“The ladies of Divine create the most special, loving space where we can be strong or weak, fierce or tender, sexy or sweet, whatever we are without judgement.”
Miss July 2017: Denise
Occupation: Deputy Director at Washington Homeownership Resource Center
How long have you been pole dancing at Divine? A little more than 2 wonderful years
Did you have any previous dance or fitness training before starting pole? I took ballet class and jazz for 8 years, starting in 6th grade and danced in my high school’s amateur dance company, which was mostly raunchy, student-choreographed numbers heavily influenced by MTV. Since college, I have belly danced off and on and taken classes in salsa, tango, swing…basically, I love dancing! My Mom says that, even when I was kicking her in utero, I was doing it in time to the music.
What made you decide to take pole dancing classes? I really love exploring all kinds of dance and, since I’m such a sexy bitch, I thought pole dancing sounded right up my alley. I wanted to start 10 years ago, but my (now ex) BF discouraged me, saying, “You have to be pretty strong to do that. I don’t think you could do it.” Seven years later, a new BF made an idle comment that I should try it, having no idea how long I’d been wanting to do so or that I had been sorely tempted by a Groupon just a week before. I think that nudge was just what I needed to overcome the doubting comment from my past. So, I did it and I’m SO glad I did!
Favorite class? (spins, inversions, or boudoir), and why? Why are you asking such hard questions?!?! I love BOTH spins and boudoir. Spins is challenging and I love that we learn a new movement every week. Seeing my strength improve over time and nailing something I didn’t think I could gives me that “I DID IT!” feeling on a weekly basis. Boudoir is my happy place. I love the way the dance exercises stretch my concept of “My Dance.” I love that there is no “right” way. I don’t know how I survived so long in life without the weekly indulgence of dancing out my feels, taking exactly what I need from that moment. No matter what’s going on in my muggle life, Boudoir helps me process, forget, recharge. There is just no substitute for rolling around on the floor in the dark with my Divine ladies!
What is it that you LOVE about pole dancing at Divine? I often describe dancing at Divine as a perfect blend of creative outlet, exercise, and therapy. But, of course, what I love most about Divine is YOU! The ladies of Divine – the owners, the instructors, the students, the trades – create the most special, loving space where we can be strong or weak, fierce or tender, sexy or sweet, whatever we are without judgement. Such a woman-centered and driven space is a rare gem in this world and I’m so grateful to be part of a community that celebrates each other’s successes and cushions each other’s losses like we do. Plus, all the hugs!!!
Platforms or legwarmers? Legwarmers
What are you currently working on technically? I have yet to consistently get to a basic inversion position. I’m renovating a room in my house to be a pole room so I can practice crab crunches EVERY DAMN DAY and FINALLY get to invert for realsies and learn all the cool tricks!
What are you working on artistically? Right now, I’m looking for a song to inspire me for NWPC in November. Last year, the song, the concept, the choreography…it all came together so perfectly, but I’m having a hard time finding a song now that makes me feel as inspired. I will find it, eventually, but for now, it’s just a lot of listening with my ears wide open.
What is your favorite move? Ooh, that’s a hard one. I love fish flop! But I also love caterpillar. Or maybe fan kicks are my fave. No, wait! It’s definitely Hair Toss. I give up. I love all my children equally!
What is in your pole bag (ex: grip aid, journal, etc)? A pole journal I never write in because I always forget. Legwarmers, kneepads, heels. All the grip aids. The occasional random article of clothing that has been lurking in the bottom of my bag for ages while I search for it everywhere else.
Do you have a favorite song to pole dance to? I go through phases where I want to dance to a certain song constantly. I don’t really have a special song right now, but I almost always listen to “Uptown Funk” in the car on the way to class to clear the workday out and bring in fun energy.
We LOVE music at Divine. What 3 songs would be featured on the soundtrack to YOUR life, and why?
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (because it gave my mom morning sickness when I danced around to it in the womb)
- Outshined by Soundgarden (because I might not have moved to Seattle in 1996 if it hadn’t been for Soundgarden and that move certainly had a big impact on my life.
- A song I have yet to choose
Guilty pleasure: There is no guilt in pleasure! That said, anytime there is a manspreader on the bus, I walk up to them – even if there are other seats – and say, “I’d like to sit down, please,” without any apology and without making it a question because I don’t need their permission to take up space on a public bus. Sometimes, they are apologetic; sometimes, they comply, but call me names. I love demanding space on behalf of all women and don’t give a sh%t about their opinion of me! I have no guilt about it, but maybe it’s a little evil that I enjoy it so much.
Any inspirational advice you would like to share with new polers? Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t strong enough, not even yourself! Keep doing what you can and you will GET stronger. If climbing or inverting or certain spins feel out-of-reach and you are getting discouraged, add Boudoir to your regular class rotation. It’s a perfect place to build yourself up because it’s all about dancing what you feel and there is no WRONG way in that space. I think it really helped me from getting discouraged during my first year when I was having a hard time with climbing and spins like chair or carousel.