So, today’s story is going to be bittersweet.
The way food affects me is a train of actions that I follow religiously, and always humbly respect my fellow polers. Also I am a human sponge for feelings and outsourced influence, other people’s mood affects me greatly.
For a very long time it was my goal to become an instructor, eager to spread the love of pole and to help more and more people fall in love with this exquisite form of dancing. On the road to achieve this I went through rivers. I trained 6 days a week, ditched moisturizers, razors, anything that would make my skin softer, showed my bruises proudly and did conditioning exercises whenever I was left alone in a room. I quit all simple sugars and used anti antiperspirant spray everywhere to control my excessive sweating. I ditched meat and ate raw as much as possible, dropping my body fat significantly and seeing abs and triceps for the first time in my life.
I was on the moon. Dance was my oxygen, I was watching videos on Instagram and YouTube day and night, and dreamed of workshops with Anastasia Skukhtorova and Bendy Kate. Every new song was a possible choreo and my notebook was filling with moves to practice. Being hyper flexible my progress from that aspect was fast, I was able to nail my jallegra much easier than I could invert. But persistence paid off and soon I was inverting aerially, working handsprings, shouldermounts, and started to work on my first solo choreo as a representative of our lovely studio. I had installed a pole in my room and was on it hours at a time, freeflowing, practising, or simply getting the feel of it on my skin to get as used as possible.
My first big theatre performance was -not only in my eyes- an unmitigated disaster, a combination of poorly calculated moves due to overconfidence and a hellishly slippery cold pole that no grip aid was good enough for. I had fought for this shedding blood sweat and tears, as I had had a bike accident 2 months before the show which tore out my right knee tendon, leaving me getting MRIs and physio between training sessions. My physiotherapist implied I am mad for keeping it up, but I told her it is the only thing that makes me feel better emotionally and physically, as stretching and conditioning did speed up my healing process. So I was not hurting anymore, my choreo was up to scratch, my costume simple and elegant, airbrushed, professional photographers clicking as I spiralled between moves.
I cried a lot when I watched that video from that night.
Dreams are one thing but life is another unfortunately. My knee was not good for standing up so I had to quit my night standing job for a day sitting job. It was not long before I realized that I would have to juggle as my training coincided a lot with my work schedule… And the juggling did not always work out. When I was over my knee injury I tore up my left hamstring during splits, which was even worse as I could not touch my toes for months. Plus I had to move to a much smaller house that there was no room for my pole, therefore I was limited to studio practice which was mostly wincing in bends and working on my right side. I was shattered.
It took me months to come at peace with the fact that I could only attend max 2 classes a week and I had to alternate between aerial silks and aerial hoop just to keep my physical status. I hadn’t touched a pole in weeks at a time. When I eventually went to a class of my “old level”, I could not cope.
More months passed until I accepted my “fate”. I am lucky enough for my hard work to have paid off in the office; I got promoted so I now still work full time at a job that I love. Also I moved again to a bigger place and immediately reinstalled my pole and started conditioning again. I also lost myself in hoop, silks and modern dance so I was able to still fly and work on my skills. Naturally the dream of an instructor life is still there, but I can finally say that I see this as an opportunity to grow again, and being happy and blessed that I can actually still do the dance I love, not as much as I would want, but at least my other life keeps my fire lit as well.
Baby steps. In the end I swallowed my pride and went to a much lower level class. I had forgotten how rewarding it is to work on simple moves rather than combos, and practice those that are not 100% you but help build oneself as a dancer. Which is in the end what we should be committed to doing, remembering that each journey is their own.
Happy flying amazing people.
(featured image from the final rehearsal for my first and last – till now- performance)