Side Straddle Superman | Pole Diaries

Three years ago I tackled the painful Superman (old blog post here) Lately I’ve been revisiting old moves since some newer moves I’m learning build on these basics. Fortunately, the superman is one of those skills where you learn it once and you can’t seem to forget it. It’s almost as comfortable as falling back into an inside leg hang or outside leg hang after a sequence.

One of the very popular superman variation is the side straddle superman. I found this move actually wasn’t as painful as the regular superman. Now I might be biased since I’ve practiced the superman so many times that it’s become quite painless, and surprisingly, it’s pretty comfortable (ya, you probably think I’m a witch supergirl now).

How to get into the side straddle superman

  1. Make sure to warm up! A warm pole and slightly sweaty skin will help with the grip.
  2. From a basic invert, wrap top leg around pole to go into a cupid position.
  3. Using the bottom hand for support, wrap bottom leg around the pole, making sure the pole is as far into the knee pit as possible. This will be the genie position.
  4. From the genie position, gently tilt the hips towards the floor while straightening the top leg.
  5. Squeeze with the bottom leg! You will notice you will get more skin friction if you try to align the bottom thigh with the pole.
  6. Extend the arms and legs. Imagine you are trying to reach in opposite directions!
  7. To exit, simply reverse how you entered: Tilt hips back so bottom knee can hook onto the pole. Bend top leg to wrap around into a genie/cupid position.
At first, slipping out of the side straddle is very common. It may be a combination of dry skin, not enough friction, wrong positioning and/or not squeezing the back leg enough. Don’t get frustrated, it’ll eventually come with practice! The good news is, this move doesn’t actually bruise or hurt (too much)! 
Overall, I would recommend trying the side straddle superman before the superman. The moves look similar enough but hurts a lot less! While learning the side straddle superman does not actually prepare you for the superman, I think it’s a great move to help build up the confidence for it!

iTac 2 Level 2 Grip Review | Product Review

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review

I purchased the iTac 2 Level 2 Grip 5 years ago when I first embarked on my pole dancing journey. Aren’t you curious why I still have it to date?


I debated for a long time if it’s still worthwhile to do a product review on such an old product. I did some quick research and found the formula is still the same even though the product has already gone through many renditions of re-packaging and re-labelling.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Directions for use. Old formula suggested to wait 30-60s, now it recommends 1-2 minutes.

Here is the information found on the iTac2 website:

iTac2 Pole Dancing Grip works like an invisible glove turning every square inch of your hands into a gripping surface. iTac2 will improve control and conserve energy.

iTac2 contains organic beeswax and provides a water repellent surface. iTac2 is a low allergy formula that’s easy to apply and long lasting. It will not leave any white residue on your hands and as an organic product it is also very soft on your skin yet provides a very strong and reliable grip. Each 1.6 ounce (45g) tub will provide 50 – 60 applications.

Directions: Take a very small amount of iTac2 on to your finger and rub on to your hands and or body, wait one minute to two minutes for itac2 to activate, so do not keep rubbing your hands together to dry be patient. Best to apply itac2 a couple of minutes prior to starting of an event, you are now ready good luck.

Take a very small amount of iTac2 on to your finger and rub on to your hands and or body, wait one minute to two minutes for itac2 to activate, so do not keep rubbing your hands together to dry be patient.
 Best to apply itac2 a couple of minutes prior to starting of an event, you are now ready good luck.

– See more at: http://itac2.com/pages/what-is-itac2#sthash.4sNO9qYv.dpuf

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Caution label on iTac2

Pole Fitness

As a product that was marketed towards pole dancers, I was disappointed it didn’t do all the amazing things it claimed!

I used to have a 45mm titanium gold x-pole at home and it never worked for me. I followed the instructions every time, varying the amount I use each time and allowing it to dry longer in between and still had no luck. The grip left a nasty mess on the pole that was incredibly hard to clean up*. Personally, I found the grip made my hands more slippery by introducing a new film between my skin and the pole. It pilled and left residual balls that acted more like ball bearings to hasten my slips down the pole. I also tried the grip on my thighs and calves and that didn’t work as well.

Now I’ve switched over to a 45mm chrome which felt a lot more slippery than the titanium gold finish. However, I still practiced for months without using any grip and eventually regained my strength. I’ve been learning the Ayesha (see blog post here) and noticed I wasn’t able to master the move because I was scared my hand would slip off (and it did!). I applied a thin layer on my hands and tried the move again. I was able to miraculously hold the pose for more than 5 seconds and felt completely stable! While the grip was again very hard to clean off, I’m happy to finally say it works!

From experience, the iTac2 works great on chrome finishes, but not so much the titanium gold.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Tub is rather small but lasted me quite a while!

I absolutely hate cleaning this stuff off my pole. As if practice wasn’t enough of a work out, keeping the pole shiny after definitely requires some crazy elbow grease. To clean the grip off my pole, I spray some Windex onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the pole from side to side rather than up and down.

Aerial Arts (silks, hoop, trapeze, straps)

So the grip didn’t seem to work very well on certain poles, but it worked really great on cloth-like surfaces such as all the apparatuses in aerial arts! I first tried this on the silks and it worked like a dream! With one-hour long classes, I would only need to apply and re-apply the grip 2-3 times while doing climbs and tricks on the silk. The grip did leave a sticky residue on the silks on the first and second grabs, but stayed sticky without residue after that.

The grip also works really well on cloth-taped apparatuses like the hoop (lyra), trapeze and straps. I wasn’t particularly slipping on these apparatuses because the tape was really helpful, but I do feel a lot more confident with the grip knowing I won’t slide off. There were times when the grip was so sticky that I had to peel my hands away from the apparatus. Keep in mind though, with parts of the hoop and trapeze that are not taped, you will experience the same problem as with the pole.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Still many applications left in the tub

Conclusion

The iTac2 was marketed for pole dancers but I found it only worked for the chrome finish, and not the titanium gold. However, for any other porous surfaces such as silks, or taped circus apparatuses, I found the grip very useful!

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Close-up of the iTac2 to show the texture. This stuff is extremely thick and very hard to scrape out.

As for why this little tube has lasted for 5 years? Well, I keep pushing myself to train without grip since it’ll only make me stronger. That, and also it didn’t work that well on my first pole. After switching to a chrome pole, I continued training without any grip just because I’m too lazy to clean it up after.

What pole grips have you used and would highly recommend?

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The iTac2 was purchased by the reviewer and this is not a sponsored review.

Remi Sit & Remi Bridge | Pole Diaries

Who is Remi and why would anyone come up with such a beautifully painful trick to torture us all? I did a little bit of research and the move was named after Rémi Martin for his tricks on the Chinese pole. For those who are not familiar with the Chinese pole, it’s much thicker than the poles used in pole fitness and are covered with rubber.

This trick was on my list of pole goals for the longest time and I’m happy to say I finally nailed it! The move looks pretty secure, so why was it my nemesis? Let’s break down the move!

Remi Sit 

  • When you hear Remi sit, think ‘cross-legged sit on the pole’. One leg wraps around the pole, the other leg crosses over at the ankle and contacts the pole at the top of the feet
  • The move puts a LOT of pressure on the top of the foot, where it’s usually not as fleshy as other body parts.
  • To reduce pressure on the top of the foot, you can squeeze the top leg harder around the pole or adjust so you have more contact area with the pole. Considering both these body parts are pretty sensitive, sacrificing the knee pits was the less of the two evils for me 🙂
  • Originally, the move was done with shoes to offer more protection for the foot, so use leg warmers and thick socks if necessary! If you’re worried about slipping, it’s actually a good way to ensure you’re gripping tight enough with your knee pits. The bottom foot should only be there to push you away and not grip the pole.
  • Keep your hands on the pole until you feel secure enough to let go. 

Remi Layback

  • Don’t try this until you’re 110% ‘comfortable’ in the Remi sit. By comfortable, I don’t mean enjoy it (I don’t think anyone can!), but at least you shouldn’t be screaming in pain or having tendencies to unravel out of it.
  • Start close to the ground and use crash mats in case you fall. 
  • Make pretty shapes with your arms, wave them around, etc.
  • Come back out by using those amazing abs you have!

Remi Bridge

  • I had the misconception that you had to have super open shoulders for this (which I lacked) but technique was key to getting this.
  • Gently twist to one side and grabbed the pole with ONE hand. Once you find the pole, it should be easier to locate with the other arm.
  • It’s very hard to back bend and grab the pole when both arms are over your head. Unless you have very open shoulders, this would be near impossible.
Did I mention leg warmers? In case you miss my note, use leg warmers or thick socks! Your feet will thank you!

Yogini | Pole Diaries

“You look so graceful on the pole!” is one of my favourite compliments when I share my pole videos. But being ‘graceful’ takes so much work! If you thought the Superman pose was painful, the Yogini is not for the faint of heart. Without scaring you, the point of contact for the Yogini is your armpit, and the side of your belly – probably the most sensitive parts for the majority of us. Since your weight will be resting on the sensitive and fleshy part of your armpit/inner arm area, do not be alarmed when your skin turns 5 shades of red darker. The only way to overcome this is practice, muscle memory and eventually your skin will get used to it. Only until then can you start putting on a smile and look ‘graceful’ again.

Practice

  1. The Yogini is equivalent to the bow pose in yoga, so try this pose on the floor or yoga mat. Lying face down on the mat, reach your arms behind your back and bend your knees. Grab your toes, feet, ankles or shins, whatever is available and arch back. Roll your shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold the pose for 5 breaths then release. You’ll notice as you pull your feet/legs away, the tension lifts your body off the ground even more.
  2. When you’re ready to try this on the pole with both legs on the ground, wrap one arm in front of the pole and squeeze the pole with your armpit. Hold the pole with the free hand around the belly area for support. 
  3. With the free hand still holding onto the pole for support, lift the leg on the same side as the shoulder that is wrapped around the pole. Grab the toes/feet/ankles as you did while practicing on the mat. Actively pull your leg away from the body to create tension and lift your body. By pulling your leg away, you should feel your shoulder squeezing the pole.
  4. Start shifting your weight onto the armpit and the side of your belly that’s on the pole. Can you lift the bottom hand off the pole? How about the supporting leg? If so, grab the other leg and actively push your hips outward. 

Tips

  • Bruising is natural and your arm pit area will hurt. Remember to rest and practice the pose every other day to allow the skin to recover.
  • It’s difficult/impossible to do this pose with very dry skin. Do warm ups, practice other pole moves and work up a sweat. The thin layer of moisture on your skin will help you stick to the pole.
  • The more you push your hips outwards, the more secure your pose. While it looks like the pose is all on the shoulders/armpits, it’s requires you to engage your hips and legs as well!

Titanic | Pole Diaries

♫ My heart will go on… and on…. ♫ 

If this move is completely new to you, can you see why it was adeptly named after the iconic Titanic scene? I’m flying, Jack! Yes, the move does give the illusion that the pole dancer is flying, and that’s why it’s often called the Illusionist as well (also another movie I love!).

While the move is categorized under intermediate/advanced for pole dancer moves, I didn’t find the move was considered hard to do. Unlike the Ayesha or the Extended butterfly which requires quite a bit of upper body strength, and balance while inverted, the Titanic is more like an advance version of the Hood ornament – simple but somewhat painful. If you haven’t practiced the hood ornament, I recommend you try that first since it’s a similar looking pose, and much easier to learn. Another reason is because both the hood ornament and titanic pose will make you spin pretty fast if you are on a spinning pole (remember smaller poses spin fast while bigger poses slow you down). 
Once you’re ready to learn the Titanic or Illusionist, you can learn from my mistakes in my fail video below:

Practice

  1. The reason the Titanic is classified as an intermediate/advance move is because the entry requires you to have mastered the superman. If it’s been a while since you visited that, please take some time to practice it.
  2. Once you feel solid in your superman, let’s start on the floor! Stand with the pole between your legs and take a small step back with both feet. Squeeze the pole and lift your chest. Try moving one leg forward so it’s inline and against the pole and squeeze your thighs together. Switch legs and practice so you get an idea of where the pressure points will be.
  3. Keeping the same position for the legs, practice the placement of your hands. Hold the pole with one hand behind you as you would in the superman. As you pull your torso up towards the pole, use the free hand to grab the pole behind you at waist level with thumb pointing up. Switch the grip from your top hand so the thumb is pointing down. I didn’t practice this on the floor (as you can see in the video) and struggled with the hand positions while in the air so don’t do that! Learn from my mistakes 🙂
  4. Let’s try this in the air now! From your superman position, make sure to keep your hips in the same position while bringing down one leg next to the pole. It’s important to not pike or fold both legs down as you will lose your contact point! The leg you bring down should contact the pole as much as possible, and you can use your the sole of your feet as well. The other leg should squeeze into the pole as if you want to point your toes towards the opposition direction. This part took a lot of practice before I could get the positioning correct.
  5. Once the leg positions are in place and you feel secure, pull your torso up (From step 3). If you feel 100% secure, try letting go of one hand. If you still feel comfortable, you can let go of the other one too. In this pose, your legs are the only things holding you up. Beautiful!
  6. I personally wasn’t able to do Step 5 without adding an extra contact point so when I brought my torso up, I arched my back and placed the pole between my neck and shoulder. The pole went on the side of my neck that was opposite the leg pointing down on the pole. The arch in the back also helped me rotate my bottom leg outwards so my fleshier parts were on the pole (Thigh gaps make things so difficult on the pole!) Somehow, this combination (arch & neck contact point) gave me the security I needed to let go of both hands.

Tips

  • Short shorts are necessary for this move – but no shorter than you would for a superman. When I struggled with the move, I wondered if it was because of my stubbornness to wear a modest outfit. I scanned through Instagram and saw a LOT of butt. I was determined to try this move without rolling my short shorts up further than necessary and did it! The friction is mostly on the inner thighs and not between the butt cheeks. 
  • The higher up you bring your torso to the pole, the easier it is. Lifting the chest up is difficult (especially with no hands!) but feel free to use your arms to assist you. With my head closer to the pole, this felt easier on my back as I’m not spending too much effort keeping my chest lifted. I also felt my legs were in a better position to grip the pole too.
  • Falling out of the move is scary since your arms are behind you. Use crash mats, yoga mats, cushions or pillows to break your fall. 
Good luck with your Titanic and don’t forget to tag me @kaybbt in when you share on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

Did I Get a Fake X-Pole? | Product Review

or… is it just an older version?

If you’re not a pole dancer, you’re probably laughing and wondering why there are ‘real’ or ‘fake’ poles and whether we’re crazy looking for ‘brand name’ ones. To explain this briefly, a dance pole is the biggest investment for a pole dancer. Cheaper/fake ones cut cost on material, designs and safety features that may break, fall on us, or ruin our property (i.e. windows, glass tables, walls, floors, ceilings). Even the cheapest X-Pole costs upward of $300 so it’s quite an investment and not a disposable prop you purchase at novelty shops.

As an X-Pole retailer, I get a lot of questions asking me how to tell if a pole is genuine or fake. Sometimes I’ll get people sending me pictures of an older X-Pole they bought second-hand and worry whether it was fake. I thought this might be a good opportunity to write a comparison post outlining the difference between the older (2010-2013, XX) X-Pole (read full review here) with the newer (2014-current, NX) X-Pole. With so many pictures and reviews of the newer model, this post will be helpful to highlight the changes and ensure you still have a genuine, but just previously loved X-Pole 🙂

What’s new with the post-2014 XPert?

Unboxing the 45mm Chrome XPert

1. Packaging

At first glance in the unboxing photos, there isn’t too much of a change. I was a little disheartened to see the pole did not come in extra cardboard tubes in like previous model. I used to use the tubes to as extra protection inside the carrying case (see here). Inside, the pole were wrapped in cellophane and fit snuggly into a molded cardboard box. Both newer and older packaging adequately protected the pole during shipping and handling.

Updated adjuster cover on XPert XPole

2. No more adjuster cover

In my opinion, this is the best change in the newer poles! One thing I hated about the older model was how finicky the adjuster cover was. For those that are not familiar with it, you can read about it here under the section Problems, or see the picture here. Sometimes the adjuster cover does not tighten and would require you to readjust (maybe -that- is why they call it the ‘adjuster’ cover haha!) the pole. This only happens occasionally but can be very frustrating when it does.

In the new version, the adjuster cover is no longer a moving part but part of Pole A (bottom pole). On the very bottom portion of the pole, there is a red line, and a small nick on the adjuster cover where you would align with the red line. This ensures the three adjuster screws align with the flat portion of the pole. I really think this upgrade is genius!

Laser-etched X-Pole logo on all poles parts and extensions

3. ‘X-Pole’ logo etched on individual pieces

As the leading manufacturer for dance poles, there are unfortunately many counterfeits claiming to be genuine X-Poles. In the newer models, X-Pole has etched their logo on each of the pole pieces (Pole A, Pole B, and extensions). The logo only appears at the top of the pole which provides an indication of which direction the pole should be (although it doesn’t really matter). The etching is fairly faint and not noticeable from afar. In fact, it took very many tries to get a successful, yet blurry photo of the logo. For those that are concern the etching might scratch or catch skin/clothing, rest assure you don’t actually feel the etching when you’re on the pole!
X-Joints and instructions to expand or contract

4. Larger holes for X-Joint

The old X-Poles were notorious for pieces getting stuck together by their X-Joints, with people complaining they aren’t able to disassemble the parts. Luckily, I’ve never had that problem with both my older X-Pole and newer X-Pole. However, to address this problem, X-Pole seem to have made larger holes for the X-Joints and the pole pieces. The Allen key included is the same size as the older model, but now has an additional rubber coating to provide more grip. While I’m not sure how the larger holes will help, X-Pole claims it’s easier to take the pole apart. I personally thought the pole looked nicer with smaller holes.
Tool kit with 2 Allen keys and spare parts!

5. Spare part bonus

As a nice added bonus, X-Pole included 3 extra adjuster screws and 2 extra spin/static screws. It’s a nice little bonus since it would probably be quite difficult to find the right ones in case you lose them.

6. Snug carrying case with diagram

When I was unboxing, I didn’t notice any changes with the carrying case since I was way too excited about the pole itself! From the outside, it looked like the old black carrying case (picture here). I admit it was not the highlight of the pole, so I stashed it away. But when I finally opened up the carrying case a few weeks later, I was surprised they updated the design… I think I LOVE it! The previous one, seen here, had filmsy velcro straps that could easily scratch the pole so I kept the original cardboard tube packaging for extra cushion. In contrast this new case has beautiful sewn in compartments for each pole part, secured by a wide velcro strap and the bigger flap just in case.

The previous carrying case was very modular so sometimes I forget which piece should be stored where. The little legend printed on the inside of the case tells you exactly where each piece should go. And they fit perfectly in it! I rarely need to use the carrying case since I don’t need to carry it around often but at least now I feel they’re super well protected.

Installation Video

I always love watching people’s jaw drop when I say I didn’t hire anyone to install my pole, or I didn’t need to drill holes in my floor and ceiling, or… I installed it in less than 10 minutes alone! To show it really doesn’t take much time or effort, I didn’t speed up the video and it took less than 6 minutes in total. So let’s start off with an installation video.

 

 

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Was there anything I missed? Were these changes revolutionary enough to make you upgrade your X-Pole?

Hood Ornament | Pole Diaries

Want a beautiful pole move that is relatively easy to practice? Let’s try to do the hood ornament – yes, the figurines that are used to adorn the front of luxury cars. So why did I make a diary of a fairly easy move? Well, getting the move was not particularly difficult but working on transitioning everything smoothly takes practice. I thought I’ll use this move to perfect my pole climbs and aerial walks. In a simpler move, making graceful gestures and clean lines was key.

 Here’s the video/tutorial for the move:

 Some tips:

  • Start from the floor and practice the pose. Feel the pressure on back of the knees and your armpit.
  • Once you’re comfortable, practice on the pole: there are many variations to this pose so play around until you find your sweet spots!
  • Arm placement: Squeeze tight with your armpit! Yes you will feel the skin turn raw, so let your armpit rest a few days before trying again. If you find you’re not squeezing tight enough, you can clasp your hands together to give a little more support. Otherwise, think graceful, soft, ballerina-like gestures with hands and arms.
  • Leg placement: The inside leg should be bent and squeezing the pole. The outside leg can be in front or behind the pole. Placing the foot in front will give you more surface area with the pole while placing behind will have less (but looks prettier!) Remember to point your toes for cleaner lines!
  • After you got the pose, keep repeating until you can smoothly transition into the pose 🙂
  • Add variations like aerial walks to make it even more interesting!

Ayesha | Pole Diaries

The Ayesha is one of those pole moves I’ve always wanted to master but felt too intimated to try. Previously, I was able to do the twisted handspring and get up to a pose very similar to the Ayesha. The differences between the two are:

  • The hand grips: a twisted hand grip felt much more secure for the handspring but is awkward to get into from invert for the Ayesha
  • The entry: the handspring starts off from the ground while the Ayesha starts from an invert
Personally, I thought the two poses were very similar in that they require a lot of push/pull from the arms and balance. What really surprised me was even though I was able to do the handspring, the Ayesha was intimidating! Starting off from an invert and peeling your legs off the pole is very different from starting from the ground and floating to an invert where your legs hovered.

To do the Ayesha

  1. Invert onto the pole
  2. Slide one hand down on the pole (this may or may not be your dominant side, you need to figure out what is more comfortable for you)
  3. Push using the hand closest to the floor so your torso is folded over your legs (the motion is like the caterpillar)
  4. Slowly release the grip between your calves on the pole but wrap the pole using both your ankles
  5. As you slide the ankles down the pole, your bum will drop and your torso will be farther from the pole
  6. Once you feel stable, slowly release your ankles from the pole and point them out into a V-shape
  7. To get out of the pose, bring your legs back and grip onto the pole

Practicing the Ayesha

  1. To overcome my fears, I started off by testing the position from the ground. Instead of keeping the lower hand on the pole, I used the floor for stability. I varied the distance my hand was relative to the base of the pole, and eventually moved it closer to the pole as I got more comfortable. I also played around by slowly peeling one leg off the pole. This sort of reminded me of the extended butterfly but it took some coordination to figure out which direction to drop the leg! While the extended butterfly dropped the leg backwards, this time you want to drop it in front of you.
  2. The next thing I tried was to balance with both hands on the pole and no longer use the ground. I noticed my hands slipped quite a bit so I had to keep wiping the pole down. I also tried to sink my butt closer to the ground to peel my torso away from the pole before slowly releasing the grip from my legs.
  3. Revising on previous attempts, I realized taking one leg off at the time really throws off my balance since it was really hard to release the other leg. The next variation was the inverted D which kept both legs on the pole but changed the grip at the ankles. By gently squeezing the ankles against the pole, this provides stability as you learn to balance in the pose. Slowly lower the ankles until your legs are more or less parallel to the floor. Using the arm closest to your legs, pull your body back towards the pole and regrip the pole using your calves.
  4. Repeat the previous step but this time, slowly release ankles from the pole and point toes out into a V-shape. Return back to the pole in a similar way. 
  5. As you get more comfortable with your balance, you may notice you can transition directly into the Ayesha, bypassing the inverted D. At this point, work on you pointing your toes and returning to the pole to exit. Practice makes perfect!!

Check Out My New Home Pole Studio!

It’s been two months since my last blog post and it’s difficult to get back on schedule after such a long break. There have been some major changes in my life and I thought I’ll share them with you!

First update: I moved! The new place has a 9ft ceiling (compared to the 8ft before) so I’m very excited to try out some new combos with the extra height. There is also a nice floor to ceiling window that allows plenty of light if I want to film during the day. The floor is an oak engineered-hardwood floor so this really brightens up the place and looks so clean on video.

Home pole studio



Second news: I replaced my 45mm titanium gold X-Pert pole with the 45mm chrome X-Pert pole. Nothing wrong with the older model, in fact I loved it (click here to read my review). Reason I changed it is because I eventually do want to try out for competitions and the 45mm chrome is the competition standard so I thought I should start practicing on this new finish. The chrome compared to the titanium gold is a lot sleeker and took some time to get used to the more slippery finish.

Home pole studio

Third upgrade: You’ll notice the pictures in this blog post are SUPER wide angle! I kinda love it since I used to use the Canon T3i with a Canon EF-S 10-18mm F/4.5-5.6 IS STM, or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 with the 14-42mm lens. Both were great camera but neither were ideal. I decided to do a huge splurge and got the Go Pro HERO 4 Black Edition. It’s a great little camera and camcorder for hiking and it seems to work well for my pole videos. The wide angle is great since I don’t have to push the camera as far into a wall as possible to capture the whole pole. The downside is there is a lot of warping, but hopefully I find a angle that’s acceptable 😀

Home pole studio

Final update: I officially started teaching a few months ago and I absolutely love it! The students are so enthusiastic and wonderful learners. I’m probably as excited, if not more excited than them when they’re finally able to get a move. While I don’t think I’ll create videos for beginner tutorials (there are many very good ones on YouTube already!), I will possibly create blog posts with tips to help get these moves!

Thank you everyone for your support! I hope you love these changes as much as I do!

Why do Canadians love brass poles?

Why do Canadians love brass poles?

 

As a self-taught pole dancer, I own a 45mm Titanium Gold X-Pole X-Pert and love it to death (read my review here). I’ve visited a total of three different pole studios in my lifetime: my very first intro class at Aradia Fitness, a bridal shower at Brass Vixen and a few lessons at UV Pole Fitness.
One thing I immediately noticed was the shiny brass poles. Yes, those gold-coloured beauties that also makes your hands smell like copper after class.

 

Aradia Fitness in Vaughan, ON

 

Choosing a pole

Let me start off by telling you how I decided on my current pole at home. Buying a dance pole at home was quite a daunting task for a first timer. There’s an overwhelming combination of choices and it was hard picking something I never tested all the options for.  So to briefly summarize, there are three main options:

Static or spin/static?

This was an easy choice for me. Although the spin/static pole was significantly more expensive it made sense to buy the duo mode one than regret later and potentially lose money reselling it to upgrade. I never regretted my choice and I love doing tricks on spinning mode!

Diameter?

When I first bought my pole, 50mm was the standard and 45mm was the ‘skinny’ pole. Now there’s 40mm, 45mm, 50mm, 53mm and 58mm. The first pole I ever tried was 50mm and it deflated my confidence since I couldn’t hold on. I never tried a 45mm but after much research I settled on it. I’m so glad I did because it’s perfect for me! Competition guidelines have also changed and now uses the 45mm as well 🙂

Finish?

Starting from the most slippery to grippy finishes: stainless steel, chrome, titanium gold, and brass. I won’t mention the powder coated or silicone ones since I’ve never actually seen or use them in person. I chose titanium gold through process of elimination. Brass while grippiest was high maintenance, scratches easily and the most expensive. Chrome was the cheapest and competition standard but may be too slippery. Stainless steel was/is not available for sale on Canada. Titanium gold was an excellent choice then: medium grippiness, low maintenance, available and fairly priced.

 

Brass Vixen on Queen St, Toronto, ON

So going back to the question: Why do Canadians love brass poles?

From my limited sample size of three (hardly a representative population of Canadian pole studios), I came to believe brass poles are the standard in pole studios.
But didn’t I just mention competition standard is chrome? I was confused but didn’t care too much to find out.
Until recently I became an Authorized X-Pole Dealer (click here to visit my shop!) and had to make recommendations on ordering poles for a new studio… I called Los Angeles head office to find out more.
Interestingly,  the manager chuckled when I asked her why the studio poles are mostly made of brass if they’re so much more expensive, higher maintenance, and scratch so easily. I asked if it’s because the climate in Canada is drier and therefore the brass finish helps us Canadians stick more. At least that’s the only reason I could think of. She said she has no idea why Canadians love brass poles so much; the climate isn’t an issues since New Yorkers and Minnesotans all have chrome poles in their studios. After a pause, she asked if I knew the Arabia Fitness franchise. I said I did. Then she said, “It’s probably because Aradia first started ordering brass poles and then everyone else decided to follow them”.
So there we go! Maybe not all Canadian pole studios use brass poles, but the ones I’ve visited in Toronto definitely do. Thanks to Aradia, Toronto studios are graced with beautiful shiny brass poles but also prepares us poorly for pole competitions if we were ever interested. 🙁

 

UV Pole Fitness in Toronto, ON

Summary

With this information, I would personally recommend chrome finishes to pole studios and individuals that are seriously considering competing in the future: they’re cost effective, low maintenance and most importantly competition standard! Titanium gold is an excellent choice for home use but the gold-colour will fade quickly for studio use (do rest assured the grip and plating doesn’t fade). As for brass poles… I’m not sure if following a trend is worth the extra cost and hassle!

* I’m thinking about switching to a Chrome 45mm X-PERT at home to prepare for competitions in the future!