The Jade Split Handstand is a beautiful blend of balance and flexibility. There are two ways that (I know of) that you can get into it. Give them both a try and if you come up with another way, let us know!
ONE: You want to decide which side (hand, wrist, arm, shoulder) is your strong side. That’s the hand you’ll want to have down on the ground. This also means that your opposite leg will be the “jade” leg that comes to your face.
TWO: I suggest you do a couple of one-handed handstands on the wall or pole to test your balance and strength.
THREE: You can get into the handstand position in one of two ways. …
(a) Invert -> Crucifix -> lower down to handstand -> wrap your torso around the front of the pole so that you make a pocket in your side (the same side of the leg that’s coming to your face and the hand that’s on the ground – HINT they should be the SAME side)
(b) Go into a two-point handstand (make sure the back of your inside shoulder is against the pole) then allow the inside leg to sneak behind the pole and wrap around the the other side.
FOUR: shift your weigh to the hand to the inside hand and then use your outside hand to draw your ankle in towards your face for the jade position.
FIVE: Snap a photo or video!!
Prerequisites: I definitely recommend starting with the two-point handstand to chopper first then one-handed handstand balance against a wall and also master the no-handed Jade. Mastering these three skills will be the best way to work on the “foundation” of this trick before you go for the gold!
We’ll be getting eXtremely Flexy in this NEW all-levels flexibility class! Xtreme Flex is your go-to class for all-things stretchy, flexy and contortiony! Whether you are already super flexible or just getting started on your flexibility journey, we’ll take your flexibility to the next level and help you become stronger and more balanced along the way. Bring a buddy or make a friend in class because we’ll be using a combination of individual and partnered stretching, paired with various apparatuses, to push our bodies to the limit. We’ll be hitting all of your favorite spots: splits, hips, back, shoulders, chest, hand/arm balances and much more!
Proper Attire: Form-fitted leggings or tights, leg warmers and layers on top.
I’m super thrilled to share my newest weekly class with you!! We’ll be getting eXtremely Flexy in this NEW all-levels flexibility class! Xtreme Flex is your go-to class for all-things stretchy, flexy and contortiony! Whether you are already super flexible or just getting started on your flexibility journey, we’ll take your flexibility to the next level and help you become stronger and more balanced along the way. Bring a buddy or make a friend in class because we’ll be using a combination of individual and partnered stretching, paired with various apparatuses, to push our bodies to the limit. We’ll be hitting all of your favorite spots: splits, hips, back, shoulders, chest, hand/arm balances and much more! Aches, pains, stress, lack of flexibility, desire for more flexibility, obsession with extreme flexibility or maybe you just want have a good ole time…no matter what your mind and body needs, I got you.
Be sure to join me each week at Zensual Dance to work on your flexibility goals.
You may not realize it, but tracking your pole journey is ultimate key in your development and success. If you haven’t been keeping track of your progress then this is something that I highly suggest you start doing. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Now I know that for some of us this [looking at ourselves] can be hard, but this practice is the only thing that is going to truly help us get better. Yes, this means that we must face the good the bad and the ugly! Too many times we tend to analyze our bodies and our flaws, so When you are evaluating yourself PLEASE try to focus on the execution of your tricks, the fluidity of your movement and your expression of emotion. However, do keep in mind that if there is something about you that you don’t like you CAN improve it. Again, there’s nothing wrong with you but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to make yourself the best that you can be.
Tracking your pole journey should be something that you do from day one, but if you haven’t been then that’s Okay because it’s never to late to start. You can track your progress by photo, video or pole diary – I suggest a combination of all three. Pictures are a great way to capture those milestones and are super easy to share! Video allows you to see review from start to finish and you can evaluate the full execution of your tricks (entrance into, holding, and exit/transition out of). A written journal provides a great way to set and track goals.
Since my start in pole I’ve had a few different note books and apps on my iPhone that I’ve taken notes in, yet nothing that was a comfortable fit for my pole needs. So naturally I was thrilled when I came across the LiveItUp journal designed especially for pole dancers. These journals are simply amazing! Maggie didn’t miss a beat when creating them. The embossed cover is simple yet gorgeous and the pages are durable stock with ample area to record your notes. Oh…and it didn’t hurt that the interior pages were pink (my favorite color!) What I love about this journal is that it breaks our journey into key sections: goals, video, music and practice log. Here’s what each section entails:
Section 1 – Goals: Evaluate your progress and set short and long term goals for the future here. Then create a plan of action to acheive your goals.
Section 2 – Music: Take note of all the songs that make you boogie! Jot down own mood and performance ideas for each tune.
Section 3 – Video: This section is designed to log your YouTube uploads. Don’t post videos? No problem, use it to take notes on videos you watch.
Section 4 – Practice Log: The largest section provides a place to log your pole practices. Fill in your own dates means this journal is equally perfect for the daily pole addict as well as the weekend pole warrior. The seperate Stretch and Flex area ensures you stretch after every practice.
Want to add this journal to your pole bag? Contact me for ordering details!
I decided to join in on this month’s Pole Dance Blogger’s Blog Hop which is centered around a whole bunch of questions that we’re all answering. It is great to see the camaraderie throughout the pole community and I welcome any opportunity for us to share, connect and unite. My responses below share insight on my pole journey!
1. How long have you been pole dancing?
I’ve been pole dancing on and off (around broken feet and surgeries) since 2010.
2. What’s your favorite song to pole dance to?
Man that’s a hard one…I don’t think I have a favorite song to dance to. I am a serious music lover. I listen to all types of music all day, everyday. When it comes to dancing, I think I go through phases where a certain song will speak to me and I just have to dance it out. I guess currently that song for me would be Afraid by Sarah Fimm. My FreeStyle Friday playlist on Spotify has many of go-to pole songs.
3. What’s your favorite pole dance move?
I absolutely love Kandy Kanes (some people call them body spirals, corkscrews, reverse grabs). Flying through the air is the best rush and there is so much power behind this trick. I enjoy coming up with different leg variations and combos stemming from the kandy kane. This is the current Kandy Kane combo that I’m working on: http://youtu.be/P8oTl1jLKHA
4. What pole move is your nemesis?
My pole move nemesis would definitely have to be the Dead-lift to Iron X. There is something about the dead-lift that I just can’t wrap my mind around. Even with my recent weight loss, strength increase and improvement on the pole I still can’t get it. I think that this move is so powerful yet graceful…I want this trick bad! Currently I’m doing a lot of core training with my trainer and working on holding my Iron X and also on pulling back up to the pole after holding my iron x. One day (soon) I hope to fully master the dead-lift part – from the floor and in the air.
5. If you have to classify your dance style, what would it be?
My style is POWER SEXY. There is power and strength behind my intoxicating flow that captivates oozes sex appeal with my every move. While I can confidently say this now, I actually struggled with this for a while in the past and I think a lot of it had to do with my size. Being over weight automatically puts you in a category of what you can and can’t be. It not only affects the way that you are perceived by others but also the way the way that you perceive yourself. I never saw myself as sexy…didn’t think that I could be sexy, so I would always say that I was more about Fitness on the pole. I even tried to take on more of a gymnast role on the pole but only because I felt like that was the only avenue that I could make work. Only in the last few months have I discovered what my style is and now I’m working to develop that style.
6. What inspires your movement? Why do you dance?
Freedom inspires my movement. I dance because it is limitless and freeing. In a world full of good and bad, right and wrong, and so much that we can’t control, dance is the antithesis for me. Everything is good, anything is right and I control it all…but I can also let go and just let my body take control.
7. Do you study/participate in any other kinds of dancing or other kinds of training?
Absolutely! My regular routine includes weight training with my trainer, plenty of cardio, stretch and flexibility class and aerial yoga.
8. How often do you train, dance or attend class per week?
Everyday…now I might not be on the pole every single day but I do make sure that I am doing some type of activity or exercise on a daily basis. Some days are gym days, some days are studio days. My goal is just to keep moving. But I do give my body rest when it needs it.
9. Any tips for training?
Respect your body and respect your level. You need to give your body TLC, this includes feeding your body the proper foods, getting adequate rest, and incorporating training in your areas of weakness.
10. Do you train on both sides when you pole? Why or why not?
Sadly I don’t do this as much as I should. Working my left side was something that was mentioned when I first started poling but it wasn’t really taught or enforced. Training my weak side is almost like starting over in my pole work, it can be frustrating and discouraging at times (knowing that if I just do it on my right side I can get it done and it will look great) but I am working to get my left side on an equal playing field with my right side.
11. If you’re not a full time poler, how do you balance work and pole? Friends and pole? Life and Pole?
I am a natural busy-body, multi-tasker and I don’t sleep as much as I should so I do fairly well with balancing my work and pole. Also, I try to combine my work, extra curricular activities and areas of interest whenever I can. More closely aligning my work and pole life has made both easier and a lot more enjoyable. Much of my photography, web design, community management, writing and design work now coincides with various pole publications and studios. I do a lot of networking and making friends with those in the pole community. I’m also lucky to have a boyfriend that supports and participates in my pole journey.
12. Is pole dancing, which happens to be a hobby for most, worth the investment?
YES! Discovering pole dancing was turning point for me. Most importantly it has helped put me back on track with my weight and health, but I’ve also been able to boost my confidence, push past mental and physical limitations and discover a new purpose and career opportunities.
13. Why did you start a pole dance blog?
I’m a writer…I’ve been writing since I learned how to write my ABC’s. It is the easiest and most fulfilling way for me to express myself. I felt like I needed an outlet to share my thoughts and experiences. Journals are great and all, but keeping everything to myself doesn’t benefit anyone. By sharing publicly I am hope to encourage and support others that are on this same journey (or are wanting to start). I also focusing myself to face my reality, my past and allow myself to grow and push past all else. I want to use my knowledge, experience and wisdom to help others and do my part to mentor those in need. I waited too long to get myself back on track and take control of my life. I want to help others make that change for the positive sooner rather than later. This is my way of giving back.
14. What does your pole dance blog mainly focus on?
My blog focuses on health and fitness – both on and off of the pole. I use my site as a way to document my journey. I hope that sharing my experience and insight will help others on their journey.
15. What’s your favorite post on your pole dance blog?
My favorite post on my blog is part one of my Priceless transformation. This transformation of my mind and body has made it possible for me to be successful in my pole career and is the main reason for me starting this site.
17. What is your favorite dance studio? (If you teach or own a studio, please list one other than where you teach.)
I don’t have a favorite dance studio. I am a studio hopper! I take classes at ALL of the studios in DFW. I enjoy moving around. By stepping out and away from the “bubble” that comes with having only one studio, I’m’ able to meet a lot of new people, learn so much more and support everyone in my pole community.
18. If you teach, why did you start teaching, and how did it change your practice? If you don’t teach, do you think you’d ever want to teach? Why or why not?
While I am XPert Certified, I do not currently teach. I do enjoy helping my fellow pole sisters during class but I’m not quite ready to make that full-time commitment to teaching. I still feel like there is a lot for me to learn and I want to enjoy being a student for a while longer. I’m sure I will teach sometime in the future but I’m just not in a rush. I’ve seen too many of my pole sisters jump into teaching too soon and it negatively impact their pole career and enthusiasm.
19. Heels or No Heels? Also any good recommendations for heels?
Depends on what I’m doing. It I’m learning new tricks or throwing power tricks then NO heels. But when I’m at Pole After Dark class or if I’m doing a freestyle dance then I love to wear my heels, it makes me feel super sexy!
20. What are your favorite pole clothes?
Mika Yoga Wear Tula top and my Nike Bump shorts!
21. What’s your favorite pole? Size? Material? Height? Static? Spin?
X-Pert 45mm Titanium Gold by X-Pole. This was my second pole purchase and my favorite!
22. If you have ever performed, how do you usually prepare your performance?
I think my preparation routine changes each time as I gain more insight, and experience in performing/competing, however generally I start by writing out the tricks and combos that I want to include in my performance. Then I get to work by putting on my wireless headphones and listen to my song over and over and over and over again while I dance around the pole. I can get a feel for the music, transitions and the smaller details that are often forgotten. Then I can work in my combos and power tricks. I also like to pull up the lyrics to the song and study/memorize them. After that it’s just repetition and fine tuning.
23. What’s something you love to do or experience aside from pole dancing?
Photography. I love taking pictures – of others and of myself (lol). I do pole photography and I also have a non-pole related photography company.
24. How has pole dancing affected your life?
Pole has completely changed my life. I discovered pole at a really low point in my life. It helped me recover from a really bad relationship/breakup, make new friends and get me back into the social arena. It’s also lead my to my trainer, a healthier lifestyle, the body of a lifetime and the man of my dreams. Physically, I’ve been able to do so much more than I ever thought or could have imagined. I’m looking forward to continuing my growth and development.
25. Looking back at your life, are you surprised that you’re a pole dancer? Like were you a nun five years ago and now you’re a pole teacher? Or does pole dancing seem like a natural fit into the progression of your life?
No, I am not surprised that I’m a pole dancer. I actually think its wonderful that I’ve been able to find a way to utilize my gymnastics and cheerleading training. I might not have predicted that I’d be where I’m at today, but I’m not surprised that I was drawn to an alternative and super sexy form of fitness. I’ve always been open minded and a little risqué. I love it and I wouldn’t change it for anything!
26. What’s one pole stereotype that you wish would go away?
That pole dancers are strippers or girls that can’t make it as strippers. I’m not knocking strippers but we are SO MUCH MORE than that. We could do what they do, but they can’t all do what we do. Regardless of what people say and think and what we are often associated with, this is a sport and we ARE athletes 😉
27. Best reaction when you told someone that you are a pole dancer?
“I want to do that!”
28. Also, since its May… does your Mother [or any maternal person in your life] know that you pole dance and what does she think?
Yes, my mother knows that I pole dance but I’m not really sure nor do I care what she thinks lol.
29. What’s your pole fantasy or dream?
Hmm…my dream is still in the works. I’ll let you know once it comes true! 🙂
30. Finish this sentence. Pole dancing is….
Pole dancing is what I do!
Last week I attended the Spring 2013 Graduation / Open House event at Zensual Dance in Dallas. I was there as both a guest performer and the event photographer and had a blast. This event was so much fun to watch and capture on camera. I had spent the last few months attending Pole After Dark at Zensual and really getting to know their students and instructors better and watching everyone grow. This made the event that much better because I really felt connected to them. I am super proud of every single lady that got up there and danced their hearts out. I was also able to capture some amazing shots of the ladies in action. Check out the event album here.
One of the other things that make this event so awesome for me was the growth that I had in my own dance journey. After much time spent thinking, over thinking and then re-thinking about what song to dance to, I finally decided (or rather my trainer extraordinaire suggested) to redo my routine from Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma – but with some tweaks to show off my progress made since the competition. We stripped down my Oklahoma routine, going through the video to see what worked and didn’t work. From there we were able to refresh the routine with new exciting tricks, strength moves, better combos with improved control and fluidity… making it even better than it was. Below is video showing both the old routine and the new one, and a few of my favorite shots (captured by my stand in photographer) from my routine.
I’m excited to share my successes from another great night of pole during Cirque De Pole class. Over the last few week’s I’ve been focused on really stepping my game up on the pole and it’s really starting to show. I was able to hold my Iron X just a little bit longer and I finally got the “assisted” Phoenix. These are two tricks that I just couldn’t wrap my head around and never thought I’d get. For me these are two tricks are a significant milestone. I feel like all of the blood, sweat and tears and time spent in the gym working with my trainer over the last 18 months has brought me into this beautiful new phase in my pole career and with my health and fitness. What I am able to do now simply would not be possible had I not made this change in my life and decided to get my body right.
Check out this short video montage of my pole milestones!
So Tuesday was my 28th birthday and I went to pole with the Kandy & Krome ladies at their Cirque Du Pole class and had a blast. I enjoyed being able to spend my birthday doing something that I really love to do! And it was definitely one of my best days of poling yet! What made this night of poling so special is that it was truly a night of multiple firsts and successes for me. I was able to hit new moves and hold some of my nemesis tricks longer than ever before.
During class we worked on a handful of things including: the 2-point handstand, knee hold, iron x and our trick of the week! I was finally able to get knee hold…which I thought would never happen. And although I’m happy that I can do it now, I don’t really see it becoming a part of my regular trick list…it’s just way too painful.
I’ve been doing the 2-point handstand for a while but using a small jump (really just a pop) to get into it. This time around I was able to dead lift into it which is a huge accomplishment. I still need to work on perfecting my ascent into it but this is a great foundation to build on. Plus I know that working to perfect this will help me condition and be in a better position to hit my dead lift shoulder mount and also my aerial inversions.
We also worked on the Iron X which I’ve been going back and forth with over the last year. My mind sees my body executing a beautiful Iron X, yet my body has never wanted to cooperate long enough to make it happen lol. With the help of my amazing trainer, over the last few months, I’ve been able to build up my core strength and enough endurance to finally make it happen…even if it’s only momentarily. Little-by-little I am getting there. In addition to core conditioning, my trainer has also been making me work on my Iron X and Iron X drills daily. My goal is to make sure that I do at least 2 Iron X’s every time I go to pole class.
I ended class with an impromptu birthday FreeStyle, which has quickly become one of my personal FreeStyle favs! It is definitely a FreeStyle that I am very proud of. Although short and sweet, I felt like there was more aerial action going on and more control in my jade then in any of my previous Freestyle dances. I documented the night’s successes, check them out below!
I just wanted to share a little excerpt from a book I’m reading. The authors point out that “…[in regard to inaction] Actions could have had results. It is generally better to do something rather than nothing, because action just might have a positive effect. There’s even more to the advantage of action over inaction…it’s certain that inaction will have NO benefit.”
So, how does this apply to each of us and our participation in FSF? Well think about this…How many of you have said to yourself that you’re waiting until you “get better” to do FSF or that you’re waiting for a “different type of song”? And in hindsight what has really been accomplished by waiting? How many weeks have gone by where we’ve skipped working on our dance? Consider the fact that there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 10,080 minutes in a week, so what are our reasons for not taking 5 minutes out to just let go of all of our inhibitions and dance? Think beyond the reasons of work, injury, family obligations…etc. What I hear most often from my fellow pole sisters are:
“I don’t know how to freestyle”
“I’m not good at it”
“I don’t know enough tricks”
“I’m not ready”
“It won’t look good”
Although, I would certainly disagree with each of those statements no matter who you are (we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we do know and are able to do). The fact that you are a pole dancer, you’ve been to classes, you’ve learned tricks and transitions means that you are ready and YOU CAN do it. There’s a lot that we can learn about ourselves and our dance just by doing it. No matter how good or bad we think we are, there is always something to be learned and growth that can be achieved. So ask yourself: what’s the harm in trying?
Think about this…Do we skip pole class each week because we can’t do a trick? No, we go to class and work on that trick until we nail it. Do we avoid stretch class because we are unable to do the splits? No, we go get our stretch on (maybe even make our own daily stretch routine) and do this until we master that split. So I wonder why don’t we apply that same approach to our freestyle dance? Working on your freestyle dance will produce positive effects. Practicing will bring you more success and learning than not working on it would.
I want to emphasize that what’s important is NOT your activity here in the FSF group, rather, what matters most is your efforts and motivation to work on your Freestyle Dance “offline”. Challenge yourself to a personal Freestyle battle…recording periodically and comparing your videos to see your growth. This group serves simply as a form of motivation and structure. While it is also a platform for those that wish to share videos (although there’s nothing wrong with keeping yours private) it’s also a prosocial opportunity for us to support one another by asking questions, giving encouragement and offering feedback.
Stop putting off what you can do today and TAKE ACTION!
For the last few weeks we’ve been working on this awesome pole split (shown right). You can never go wrong with splits! You can go into it from a jasmine or right before you flip into your superman. It’s a great pose to use in a routine as it makes for a great photo op. Just make sure you point those toes!
Last night at pole class I went to record my attempt at the trick of the week (video below) and it turned into a mini freestyle. During my trick attempt I removed my bottom hand from the pole and extended it out past my shoulder which made for a neat variation of the move. I was thrilled because this was my first time back on the pole in two weeks (since Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma) and during my freestyle I was even also able to hold my iron-x (variation) for a few seconds. It seemed like forever in my head though lol.