Meeting the Pole Stars: Pantera Blacksmith

9 07 2010

Pantera is an absolutely brilliant performer, and after watching her go tonight and hearing about her training routine I am more inspired than ever to get going on the pole again. I have been relaxing a little more than I should have been lately but it was needed to sort myself out generally.

Anyway! On to the good stuff. She is so strong she can hold her moves for a very long time. Everything she does is so sure and confident, she really knows what she is doing. She has been doing it for 11 years though, she is one of the original old school girls who kick started this whole movement and I absolutely thank her for that.

Photos of her in action:

She also met her twin, Nicole. Apparently they have the same chin!

To end the evening I snagged a splits photo with her, I absolutely love this photo:

Brilliant performer, inspiring training regime and generally fantastic to watch. Can’t wait for Alethea Austin next week!


Celebrating Women’s Strength

2 07 2010

Whenever I least expect it, a little jab comes out of the air and hits my self esteem. This time it came in the form of a throwaway comment “Women with 6 packs will never be sexy.”

Prepare for a soapbox moment.

All my life I have been muscular because I do more sports than most people – ballet ruled my life up to my teens then synchronised swimming became my life up to my 21st, now pole dancing is something I cannot live without. Because of all this I have always been much more built than other people. And I have always had other people around me tell me it is a bad thing.

I can understand this mentality towards female bodybuilders – they do push their bodies to the absolute limit and end up looking a bit ridiculous. Their training regimes also leave a lot to be desired and I do not agree with the diets touted about, yet something inside me admires their dedication, self control and iron will that enables them to look like this. I, however, never ever want to do the same.

Another knock that came at an unexpected time was when I was over at my mate’s house and discovered she has a random chin up bar that was installed by the previous tenant. I immediately jumped on it and started doing chin ups just for fun. My friend just stood there and eventually said “That’s disgusting. Women shouldn’t be able to do pull ups and muscles do not appeal to men at all”. After the initial insult sting had subsided her comment really made me think, as it ties in with the pole dancing debate. Do women pole dance for the aesthetic pleasure of men or do they do it to celebrate their strength?

Personally, I do not do pole dancing to please men. If anything it is to please and impress women as I break out tricks they have (hopefully) never seen before and eventually earn their respect. It’s a parallel to the classic fashion statement – “Women do not dress for men. Women dress for other women. If women dressed for men we would walk around naked all the time.” I can’t remember who said it, but she got the point bang on. It’s the same with dance and fitness – I dance firstly in the hope that eventually I will impress myself and secondly to earn the respect of other women. Being told that “women shouldn’t be able to do pullups” is a massive knock on both myself and feminism – why shouldn’t we be able to? Women can be as physically fit and strong as men, and in some women’s cases much stronger. The thought that I will never be attractive to men because I have muscles does sting me a little, not because I believe it’s true but because a fellow woman, one of my friends, thinks that it is. That hurts more because it is all too reminiscent of the classic ‘damsel in distress’ scenario where men are expected to save us. I like to think that mentally and physically I am strong enough to save myself.

I feel extremely lucky to spend the majority of my time (outside of work anyway) in the company of strong women. Pole dancing is the one place I have felt at home, and this is because women’s strength is celebrated and encouraged. The stronger you are physically and mentally the more tricks you can do and the better you are as a performer. Never in pole dance classes have I been told that I am unattractive or made to feel like I am a waste of space. This is an extremely valuable rare feeling and I hope that pole dancing, despite all the controversy surrounding it’s origins, carries on giving that feeling to more women and encouraging them to be stronger individuals.

Personality Tests… bollocks or accurate?

22 06 2010

Apparently my personality type is ENFJ. I am a teacher.

I know this is ridiculous, but this is a very accurate snapshot of my personality. I’ve always though personality tests were ridiculous and a waste of time but since stepping into the role at 2Funky all of the elements talked about in that article have come into play. It’s frightening as it highlights all the key points of what makes me tick, almost exactly.

Key points below:

ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this.

ENFJ’s are so externally focused that it’s especially important for them to spend time alone. This can be difficult for some ENFJs, because they have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone. (Stop reading my mind!)

Living in the world of people possibilities, they enjoy their plans more than their achievements. They get excited about possibilities for the future, but may become easily bored and restless with the present. (Ahem… travel plans…)

ENFJs have a special gift with people, and are basically happy people when they can use that gift to help others. They get their best satisfaction from serving others. Their genuine interest in Humankind and their exceptional intuitive awareness of people makes them able to draw out even the most reserved individuals. (That’s why I work wit dem yoot yo)

ENFJs have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort in creating and maintaining these relationships. They’re very loyal and trustworthy once involved in a relationship. (Again very true…)

An ENFJ who has not found their place in the world is likely to be extremely sensitive to criticism, and to have the tendency to worry excessively and feel guilty. They are also likely to be very manipulative and controlling with others. (Good thing I have found my place temporarily or who knows what sort of evil manipulator may have surfaced)

In general, ENFJs are charming, warm, gracious, creative and diverse individuals with richly developed insights into what makes other people tick. (This makes me feel warm inside) This special ability to see growth potential in others combined with a genuine drive to help people makes the ENFJ a truly valued individual. As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others. (Really true – I often forget to do stuff for the benefit of myself rather than other people. But as a Libran I’ve developed the balance of selfishness and giving. I think.)

Jungian functional preference ordering:

Dominant: Extraverted Feeling
Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition
Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing
Inferior: Introverted Thinking

(Don’t know what this means but it sounds sciency so thought I would include it to look cleverer)

I always thought personality tests were a load of bull, because they change with your moods and state of mind at the time of taking the test. But then I answered 60 questions in about 3 minutes (actually 5 as my mouse got stuck on a biscuit crumb) and it has got me pegged. Not exactly as everyone develops differently but it is pretty damn accurate. Frightening but insightful.

Bouncy Bouncy, oh such a good time….

20 06 2010

Another Good Day on the Pole

17 06 2010

After yesterday’s revelation at getting the twisted grip I have now smashed another move – The Spatchcock. Another really bendy move cracked, that’s 2 in 2 days! Plus all the new ones we did at dancing tonight. Brilliant, fantastic session with lovely people. I flippin love dancing so much, honestly the best thing that happened to me last year was that breakup. It didn’t feel like it at the time but now I am so much stronger because I threw myself into dance to get over him. It worked, and I am going to smash it on the pole this year. I am feeling fookin brilliant.

Oh, and I also did a 6 and a half minute routine tonight inbetween the sessions. I’ve gone a bit Metallica (Bleeding Me is my song of the moment) and even though I always said I wouldn’t dance sexy, it seems to be sneaking in. Not that that’s a bad thing but there will never be any videos!

Anyway, enough chat – here’s the move:



16 06 2010

This is a bit of a personal note in that no one except pole ladies will know what I’m talking about but:

Today I did a wicked move, something I’ve been trying to crack for ages.

I did the Twisted Grip.

This is amazing, because I’ve been trying to do it for so long but I think the hard training, situps and occasional sneaky chocolate are really starting to make a difference. This is such a personal achievement, especially after my massive crisis of confidence last month. For once I am really really pleased with my body.

Well done body, you have done a good thing. I will feed your favourite things (humous, apples and tea) tomorrow. Good work!

Ah… Shoes…

15 06 2010

I’ve been training hard tonight so a shoe break was needed 😉

Shaken not stirred Mr. Bond. Bit too high for me but I absolutely love the heel. Even if I don’t agree with guns I do agree with innovative sexy shoe design.

Purple shoes… what more could a lady want?

I’ve just bought the above pair from Ebay for the same price as we pay from Nitelife man who gives us a discount. They remind me of H.R Giger’s paintings – a bit Alien-esque. There’s something about a metal heel that is just absolutely amazing.

These are all absolutely beautiful. Pleaser make the best shoes by far, Nitelife are good and I love my old faithfuls but Pleaser’s design just does it for me time and again. If I ever visit America again I am going on a shoe buying mission as hardly any of these styles are available in the UK. Not sure I can go travelling there as I’ll just end up buying so many shoes I’ll need to buy a campervan to carry them around in. Which is actually not a bad idea…