Time to stop playing and start working again

Trying to absorb some Twerk power

Trying to somehow absorb some Twerk power

In the past couple of months, and especially since Milan Pole Studio Singapore opened it’s doors, I’ve been playing around instead of working.

Basically I’ve just been having fun by doing loads of dance-based classes instead of working on any pole tricks. Hell, I dropped out of Prep Advanced at week 6 and just messed around with different classes!

I call them the ‘Sexy-Flexy’ stuff: Twerk, Exotic, Floorwork, Slap, Stretch, Contortion, etc.. All the stuff that’s fun and not too tiring cos they don’t really require that much strength or stamina.

I could happily do those kinds of classes forever, I swear.

But alas, pole dancing at it’s best does include doing difficult aerial pole tricks, and I do enjoy them too.

So it’s time to stop playing around, and get my (somewhat heavier) ass back to work.

And I did just that by going for my first session of pole practice at Bobbi’s again …after 2 and a half months!!

Now we all know that with pole, you are constantly subjected to the ‘use it or lose it’ risk. And after not doing any tricks for so long, I was wondering if my body still remembered how to do a spin climb into pull-up-V!

Thankfully, it does.

I like to think that all the yoga I’ve been doing to make my membership worthwhile has been keeping some of my strength, but in truth it’s just really good muscle memory from constant past repetition.

I took it easy by just going through all the basic tricks I could think of to make sure they were still there: Static V, Jade, Allegra, Fallen Angel, DVD cover, and thankfully yes they all are…

Feeeelixxxxxxx!

With Feeeelixxxxxxx!

…Except that god, I felt winded!

The last time I felt that tired was when I did Felix Cane’s Beginner Pole Grooves workshop last month!

Now that was some serious fun.

She was here for the Bobbi’s Affaire charity event showcase featuring different group performances by our local Bobbi’s students, and instructors including Bobbi herself.

I didn’t take part in any of the performances but instead was a pole cleaner that night with my pole pal Angela.

I’d always wanted to be a pole cleaner for one of the studio’s events and was super happy when they assigned me with the task! Cos this was like the event of the year. With Bobbi and Felix!

So back to Felix. It was surreal meeting my biggest pole idol in person after 3 and a half years of pole. Luckily, I’ve met quite a few pole stars by now so I think I managed not to spazz out completely.

I found out backstage that she suffers from actual pre-performance jitters. Which was also surreal, because she’s Felix Cane for goodness sake! 3-time MPD Australia, and 2-time winner of the world pole championships! She looks better just warming up on her bad side than most pole dancers can ever dream of!

But she does get nervous, and it is adorable. And watching her perform made me realize that I really need to get my shit together and just get back to working on hard stuff again if I ever want to be remotely awesome competent on the pole in this lifetime.

Pole cleaning at the Bobbi's Affaire

Pole cleaning at the Bobbi’s Affaire

And so I’m starting with pole practice for now, since I haven’t signed up for any classes at all this term due to a total lack of confidence. (Plus some travel plans)

I’m trying to get back into a weekly pole practice habit to start with, now that my unlimited package at MPS has long ended and I’m not feeling rich enough to buy another.

So it’s back to good old solo pole practice, and even some blogging!

Cos this poor space was growing cobwebs.

Okay, I’ll just say it: I probably won’t be blogging as much as I used to in the past, as all of the 3 people who actually read this damn thing will have noticed by now. But I will say that I at least conducted a casual interview with Felix while she was here where she talks about stripping, among other things.

…Do you want to see it?

I hope so!

Posted in Gimme some Dancing!, Mad Crushes | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Every damned day.. almost

s-Exhausted...In the past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been going to the newly-opened Milan Pole Dance Studio almost every day. Yup, I signed up for their opening ‘unlimited’ promo that allows me to do 1 class per day for a whole month.

I wasn’t planning to, but then after the first few trial classes I did, I immediately fell super in love with Prana and decided that I must go for as many of her classes as humanly possible.

Personally I like instructors who can : a) Make me laugh b) Be patient, and c) Break things down clearly. Bonus point if they are Sexy too!

I honestly don’t care about how famous they are, how many competitions they won, or how impressive their backgrounds are. To me, any instructor who has those basic qualities is worth their weight in gold.

Thankfully, I don’t have to pay Prana 70kg worth of gold cos I can just do the unlimited class promo instead!

The only problem is, I’ve never done this many consecutive classes before and my poor body must be in shock because on some days, I can’t really feel my arms and legs anymore.

But apart from the fact that I wake up every morning feeling like I got hit by a van full of gorillas, I’m having a great time!

Surprisingly, my favourite classes so far are Flexy and Contortion, which involve no dancing and a lot of PAIN.

I haven’t done many Flexibility-based classes recently, and certainly none this effective. Last week, my toes actually tickled the top of my head and I think I sweat more during Flexy class than during Twerk class.

Speaking of which… Twerk is super hard! The twerking itself isn’t too bad, but it’s the hip-hop based routines we learn in each class that just mess me up!

I’ve never been interested in hip-hop choreography, and Twerk class is like taking a sudden crash course in it.

My two left feet have a really hard time trying to process new moves, and my brain only remembers new choreography in blocks of 10 seconds: I can remember the first 10 seconds, then once I learn another 10 seconds’ worth, the previous 10 seconds gets erased instantly. Which means I’m perpetually 3 counts (of 8!) behind, and move like a lost chicken.

Pole Dance Basic is much more manageable, but even then the style and transitions are different from what I’m used to.

And being directionally-challenged, I can only follow what’s being taught if I stand directly Behind the instructor. If I stand beside her and watch from the mirror’s reflection, I end up following the mirror exactly and doing everything in reverse from her instead.

But that’s okay, cos the best part about MPS is that at the end of every class, they switch the studio lights off and replace them with UV lighting that makes neon colors glow in the dark! So I tell myself that if I can barely see myself flapping around in darkness, then no one else can really see me either

No wait.

The best thing about the studio isn’t the club lighting… It’s the fact that they have an actual Bathroom, and not just one, but TWO sinks to wash your hands with!!!

Because the feeling of having clean, non-disgusting hands after class is pure luxury!

Posted in Gimme some Dancing! | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

There’s a New Kid on the Block… Finally!

Hello, Sparklebuns!

Guess who Sparklebuns is? 

Earlier in the year, there were whispers flying around about a new pole studio opening in Singapore. A Facebook page even materialized, with a promising ‘Coming Soon’ poster on their cover page. The rumours flew fast and furious, along with the speculation about who was bringing them in.

But when the months went by quietly without any real updates on the Facebook page, I resigned myself to the fact that no new studio was opening here. The fever of excitement was over…

*Cue sad face + tears of crushing disappointment*

Then a few weeks ago, Milan Pole Studio (MPS) suddenly announced that it would be opening a new outlet here in July! Just like that, things were getting exciting again!

Before we knew it, they released info online about classes, prices, promotions, and the fact that they were flying in Prana from France to kickstart the local branch!

I must have downloaded the booking app and signed up for a 3-class trial within the first 20 minutes that they opened their system for registration.

And yesterday I did my first Contortion class at the brand spanking new Milan Pole Studio Singapore branch (MPS) in Bukit Pasoh. That’s just 4 train stations away from my office!

I’ve never tried Contortion before, as there aren’t any Contortion classes offered here. I’d tried to drop into one to try it when I was in London, but the class was full.

So considering it was my very first Contortion class, and my first time setting foot into Milan Pole Studio, I was pretty excited and nervous.

…But I didn’t have to be, because the class was full of familiar faces! Haha, it turns out that there are loads of aspiring contortionists at Bobbi’s Pole Studio cos most of the students were my fellow Bobbi’s girls.

The MPS studio itself is airy and clean, with nice high ceilings and custom-made one-piece 42″ stainless steel Lupit poles. The space seemed bigger in person than in the photos I’d seen on Facebook.

We were instructed to partner up and share a yoga mat, so all of us managed to fit quite comfortably in the studio.

But first, Prana! I’d heard of her before but never really had any impression of her til now. She’s friendly, gives great instruction (she was nominated for instructor of the year 2013 by IPC, Duh!), has a killer buff body and reminds me slightly of Rihanna.

Bow pose has nothing on Partner Contortion... my back thinks it did 300 of these

Bow pose has nothing on Partner Contortion…
my back thinks it did 300 of these now

We also quickly discovered that if she touches you during class, your body is going to scream because she really knows how to contort and adjust you into brand new directions that you never imagined.

Last night I spent 40 minutes on my trusty Osim back massager before going to bed, which usually helps tremendously in easing stiffness the next day. But I still woke up shocked at how sore my whole back felt this morning. In a good way though, because I’m not in any actual pain or anything. It just feels as if I did 300 yoga Bow poses consecutively.

So now I can’t wait to try the other 2 classes I signed up for: Twerk on Tuesday, and Exotic Dance on Thursday. I heard the Exotic Style at MPS is pretty different from what Bobbi’s girls will be used to, which makes me feel quite curious…

Also, considering that Prana has already been nicknamed, ‘Miss Sparklebuns’ on the MPS Facebook page, I’m pretty sure her Twerk class is probably going to be quite different from anything I’ve done so far since I haven’t tried any Twerk classes before either.

I just hope she goes easy on us, because I watched this video and if that’s the kind of Twerking involved, then I’m totally screwed!

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Sometimes you just need a good SLAP!

Intermediate SLAP, where you discover the most creative ways to use a foldable chair

And you thought you knew how to use a foldable chair!

…No no, not in the face. Sheesh, calm down already! No one is bitch-slapping anyone here, okay? Lol!

I’m talking about Strip & Lap (Slap) classes.

I hadn’t done a Slap class for ages, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is to dance without the pole. Honestly, it’s just as hard to do a good chair & floorwork routine as it is to do a pole routine.

In fact, it can be harder when there are no pole tricks at all to hide behind. It means that you have to be 100% confident in your sensuality and dance coordination because that’s pretty much all that’s on display.

When I first started doing Slap classes ages ago, I was surprised at how far out from my comfort zone they brought me. I felt more exposed, more vulnerable, more awkward. SO much more awkward!

It’s easy enough to rush through dance moves for a few beats before jumping into a pole trick to distract yourself and your audience. But if you have to work on nothing else except those dance moves, it forces you to confront whichever parts of them make you feel uncomfortable.

Be it the moves themselves, or how you feel about the body parts that are being isolated through them. But if you stick with it, you’ll find your body moving in ways you may never have allowed it to before.

And so I feel that Strip & Lap classes are a pole dancer’s secret weapon.

They get the awkward out of your sexy, and help your body get comfortable with basically everything that happens in-between the tricks.

This term’s intermediate Slap routine was a doubles partner choreography, which requires even more coordination than usual. Why, just being able to wave your legs in sync facing your partner without hitting her on head with your foot is a skill all by itself!

I wasn’t even planning to do Slap this term (or anytime in the near future) but due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up doing it during the last week of term. It was my first lesson, and the last lesson for the term. Talk about taking a crash course!

Luckily for me, some friends sent me their class videos so I could familiarize myself with the choreography, and Po.lita is a great teacher. I even managed to find willing partners to perform with during performance week too and had so much fun with them!

Messing around with my SLAP sisters

Messing around with fellow sexy SLAP sisters

So after months and months of not doing any Strip & Lap classes, my love for Slap has definitely been reignited and I’m going to resume with Slap in the new term, which starts next week.

And after a whole lot of consideration, I signed up for Prep Advanced again too… despite being stuck in a looooong pole slump recently. (The same pole slump that’s also resulted in major pole-blogging writer’s block.)

I reckon that I’ll never ride out this plateau that I’m on if I don’t at least push myself with Prep Advanced every other term. And quite a few of my pole pals are signed into it too so at least we can all practice together.

Plus, it’s this song!!!

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Tokyo pole drop-in: Luxurica Studio

Welcome to Luxurica!

Welcome to Luxurica!

I always make it a point to drop in to a new pole studio whenever I travel. It makes every trip a super fun one and I love to explore different neighborhoods by myself as I visit them too.

The last time I was in Tokyo about a year ago, I dropped-in at Pole Dance Tokyo for 2 classes and had a great time. This time, I wanted to check out a different studio.

Step inside..

Step inside..

Luxurica is a 5-minute walk from Sendagaya station, about 3 stops from Shibuya. It’s located in a cozy little surburban-looking neighborhood instead of the usual business district, which adds a certain charming quality.

I was quite literally running late from catching up with a buddy over ice-cream, and luckily the studio was very easy to locate as I sprinted madly across from the train station!

I’d emailed Luxurica a week before and asked if they could suggest a sexy dance-based class since the schedule on the website was in Japanese, and was recommended the ‘Pole with High Heels’ 90-minute class on Sunday, taught by Reiko.

With sexy instructor Reiko

With sexy instructor Reiko

Rushing into the studio, I was greeted by the warm and friendly Reiko herself, who also happens to be the director of Luxurica. There were 5 other girls in the class and more than enough poles for everyone. The poles were static chrome as usual, but I was very happy that they were nice and small 40mm!

She explained that she would show us a few tricks which we’d put into combos, and teach us a dance routine using the same tricks in the choreography.

IMG_0986During the warmup, I was impressed by how flexible everyone was. And Reiko must have back muscles of steel because she can just straighten her body up directly from a yoga bridge pose to standing without touching the floor with her hands. It’s pretty extreme..

The first trick was a Superman, which is fine on its own except that we then had to reach behind for the pole and twist ourselves down to the floor. I have a pretty bendy back but had trouble reaching back for the pole… until I realized that you need to slide your legs down the pole first. Ah-ha!

Instructor profiles

Instructor profiles

But twisting your body around the static pole feels a little bit like trying to manually rub off the skin from a baked potato without using a fruit peeler. Except you’re the potato. I still have bruises on my inner thighs from twisting myself round!

The next trick was a Layout variation, which thankfully was much less painful.

The class was a multi-level group with girls at different skill levels. I was glad to see that Reiko spotted anyone who needed it, and she made sure to see if I knew what I was doing right at the start of class.

With my new Japanese friend :)

With my new Japanese friend :)

She also made it a point to helpfully explain things to me in English as she went along, though she’s expressive enough that I could follow most of it by watching her. I personally loved the fact that she was teaching in a sexy bikini set and heels with full makeup on, and the fact that she has a great sense of humor and laughs easily!

After each trick was taught, we split up into 2 groups to try them on the centre poles of the class, with a couple of spins of our choice followed by climbing and trying out the combo. Then she taught us the dance moves progressively in parts, which made them all nice and easy to remember.

It was a nice sexy little routine with the Superman combo, some floor work, then more dancing and the layout combo.

Fancy lighting to strut it out

Just turn on the fancy lighting and it feels totes natural to Sashay! Shante, Shan-tay, Shan-TAY!

Once the dancing started I felt like I was in my element, even though my spins on static were very hit or miss. I attempted to do a fan-kick spin and got stuck. Oh well, nothing that a good hair flick can’t fix!

What made it really fun though, was the multi-colour ‘performance lights’ that add to the mood. I think in total we did the routine about 6 or 7 times each at least! I was too shy to take a video this time but I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Although I’ve also realized after doing many travel drop-ins, that the ones I enjoy are the dance-based classes. Especially the ones that have a sexy style! Somehow spending an hour doing tricks alone just doesn’t leave me with the same level of fulfillment.

Also, I must say that 90-minutes is a perfect duration for a pole class. That way, there’s more than enough time to warmup, do tricks, learn choreography, practice it over and over, feel just a little tired and then cool down. without feeling rushed. Now I wish we had 90 minute classes at home too!

After the class wrapped up, we did some stretches to cool down and I chatted for a bit with Reiko after she gamely took a picture with me on the pole. I’d noticed flyers on the counter for Miss Pole Dance Japan, and naively asked if she was competing.

Well she’s not competing because…. she’s one of the judges! Oops…

And it turns out, one of my Bobbi’s instructors is flying to Tokyo to compete in it!

Omg I would loooooove to watch MPDJ… Maybe if I manifest hard enough it’ll happen? Haha.. but check out the publicity poster in the meantime, and (if you’re from Bobbi’s Singapore) see if you can spot a familiar face!

The line-up for MPD Japan

The line-up for MPD Japan

 

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Lost my pole mojo, but I think it’s on the floor…

 

Lefty Jade is getting flatter :)

Lefty Jade is getting flatter :)

Besides just having writer’s block lately, *ahem* I’ve been in a pole slump for a while.

Fyi, pole slumps are totally different from pole plateauswhere you work and work but don’t get any better. In a slump, you just lose the excitement for it even though technically you may have improved.

For the first time since I was a beginner, I’ve cut down my pole time to just once a week and just haven’t felt inspired lately to either pole that much or write about it.

Even though I’ve actually found the prep advanced routine much easier than I thought it would be this term, it just hasn’t really excited me.

Of course, easier still doesn’t mean easy… the trick combos are still very long and challenging, and getting through the routine is a matter of having enough stamina to complete the whole thing without looking like a wreck halfway through.

So far, I’ve been able to complete the routine but I’m still working on the not-looking-like-a-wreck bit. My overall skills have improved and all but I just haven’t been having that much fun lately.

Fortunately I did manage to figure out what’s been missing for me, and it’s the fact that I just haven’t felt sexy on the pole in a while! With too much focus on tricks and not enough fun dancing, my pole mojo gets lost and I haven’t really been able to find it all term.

Which is why I’m taking a break next term…

…from Prep Advanced.
(Did you really think I could go without pole for 2 whole months?!)

And I’m signing up for Advanced Pole Grooves (that’s APG for short) again, where the focus is simply on dancing a fun (and hopefully sexxxxayyyy) routine.

Cos you know, the whole point to pole dancing has always been about the expression of sensuality and never about busting out tricks.

Although in the past few weeks I have actually made significant progress with my lefty jade, and all that twisting in the opposite direction probably means that I may not have to eventually spend my 80’s permanently leaning towards one side after all!

But what I really miss right now is just some good old floor work. Floor work is my personal antidote to doing too many pole tricks and not enough dancing, and also my preferred form of freestyling.

In fact, why isn’t there a class where you just learn to slither around provocatively, twerk while crawling, and perfect getting your ‘sexy face’ on? We could call it FLOORGASM!! I think it’d be a hit…

Plus it’d probably be super hilarious to be in. (Do you not know how funny it looks when you’re staring at your butt backwards in the mirror on all fours, trying to will it into cooperating while the only expression your face can manage is one of pure frustrated concentration??)

Hey, I’d sign up! Hell, I’d teach it if they let me but I’d need to work on that twerking first…

In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to a booty-shaking good time in APG soon. Fingers crossed that there will be at least some floor work involved!

Posted in Gimme some Dancing!, I'm just saying.. | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment