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Altitude Pole

My Journey - Kate

5 minutes
12 February 2018

This blog was written by Kate, one of our awesome members

I started working in Christchurch in December 2014, and at the time, three of my co-workers were doing pole. They suggested I try it but I was very hesitant as it seemed completely out of my comfort zone. They convinced me to see the next showcase, which was the Valentines showcase. I remember thinking that the people were ninjas, and I distinctly remember Cat and Devon's double hoop routine, and Megan's Black Widow routine. That convinced me to give it a go... I rocked up with absolutely no idea what I was doing and the wonderful Mel was my instructor. I learned how to do a stag spin as well as fan kicks and by the end of it my arms were shaking. I grabbed maccas on the way home to satisfy the protein craving!

My progress was slow not gonna lie, and girls who started the same time as me moved up much faster. I had great support though, from both the instructors and at work too. I did the testing class for level 1, three months later in July. When I started level 2 I felt so out of my depth! Mel talked me through my first invert and I did not like how far my head felt off the floor.

In September my Mum and Aunt came to visit and I made sure they did a lesson with me!

Mum was more flexible than me and probably still is. I’ve been able to build strength fairly well, but flexibility is going to take work which I still haven’t done much of yet 😂 Trust me guys you want to be working on it! It makes everything look prettier. My Mum and Aunt enjoyed it and since then I’ve taken them to the Pole Legends competition in Auckland.

In December, I knew NZAPP was coming up, and me and Jess from work decided to do it together. I’d picked out a song and thought of a costume to go with it when I had another idea. I decided to do Singing in the Rain, so when I went home for Christmas I brought my old tap shoes back with me. One day I’ll bring my flute down as well but I don’t have a song for that yet! This is when I started going more than once a week, and I aimed to get to level 3 by then. That didn’t exactly go to plan but nearly a year after I started I did my first performance. It was a complete disaster, I forgot what I was doing and my umbrella fell over so I couldn’t pick it up in Star, which was the main trick of the routine.

I’m someone who used to have terrible stage fright and even in my friend group I couldn’t speak if everyone’s attention was on me.

But I got up on stage in front of a lot of people and after said I might do it again. Jess was a beautiful pole dancing Pocahontas and was absolutely fearless and fierce. The four of us from work went to Pole Legends that year and had a blast!

I stayed in level two for nearly a year and a half before I tried level 3. My first class was with Joe, and the first move I learned was the inside leg hang. It took a long time to get outside leg hang and longer for superman. I used to dread when hip hold would come up in class because I thought there’d be no way I’d ever get it. Now it’s my go-to-move that I can just hang out in. I think around this time I started silks and maybe three weeks later I met Ruby, who has since become such a pro. I thought because I did Pole and no longer hurt afterwards that silks would be the same. I was so wrong! My shoulders my back and my arms ached the next day and I’m pretty sure I burnt my foot. But again, somehow I loved it. I still find silks the hardest of the three apparatus that I dabble in, as I don’t have nearly the endurance to do well in it (and I’m a giant chicken when it comes to drops). I missed the next showcase as I was in Vietnam waiting to fly back, and was very jealous of all the snaps I was being sent from the audience, and thought I must do the next one! I’d also started planning my next NZAPP, which I still think has been my best routine so far.

I managed to conquer the elusive superman just in time for the Divas showcase, just!

The showcase cemented my love of props, with a knife, a gun, and a tearaway dress, anything to distract from me. About a month and a half later, I’d changed my favourite combo to tack on a superman at the end of it for the next NZAPP competition. I was proud of my little bit of ingenuity to keep my hat on my head even while inverted, and while not perfect, I’m still happy with that NZAPP routine. I’d improved so much since the last one and even I could see the progress. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of how far we’ve come when you get stuck in the little details.

A few months later I started level 4 and started working on a long time goal move, Ayesha. I’d brought a lipstick called Ayesha about a year before as motivation to get there, but wore it well before I even made it to level 4. It’s still a goal I hope to get this year! I also recently just got my brass monkey, which has been a struggle and a real pain, literally! I’ve since done another two showcases, one of which was the most fun I had on stage, and the most recent one I had no props for! While again, they don’t always go as planned, I’d encourage everyone to have a go as I love it and it gives you a real goal to work towards, even though it gets difficult and you get sick of training it. However, you’ll have to fight me for it as I’m a stage hog!!

I’ve grown so much as a person since joining altitude and have done things I never would’ve thought possible.

I've been on stage, I've done photoshoots, I've dropped from heights without dying and held my entire body weight up with stupid appendages such as an armpit or elbow. I’ve made such good friends and I’d be lost without the community here. You can definitely look forward (or away) to seeing me on stage as I have so many ideas up my sleeve. Bring on the next one!

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