesting lines and shapes. I also love teaching, especially stretch classes! We have the most fun at stretch!
3.You recently won the MPD NSW competition in Australia.
How do you feel being a winner and will you be entering any more competitions in the future?
It is always such a nerve wracking competition, for so many reasons. It's home, so it always means the most to me, and i'm not only competing against amazing pole dancers, they are all my friends too. I want my students to feel proud to have me as a teacher, and i want to do a great show so i can show my friends what i do and why i love it so much. Winning just reinstated why i love it so much, and it makes me so happy. Here in Australia we have very little shows, so competitions are pretty much our only way to perform. I take each comp as it comes and see how i feel about entering at the time- there is so much at risk, both positive and negative with comps, so i have to make sure i am smart about which comps to do and how my body is feeling.
4.Where do you get your ideas for the routines and costumes when you compete?
A lot of my ideas for routines and music comes from dancing. Either cool dance classes i've attended, or shows i've seen. Zombie came from Sahauna Nowland's solo in SYTYCD. Sober was a mix of a cool strip show i saw, and Pink in concert. For costumes, i trawl the internet for ideas, and always make my own costumes. A lot of the time the song tells me what colours to choose, and i blindly sew stuff together, and become inspired and more creative along the way. I never have an exact idea of what i want, mostly just a picture or feeling that inspires me.
5.What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
A) Easy! Jade split drop- so fun and the crowd loves it.
B) Swan dive (back arch from a static v) This was the hardest move to master, and at the time i had never seen anyone do it. It has ruined my shoulder, but it reminds me of all the hard work i put in)
C) Iron X. I feel compelled to do that one, and people who have never seen pole love this one the most.
6.What are the main fitness benefits of pole dancing and how have pole dancing improved your fitness, strength or body shape?
I found it mostly great for confidence. Anyone can do it and it helps get you in shape, or at the very least, bring some awareness to ones body. I am a lot stronger and my upper body is much bigger than it used to be. Must be all those chin ups! I must admit though, i don't do as much dancing anyone and need to work on my centre again! I thonk overall i am much fitter.
7.Pole performers are athletes like in any other sport. What is an average day’s training for you?
I usually get up each day and do computer stuff. It's like the business side of being self employed, so i count that as part of my training. Then i'll either do a dance class, make a costume, go for a run (i use the term 'run' losely) or try out new tricks on a pole with a friend. I'm terrible at training alone. I used to be up a pole for solid hours, but these days i use more of my imagination and only spend about 20mins collectively on a pole. All of my choreography and ideas are made away from the pole, usually while driving and listening to music, so i guess that is about 2 hours per day of 'visually' training. Then i teach on average 3 classes each night and do my strengh moves after classes- like deadlifts and heavy transitions.
8.What are your favourite moves for strength training on the pole?
Outside leg hang climbs and multiple inversions from up on the pole. Also shoulder mounts with body waves are great.
9.What pole performers do you admire or inspire you?
I always enjoy watching Jenyne, Felix and more recently, Marlo. I get nostalgic and enjoy watching videos of Bobbi and Jamilla. Back when an inside leg hang was some crazy stuff and doing a show in bare feet was like setting fire to your hair- a really crazy thing to do! I really admire Candice and Suzie Q also, their shows were always so inspiring, and i really admire these two as professional, lovely people.
10.You travel the world a lot doing workshops and to compete. What has changed
in Pole Dancing around the world in the past few years and how to you hope it
I think the the evoloution of pole styles has changed the most. I've seen it go from sexy pole to lyrical, to comtemporary, to fitness and back again. There are more and more branches of pole everyday! It is so hard to say how i hope it will evolve, i just hope it keeps its aesthetics and is always enjoyable to watch.
10.If someone has never tried pole dancing before how would you advise them to they get started?
It is so easy these days. There are so many studios out there. I would suggest to them to check out a school first, see who the teachers are and what the teachers have been involved in. Accreditation may be something to look into, however i would be more inclined to see the history of the studio, the teachers C.V and the level of the students that are taught there.
11.What’s next for you in the coming year?
I hope to travel again. I want to come back to Pole Con and i'd love to take some time for myself and study and train. I'd love to spend a month in NY just getting lessons for myself and learning as much as i can. After that, who knows?
Find out more about Amber Ray here http://missamberray.com.au/