Letting you know that I’m still out here!

I am — indeed — still alive.  I’m also still dancing, but not like I was back in July.  My nutrition consulting business continues, and remains fairly busy.  On top of that, I found another job that brings me so much joy.  Between work and my business, I’m not going to lie: I’m busier than I’ve ever been in my life.

But I’m also happier than I’ve ever been.  While this isn’t completely Pole-related, it’s important to note that I used to work a job that sucked everything out of me.  It took my time, my emotional strength, my joy, and my life away each day. I’m realizing that I was mostly motivated to start my own business so that I could run far, far away from my last job.  Now I know that what I really wanted was to work in a place and in a way where I could make a difference, feel joy, and be treated as a human being on a daily basis.

Once I can get some semblance of a schedule back in order, and once I can finagle a way to work Pole classes back into my budget, I plan on bringing more dance back into my life.  Now that I go to a place that I love to earn a living, it’s time to bring what I love into my down time, as well.

I am so happy you’ve all stayed with me on this journey.  I hope to have many more stories to tell in the future.

The growing pains of increasing your Pole time

Ouch.  My hands are covered in more callouses than ever.  My legs are bruised up and down.  I sprained my hamstring last week, so I can’t quite straighten my left leg.  My shoulders are bruised at the bone from all the front and back rollovers I’ve been doing.  I hurt all over!

But I’m happy.

I love bringing more Pole into my life.  Between my home practice and a bit more time at Vertical Fusion, I’ve been dancing for multiple hours a week.  I was strong before, but now I’m really seeing my muscles go gangbusters.  In fact, as I was peeling off my sweaty workout clothes for a shower last week, my shirt got caught on my shoulder muscles!  That’s a thrilling feeling; no longer quite fitting into your loose, comfortable gym clothes.

I cannot express enough my joy at finally being able to make my own schedule.  I might be working my you-know-what off everyday, all day, but I’m doing what I want to be doing, and it’s so tremendously rewarding.

In so many ways, I have Pole (and Pole people) to thank.  Without Pole, I don’t know if I would have ever had the confidence to quit my job and start my own nutrition consulting business.  Without the challenge of teaching dance classes, I would struggle more to get my name out there and in the open.  And without the tremendous support of my dear friends in the Pole community, I don’t think I would have believed in myself.

This is just the beginning; there are yet so many more things I have to discover about myself.

Sky_Candy-47

It’s been a long time, but my Pole journey continues

Nick Altiere Photography took care of us this time around.  What a talented guy!

Nick Altiere Photography took care of us this time around. What a talented guy!

My life is about to change for the better.  In a big way.  I’ve started my own business doing nutrition consulting, and as of June 30th, I will no longer be working a regular 9-5 job.  The prospect is incredibly exciting, and also tremendously terrifying. I feel very positive about the months to come, as I’ve already found some clients.  All of my paperwork is filed, and I start my work on July 1st.

The last six months have been a whirlwind of planning, preparing, and hoping that things will work out.  But now that I’m well on my way to this venture becoming a success, I can start to turn back to some of the other things that are so important to me.

One of the first things to go when I started getting even busier than usual were regular Pole classes.  I continued teaching, but getting to classes was definitely a hit or miss.  Therefore, stagnation has been the name of the game.  Add to that a brutal case of tendonitis in my left elbow, and you have a formula for Megan doing very little on the Pole!  But I’m gonna bite the bullet and get a cortisone shot in my elbow, so my last barrier to improvement ought to be knocked down pretty soon.

I’ve continued to dance in my classes and on my own, mainly to keep my sanity.  That means I’ve done a lot with my floor-work and flexibility, even if I haven’t achieved any big deal pole tricks lately.  Vertical Fusion had a show on June 6th called Sky Candy.  We were at the Dickens in Longmont again, and did a double header.  What a hit!  It was a lot of fun, and it was the first time that I did an improvised performance on the Dickens stage.  I had neither time nor motivation for choreography this time around!Sky_Candy-45

I am hoping to be regular about updating my blog again, because — with a little luck — I’ll actually have some new Pole news to share!

Be well!

2015 and its possibilities

I find it interesting to see how even though my overall life priorities change, Pole always remains a constant.  I might not always take as many classes as I want, or achieve as many tricks as I desire, but Pole and the community are always there for me.

My Fit 4 Pole classes have become suddenly very popular, much to my surprise and excitement!  In the “old days”, I was pretty psyched to get 2 or 3 people.  More often than not, I ended up running through my program all alone (because, you know, I’d already showed up to the studio; might as well get in a workout, right?)  Last Saturday I had seven participants, and today I had six!

What never ceases to amaze me is that people come back.  I say that with a touch of sarcasm, but also with great seriousness.  Fit 4 Pole is a workout.  It is hard.  You sweat, you groan, and you’re sore the next day.  But it works.  Fit 4 Pole participants notice faster gains in their pole strength, as well as fewer injuries overall.  Better tricks without getting hurt?  Why hasn’t this been big sooner?!  Whatever the reason, I am thankful for all of the brave ladies who are starting to show up for Fit 4 Pole.  I’ve been teaching this class in one iteration or another for more than three years now, not because it’s popular and not because it’s glamorous, but because it is important.  And to see these ladies coming and starting to reap the benefits?  I am beside myself with glee.  What a way to start my new year.

In addition to Fit 4 Pole suddenly being the “it” class, I am still teaching Art of Sensual Movement.  I will be doing burlesque focused classes because Vertical Fusion will be doing a burlesque show at the Dickens in Longmont on February 7th!  Two shows, in fact; this will be our first double-header, with a 4:00 and an 8:00 show.  Being the masochist that I am, I will be doing two routines.  I’m feeling pretty good about them so far, though, so no reason to panic (yet).

I see other big things happening this year, some pole-related, some simply life-related.  I will do my best to keep you in the loop.

Sometimes life interferes with dance

VF Halloween 2014 Hello Boys

I have NOT been on the pole nearly as often as I want to be lately.  I am teaching my fitness classes and switching off Art of Sensual Movement with Mel every other week at our Boulder location, but for the most part, that’s it right now.

I blame October.  It’s been a devastatingly busy month for us.  Every weekend has been packed full; granted, mostly it’s been fun things, but I have been losing sleep pretty consistently!  And most weeknights have several things going on.  It’s not just Pole that’s suffered, either.  I haven’t been able to keep up with my yoga practices.  And that sort of leads to a spiral of flexibility devastation, thereby lowering my drive to find time to pole.  The good new is this is the last booked weekend for a while, so maybe soon I will be able to parcel together some kind of a routine again!

Vertical Fusion had an October showcase in Boulder last week, though.  I elected to perform, but did an improvised dance.  I have found that as my dancing gets better, improv is my favorite way to perform.  Improvised routines also tend to be some of my best ones, which is kind of amusing.  I took full advantage of the Halloween theme and picked a creepy/sexy song by Puscifer (my favorite artist to dance to at this time of year).  I wore several different layers and my bright red Pleasers.  Most of the layers came off, exposing spiderweb pasties!  What fun.  I felt extremely satisfied with my routine.  I was also emceeing the show, and that led to some distraction; so much, that I forgot to hand off my phone to Chelsea to film me as we’d discussed before the show started!  BOO!  So, it felt awesome, but I’ll never get to see it.  Oh well…there were some great pictures captured by Desiree Galvez, at least.

VF Halloween 2014 Hero

I’m gonna be on Korean TV

So, as a way to explore different ways to innovate, Korean Broadcast System (KBS) came to the hacker space that Ron helped to found.  Tinkermill is a spot where anyone can come to invent, work, build, weld, compute, or socialize.  It’s one of the biggest hacker spaces in the country.  Tinkermill has grown quickly and exponentially since it started last year, and its impressive climb has caught the attention of other cultures and countries.

This is how I found myself in the middle of a warehouse-type space, surrounded by extremely smart people (read: geeks, inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, and other such geniuses), as well as a handful of Korean-speaking cameramen, interviewers, and an adorable little lady who is — apparently — the “Walter Cronkite” of South Korea.  Umm…cool!  The crew was filming for a broadcast that will be shown 200 or more times on Korean television in order to attempt to bring the model of an open source American hacker space into Korean culture.  Apparently, we’ll be famous in Korea after it starts to air.

I don’t have a solid spot in Tinkermill, mostly because I don’t know exactly what my interests are when it comes to tangible creations that can be held in your hand or observed on a screen.  My science is nutrition, which is based in studies that I do not have the backing — nor the location or desire — to create.  My understanding of nutrition is based on the knowledge I gained in school about critically eyeing and judging new research, as well as my knowledge of the human body and its inner workings.  My art is dance, which can move and touch other people deeply, but which does not easily lend itself to a warehouse built for tangible creation.

So, I wandered around, conversing with others, and watching them do what they do.  What I found interesting, funny, and fascinating, was that the little camera crew tended to follow me from person to person!  I wasn’t DOING anything; I was just talking!  But in the process of being filmed constantly by the Koreans, I learned about the nature of art from a lawyer, about a new way to mix music from a successful business man, and about what machined bronze looks like next to regular bronze from my mathematician husband.

So, maybe I’ll add a new hobby to this blog…once I figure out what it is.  In the meantime, if you’re in Korea, check out Tinkermill on KBS!

Tinkermill and KBS. Thanks to Scott Converse for the shot.

Tinkermill and KBS. Thanks to Scott Converse for the shot.

Choreography forces you to try harder.

I feel like I’ve gained more strength in my shoulders in the last week than in the last year.  Thanks to Mel’s choreography to an Ellie Goulding song that we’ve been learning piece by piece on Wednesday nights, I’ve simultaneously stretched my external rotators and strengthened my deltoids to the point of ridiculousness.  They hurt…but in a really good way.

I mostly blame the spin that requires you to hold onto one foot and (ideally) straighten your leg into the air, fall forward, and wrap your inside leg into a modified Fireman spin.  It looks spectacular.  I tried it in my 6-inch red Pleasers, and found myself to be about an inch taller on my left side when I was done.  Then there are ALL the aerial inversions.  Mel’s asking for three in a row; I think she’s crazy.  But goodness knows I try to get them anyway.  Then there’s going into Extended Butterfly from a sit on the pole.  I think I’ll figure the mechanics out eventually…

The point is this: when there is choreography to learn and perfect, I don’t mind trying out all of these hard tricks as much.  Mel is really smart to appeal to the dancer in all of us.  Instead of breaking down new moves in a class setting, she shows us a beautiful dance she’s created.  Everyone wants to dance like that, and so we become ever more determined to learn the moves required to make it happen.  It’s pure genius.

I think I’ll start taking this method into Art of Sensual Movement.  Sometimes just choreographing a small piece and teaching it in a class is enough to engage students and get them not just excited to try new things, but eager enough to be willing to perfect them.

Elevated Art Desiree Remi Sit start

Dancing: a way to grow

I have learned a lot of things during my adult life.  I’ve learned (the hard way) that life isn’t always fair.  I’ve learned that the very best policy is honest, open-hearted communication (even if it’s not always easy).  I’ve learned that most people are not just good, but wonderful, and thankfully the less-than-good people don’t spoil the whole bunch.

I’ve also learned how very important it is to be an individual and to let my inner self be free.  Life is far simpler when I can be around people who know me well enough to understand that I’m a little bit different, and a lot bit silly.  I am happy that Pole and the pole community accept me for who I am, and love me no matter what faults might rise to the surface.  There are times when I understand the value of this life and the people in it so clearly that it brings tears to my eyes.

Thank you to all of you, for letting me be me.

Blog Selfie July 2014

Eat the d%#n yolk! (It’s time to go DIET-free)

I am straying off of my beaten path for a moment here.  While this post is not directly about pole dancing or the foam-weapon slinging sport Dagorhir, it is indirectly related in many ways.Fried Eggs Bacon and Sausages on a Plate

Food is a powerful force in every culture.  Food defines aspects of who — and what — the human race is capable of, how it interacts, and how it communicates.  In its most basic form, food is a celebration of achievement in growing, raising, or gathering items from nature, from the backyard, or from the beings raised nearby that provide.

Diet — in its most basic form — is simply “what goes in”.  Diet is the food and ingredients that make up the meals and snacks consumed each day.  So, at this level, diet is simply the food constructed to be consumed in one way or another.

But DIET means something entirely different.  DIET is the practice — and in some cases the nearly religious commitment — of restriction.  In a Chicago Tribune article from June 27th, Registered Dietitian Eve Pearson of Nutriworks put DIET into the most succinct of terms: “[P]eople try to cut something out.  They look for the word ‘free.’ They look for something to be sugar-free or soy-free or dairy-free or gluten-free. That means a lot to people these days, and it makes me want to pull my hair out.”

DIET is different from necessity; there are some cases in which restriction is necessary for survival.  For the 1 in 133 people with Celiac disease, avoiding gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) is required to avoid severe digestive issues in the immediate sense, and the risk of chronic disease such as intestinal or pancreatic cancers in the long-term sense.  For the 8% of the population with severe food allergies (severe meaning consumption of the food allergen will lead to respiratory distress, systemic shock, and possible death), avoiding that particular allergen is the key to survival.

So, where does DIET come in?  DIET can be many things, including: a method of control for an individual over his or her life; a subtle symptom of disordered eating; a need to prove one’s worth by eliminating a certain food, foods, or food groups; a reaction to pseudo-science, non peer-reviewed research, or worse: outright lies perpetuated by heavy social media coverage; or simply the need to do “something” to improve one’s health.  When an individual on a DIET states unequivocally “now I have so much energy!”, “now I sleep so much better!”, “now I feel amazing!”, or “when I eat [the offensive food of the week], I feel horrible!”, he or she is likely reacting to an overall change in diet quality.  Cutting out gluten or dairy or soy isn’t what solved the problem.  Instead, eliminating or cutting back on the processed food items that used to make up the diet as a whole is what has improved this individual’s sense of well being.  By going back to the concept of diet as ingredients, this individual will begin to feel better.

But now, this individual is on a DIET.  A DIET can have serious implications for future overall health.  High quality, peer-reviewed scientific research has shown again and again that “consuming a balanced variety of nutrient-rich foods and beverages in moderation” is the key to healthy eating (this is from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at http://www.eatright.org).  Balance is the key word here; balance means that an individual eats a variety of foods from all food groups to make up a nourishing, healthful diet. All of the food groups play an important role in this goal; macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds) are distributed throughout the food groups.  Only by eating a sampling of foods from all of the food groups can an individual truly achieve a healthful balanced diet.  As great as a DIET might make an individual feel in the short-term, severe restriction will eventually lead to imbalances in the nutritional make-up of the body.

So now to the diet.  A healthy, balanced diet is the key to overall well-being.  What makes up this diet?  Real food.  Food is what is grown, raised, gathered, or obtained from beings.  Food isn’t torn down and then built back up with a variety of chemicals to make up its matrix.  Food is back to the basics: fruits, vegetables, whole grains (such as 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, and millet to name a few), low-fat or fat-free dairy (or its vegan equivalents), and lean protein sources (including lean meats, eggs, or soy- or grain- based vegan equivalents).  With the nutrient profile a diet of variety can provide, an individual will find benefits equal to — and exceeding — what any DIET could ever offer.VEGAS! 2012 040

A balanced diet allows for anyone — even those with Celiac disease or severe allergies — to partake, because nature provides.  If an individual with Celiac cannot eat wheat, that’s not a problem; there are so many gluten-free whole grain options from which to choose.  If an individual has a severe reaction to the proteins in milk or eggs, it’s easy to obtain the same vital nutrients from other sources, such as soy, nuts, or other lean proteins.  If an individual chooses to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet because of ethical reasons, he or she is fortunate that there are so many other foods in nature that can provide the necessary protein, iron, calcium, and B6 necessary for health.iPad pics 007

It’s time to celebrate food again; we are lucky to live in a time and a place that provides abundant choices.  Enjoy whole grains and the vitamins and minerals they provide.  If you choose to eat animal products, enjoy their full nutrition by consuming — for example — the ENTIRE egg, and not just the white!  Savor the options; eat real, whole food from every food group.  Understand that food as it is today has come a long way down an evolutionary and biological path to provide nearly perfect nutrition.  It does not need tampering, and you certainly don’t need to “go ____-free” to enjoy the benefits of a well-balanced diet.

 

Megan Thomas is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in human nutrition.

End of Blackout

The beginning of my "Pulp Fiction" performance for Twisted Cinema.

The beginning of my “Pulp Fiction” performance for Twisted Cinema.

Apparently, I was on a self-imposed blackout.  It wasn’t on purpose; I guess I just didn’t much feel like writing.  Which is funny, because I’ve been steadily focused on pole since Elevated Art wrapped up.  I’ve been attending a lot of Mel’s classes and really expanding my repertoire of tricks and combos.  I am more proud of the progress I’ve made in the last three months than what I’ve made in the last year!  But it all kind of becomes a blur in between major events, so I suppose that’s my only excuse.

Most recently, we had our SEVENTH Dicken’s show on Saturday, May 31st.  The theme was “Twisted Cinema”.  Mel held auditions back in April; the expectation was to choose a movie on which to focus for the performance,  and to dance to a song (or songs) from the soundtrack, as well as take on aspects of the plot or characters.  I was thrilled to see what people did with this theme.  There were about 18 fabulous acts in all.  Some that stand out for me are from “Magic Mike”, during which Sara dressed as a male stripper, complete with stuffed booty shorts; “Top Gun”, with Lisa in a flight suit and aviators, doing Fab Pole to “Danger Zone”; “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, during which Ariel and Dave performed tango, pole, and partner acrobatic moves; “The Little Mermaid”, with Nina on Lyra (what looks like a huge hula hoop suspended vertically from the ceiling); and “Flashdance”, during which Shay climbed a pole and dumped glitter all over Mel!  There were also routines from “The Great Gatsby”, “The Dark Knight”, “Kill Bill”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Resident Evil”, and many others.  What fun.

I chose to do mine with a “Pulp Fiction” theme.  On another note, two of my three favorite movies of all time were represented at this show!  “The Little Mermaid” and “Pulp Fiction”.  The only one missing was “The Wizard of Oz”.  I channeled Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman’s character), and Ron helped me edit two different songs together.  I am IN LOVE with how this routine turned out!  I kept a lot of the details from the crucial movie scene (Mia’s overdose) in my performance, and I just decided to have as much fun with it as possible.  I also put Extended Butterfly and Brass Monkey into a performance for the very first time.  Those two tricks combined with a couple of cool combos I’ve learned in Mel’s classes made for a sequence of moves that were mostly new to me.  Watch the performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJKH6k76ZcE&feature=youtu.be

Just as I'm getting into Extended Butterfly!

Just as I’m getting into Extended Butterfly!


It was great to get the rust out and try new things in a performance; I was starting to feel like my work was a bit stale, as I kept returning to the same moves.  Watching the video Ron took on my phone has also shown me that my dance flow has really improved.  I think I can chalk some of that up to teaching the Art of Sensual Movement every Wednesday!

I have been LOVING teaching AoSM as well.  I come up with a new theme each week, and my students and I have a lot of fun figuring out new moves, and re-inventing old moves to fit the themes.  Most popular by far was the Lap Dances class I held last week!  Ron and another fellow, Jon, came to class, along with 6 women!  It was definitely my biggest AoSM as of yet.  It was such a hit, that I’m holding a second one on July 9th.  We’ll build upon moves we already learned and hopefully string more together into complete lap dances.  Pretty sweet!