After my first Pole lesson, I went on YouTube and searched for ‘Pole dance’. I wanted to get an overview of what I was actually starting and where I might be heading with this sport. A video of Natasha Wang came up and without wanting to seem overly dramatic – I guess that was the moment when I decided I really wanted to learn this, too. I watched her ‘Poleart 2013’ video and then made all my relatives watch it, telling everyone that surely, I too, would soon be so strong and graceful.
We all know Natasha’s back story. She discovered Pole Dancing through a friend in 2005. In 2008, she joined ‘Leigh Ann Reilly’s Be Spun gym’ and started training seriously every day for a couple of hours. Natasha won her first prize in 2010 when she became ‘Miss Pole-AM 2010.’ Since then, she was involved in many different projects and travels the world giving workshops to everyone who dares.
I am really excited to present this interview with Natasha to you. Hopefully, it answers some of the questions, you also always wanted to ask her:
- I have heard that you actually started your Pole training really slowly and that you waited 4 years before you tried the butterfly. What is your advice for a Pole Beginner today?
It took me four years to try the Butterfly because I had no idea the Butterfly move existed before I started going to Be Spun!When I started pole 10 years ago, we were totally happy just working on our spins, pretty transitions, and sexy floorwork. YouTube wasn’t even around back then, it was so long ago! We had no social media platforms to share new tricks and ideas. So that’s the main reason why my growth came about so slowly in the beginning. But I’m happy it did…I didn’t grow up doing dance or gymnastics, but I did spend those early pole dancing years learning how to move, feel the music and most importantly…freestyle. This has obviously come in handy in the years since. It’s really difficult today to encourage pole dancers to ‘take it slow’ because the sport is moving at such a fast pace. But it’s important for beginners to lay down a solid movement foundation before trying the harder stuff. Not just for safety reasons (which is a big one!!!), but so they can learn how to develop their own movement style. That doesn’t happen overnight and can take years of dancing, taking classes and freestyling to discover, but I would even say having your own unique style is way more important than nailing the latest tricks.Training every day and for a couple of hours asks for
- Training every day and for a couple of hours asks for true commitment. Was there never a single moment in life when you thought about quitting pole and how do you keep your motivation up?
I’ve never thought about quitting pole J There have definitely been days when I’m having a bad training day, or feel discouraged because my body is not doing what my mind wants to do, but I’m still happiest when I’m at the studio. As far as staying motivated, I have a large network of pole training friends in Los Angeles and around the world, so wherever I go, I try to schedule lots of jams and practice sessions with other people. I’m all about freely sharing my skills with my peers. As long as there’s new movement in my body and I feel like I’m creating, I’m happy.
- What do you think is the perfect balance between stretching, strength and pole training? Any exercise or alternative sports recommendations for any of these disciplines?
This is a difficult question! Everybody is different and responds differently to training regimens. Speaking from a personal standpoint, however, I typically do flexibility training 2 times a week, cardio/strength training1-2 times a week, hand-balancing 1 time a week, and pole 5 days a week. Recently, I got my fiancé to start yoga, so I’ve been doing beginner yoga about 4 days a week. There really aren’t enough hours in the day to take all the classes I want to take.
To make sure I get my training in when I’m on the road, I also subscribe to the online HIIT/Tabata workouts at Crosstrain, yoga practice at Yogaworks, and I get my stretching in with my Fit and Bendy Flexibility Training DVDs.
To me the ‘perfect balance’ is making sure there is enough time and energy for the pole (because the only way to get good at pole is to make that the focus), while supplementing it with flexibility, strength/cardio and handstands. Yoga helps calm the mind and a gentle Restorative Yoga class is great for rest days.
- What was your craziest Pole experience? What happened?
Definitely flying to New York City to appear on The View in 2011, after I won the US Pole Dance Championships and seeing Barbara Walters pole dance!
- What are your three favorite Pole Songs at the moment?
- You are travelling a lot at the moment. What can you say about Pole dance in the different countries?
There are more similarities than differences. But speaking generally in terms of pole styles, Australia is known for sexy, flirty and fun; Japan for crazy speed and fast spin pole; Nordic countries are artistic and graceful; France is seductive and passionate; Russia is disciplined and fearless; in America we love innovation and we approach pole with a sense of democracy and humor. These are, of course, massive generalizations. As I said before, there are more similarities – we are all united globally for a shared love of pole.
- How do you keep you work-life balance up throughout your tours? Do you take something with you that makes you feel at home?
It’s very hard to keep the work-life balance while I’m in tour. My lifeline is my fiancé Brett, whom I Skype with every day on the road. So you could say my laptop makes me feel at home, since it connects me with him.
- What is your super food?
It’s hard to get all the nutrients I need when I’m touring, so I’m addicted to Vega One Nutritional Shake when I travel. It’s a vegan protein powder that has a ton of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, Omega-3’s, etc. I also eat a TON of almonds when I’m traveling.
- Where do you seek inspiration?
Everywhere. Movies, art, music, travel, Instagram, Facebook, my cats.
- Who is your secret Pole crush?
I’m loving everything Yvonne Smink, Kapi Huria, Olga Trifonova and Yulia Bozina are doing these days.
- What are your plans for the futures?
Continue teaching and performing for as long as my body will let me…then finally settling down and having those kids I promised my fiancé.
Thank you very much, Natasha!
All pictures are taken from Natasha Wang’s website.