I’ve just been wiped out by the hurricane known as Cleo. Yes, I’ll explain..
But first let me gush a little!
In person, Cleo is tall, gorgeous, funny, and every bit a rockstar… I mean, who pulls out a miniature, electric green flying-V-guitar-shaped pen out of their handbag to write down someone’s number? Well, Cleo does!
And Nobody else I can think of deserves to be known as a hurricane, because when that woman moves, she is a force to be reckoned with.
I’d shown up slightly early for the workshop and hung out with my pal Miss Folly (who is my real-life namesake, btw) and a few of our friends who arrived early. It was the first time we were doing a pole workshop conducted by anyone other than our regular instructors so we were already a giggly mess by the time Cleo actually arrived.
This was the only pole-tricks-only workshop that was available for intermediate 2 level and above. But I noticed that with the exception of one girl, most of the others were in inter 3/prep advanced. Thank goodness I’m comfortable with most inter 3 tricks now, because that workshop was definitely a lot more advanced than anyone expected!
Cleo started off teaching us a ‘power move’ version of the pull-up-V, where you give your legs a big, dramatic swing around the pole before flipping upside down. She does it a lot in her routines, and she does it in lightning speed. Not many of us could pull it off straight away though.
Then she went on to some interesting combos based on tricks that we already know. Lots of them involve full aerial splits which she has no problems with, especially since all of her joints seem to be made from ball bearings which have 360 degree mobility.
In contrast, I can just barely do a floor split on my good side, much less do one in the air against gravity. So most of my attempts just looked like strange puppet-doll variations due to my pathetic V-shaped aerial splits. Her combos also involved quite a but of switching positions by pulling a foot between the gap of the arm holding onto the pole, and the pole itself. Challenging stuff! Most of the time, my foot just kept getting stuck and I ended up sliding down off my pole.
She also taught us a really hot ‘Superman’ bum wiggle, done with the legs in a Superman grip and both hands on the floor in a push-up position, which I managed to pull off but not very sexily. I can probably work on that one though, it’s quite fun when you get past the pain!
Someone also asked her to show us her famous drop from a horizontal jade split, which she felt was too advanced to teach on the spot (and rightly so cos Gawd, that shit is scary!). So I asked if she could just walk us through the jade split, which she obliged. And I managed to do it!! It’s not flat of course but I’m happy enough at this point! I’ve even got a nice little bruise on my right upper thigh from it.
She also showed us her Steel Panther, which really does take balls to try… one slip and you could walk funny for a week. I decided not to risk it! Just take a look and you’ll see what I mean..
I also managed to get a few new tricks that I haven’t learned yet, like the Maxi and downward pole split. Yay!
Then before I knew it, it was time for the Floorwork workshop which in my concentration, I’d forgotten that I signed up for. On hindsight, doing both workshops on the same day probably wasn’t the best idea.
But oh well, live and learn right?
So. The floorwork routine could simply be re-named, ‘Crazy-splits-on-speed-101’.
Cleo taught us a routine to “Youth Gone Wild” by Skid Row that was totally rocking, but sadly quite beyond me.
She makes it look so easy, dropping into full splits, swiveling into more splits, then lying on her back and doing a centre split to bang her shoes on the floor with startling force. And all that in hyper speed and on loop!
Besides struggling like mad to keep up with the pace, I was also pretty tired by then from the previous pole tricks workshop… which is probably how in the midst of all that twisting, splitting and shoulder roll flipping, I managed to pull that old spot behind my right shoulder blade that’s given me problems before.
I still don’t know what exactly I did wrong. All I do know is that one minute I was sliding around the floor in a blur, and the next moment I felt a little tug in that spot. Five minutes later it turned into a rather sharp sting so I called it a day and sat out the very last round of the routine to take a video of Cleo doing it.
Ugh! Wiped out by Hurricane Cleo! Well no, not by her of course, just by me. But at least I’d made it though to the end!
After the workshop, she very generously treated us to an unbelievable freestyle pole performance which just blew everyone away. We’d all already seen quite a few of her videos before but they still weren’t able to convey just how dynamic she is in person! Girl is pure dynamite.
And so now I finally know what it’s like to meet a pole idol in person: pretty freaking awesome! I can’t wait to watch her perform tonight at Miss Pole Dance South East Asia…