When I originally set out to put this piece together, I thought I might get one or two responses. I am so grateful to these amazing women for taking time out of their busy days to write their thoughts down for me. I never anticipated so many beautiful words and needing to split the post in two. If you haven't read my message, or the beautiful words of the ladies in yesterday's post, click here.
Like many women, I was first drawn to pole dancing because of the amazingly feminine movement, the mesmerizing flow, and unapologetic sexuality. When people ask me why I love pole dancing, I usually give the short answer. Because it’s naughty, and wickedly fun. Because it makes me feel graceful, strong. It led me to discover a side of myself I never knew was here all along, hidden beneath my (then) tailored suits. I love it because it challenges me and pushes my buttons. I love it because of the shoes. I love it because of the amazing women from around the world it has brought into my life.
But the honest answer is this - for me, the pole itself is simply a shiny metal stick in the room. Through my sensual movement practice, I have learned how to think down into my physical body, into the present moment…and all of a sudden, the entire world changes for me. I am transported. I can savor the way a delicious inhale ripples through my body and awakens a softer, hidden, more feminine, authentic part of me, inch by inch as it flows through my capillaries and veins. I can detect the tiniest thump of my own heart beating in my chest, my own internal rhythm. I can feel every fiber in every muscle aching to stretch awake and to take up space. I can feel how deeply my body longs to slow down and feel sensually alive, emotionally present in that exact moment. Every breath seems to pull back another layer.
And then, sometimes… when my hand or body touches the pole, as I’m in those moments… something magical happens. That cool metal in my hand becomes a dance partner.
April currently teaches in Houston, TX. For class info, message 'April Kaminski Instructor' on Facebook
Many have asked me what has pole dancing done for me and why I continue to do it? Well pole dancing has made me into a stronger more secure woman and showed me my worth. When I first started pole dancing I was insecure, angry, and didn’t know my worth. Most would never know because of how I carry myself, but that is a protective mechanism that we women of color are taught at a very young age. Do not allow anyone to see you sweat or know how bad things are in your life. No one would know that I was judged and pick on quite frequently when I was younger because I wore glasses and I was always super skinny. Being called skeletor, four eyes, skinny mini, and boyish tends to leave scars on your self-esteem that is hard to come back from no matter how hard you try. But with pole dancing it allowed me to embrace the woman that I have become, and know that people say things because they are not happy with themselves. “I know I am beautiful.”
In the pole dancing community you are allowed to freely express yourself with no back lash or judgement and your sisters truly support, which allows the walls to fall down and allows you to show your true self to your fellow sisters. It is amazing how many sisters I have made in the pole dancing community. But there are also those women that haven’t fully become secure within themselves and still judge women before getting to know them because they feel intimidated by them, which I have heard a lot. “Micka you are intimidating!” I never really understood that statement when anyone said that to me because if you actually talked to me, asked me a question, or asked me for help I am always there to help anyone.
Pole dancing allows me to express myself any way I see fit for the emotions that I might be bottling up inside. Pole dancing gives me a release of toxic energy like any good weight lifting session at the gym. Pole dancing allows me to dive into dancing, which has always been my one true love. I gave up dance for nursing in college because I needed to be a responsible adult, but pole dancing allows me to dive back into my one true love again, and again. Which brings me to why I teach? I teach because I want women to learn to love themselves more, love the art of pole dancing, and just have the freedom of dancing with no judgement. I am a teacher that will nurture you, but I will also push you to points that you didn’t know you could achieve. CANT has never been in my vocabulary and it will never be in my students.
“Love yourself first or else no one else will” Words to live by.
Micka currently teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
I started my pole dance journey out of curiosity. It was a different type of workout, it was sexy, it was not the usual workout. I found a studio , and it literally changed the trajectory of my life. I found myself looking forward to the class each week, looking forward to the potential soreness, and pole kisses (bruises), and learning badass tricks. Well, I did not come away with this arsenal of pole ninja tricks, nor was I the badass. What I found was a sanctuary. What I found was a grounding feminine movement that spoke to my body and soul like no other modality ever had. What I found was a community of like-minded women who supported each other without fear of judgment, reprisal or rejection. I found a home for my storm of body emotion, and a reservoir so willing to be filled with my love, anger, sadness, joy, laughter, tears, power, strength, softness, sensuality, sexuality and anything else I was willing to share. I found a deeper emotional body connection and how to express myself fully through movement. I've laughed, cried, held and been held by the most amazing women and am forever grateful to have them in my sister-circle as my tribe, my warriors, my sisters.
Lisa currently teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
I believe that through pole dance every woman can come to believe in her own strength and beauty.
Pole dance is a whole-body workout with so many personal and health benefits. I quickly gained in strength and was able to do the first press up of my life! My flexibility, coordination, and balance improved. And over the years I have come to respect and admire what my body is capable of and what it can endure.
For me though pole dance goes so far beyond the physical benefits. It is honesty, wisdom and expression of one's true self. I dance to be me and I go to the studio to feel part of a community. The women I am blessed to train and dance with have become my sisters.We share our dedication and we share our hearts.
Pole dance is a journey with many paths. We get strong, build muscle, gain confidence, make new emotional connections with our bodies and our movement. Sometimes we are stuck at a cross roads or even move backwards and it's tough to find the right path again. But we pick ourselves up and move forward with the support of our sisters.
As great as we feel when we first achieve a challenging move on the pole, sometimes our greatest milestones are when we break through more personal, intimate barriers. I've watched many amazing women struggle for weeks to find, or to allow themselves, that connection. That first time that each of us truly let's go and lives in the moment of ourdance. It's a great achievement and a wonderful release, and I feel beyond privileged to watch my sisters reach that point in their journey.
Charlotte is the owner and teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
Pole dancing changed my life. From the very first class I took, it was like someone dropped a boulder into the ocean that is my soul and effected ripples to each cavernous corner of my existence. I am in love with the movement: how powerful, feminine, graceful and sexy I feel all swirled together in exquisite inimitability. I am in love with myself: there is no one else on earth like me; I am exceptional! Who would have ever imagined that I’d discover all of this by way of a shiny, metal dance partner? It is with a heart full of excitement and gratitude that I persist along this journey of self-discovery and moreover, reinvention. I feel like I’ve uncovered the fountain of youth, as I have never felt so alive, joyful and liberated in my body.
To me, the pole is a symbol of freedom of expression. It helps us to break taboos, cross cultures and bring wholeness to our community of sisters. We celebrate each other and rejoice in the magnificence that is woman! Acceptance, encouragement and unconditional love are some of the most amazing gifts we share in this sisterhood. Our tribe always welcomes new members, as the brilliance of the whole only becomes magnified with expansion. One day, we sisters will stand hand-in-hand across the globe, unified in allegiance. One day, every woman will realize her right to feel this way, and to own, accept and love her body in all of its magnificent imperfection. This is my dream!
We women are creators of life. For centuries our ancestor mothers have moved, have danced, and have swayed those God-given voluptuous hips to the beat of music. There’s something wild, untamed and instinctive about this movement that travels beyond conscious thought. By turning off the mind chatter, finding breath and allowing the body discover her natural path and rhythm, one may be amazed to realize that she has abilities she never thought possible and start to see herself with fresh eyes unclouded by a lifetime of self-doubt. She might never again fit into the insignificant confines she’s known in her former existence. She, too, may find herself forever changed.
I first walked into a pole studio about 4 1/2 years ago, looking for a fun, different, and challenging workout. But I quickly learned that that pole dancing was much more than just a "fun workout." I found the beauty of flow, the strength of feminine movement, and, most importantly, the pole community. The women in this community(lawyers, nurses, teachers, and moms) have loved me without judgment, believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and held space for me when I wasn't strong enough to carry my burdens alone. And they've allowed me to do the same for them. No doubt about it, pole has physically changed me. I'm strong enough to hold my body weight with one leg. I trust my body to fly and spin around the pole with one hand. I've challenged my body to show me how the world looks upside down. And through three surgeries in four years, including a pregnancy (with twins), my body has, thankfully, not let me down. But those physical changes pale in comparison to the inner strength and self acceptance I've gained from being welcomed into the pole community.
I have been pole dancing for a little over 3 years now and it has completely changed my life in so many ways. Whenever I tell someone about my pole dance life, the first question I'm usually asked is, "so you're like a stripper?" No. I do not have their confidence or their skills. I look forward to the day I can move like the women I have come to know about (and know personally) through this experience. This brings me to another part of this world: the women. I have met the most incredible women from all walks of life. These nurses, teachers, VPs, bartenders, flight attendants, and executives have been a source of constant inspiration, support, laughter, and best of all, friendship. In a world where women are pitted against each other, all I have ever felt walking into a class or studio is love and total acceptance.
I wanted to put together this piece to show a side of pole dance/fitness that many don't know exists or some my have questions about. All I asked of these ladies was to write what the world of pole dance has meant to them. As you'll see in this post, and the next (tomorrow), their words are beautiful, fiery, honest, and incredibly inspiring. This sport (yes, sport) doesn't care how fit you are, how old you are, or how you look naked, you are totally capable of doing it! I hope the following inspires you to look up a studio near you, or even reach out to one (or all) of the women below that you connect with to start this incredible journey yourself. I know, getting started is daunting. Even after 3 years, I like to stay closer to the ground than being feet off the floor on the pole. And I'm starting to realize that that's totally ok! When I dance, I dance for me. As it should be.
Some of these ladies started this journey with me, some have taken a class at my side, and some have been my teachers. To those that have lead the classes I've taken, whether it be one or one hundred, I can never thank you enough for the space you've held, the confidence you've inspired, the love you consistently provide, the laughs we've shared, the tears spilled on your shoulders, or for the woman you have helped me become. In any case, 'thank you'.
By the end of the year 2011, I felt as though many life challenges hit me all at once. These challenges ranged from heartbreak, health issues, family crises, financial setbacks, steady weight gain, and bouts of depression. Through this, my self-esteem began to plummet. So by the beginning of 2012, I realized I needed to pull myself together and work toward positively changing my life.
Around February 2012, I decided I wanted to start losing weight and do something for myself in order to regain my self-esteem. After completing an intro class at a nearby pole studio, I knew then that this was definitely something I had to be a part of! I absolutely loved what pole dancing stood for and how it empowers women to embrace their own beauty and beauty of others. It was everything but the negative stigma associated with those 2 words…pole dancing!
It has now been 5 years since I’ve started my journey with pole dancing, and through it I have never been more confident in myself, more vibrant, buoyant, full of energy, and embraced every flaw that I thought I had. After starting pole dancing, I succeeded at losing 26 pounds and found what I believed was my soulmate after 5 long years of being single and desiring a significant other.
My entire life has changed in so many ways! People all over the country in the pole dancing community have become a vital part of who I have become as a person. Most of them have become my family, and others still remain my really close friends. These amazing people, might I add, range from the ages of 18 to 82…yes, I said 82! It is unimaginable how we, as a community, are so supportive of each other and embrace the beauty of the feminine body. We choose to build each other up, support, love, and admire the feminine as a whole. This is definitely something I would hope that every woman would open up to and experience in their lives…sooner rather than later!
Pole dancing has shifted my life in profound ways. I have learned to truly love myself, my life, my family
and other women. I have forgiven myself for not being “perfect” which is huge, HUGE! I am enough. She is enough.
The workout has given me muscle tone I have never been able to accomplish in any other workout I have done. It has shown me that I am capable of many amazing movements regardless of what physical stage I’m in that I never thought possible (even after two children). It’s fun and I feel like a million bucks when I’m done. I walk with my head high and a smile on my face when I’m finished teaching or taking a class.
The community that is built around pole has brought so many women together. I have made many friends in women since I started pole dance and I’m always open to new women. It’s really amazing to be able to be a part of a community that is always welcoming, loving and supportive to all (even if we don’t know each other), especially when we are dancing in our truth with every curve, bump, stretch mark, and sexuality being exposed.
I would say there are many benefits to pole dancing whether you want to take class to learn how to seduce, tease, empower, or just have a fun way to work out and celebrate your body.
Becky currently teaches at K Dance & Fitness in Katy, TX
A long time ago someone told women that they could not be sexy without the external validation of a member of the opposite sex. A long time ago someone told women that they could not be beautiful without fitting into a perfect mold of what women should look like. A long time ago someone told women that they were not in control of their own bodies and that they should spend millions of dollars and millions of hours changing who they were.
Lies. Those were all lies. But we believed them. We had no reason not to.
In short pole dancing has helped many of us understand these untruths and in turn help others.
This is a constant struggle, the deprogramming of our minds and hearts. Which is where the community comes in handy. Our pole dancing community built on support and strength. The wounds run deep and we are constantly bombarded with reasons to doubt ourselves. Through pole dancing we learn to truly see the beauty in every woman, and that includes ourselves. Not seeing beauty in spite of who we are, but because of who we are. The different types of pole dancing allow for unique expressions of each and every individual body in a place where it can be celebrated and supported.
Age, weight, race, shape, style don’t matter here. They don’t matter in the movement. Every journey is unique and every path taken is being forged by a new brave soul that is reclaiming their sexuality and their strength in their own way. For some that is with shoes and loud clack, wearing clothes that exposes tender flesh. For others it is with bare feet, hoodie draped overhead, loose skirt flowing behind her. There is no right or wrong. There is just art. Art created from our bodies. Silent poetry cutting through the sound of the beating music behind us. With each dance we present our hearts on a silver platter to the world, and through dance is that we learn that all of our hearts are equally as beautiful.
I've learned that pole dancing can be sexy, flirtatious, and invigorating, but it can also be warm and sensual. You see, sexiness and sensuality are 2 different things and I learned to embrace both. Embrace it in my emotions, movement and body. Once I realized to not be scared of my touch, my ability to let go and allow my body to move as it NEEDED and not wanted...I felt free and finally myself.
I came back to pole dancing in 2015 after a 5 year break and fell in love with the community. I'm so beyond blessed to have found my Pole Sisters because I honestly don't know where I'd be without them. I thought the pole fitness world was very vain and all about difficult pole tricks, but I found a community of women as diverse as the UN, and a hell of a lot sexier. We encourage one another, we praise each other's efforts, and above all else, are taught to love ourselves just the way we are now. There's nothing wrong with our bodies. If we lose weight while we're working out, great! But we are taught to embrace our feminine curves and love what God gave us. Maybe I live in a bubble or maybe my pole community may seem naive to others, but I like to think I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm lucky because I found my SiSters, who love me just the way I am. I found my tribe.
I encourage all women to try pole dancing. Not to make someone else happy, but rather try out pole dancing to be mesmerized with your own self beauty the way the rest of the world is mesmerized by your beauty. See how wonderful your body and flowing movement is. Allow your Inner Goddess to revel in her beauty and power. Allow Her to OWN her emotions, whatever they are, and dance through them. Be the beautiful Goddess that you are.
For me Pole Dance means that I get to take ownership of my body and the decisions I make about it. It helps me to be aware of and stay connected to my femininity, strength, sexuality, and feminine power. It’s an outlet for me, when I’m having a bad day it’s the one sure thing I know that will make my day better! Pole Dance gives me a safe space and community to be myself and empower the feminine. I’ve been in the Pole Dance community for quite a few years and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I absolutely love how much the community has grown and that its only going to get bigger!
I absolutely love giving gifts! It is my favorite part of Christmas. I get to sit back and watch the faces of people I care about as they unwrap boxes to see what's inside. Christmas gifting can be hard when you're on a strict budget, so while my parents may say not to get them anything (ha!), I had to really think about what I could give to my family members that would be special yet inexpensive. Not an easy task..
For my Parents
I have been working on this cork board on and off for over a year now and I decided to try and have it finished for Christmas. Of course the last 2 months were my busiest (working 3 jobs and working on everyone else's gifts) so it was never completed on time, but I am so close! A lot of work goes into a mosaic like this. Everything is made of cork (we drink a lot of wine, haha) and the entire size of the board is pretty large (6x6ft). I dyed and cut all the pieces and it's like an insane puzzle trying to put them all together. I got the idea from a Roman mosaic but changed the image to look more feminine and added in a bunch of details for added pops of color.
For my 2 Year Old Niece Kate
My niece likes macaroni and cheese, Paw Patrol, and playing on my phone. Thinking of a gift for her was difficult. Instead of a toy or game, I wanted to give her something special that would stay with her for years to come. Pinterest came in very handy when tryig to figure out what my options could be. I always see the initials made of flowers all over my feed and thought it would be adorable. I made the flowers in colors that would work well with the colors that Kate's room is painted (and that would still be pretty if the paint colors change one day). The framed pictures are from Pinterest as well. I thought they were adorable and had a great message so I drew, colored, and framed them. I also got her a hockey alphabet book.. because.. why not?
For my Brother
I actually made 3 different sets of this game to give to different people. My family loves Harry Potter so I thought this would be a great idea when we get together and want to play a board game. I can't take credit for the PDFs as they were created by someone else (I'm not THAT skilled with computers) but if you want more information about it please comment below or shoot me an email. The box has the lid design (below) and also has a design on the bottom. I made all the property cards as well as the 'Spells' and 'Potions' decks to place on the board. I had a lot of fun putting these together and am so excited to put them to use!
There are always options (even when you're broke) when gifting people you love with DIY presents. They don't have to be macaroni projects or something that will be thrown out. I hope you enjoy the ideas above and get creative with your own DIY gifts or projects!
My 2015 Christmas celebration with my friends in Houston consisted of 5 women (plus me). Our 2016 celebration group grew to 10 women. Since I was trying to be very budget friendly this past Christmas, I tried to think of items I could make to create in inexpensive but still remain creative and special. I came up with a few ideas for items that could be used to indulge and relax.
Xo, G Wine Cup
You can purchase these little cups of wine in sets of 4 from Xo, G. I chose the Moscato, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio to separate into the boxes dependig on what sort of wine each girl liked. A lot of stores also have the mini bottles which would be a cute idea to add to a box if you can't get your hands on the cups.
What girl doesn't love chocolate? I made Frangelico, Nutella, Triple Sec, Chambord, Jameson, and Kahlua truffles and found little foldable boxes to place them in. I used different colors of edible glitter and sprinkles so I could tell them apart and made a little key that I printed up with each box. If I get enough interest, I can definitely make a post on how to make the truffles.
Salt Scrub & Body Butter
I couldn't create a box for my girls without having something to pamper themselves with. Since I use my Salt Scrub almost every time I shower and my Body Butter every night, I thought they were items my friends would enjoy as well. I didn't add too much fragrance as I don't know what each girl wants and I wouldn't want to overpower their personal perfumes.
I don't know about everyone else, but to sleep, I usually need to be in total darkness. While I can control this in my own bedroom, I can't in hotel rooms (usually filled with light peeking through curtains, the microwave and alarm clock lights, tv light, etc.) or homes I'm visiting. I was thinking of something that could be used if someone wanted to relax and shut everything out while in the tub, or something to help ease them in to a nice sleep if they were travelling. Our little group has a nickname (without giving away too much info) involving cats so I thought these adorable eye masks would be a cute addition. I found thicker materials for the outside and got the thinner materials for the bows to match. The inside material that lies against your eyes is nice and soft so it wouldn't irritate the wearer. Best part? All the material I used was on sale! If anyone is interested in a DIY post for these, let me know in the comments.
Chloe + Isabel Earrings
I don't usually gift the ladies in my life without adding some Chloe + Isabel. I gave each of them a pair of the Alphabet + Trio Stone Mismatched Earrings, and the Starburst Stud Earrings or the Heirloom Pearl + Pave Stud Earrings. Every girl needs some sparkle!
I put a lot of thought into gift wrapping. To me, it is as much a part of the gift as the gift itself. This year I got really corny and used brown paper with some prints on them.. Stay with me.. I wanted 'brown paper packages tied up with string', but let's face it, plain brown paper isn't too pretty (hence, the prints). On the gift tags I wrote 'these are a few of my favorite things', because I'm a huge nerd (and it's so true! Wine, chocolate & jewelry? Yes, please!).