“Pole has not only strengthened me physically, but it’s shaped who I am as a person. It’s improved my self-confidence, helped me be more vulnerable and take more risks.”
Miss October 2017: Leslie
Occupation: Program Manager
Your motto or favorite quote: Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.
How long have you been pole dancing at Divine? I started in December 2011, but lived in Maui for 3+ years. I’ve been back in Seattle since 2016, so about 2.5 years total at Divine.
Did you have any previous dance or fitness training before starting pole? No previous dance experience. Growing up, I played basketball, tennis and golf. I have always enjoyed group exercise classes like spinning, aerobics, yoga, etc. I also worked as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer in Maui.
What made you decide to take pole dancing classes? I signed up for a beginner workshop through Living Social. I remember it like it was yesterday. The class was taught by the lovely Jessica Hansen. At the end, she did a freestyle demo and during her dance climbed high and inverted on the pole like a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat. It was at that moment I decided that I wanted to continue learning pole.
Favorite class? (spins, inversions, or boudoir), and why? Historically, I’d say spins. I love the feeling of my feet leaving the ground and being in flight. The Basic Spins warm-up feels like coming home. However, after taking Boudoir Advanced with Jen recently, something finally clicked into place where I began to let go of any plans or expectations. Now I’m addicted to Boudoir!
What is it that you LOVE about pole dancing at Divine? Divine is an escape from the stress and constant demands of work and life. I look forward to seeing the ladies (instructors and students) who have become some of my dearest friends. Pole has not only strengthened me physically, but it’s shaped who I am as a person. It’s improved my self-confidence, helped me be more vulnerable and take more risks.
Platforms or legwarmers? Platforms. I feel like a badass when I dance in heels.
What are you currently working on technically? I’ve been mostly doing boudoir during the transition from the old Kirkland studio to the new space. Unfortunately, that’s resulted in losing some confidence and strength with aerial inverting and transitioning between inversions smoothly. It used to be there, I just need to get it back!
What are you working on artistically? Pushing myself out of my comfort zone of my “go-to” moves- favorite spins, climbing into a sit and basic inversions. I love to be on the pole, so I’m exploring different shapes, floorwork and things NOT on the pole.
What is your favorite move? Fireman spin. It’s amazing how mine has changed over the years and keeps getting better. I love how depending on my mood and the music it can be floating and graceful or forceful and fiery.
What is in your pole bag (ex: grip aid, journal, etc)? Pole shorts, Heel to Toe lotion, iTac, Arnica Gel, thigh high leg warmers, 6” hot pink Pleasers, journal, water bottle
Do you have a favorite song to pole dance to? My song the last few months has been “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars. It instantly puts me in a good mood and makes my body want to move.
We LOVE music at Divine. What 3 songs would be featured on the soundtrack to YOUR life, and why?
1. Lovely by Sara Haze. It’s a reminder that I am good enough and shouldn’t change to please others.
2. White Sandy Beach of Hawaii by Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole. It expresses everything magical about Hawaii that my heart aches for.
3. Roar by Katy Perry. Fight for what you want. Believe in yourself and make your life extraordinary.
Guilty pleasure: Watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Homemade spaghetti carbonara. Molly Moon’s Scout Mint Ice Cream. Cookies from DERU market. Cheetos Puffs.
Any inspirational advice you would like to share with new polers?
I know that many advise not to compare your journey to others. I’ve found that no matter how much I try not to, I do compare myself to other students. Instead of suppressing my emotions, I give myself permission to be authentic, honor what I’m feeling and allow time to process those emotions. I have two tips that have helped me on my pole journey. First, every so often (once or twice a year) I have someone video me freestyling. It’s fun to see how my dance changes over time and the progression of learning new things. Second, cultivate meaningful relationships with fellow classmates. Invite them to coffee or lunch. Help each other through the highs and the lows. Support from Divine ladies who understand makes all the difference!