Aerial Amy is the New York-based pole dancing superstar and blogger we all feel like we know like a good friend. The ultimate sexy girl next door, she writes intelligent, thoughtful and informative blogs that sum up exactly what we are all thinking! we catch up with Amy and talk pole competitions, online tutorials and freestyling.
REVVED UP POLE: What was your background before you started poling and writing, and how did you get started on your pole journey?
AERIAL AMY: I got started because a friend had a baby, and needed to find herself. She told me about pole, and what it was doing for her confidence and self-image, and some part of it resonated deeply with me and I knew I had to try it for myself. For work, I’ve always been about solving problems, analysing process, and collaborating with people, so it was a natural fit for me to teach at a certain point, and share what I was learning with others in a blog.
RUP: Your blog and website is extremely comprehensive, covering everything from tips on pole moves, photo shoots, music and performances, to what’s in your pole bag – what do you love so much about blogging?
AA: I just love sharing information that I think could be helpful to others. I think it’s really rewarding to know that something that I’ve posted has brought up someone’s spirits or helped them nail a move or even just given them information that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. I never expected that being open in that way would lead to where it has now, I feel really fortunate that there are people out there who appreciate it and connect with what I say.
RUP: You share a lot of very helpful videos and tutorials, which are used by students around the globe. Do you think video and online lessons can ever replace studio based lessons? And what do you think of the idea that video tutorials can “damage” the industry?
AA: Thank you! No, I don’t think they ever can replace studio lessons. Corrections, verbal/physical cues, spotting, and individualized troubleshooting and curriculum can never be fully replaced by online instruction… and neither can the support and camaraderie of a physical studio. Whether or not they’re damaging… I suppose it depends what you mean. Bad instruction can be physical or online. And good instruction– whether it’s free, or costly, online or in person– only is good for our industry. It helps us to build a stronger foundation as a community to be safe, create progressions that make sense, and have higher expectations for what students should receive.
RUP: You have written about competing in pole, and whether competing is right for everyone – do you think there is too much pressure to compete and become a title holder?
AA: I think that a lot of times people get swept up in the great, awesomeness of pole – the supportive environment, the rewarding interpersonal interactions, the positive feedback- and forget about balance, and perspective. The balance point is different for everyone, depending on what they are hoping to achieve and accomplish, and how each person reacts to the internal and external pressure is up to them – as is the end goal in competing. Not everyone is trying to become a title holder – more and more, the average poler that I talk to does it to push themselves, give themselves more goal-directed practice and have something to work towards. I do think it’s a shame that competitions are seen as one of the only ways to achieve high visibility in our community – especially because being a fantastic competitor has nothing to do with your teaching ability, and paying performance gigs (even when you’ve won a competition) are limited. There’s so much investment required to be in a competition and I try to remind people to really do it for themselves, because winning isn’t a ticket to pole fame or fortune or even happiness.
RUP: You have a very open and approachable style both on your blogs and on social media – how important is it that you stay in contact with and communicate with those that you inspire?
AA: I am learning and growing every day. Every time I post something inspirational, it’s because I needed to hear it for myself as well. It’s important to me to be honest and open about who I am and what I’m feeling and thinking because I know that it’s a source of comfort for many of us (including me!!) to know that when we are in moments of frustration, anger, irritation, or whatever else, that we aren’t alone. I like that people I connect with through the blog and through social media feel like I am approachable and on their level, because really I am. I just happened to write a blog. I happen to love teaching pole. And I happen to love pole dancing. I’m just like everyone else.
RUP: You are known for your choreography and pole flow. Do you think too much pressure is being placed on “pole athleticism”, and that dance can take a back seat in many pole fitness classes?
AA: Wow, thanks! I didn’t know that I was, but I appreciate that. I think that the great part about being a studio owner is that you get to try to run your studio the way that you think is best. I think it’s up to each owner, and each instructor, to emphasize the things that they think are important. For me, I’ve been around for nearly a decade of pole, and flow and dance is what I know I will be into for the next two or three decades. I think the physicality of nailing a new trick, and pushing yourself in all aspects, is always important… but I think it’s hard to get people to understand that their best is good enough, or to be happy with what they can do, when they can’t do that super hard trick and that is their focus. Not every trick works or looks good on every person. It’s like drop crotch or high-waisted pants: They don’t look great on everyone. If they looked bad on you, would you save up your hard-earned money to buy them? Would you even WANT to wear them? No, of course not. Tricks are like that too. So I like to think of the athleticism as a byproduct, as part of the complete package of what pole is all about, and not the end goal.
RUP: A lot of women struggle with finding confidence and fluidity when they freestyle. What tips do you have for anyone hoping to add more dance and pole flow to their style?
AA: You just have to do it. You just have to keep trying it and practicing it. You have to get in the studio and put in the time with all different kinds of music, and try on different styles and different transitions and moves and film it and see what feels great and looks good on you and know that all of this will evolve and change over time. It really, really helps, more than anything else I think, to have a good network of people, or one or two trusted pole friends, that you can talk to about freestyle. Because one of the hardest things about freestyling is knowing what you should keep doing, or stop doing, or what to do next without looking or feeling out of sorts. It really helps to have someone there, to be honest, to tell you what they saw, to tell you when they can see growth in you, and to support you through all the awkward and ugly and weird and un-fluid exploration that you need to do. Have nights when you rent out the studio or go to someone’s house, turn up music, and take turns freestyling for each other! Hoot and holler and cheer and tell each other what your favorite parts are. Help each person to understand what the cool thing was that they did that looked awesome that is uniquely them. A freestyle is a conversation that you have with the music, the pole, and your body, and not having anyone to listen and help you figure out what you’re trying to say is really tough.
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