Interview with Becky Smith - Pole Fitness Ambassador Runner Up
Posted: Jun 13 2013
Introducing the second runner up in our Pole Fitness Ambassador competition. Meet the amazing Becky Smith - let's find out why she's such an inspiration...
1.Congratulations on being runner up in our first Pole Fitness Ambassador competition. How does it feel to be in the top 3 and how do you hope you can inspire others?
It was such a surprise to find out I was in the top 3! I really enjoyed seeing all the amazing photos submitted and I think being part of such a great community is inspiring in itself.
2.Tell us about your journey in pole and how it has had a positive impact on your life?
I've always kept quite fit, but I'd struggle to find something that I'd stick with long term. Pole is always fun and always a challenge, keeping me fit is just an added bonus! It's what I do for fun, to relax when work is stressing me out, and when I'm not doing it I'll probably be watching pole videos on youtube or choreographing my next routine! It has made me fitter and stronger than I've ever been, but as well as challenging me physically, it has improved my confidence and encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and take on the mental challenges that come with performing.
3.How did you first get interested in Pole dancing, what made you try it?
I started pole dancing about a year and a half ago and I didn't really know what to expect. I'd thought about trying it before but always chickened out, but I finally got around to signing up for a 5 week block of classes. I was very nervous at my first class but everyone was friendly and there were lots of other nervous new people too. I've now been to classes at other schools as well and my experience has been very positive at all - very friendly and supportive, with the focus on having fun.
4.Tell us about your favourite strength training moves on the pole and why you chose it for the competition?
For the competition, I chose controlled chopper repeaters. I do them in 3 steps: 1) with normal grip for inverting, hips slightly in front of the pole, and without using momentum, lift knees into a tuck 2) keeping knees in tuck position, crunch abs to tip back 3) slowly open into a V and hold before reversing the steps to come back to the starting position. Repeat! On both sides, of course :-)
This move works so many different areas at the same time - shoulders, biceps, abs. Concentrating on stretching the legs and pointing toes in the V invert strengthens the legs and feet, and by doing each slowly step in turn, it really improves body awareness and allows me to focus on the different muscle groups working at each step. It can also be tailored to different fitness levels - starting with just reps of step 1, working up to the full move, and then taking it to aerial reps for a real challenge!
5.What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
Challenging myself with something new every time I get on the pole - whether it's a new trick or new routine, it's never the same workout twice.
6. What are your 3 favourite pole moves and why?
1) I love Butterfly, such a beautiful move. It just keeps getting better as I work on my flexibility and pointy toes, and I love how it feels to do, the feeling of extending and floating away from the pole.
2) The elbow grip ayesha was one of the first tricks I tried that I completely failed at first time (and many attempts after that). I remember the feeling of achievement the first time I got it, it was such an amazing feeling, and one of the reasons I love pole. Sometimes it can take weeks or months of work, but when it pays off it's all worth it.
3) Aerial shoulder mount - again this is one that I had to work hard at. The first time I tried it, it felt like it would never be possible, and the fact that I can now do it at the end of a series of moves just reminds me how far I've come and encourages me to keep working.
7. What pole dancers do you admire or inspire you?
Hanka Venselaar's style is what I aim for - she is so fluid and has such beautiful transitions, and she demonstrates how much strength and skill is required for pole. I love to watch Anastasia Skukhtorova dance although I don't think I'll ever be able to achieve her bendiness! Unlike some other dancers who have the ultra-flexibility needed for the more difficult tricks, she can put them together so that they flow gracefully and naturally.
8. How do you think pole dancing has evolved over the past few years?
I think pole dancing is becoming more recognised as a legitimate form of exercise, which is great as there are more opportunities for people to try it. There seems to be a move towards more flexibility-based tricks and if pole dancing becomes an Olympic sport, I think it will continue in that direction, moving further towards gymnastics. While I think that style is amazing, there are many different styles, and I think it would be a shame if pole lost that and became more homogenous.
I do hope that pole continues on it's journey towards being considered a "normal" form of fitness. I have a 6 year old daughter who would love to take classes - she can already invert very confidently! - but at the moment it is a risk for pole schools to consider classes for children because of the possible negative reaction from the local community and media.
9. Three words that mean pole dancing to you. E.g strong, sexy, confidence
Strength, gracefulness, determination.
10. What would you say to someone thinking about trying pole dancing, but isn’t sure to convince them to give it a go.
Go for it! It won't be nearly as scary as you think, and the chances are there will other people feeling just as nervous as you. If you think you are the wrong age, size, shape or personality - you're not! Pole is for everyone :)