Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Australian Summer Pole Camp 2011

Last weekend I embarked on a strange and wonderful journey to the (2nd annual) Australian Summer Pole Camp in Queensland. Tammy, Krystal, Sabrina and I packed our bags (well, our hand luggage anyway) and headed off to sunny Surfers Paradise for three days of pole, aerial, and circus workshops, and celebrations galore.

We're in Queensland, OMG!
Street Poling at Surfers Paradise

Thursday night we took the red eye flight with Jetstar, and after a long mostly sleepless night arrived in Surfers Paradise at 7am local time. Check-in at the Q1 resort was at 2pm, so we decided to have the big breakfast at the nearby OMG Cafe. OMG... do NOT eat at OMG Cafe. Soon after check-in we were all fighting for the bathroom to deal with our big breakfast food poisoning. Unfortunately the apartment we stayed in only had 1 bathroom which housed the only toilet, the only shower, and the only mirror, and since we were very rushed for time we quickly found that all bathroom facilities were being used at once! Any barriers our friendships had before are certainly gone now.

Meet n Greet
That night was the meet and greet at Shooters bar. The place was small but nice, and there was a pole set up (which surprisingly nobody was on even though we were all there for pole camp!). We got a drink and found a place to sit, from which we were promptly shooed away from (apparently it was the VIP area, even though 5mins later many non-VIPs were happily sitting there, grrr). Since we'd been drinking all day (maybe to help forget the horrors of the food poisoning) I was already quite confident so I decided to get up and break that poles virginity! I drunkly managed to rip out an awesome upright pole split, in my little black dress I might add, and even though my dismount was less than elegant (OK so maybe I almost stacked it trying to come down), it definitely got people up there! I fully take credit for getting that shit started. Tammy got up there and set the bar high, and quickly found a competitor (they were having pole-offs all weekend!). All in all it was a fun night, but we crashed early to prepare for a full day of workshops!


Friday Morning Beach Acro
Friday morning we begrudgingly got up to our alarms for beach acro with Suzie Q and Toby J. But we quickly forgot our hangovers with an awesome morning. Suzie and Toby got all the girls in a massive tumbling line, it was definitely a peculiar sight! After a quick shower it was off to Parklands for our workshops.

Suzie Q and Toby J Kneel

Friday Workshops
Chinese Pole with Nica
Very challenging! I managed to get the famous Chinese Pole sit, but I didn't have anywhere near enough strength to get the flick-up into triangle hold.

This was my favourite singles workshop. Anastasia is so lovely, it was an absolute pleasure to learn with her. She taught us a couple of cool spins that transitioned into figurehead and back pull up, and a strange neck hold dismount that made it easy to lower down and make it look like you're really strong.

This was AWESOME! There were a few apparatus set up, but this workshop only did silks. I've always wanted to try silks, and it was as fun as it looks! But man did it burn. I still have an underarm cut to prove it.

By this time I was well and truly buggered, but still managed to learn some awesome tricks! I really like Fontaine's teaching style - it's really all about having fun, not getting stuff perfect.

After a massive rush to get ready, it was back to Shooters for another night of celebrations. There were a few amateur performances, more drinks, more pole-offs, then we were off to bed for another early night, ready for a full day of workshops starting early Saturday morning.

Saturday Workshops
Suzie Q and Toby J
Always a pleasure, this was an intermediate workshop where I learned my first "drop" (modified layout into tuck).

Doubles with Suzie Q and Toby J
My favourite workshop of the whole camp! Tammy, Krystal and I alternated doubles partners and learned some amazing stuff. We almost got kicked out of this one (Krystal and I weren't booked in, but we hopped on with Tammy and there was even a spare pole!), so I'm so glad we stood up to the man and stayed.

Doubles Stag

Gymnastics Stretch
I've always had a profound respect for gymnasts, and this class reminded me why. This class involved crazy stretching which apparently was meant to be painful but not feel like agony… it definitely crossed the line sometimes!

Amber Ray
I can't say I enjoyed this workshop too much, probably because it was based around perfecting an extremely fast salsa style routine, and I am a failure as a dancer! Although, I definitely appreciated ending on a cruisey workshop.

Pole Dreams
Saturday night was Pole Dreams, where the best of the best showed us their stuff. Suzie Q and Toby J, Jenyne Butterfly, Amber Ray, Fontaine, Lou Landers and Anastasia graced us with beautiful and extreme performances. Watching professional pole dancing always blows my mind, and seeing so many performances one after another was actually quite overwhelming. The stand out for me was watching Anastasia; I'd never seen her perform before (I am lucky enough to have already seen some of the other acts), and she has a very special way of making the most impossible things seem easy.

And with that extravagant ending, Australian Summer Pole camp was over. I had an absolute ball!

With a day to go before our flights home, we decided to do some touristy stuff like go to Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum (so much fun, highly recommended!) and eat at Hard Rock Cafe (my first time, yum!). I had an awesome time all round, but I was definitely ready to come home to my own bed!

Hard Rock Lunch