Stepping into a whole new world!

With my new pole family... I love these girls!

With my new pole family… I love these girls!

Something new has happened since the last time I updated this poor neglected blog and went M.I.A…

At the start of the year I accepted an invitation to start teaching at Bobbi’s Pole Studio Singapore, where I’d been a student for over 4 years now. (Can’t believe it’s been that long!)

That translated into sending an audition video to Bobbi herself, getting approved by her, starting loads of teacher training, performing at the studio as a teacher-in-training, learning how to teach, and rehearsing like mad for the opening number of Amateur Night 2015,  the annual student competition event that was held last weekend.

I barely had time to spend with my cat, let alone had energy to blog about anything!

But now the event is done and I’ve a little breathing space, and so that’s what I’ve been up to.

I’m still getting used to it all, and dealing with the new pace, (it’s a lotttt faster now!) and finding the balance between how I see myself as a pole dancer, and how I need to be seen as a pole dancer, if that makes sense.

Although I’m still very far from where I was over a year ago in terms of strength and stamina, I’ve definitely gotten my pole mojo back cos now I’m super motivated to improve!

And I’ve definitely been having the most fun with pole that I’ve ever had in a long time,  because of the awesome new family of pole sisters that I now have in the new teaching team. (Omg, I’m an instructor now!!..?!!)

Anyway, here’s a video of our debut group performance together. (I start out lying down on the stage right at the start, but once the senior teachers take the stage for their amazing doubles you won’t be able to take your eyes off them!)

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Getting a Grip on 40mm poles

IMG_3825

Say hello to my new little friends

This term I had signed up for classes at both Slap Dance Studio and The Yoga Pole Studio, and both studios use 40mm poles in different finishes.

40mm brass is great, but 40mm chrome is… slightly less great.

Over at The Yoga Pole Studio where I do Pole Fit technique classes, the poles are the new generation of brass X-Poles which have a natural, grippy feel to them. And thank goodness for that, because that’s where I got spotted into my first Russian Splits!

By 3 people at the same time, and I’m not even kidding: that’s one person to hold my butt, one to direct my extended leg, and one to glue my foot onto the pole.

(And you thought that pole dancing isn’t a team sport…)

Being a self-confessed grip addict, I usually slather myself in shaving gel. But because the brass finish of the new X-Poles is different from the ones at Bobbi’s, shaving gel can make me a little too grippy… I tried to do a superman once and it felt like my inner thighs were getting waxed by a gorilla. OUCH!

Luckily, I scored a sample pack of Dew Point spray grip to try. (Thanks, Yoga Pole Studio!) It comes in Light, Medium, and Ultra, and is basically a liquid moisturizer for your body. So unlike shaving gel which leaves my knees sticking to each other long after class has ended, the Dew Point sort of disappears into the skin after a while.

The Medium grip gives me just the right level of stickiness for leg hangs and Supermans on new-gen brass X-Poles without leaving fierce red pole burns on my skin. And I’ve successfully learned some new trick combos without too much fear of falling off.

Using chrome poles is a totally different story though! I need to be both super warm and super brave to attempt new tricks, and I still might not be able to pull them off. Shaving gel does nothing for me on chrome except to help me fall off, and even Dry Hands doesn’t seem to help very much.

In fact, I feel like my skill level drops by half on chrome because I just slip and slide off the pole. Simple things like Laybacks become impossible, and I wouldn’t dream of attempting a Russian split even with 5 people spotting me, unless someone invents industrial-strength body magnets that can work on X-Poles.

So far, the Ultra version is the only option out of the three Dew Point options that lets me stay in an Inside leg hang well enough to Allegra, as well as Layback. Which is very useful because you just can’t do a Brass Monkey from Layback when your head has slid all the way down to the floor!

Now that term 1 is over, I can safely say that I can see what the advantages are from the different finishes of poles. Chrome is way gentler on my hands, (but harsher on my self-esteem) and I can do Superman bum rolls without ripping off any skin. whereas the new stickier brass X-Poles are great for overall confidence in trying new tricks.

In all, training at 2 new studios and trying out different tricks and styles has been a great eye-opening experience. But I have to confess that I still miss my familiar 38mm brass… 

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Oh, hai again!

Happy-new-year-fireworks-2015-photoWhy, hello there!

So here we are at the start of another brand new year!

I can’t believe how quickly the end of the year flew by. (And how little attention I’ve been giving this poor blog. But I did mention previously that I’d be blogging less from now on right? No major reason except plain old laziness. But it’s okay when nobody cares anyway! ;D)

But yeah, the last few months of 2014 went by in a haze. All I remember of it is: Going to Sydney to watch MPDA (which was AMAZING!), going back to the airport 2 days after coming home from Sydney to leave for a work trip, then working, Working, WORKing, and WORKING until the 3rd week of December when I spent 2 blissful weeks on leave, decompressing and trying to get back into a fitness habit.

Because up until that point, work had just taken my life over.

Oh, and Christmas and New Years.

But seriously, all work and no pole play makes me a very sad girl. I’d missed the last 2 lessons of Prep Advanced at Bobbi’s because I just couldn’t afford the time or energy. I didn’t even go for yoga, let do any pole practice!

So lame, I know.

But I have spent the past couple of weeks slowly getting back into shape a fitness habit and I intend to maintain a healthy work-life balance in 2015. Because if I don’t make it a top priority to, months and years could easily pass by without me even realizing it, and one day I might wake up, look in the mirror, and see a sad, overweight frump with too many chins!!!

Hey, it could happen to anyone okay.

At least, that’s what flashed in front of my eyes when I first realized that I had lost most of my previous levels of stamina.

Even before that whole year-end avalanche of work happened, I hadn’t done very much pole. I’d taken a break from Prep Advanced for half a year, and just taking one month off from the level that challenges you is all it takes to start losing touch.

So here I am, still far away in terms of stamina and confidence from where I was almost a year ago.

The scary thing is that I signed up for Pole Hard this term at the newly-opened SLAP Studio. The one time I did pole practice there to test out the 40mm chrome poles, I was slipping and sliding around so much, it felt like I was back in Intermediate 2. On the positive side, it somewhat looks like I can do a jade drop in slow-motion because of the lack of grip.

Not.

Honestly, I don’t know how I’ll manage to do anything on chrome after being a brass junkie for the past 4 years. But it’s too late now cos the new term at SLAP starts tomorrow.

Anyhoo, since I don’t have anything else interesting to say, here are some photos from my Sydney pole trip.

Trust me, I intended to post an entire entry on how amazingly awesome Sydney with the girls was but kept getting distracted by the pressing need to procrastinate so these will just have to do!

What do you just after landing at the Sydney airport? You take a cab to Bobbi's Pole Studio and do a private Pole Grooves class with Jedda Jordan of course!

What do you just after landing at the Sydney airport? You take a cab to Bobbi’s Pole Studio and do a private Pole Grooves class with Jedda Jordan of course!

 

We did explain to the friendly guy who helped us snap this pic that it's totally normal to pose like this in public but he just didn't too seem convinced.

We did explain to the nice guy who helped us snap this pic that regular women always pose like this in public and it’s totally normal. 

Pole merch. It makes us excited.

Pole merch. It gets us excited.

The money shot!

The money shot !

Best opening number ever! Yes, that's Cleo on the drums at the back.

Best opening number ever! Yes, that’s Cleo The Hurricane on the drums at the back.

Giant cake, check. Hot men in thongs and thigh highs, check. Maxi Shields, check. Chilli Rox in pasties and a thong, check. What more do you want?!

Giant cake, check. Hot men in thongs and thigh highs, check. Maxi Shields, check. Chilli Rox in pasties and a thong, check. What more do you want?!

You can't tell in this shot, but I wore my "Bobbi's Babe" tank top just to take this pic with Bobbi.

You can’t tell in this shot, but I wore my “Bobbi’s Babe” tank top just to take this pic with Bobbi.

Ah, Fontaine! So hot you'll break a sweat just watching her move.

Ah, Fontaine! She’s so hot you’ll break a sweat just watching her move.

The Winners on stage.

The Winners on stage.

Saying, "Cheese!!!" With Chilli, Roxy, and Evie Jo at Bobbi's Sydney.

Saying, “Cheese!!!” With Chilli, Roxy, and Evie Jo at Bobbi’s Sydney. Okay, we actually said something a lot naughtier ;P

 

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And.. Even.. MORE! New!! Studios!!!

Yup, the pole studio situation here has officially exploded now.

Well, lucky us! It used to be that pole studios were a commodity here, and you picked the one you wanted to learn regularly at, and that was about it.

Not anymore.

Now, students are the commodities, and there’s TRIPLE the number options for where you can take your money and learn at:

Bobbi’s Pole Studio, Groove Studio, Acropolates, Milan Pole Dance Studio, Studio Sands, PoleLAB, Pole Dance Academy, and now also The Yoga Pole Studio, and SLAP Dance Studio.

Yup, we’ve gone from 3 dedicated pole studios, to 9 in the space of just about half a year. EXPLODED, I say!

The 2 new latest kids on the block are The Yoga Pole Studio, and SLAP Dance Studio. Here’s what they have in common: Both are opened by ex, Advanced-level instructors from Bobbi’s Pole Studio Singapore, who also happen to be pole competition champions. …Credentials much?

So let’s meet them, shall we..

1) The Yoga Pole Studio

The Yoga poleNo prizes for guessing! The Yoga Pole Studio offers (surprise!) an equal mix of yoga and pole classes. Opened by 2011 Miss Pole Dance Singapore champion, Hanna, this is the place to go if you aspire towards the graceful, lyrical performance style that she is well-known for.

Hanna is also a certified yoga instructor and has the overall flexibility of a rubber band. (We’re talking Spatchcocks, Eagles, and Rainbow Marchenkos)

Which is why The Yoga Pole Studio had to open up a new class on their timetable for their ‘Backbends and Splits’ class which got fully booked out even before they opened for business! Cos if anyone can help you get the back of your head to the back of your knee, it will probably be Hanna.

Their pole classes include Pole Fit levels which sound more trick technique based, and a range of dance classes included Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, and interestingly, Latin pole.

If you’re not a Bobbi’s girl from Singapore and don’t already know who Hanna is, you can check out her showreel from when she entered an Indonesian television talent competition in 2012 and placed in the top 5.

 

2) SLAP Dance Studio 

If you were to ask any of the regular Advanced-level girls at Bobbi’s to name their go-to instructor at Bobbi’s for advanced tricks, you’d probably hear a chorus of, ‘Naokooooooo!!!’

Naoko

Naoko, aka Miss Pole Dance South-East Asia

That is, until recently.

Because she now helms her own pole studio: the deliciously naughty-sounding SLAP Dance Studio.

They’re not open for business yet, but since Naoko is the 2012 champion of Miss Pole Dance South East Asia, I’m thinking this will become the go-to studio for more advanced, strength-based, pole tricksters. This is especially since their poles will be 40mm chrome, and not brass.

But! SLAP studioRumour has it that they will also offer Striptease and Lap classes, (yay!) so if power moves aren’t really your thing (raises hand) you can simply get your sexy on over there too.

SLAP Dance Studio is having an official open house on November 15th, so go check it out if you’re free cos I hear they will be offering some great opening promos. Sadly, I won’t be in town on that day as I’ll be in Dubai for a work trip. *sulky face*

 

But at least I have something else to cheer me up, because tonight….

 

…I leave for Sydney to watch the 10th annual MISS POLE DANCE AUSTRALIA finals!!!!

(I had to resist typing that whole sentence in caps, cos.. omg! omg! OMG!!!)

Last year one of my instructors flew over to watch MPDA, and I was suddenly overcome with envy and regret as I read her joyous texts live from inside the Enmore Theatre. So I decided there and then that I’d make the trip there myself this year and be there in person to watch it.

Little did I realise that this year would be the 10th anniversary of MPDA, and that Felix Cane would decide to step out of competition retirement to compete. Hell, my plane ticket just paid for itself right there!

And since a few of us are going together, we’ve booked private classes with Bobbi, Chilli, and last year’s MPDA champion, Jedda Jordan! I’m totally looking forward to meeting Jedda in person, and trying her signature Chair Tricks! We’re also doing a workshop with the legendary Fontaine, and hopefully, ex-MPDA champion Porsche as well.

Oops, I realise that this is completely off-tangent from my original post about the new studios here in Singapore, but I’m so super excited that all I can think about right now is going to the Motherland of Pole Dancing! Aka, Sydney.

Okay, time to get out of bed now (cuz I’m on leave today, duh!) and pack.

See you later! xoxox

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So. Many. New. Studios!!!

Wow, it’s great to be a student here right now.

Since Milan Pole Studio opened it’s Singapore branch slightly over 2 months ago, a sudden rush of other new pole studios have been popping up all over the place like crazy!

Okay fine, 3.

..and that practically DOUBLES the current number of dedicated pole studios in our tiny island! Cos we were 3, then 4, and now 7!

Let’s meet the new players then, shall we?

So in no particular order (except of course, the vital sequence in which the appeared on my radar, lol):

#1 Studio Sands
They’re already open for business and offered free pole practice and some trial classes during their recent launch.

Apart from regular pole choreography, they offer Doubles classes, and also K-Pop pole if you’re into that.

You can check out their introduction video here, which they open by dancing around barefoot in an MRT station to classical music.

(Personally, I would have kept my shoes on cos MRT station floors are kinda gross and will no doubt turn the soles of your feet very black.)

#2 PoleLAB

PoleLAB’s Facebook Page says it will open around October. The concept looks to be that of a gym-cum-pole studio rolled into one so that you can work out, then work on the pole. I’m not a gym person at all, but I get how that would appeal to the more trickster-focused students and pole-fitness enthusiasts in general.

According to their website, their poles are both 40mm brass and 45mm chrome. Yay to 40mm brass, I say!

You can check out PoleLAB’s introduction video here. It doesn’t look like the space they shot this video in is the actual PoleLAB studio space though.

 

#3 POLE DANCE ACADEMY !!! (…of the Michelle Shimmy & Maddie Sparkle fame!!)

Okay, confession time: I’m actually not like a gigantic fan of Shimmy or Maddie yet.

Yet! I said ‘Yet’ ok!

Hey, I wasn’t even a fan of Prana’s either until I met her when she moved here for 2 months, and now I love that woman to bits and stalk her on Instagram.

So to be fair, I’ve never met Shimmy or Maddie but I have heard lots of good things about them and that’s a good start.

Anyway I feel the best way to see if you really-truly-for-reals do like a pole teacher, is not by just deciding that you like what you see on their YouTube channel, but to do a class with them in person.

Cos then you get to see what they’re really like as people. And yes I’ve taken classes before with some super-famous (non-Bobbi’s) instructors that I didn’t end up really liking even tho I agree that they’re greatly talented.

*Cos, not everyone will like everyone, and not everyone has to! End of story and don’t ask who cos I won’t say.*

But…. Michelle Shimmy will be coming to Singapore for their official opening on September 28th and conducting workshops! So I will get my chance to meet her, learn from her in person, and eventually become a raving fan of hers after all!

I’ve signed up for her famous ‘Booty’ and ‘Spinning tricks & signature combos’ workshops. So excited.  She’s also conducting a Handstands workshop too but I don’t want to kill myself by crashing all 3 of them in together, since she’s teaching them all on the same day. If you’re registered into the Handstand workshop, let me know how it went okay?

Shimmy

Photo taken from Pole Dance Academy Singapore’s Facebook Page

I do wish she was teaching more and staying for longer but since PDA just opened a new studio in Sydney, I suppose Shimmy and Maddie simply can’t afford that much time away.

Kind of like how Bobbi herself only flies in for workshops here once a year as well.

(Can we maybe get some sort of Sydney/Singapore instructor exchange programme going though? Just saying… I’m sure everyone involved would be happy! )

 

So there you have it, suddenly there are so many options for pole enthusiasts to spend their hard-earned dollars at.

And each of the new studios have apparently been started by ex-students of all 3 of the first main pole studios here. (Did I say that out loud? Nevermind! But… Are you noticing a trend here? Heehee..)

Incredibly, I’ve even been hearing whispers on the grapevine that there could be more people opening MORE studios too, in the I-have-no-idea-how-distant future.

I’m not sure how reliable that info is, but I say, Bring it!

Cos more studio options equals more fun for students! Wow can you say, ‘spoilt for choice’ fast enough?

The only problem now is that I need to find more money soon to fund me some new classes!!

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An interview with Felix Cane

Felix 1

Photo credit: damo photography. Picture taken from Bobbi’s Pole Studio Perth’s Facebook Page

Ah, Felix.

Probably the most household name in the entire pole dancing world!

I don’t need to tell you that she’s the legendary 3-time winner of the Miss Pole Dance Australia competition right? Or that she’s won the World Pole Championships not just once but twice… or even that she was famously invited by Cirque Du Soleil to headline her own solo pole act in Las Vegas for a few years.

Cos you knew that already, didn’t you?!

Just like you don’t need to tell me that maybe a small (or big) reason why you got into pole in the first place was because you were super inspired by watching her on You Tube.

And we both even know that she’s got haters too. Peeps saying her style doesn’t change, she’s not as current as the new generation of pole stars, that she’s all sorts of other things, blah blah blah…

…Whatevs!

You’ve probably figured out by now that she was my very first pole idol and she’s still my favourite one right?

Right!

So now that you’re aware I’m a completely biased fan-girl and you’re still here, let’s get on with it!

But first, some quick context about this little interview…

Earlier in the year, some of my girlfriends flew to Perth for the Western Australia Pole Camp, and of course they hit up Bobbi’s Pole Studio in Perth where Felix now teaches full-time.

Amongst their collective gushing about how friendly, cheery, and down to earth she is, they also mentioned that after their classes with her, she had casually invited them all to go visit the club where she works at night.

As a stripper.

Say whuuuut..???

(Btw, I liked her even more when I heard that. Yes, I think her being a stripper is pretty fabulous. Told you I’m totally biased, right?)

Then I heard all about how amazing her stage presence is, that she’s utterly classy and captivating, and also how they spent all their money tipping her that night.

And so I knew… that if I ever got the chance to meet Felix, I had to ask her about that topic myself.

Along with all the other usual dorky things I wanted to know.

So here we are! Enjoy…

Felix 3

Photo credit: Justin Tran Photography. Picture taken from Justin Tran Photography’s Facebook Page.

 

 

Hi Felix! So tell us… what have you been up to since Cirque Du Soleil?

Since I left the circus about a year ago, I’ve been teaching at Bobbi’s in Perth. And it’s been amazing! I love it there. It’s home, you know?

I’m quite enjoying not moving and travelling, cos I did so much of it with Cirque that for now I just want to stay in one place.

There’s also so many things that I haven’t had time to work on that I just want to ‘get back into my body’. You lose a lot when you’re only performing because you do the same things over and over again, so it’s been really nice to just train and get back to basics.

What kind of stuff do you want to work on?

Well, I want to develop things that look beautiful and aren’t difficult, because I’m old and broken… So that’s my goal. I want to broaden my vocabulary of pole moves.

Old and broken!? ..What nonsense! But since you mention it, do you have a lot of injuries?

When I was working in the circus, I had a massive accident. They had a mechanical malfunction as they called it, and I smashed my entire face to pieces and broke my arm and my wrist. So that was a mega one.

Apart from that I’ve got a rotator cuff tear which will need surgery if it gets worse, a tear in my wrist as well, my hips are wonky, and my back is out so I have back pain… Shoulders, wrists, back; everything’s a little bit broken! But it’s general wear and tear. When you perform at a high level consistently, it just happens. Bodies are not meant to do things like that!

How many hours a week do you teach? 

I teach High Advanced, Advanced, Prep Advanced, Intermediate 2, and Stretch and Flex. And a lot of Pole Grooves!

Phew, that’s a lot! Any favourite thing you love to teach?

I love teaching beginners actually. Or teaching moves from the very beginning, cos when it’s something that the girls haven’t done before, it’s exciting for them, and for me as well. So I like teaching new things. And I really love teaching Pole Grooves because it’s all choreographing and dancing, and it’s so much fun!

I also like students who really work hard, where you can tell that they’re stretching and doing stuff at home and it’s not just an hour a week for them to come in then forget about pole… Dedicated! I like that because I share a passion with them.

Do you prefer teaching to performing?

Gosh, that’s a good question…

I love teaching! I get so much joy from seeing people get things and progress. It’s so rewarding, and it’s a different sort of reward than performing. But that’s a difficult one. I can’t answer that one… I don’t know which one I like better! I like them the same, but they’re so different.

Would you ever compete again?

If I feel like I’m good enough. Cos I feel like I’m not at my peak right now. So if I feel like I get to a point where I’m like, ‘Man! I wanna show this stuff off!’, then yes.

I get so nervous when I compete!  I’m like, the worst with nerves. I’m worse than everybody I know! On the day, I’m almost, ‘Why did I do this to myself? I hate this! Why did I do this to myself!’

If you do pole dancing for say, the circus… they don’t really know what they’re looking at so you can just do the splits and they’re like, ‘WOW!’. But the pole community knows what they’re looking at and they expect things of you, so it’s really nerve wracking.

I love performing, and I love being on stage, but I just get really nervous. It’s that 15 minutes before that my heart starts racing, and I start shaking. I can’t breathe as well, I’m like “hurghh!’ I don’t know what I think is going to happen, but I just panic. And then I get on stage and I’m fine!

Do you think the competition scene has changed a lot?

Definitely. I think that across the world, competitive pole dancing has become so gymnastic. It’s ridiculous! It’s sort of lost the essence of pole, but I think the Miss Pole Dance Australia competition has maintained that authenticity, with the showgirl side of the whole performance and showmanship, rather than just being about tricks.

And it has shoes! Cos… wear your shoes! I dunno, I have my preference… whereas I know that other people like it better when its fitness, but to me it’s an art. And I kinda like the taboo-ness of pole…. and how it’s a little bit naughty, like 7-inch stilettos!

Talking about the naughty side of pole… what do you think about the whole, ‘I’m a pole dancer, not a stripper!’ thing?

Well, I’m a pole dancer and a stripper, so I think you can be both! It’s funny cos people sometimes say, ‘She’s a pole dancer! She’s not a stripper!’ And I’m like, ‘hmm, really?’ *giggles*

Do you ever correct them?

No, I don’t think it has anything to do with it. It doesn’t make me any better or worse of a pole dancer.

So you’re cool with people knowing that you dance in a strip club?

Yea, I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed about.

I think people are scared of what they don’t know and what they don’t understand. Just like with pole dancing, there’s a lot of stigmas and assumptions attached to the strip tease industry. You can try and convince someone as much as you’d like, but it’s pretty much like flogging a dead horse. Unless they know it and they’ve experienced it, or unless you’re talking to another dancer, there’s no point really trying to change someone’s mind about it.

Striptease is an art form as well, it’s not about being vulgar… there’s a way of doing it that’s beautiful. Burlesque is like old-school strip tease; it’s a beautiful style of dancing that’s sexy, too! So I don’t think that there’s anything to be ashamed about, because to me it’s just another style of dancing.

But I get it that people don’t like it, and I’m not gonna try to change the world on that one! *laughs*

When did you start in the strip tease industry?

I started working at the Voodoo Lounge in 2006, after I started pole dancing.

I started performing there because it had poles, and pretty much the only place in the world that had poles then were strip clubs!

So I went in and I was like, ‘I’m not going to take off my clothes! But I’ll do a performance for you.’ And they let me. So I started out with just doing pole performances.

But then I saw everyone else making loads of money! And I was a student at the time, and I was making hardly anything. The amount that these girls were making in a night was more than what I’d make in a month. So I was like, ‘ what’s the point of me working 9 till 5, training on the pole for 5 hours, practically dying, and not making any money?

Then I thought, ‘I can practice and make loads of money, I won’t be so exhausted, and I can still do what I love.’ So I just did.

There are so many different types of strip clubs as well. There’s some that are gross, and I would never even walk into them. But some, like The Voodoo Lounge, are beautiful! And the girls are beautiful, and you walk in and it’s an amazing venue, and it’s fun to be part of it.

Are there any moves that the guys really love?

In a strip club, they guys don’t really come to see your pole moves. To be honest, it’s all about eye contact. If you can make a guy look at you, and not look away, that’s the key.

Do you have any funny performance stories?

Yup! I’ve got a good one… from when I was working for Cirque Du Soleil, and it was during the Michael Jackson Immortal world tour.

So I’d do the Spatchcock in every show, and in a Spatchcock, your hands are out behind you, and you can’t really put them anywhere else. And in this particular show I had a very sparkly bikini on, but the bottom of the bikini didn’t stay where it was supposed to so my whole lady-ness was out for everybody in the audience to see! All 20,000 of them! In a Spatchcock! That was probably the most horrific wardrobe fail that I’ve ever experienced! *Laughs*

 

 

*Update: Since our little chat last month, Felix must have changed her mind and decided that she is indeed ready for the competition stage again because the Miss Pole Dance Australis 2015 finalists have been announced, and she’s been included as the ‘Automatic Wildcard’ contestant.*

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