I looked forward to the RAD Pole Camp in Greece for almost six months. Every time I thought about the fact that I would soon meet many of my biggest Pole idols and get the chance to learn from them, got me jittery with excitement. I honestly admit that I was also a bit nervous because I am a little afraid of flying. (Ok, I am terribly afraid of flying and even reflected for a millisecond whether I could go by train to Athens.) I however realized that my nervousness was reasonless and all would turn out ok when we landed in Athens on time and a Greek guy played something like Eye of the Tiger from his phone and the whole plane wildly cheered our heroic pilots. I might put this song on my phone to play it for every successful pilot in the future …

 

The RAD Pole Camp in Greece was very well organized. The hotel is beautiful, clean, and modern. Anyway, the most important thing is that the sun is shining and that there is a pool, am I right? I have taken a lot from the workshops, and I especially liked the free afternoon activities such as calisthenics, Acrobatics, Dance Flow, or stretching with Marion Crampe (WHAT?). Here are a few more insights that I have gained from the camp:

 

  • I am very glad that I went on my own, as I got to know more people this way
  • Sometimes you need to find the courage to share a room with a stranger – Hello, Sinem, my new Sister from another Mister :)
  • Greek food is great, but not suited for diets

Yet, the best part of the Pole Camp was the fact that got to know so many amazing Pole dancers. It is interesting to hear how others structure their Pole training or how other Pole Studios are organized. Every conversation was an enriching experience. The exchange with other Pole Dancers and the workshops helped me to put my own Pole training back into perspective and to remember my Pole roots.

As a Pole dancer, an instructor, a blogger, I often feel, consciously or unconsciously, a great pressure. And I know that many of you feel this way. Almost every Pole dancer who gets asked how long they are Pole Dancing for apologizes in the same breath that they are not as good as they could/should be. I have to include myself here. I often feel the pressure that I am not strong or flexible enough. That my Instagram videos are not clean or creative enough. I am afraid that my classes are not interesting enough. When I visited the workshops of Maddie Sparkle, Michelle Shimmy, and Marlo Fisken, when I talked to the other camp participants, I realized that I had a rather tense attitude towards the Pole. I feel in a position where I have to constantly deliver and where it is never enough.

Maddie Sparkle told us in her workshop that Pole Dancers often show her new Pole tricks and are like You should try this or that. But she is always like Nope. I don’t want to. Maddie admits that she has a relatively narrow repertoire of Pole tricks that she actually likes to do, but that she is training these over and over again to perfection. Maddie has reminded me that I should not actually justify my Pole training to anyone, but rather do what I really like. That it does not really matter what I do as long as it is authentic and reflects me.

 

I had the funniest Warm-Up of my life with Marlo Fisken. It took a couple of Zumba beats and five dance-loving Turkish class participants and -le violà- biggest Warm-Up Party that put me in a state of sweating which seriously ashamed me. Marlo’s workshops were energetic and unlike anything I have ever experienced. It deeply impressed me how Marlo has no fear of any movement to look unconventional or even sometimes inelegant. You can feel her irrepressible joy of dance and movement itself. This has me recall how carefree Pole training can feel. How little it can feel like hard work, yet fun. I have been training too result-oriented lately. My training sessions always had to lead up to something at the end of the day (an Instagram video, a class content, etc.). This pressure, however, does not leave me any room to play and limits me at the end.

Michelle Shimmy exudes a deep self-confidence. Exotic Pole is still highly controversial and condemned by society, yet Shimmy stays true to her style and lives it in an absolutely unique way. Her choreographies do not take themselves too seriously and mediate, as Marlo’s, the pure joy of Pole Dancing without any specific purpose. Shimmy’s workshops reminded me that I can be proud of the Pole Dancer that I am, no matter what others might think. 

 

I know, I know, you are most likely saying that you have always told me so: Pole training should be fun, We should always stay true to ourselves, We should not let ourselves be influenced by others. Yet, I needed to fully understand this on my own. So, Thank you again to the RAD team for the great Pole camp, to all Pole athletes for the inspiring workshops, and to my Pole girls for returning me to my Pole roots.