So, it’s been nearly 5 months since I last updated here. Mostly because, as most of you would have known, I underwent a personal relationship crisis that changed, and set back a couple of big plans in my pole journey. I won’t bore you with too many details of what happened, except that I felt my entire life and perspective go into a major RESET mode, and I spent the first month of the year in hiding and recovery. Talk about a true Quarter Life Crisis!
But why should I let a relationship crisis knock me down when I could turn the painful memories into something useful with my love for pole dancing?
I decided to make use of the experience to do different things.
I’ve stalled for the right time to start posting up here again, but mostly because I’ve been really busy with competitions (three pole competitions and it isn’t even June yet?!). Now that I’ve managed to find time to take a breather, and I feel very much over the traumatic experience from before, I’d like to come back into the radar and share what’s been up in my ever-so-unique fit journey!
But first, an update of the new stuff I’ve been up to at pole….
1) Paying it forward.
Because I realised that I had inspired some people last year with my big dreams, and I didn’t want inspiration to run into a dead end just because my plans had failed. So I rallied up an unofficial ‘pole performer team’, where I got a bunch of aspiring pole performers together, and encouraged them to perform and compete with a few group practices and even ‘spin sessions’ (where we would learn a couple of fun and simple new spins on the pole!).
Honestly, I might have annoyed some folks with this movement. I knew it when I encountered a couple of less-than-pleasant incidents at my studio. But there was no intention for me to claim any fame or authority in any way; I just wanted to be able to inspire and help. And I would continue to do this because there just aren’t enough outlets for pole dancers to take the stage in any style that they love.
This is Jenna, whom I have coyly nicknamed Lolita. Here she is performing for the very first time, only six months into her pole journey. We were friends before, and I introduced her to pole last year, where she said that she would love for me to personally train her as my novice. I will never forget the trying moment when I was in Hong Kong, crying my eyes out to her over Skype, and she said, “Don’t give up on everything, you’re my inspiration.” And ever since, I’ve decided to make it a mission to groom her as a pole performer. Her first performance was definitely nerve-wrecking, and she didn’t make it past the semi-finals, but I think she was pretty fab. So proud of her.
Maybe I made a teensy bit of difference in the lives of the ‘pole performer team’. A couple of them took part in the semi-finals of our amateur pole competition (most of them, their first time performing), and some made it through to the finals while others did not. Never mind if they didn’t. I’m sure the girls felt that little spark ignite from their experiences, and would definitely not stop at one. They were given the opportunity to shine as a pole performer, and they will not be stopping till they shine even brighter once again.
That’s what I meant to do. I wanted to stir things up inside them, give them a kickstart to see their potential, and let them feel what I had felt for the first time 2 years ago when I took to the pole stage as a fat chick in red.
Everyone deserves that opportunity to shine bright, the way they want to, and no one should ever deny them of that right.
2) Finding a new way to dance
So I’ve been working on the sexy ‘stripper’ style through my entire pole journey. After all, I am from a studio that advocates that. My pole life has been filled with sensual chaturangas (hahaha), bum rolls and body waves, and somehow or another, removing a certain article of clothing for the sake of a tease.
But I’m sick of making it the primary theme of every pole dance that I do. Because most times, I just want to express myself in another way. Something that’s a little more raw, emotional and heartfelt. I must confess that I’m a girl who has a major case of the ‘feels’ – I love songs with meaningful lyrics, and movies with tragic storylines. Every emotion needs to go on overdrive in whatever I do. In fact, that’s how I pretty much am in my real life, and that’s how I became a novice storyteller as part of my day job not too long ago. So, you know…. I’m not really interested in putting on a public sex show and giving people the stereotypical impression of pole that they always have anyway. I’d rather tell a story, stir something up in the hearts of the audience, and make them sit up and respond.
I came to this conclusion after taking part in Dance Filthy again this year (for the benefit of new readers, here’s my experience from Dance Filthy last year). So I thought I’d give the competition another shot because I had placed last year, so why not try to go for gold this time around? But as I worked out my routine, somehow, I just didn’t feel it. My friends were telling me that I needed to be ‘filthier’, but all I could think of was, “I don’t want to be filthy! I want to do something else!” I went ahead to compete in Sydney anyway, and unsurprisingly, I did not even place in top 3 this year. While I had fun, and had loads of respect for the girls who put themselves out there with sensual and naughty pole routines alike, I felt like perhaps it was time to give this genre a rest.
Hairography at Dance Filthy 2014 – cutting back on the sexy but I would keep the crazy hair actually.
I came back to Singapore to prepare for the finals of my local amateur competition, and this time, I decided to go something completely unorthodox. I wanted to live out a ‘music video of my life’ kind of fantasy that I’ve always harboured, so I choreographed a hilarious Train scene as my competition routine. It was silly, and complete with a theatrical flash mob! It was super dramatic, exactly how I wanted it to be.
I got my instructor (who was also judge for the competition) to review my routine before the night itself – and she said this, “This isn’t something you would use in a competition, not to win, at least. You wouldn’t win. But who really cares? It’s what you want to do, it’s the kind of show YOU want to put up. Just do it.”
I have always wanted to win a pole competition. And of course, I still do, because I am competitive like that. But at that moment, I just wanted to prove that I could dance any way that I wanted. Even if it was a tacky, cheesy and slapstick pole comedy routine that might make certain people frown and most others laugh.
And what do you know, I actually managed to clinch the title of Miss Show Pony for the competition! (Sometimes I think about how they created that title out of thin air and that perhaps it might have been God’s divine intervention that the title was created just for me… Hahaha.) And I’m pretty damn sure no one has forgotten about the “MRT Girl” routine just yet.
That flying feeling – my most favourite moment
And as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one with that vision – three other girls in the competition really wanted to do their own non-sexy, awesome self-interpretation of pole dancing, and not only were they beautiful, but they scored the top 3 positions of the night! Yes, 4 completely un-sexy pole dancers who basically owned the night with awards.
I don’t know about you, but I do feel like a slight shift in our scene is very much needed – for girls to abandon the ‘right way’ to pole dance, and just find ‘their way’. Flawless lines are a bonus, but not a requirement.
So time flies, and imagine that – I’ve reached the middle 0f 2014 with new achievements. I’ve competed three times already this year (Amateur Night Semi-Finals and Finals, and Dance Filthy). And perhaps it’s time to give my over-ambitious self a short break while I work on the two things that have, by far, given me the greatest kinds of satisfaction in my pole journey.
With that, I’ve actually decided to finally leave my studio. Well – actually, I’m still planning to go back and play with the 38mm brass spinny during practice time, but only because I love it and would want to catch up with my pole friends. But mostly, it’s time to move on, drift, and discover a bigger pole universe out there.
Like I had mentioned at the beginning of the year, sometimes the best things happen not when you are trying to gain things for yourself, but when you let it out, let go, and give.