Pole Expo 2016: A Review

Hi there #PoleFamily!

Recently I had the opportunity to go to sunny (and hot!) Las Vegas, Nevada to photograph my first wedding for Studio Chic Instructor Suzy! (shameless self promotion) When I was booking my ticket I discovered that the annual Pole Expo would be taking place the same weekend and I decided the universe was sending me a message. I had to take this opportunity! For September's blog post, I am going to share my experience and thoughts about the Pole Expo with you all.

If I had more $$$, there would have been many pole idols I would have loved to have learned from such as Amy Hazel, Zoraya Judd, Dakota Fox, Lux ATL, Natasha Wang, Pink Puma, and those are just names that I recognized! Click here if you want to know who else was in attendance. After looking through the workshop schedule, I had decided to take two Michelle Shimmy workshops on the first day of the Expo. I chose them for two reasons. The timing was the most convenient for me as the workshops were back to back, and I ADORE Michelle Shimmy.

A little more about Shimmy from her website, "Shimmy is a Sydney-based pole dancer and pole instructor. Along with her sister Maddie Sparkle, Shimmy is a co-owner of the Pole Dance Academy, in Bondi, Australia [...] Shimmy is passionate about teaching pole. She loves to guide and see the improvement in her students from week to week. For Shimmy, the true magic of pole dance is the transformative effect it has on people, in the way that it increases confidence and body awareness." 
 
Jump to September 8th, when I trekked through the blistering heat to get to the beautiful Hardrock Hotel and Casino located just off the Vegas strip. 

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When I arrived I got myself registered and had planned to kill time until my workshops shopping in the vendors alley. Sadly, when I arrived most booths had not even been set up yet and many were not planning to sell merchandise until the next day. This was a bummer for me, who only had a Day Pass to the weekend long event. I didn't read anything online warning me it would be closed or day one of the expo was essentially paid workshops only.  This was my only real complaint about my experience. 
What I loved about the pole expo was seeing the uniqueness of our community (and how much I clearly had in common with so many!). Everywhere I looked there was confident people with huge smiles on their faces. Coloured hair, sparkly shoes, pole outfits, people of all shapes and sizes, everything was truly a beautiful sight to see. The positive energy was undeniable and I knew I was going to have a good time.

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"Dirty, Sexy, Floorwork."
The time for my first workshop came around and I quickly realized I was vastly un-prepared. With only my pole clothes in hand, I realized I would be doing Michelle Shimmy's "Dirty, Sexy Floorwork" Workshop on a beautiful, velvety carpet. (OUCH!) With no leg warmers, kneepads or socks, I decided I had to tough it out. By the end of the workshop, my feet and knees were covered in rug burn. Learn from me.

Michelle entered the room with her pole/real sister Maddie Sparkles and with their beautiful Australian accents explained to us how the class was going to go, put the music on and immediately began teaching us our choreography. Here's a short clip: 




Even though I do not pick up on choreography as quickly as I would like, (I am the one in the polka dot crop top!) Michelle was an excellent teacher and I was surprised at the number of moves I already knew from my classes at Studio Chic. I was also pleased to add a few more moves to my repertoire. Everyone in the class was really friendly; we all laughed together and applauded each other. This was a very fun and supportive class that I would highly recommend to any poler/dancer of any experience level. 

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" Signature Tricks and Combos"
For my second workshop, I was pretty tired from the first to be honest. I was also worried about this one because I wasn't sure if I had the skill level required. I couldn't find any pre-requisite lists or detailed class descriptions on the website, so I was going in blind. Michelle entered and once again got started right away, wasting no minute of our time together. She began by teaching us what she called the "Baby Valentine" which begins with an outside leg hang (or Gemini). Here's a clip of me doing it on my dominant side. Pretty good if I do say so myself! 



Next, Michelle taught us two extensions of the "Baby Valentine" which I definitely could not do...I can't even post a video because my attempt did not resemble the moves at all. To be fair, Michelle stated that only a handful in the room would be able to pull the second off. So here is a clip of Michelle doing it instead.

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Michelle also demonstrated a split combo for us, which, you guessed it, I couldn't do. It was such a cool move and I hope I can pull it off one day.

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Finally, Michelle by request demonstrated her signature move that she INVENTED named the Seahorse. It's a beautiful move that starts from the Genie and Side Saddle Superman. Again, I cannot do this move yet but it is one I will definitely be working towards. Here's what it looks like from Michelle:

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Needless to say, I was pretty tired and sore after my workshops. I learned a lot and really enjoyed my time with Michelle. She is a serious poler and an effective teacher, while still allowing for fun during the workshop. I approached her after the class to thank her and let her know I was only doing one day at the Expo, she then offered to take a picture with me (after telling everyone else no, haha). Aren't we cute?

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All in all, I had a fabulous time at the Pole Expo. I would definitely consider going again in the future, but next time with friends and I would stay the whole weekend. By only going on Thursday, I missed out on a lot of performances, free workshops, meet and greets, fabulous merchandise, as well as getting to hangout with all my favourite polers during expo down times by the pool. I would recommend going if you love pole as much as I do, plus, Vegas is pretty fun on it's own.
 

So you wanna go to the Expo?

Things to note:
• Website/class bookings are not that user friendly.
• You must pay for an expo pass to attend the workshops, no discount. 
• No pre-requisite lists or detailed class descriptions online.
• Bring all your pole stuff! 
• It seems more worth it to stay the whole weekend, not just one day.
• Consider going with other polers, but you'll still have fun if you go solo.

Thanks for reading!

- Emily

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