“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
I was asked recently, “Jane, do you do every workshop that comes to Verve”? There answer is simple. Yes! But that got me thinking about the real question … why?
My pole journey began about 4 years ago. In much the same way as yours did, as a nervous level 1 student, fearful of not being able to hold on to this spinning pole contraption, being uncoordinated and making an utter fool of myself (which I’m positive I did, but that’s a story for another day) I can vividly remember looking at my instructors as I progressed through the levels and thinking how amazing these people were. I mean they could hang up-side-down and talk… AT THE SAME TIME! How on earth is that even possible?
It has been a humbling experience becoming an instructor here at Verve. I’ve had the privilege of being an SV student, learning from some incredible instructors that all brought their own unique flair and passion to teaching. And now I am able to use everything I’ve learnt from them, and pass that onto my own students.
But the learning never ever stops. The misconception being that an instructor has obtained all the skills and knowledge they can, and now teach. Nothing can be further from the truth. If anything, becoming an instructor has only increased my passion for pole and my determination to learn and master more skills.
Which brings us back to the original question, why do I religiously attend all the workshops?
I see these incredible artists, local and international, performing the most spectacular routines. The skills they whip out are like something out of the matrix, just incomprehensibly strong and graceful. I consider myself to be relatively strong, but during their routine, I can count the skills of which I could do… on one hand.
The amazing Alex Shchukin (pictured centre back) put us through our paces with his "Signature Style Acro Pole Tricks"
We have been most fortunate this year to have had so many well-known international pole superstars visit Studio Verve, just to name a few: Phoenix Kazree, Alex Shchukin, Marlo Fisken, Evgeny and Anastasia. Each has their own unique signature tricks, and style, which they willingly share with us.
Attending these workshops takes me back to being a brand new student to pole, and I love it. I am constantly picking my jaw up off the floor as we’re told the next skill we’ll be attempting. I think seriously? You want me to do what now? It always seems they are asking the impossible. But they stand beside us, with encouraging words, a little (or a lot) of pushing, poking and finally applauding at our success. Learning a new skill is always exciting; look back at the repertoire of skills you have collected throughout each PoleFit level and the feeling of accomplishment when you executed it perfectly the first time. It’s a very addictive!
But sometimes, it is not the new that gives us the pole jitters and has us hanging out to practice. I believe it naïve to think there is one way, and one way only to perform a skill. Quite often someone will create a brand new, beautifully innovative transition into an old skill, bringing it new life. It might just be that this new transition helps you nail that nemesis skill. Now there’s a reason to celebrate! Keep in mind that a “skill” is not always performed on the pole, it could be a floor combo, a neat little way to get from the ground to standing or vice versa. The possibilities are endless!
Now, here’s the super important bit; you do not need to be an absolute pole master with Captain America’s strength and be as flexible as a rubber band to attend the workshops. It’s time to stop using the excuse that you aren’t good enough! Yes, some workshops do have pre-requisites, but don’t let this deter you.
Getting our flex on with the incredibly bendy Anastasia Skukhotorova (pictured centre)
Here’s my advice, if you can (more often than not) crack out the required skills, then get your behind into the next workshop. If you aren’t quite there yet, then check out the skills you need to work on and get practicing (no excuses, remember we offer free unlimited practice at Verve)! These skills are going to continue to be hard, until you practice them over and over again. Think over the skills you know now, remember they used to be hard too. So no more sneaking out of class when the hard stuff is happening, you don’t all of a sudden need to pee every time handsprings come up (yes we’ve all been there!)
We all started somewhere, and we are all still learning and will continue to learn. It is so important to remember that. The next workshop that comes up, challenge yourself. No more excuses about it being impossible. I want you to think about that word impossible. I saw something recently that changed my whole perception of what is possible and what is not. Really look at the word, what is it made of?... I’m possible.
Now, the next time we have a visiting superstar, and they are already lined up (cue Charlee Wagner, Mary Ashton Kolacinski and Sergia Louise Anderson!) make sure you bolster up some courage and take advantage of what these amazing athletes have to offer!