Thursday, January 3, 2013

* Guest Pole~Cat in the Spotlight *

A Guest Post From My Sister Katie (The Other Bambino)

I must start off by saying that I am in no way athletic.  Have you ever heard of someone having to take summer school for gym?  I have.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy swimming in the summer and hiking in the fall, but when someone says the “E” word my brain flashes images of running on a treadmill or pumping an elliptical while watching the gym’s flat screen play latest paternity test episode of Maury.  Basically, you’ve lost me.  I’ll be in my room reading, thank you very much.  So, when my older sister insisted I accompany her to D.L. Fitness, a pole dancing and fitness studio, I was hesitant.   I had made my judgments and assumed everyone would judge me.  I pictured statuesque 18 year-olds who had either been dancing their whole lives or at least looked like it.  I trusted my sister though and agreed to meet her there one summer evening several months ago.
            My first class was with Maggie, a spritely little redhead who worked a hula hoop like it was glittery, dazzling bodily appendage.  She stood at the front of the studio, telling us what we would be learning in the class with that hoop circling her waist so fluidly you barely saw movement.  I was amazed. I was also nervous.  This was not the hula hooping I remembered from my childhood.  Maggie was supportive and we moved slowly.  I was shocked to find out my muscles seemed to remember the movements.  By the end of the first class I was panting a bit and my abs ached from not only the hoop movements, but from laughing.  I felt uplifted and eager for more.
            We learned new tricks every week and I practiced in my little apartment, knocking things off the coffee table and nearly taking down a pendant lamp with my “vortex”.  While practicing one evening after work my boyfriend looked over at me from the kitchen.  “It looks like your hips aren’t even moving”, he said sipping juice from the carton.  I stopped and felt a giant grin spread across my face.  This was my first taste of victory and I needed more.    
            I took my first pole class one month before the studio moved to their larger venue.  Jess, my lovely and skilled instructor with the patience of a saint taught me the basics. Pole I was not easy.  I was absurdly intimidated by this shiny, cold thing sticking out from the floor.  That first class was rough.  I banged my knee, my shin, and my elbow.  I had welts all over my arm and ankles.  Despite my new bruises and blisters, I was falling hard (no pun intended) for pole.  By the end of four weeks I felt stronger.  I was still a bit intimidated when it was time to try something new, but I did it.  I tried.  Once in a while I even succeeded.  When I did succeed, I celebrated and then pushed harder.
            I was thrilled when the new studio opened.  Maggie would be teaching aerial silks.  I spent my childhood dreaming of soaring through the air and awing audiences.  Here was my chance!  Right in front of me!  The first step!  So why couldn’t I lift myself off the ground?  That first class was even more cringe-worthy than my first pole class.  But I kept trying and pushing (or pulling as aerials would have it).  By week four I could climb, key, and complete my balance sequence.  By week 6 I completed a shaky and rather ungraceful “candy cane”.  
            My fitness goals change after every class.  My initial overall goal when I enrolled in classes was to get stronger physically and have fun doing it.  I am working on the stronger part and I enjoy every moment.  Each time I enter that studio I say to myself, “Nail this one move tonight.  Make this trick look more graceful.  Hold this pose longer than you did last week.”  I am shocked to say that I usually achieve my weekly goal in some form or another.  I am even more surprised to find that the strength I find in class carried over when I went home.  Since I started taking classes I left a job I didn’t like for one I liked better.  I took up baking again after I somehow lost the time to do it before.  I could look at myself at the end of class and know that no matter what I pulled off in that hour at least I tried.  The following week, when I walked in that studio again, I will try harder.  

The Other Bambino