Presenting Miss May! Vixen Jennifer Reguindin interviewed by Lady Kori LK: What is your profession?
J: I'm an intensive care nurse by training and I also work as an educator within the healthcare system, developing initiatives, creating healthcare apps... I guess I have two jobs!
LK: When did you first hear of pole dancing?
J: It was in 2013 while I was on vacation in Vancouver. I met someone who did pole dancing, doubles and triples pole and they showed me videos of what they could do. I was amazed! I thought it was the coolest thing ever!
LK: Did you try it while in Vancouver?
J: No! I ended up too busy working! ...typical! Lol!
LK: When did you finally have the chance to attend a class?
J: Once I was back in Toronto, I got a voucher from Groupon for classes at Brass Vixens. I still remember my first class! It was a Pole Beginner 1 on Saturday at the Bloor West studio. I was hooked right away!
LK: Do you have previous dance or fitness training?
J: I did Kung Fu for 10 years and then more recently tried ballet but it wasn't for me! I found it too restricting. I was still attending ballet classes when I started at Brass Vixens. I remember looking at my ballet shoes and my pole shoes side by side while deciding which made me happier! Pole won! Lol!
LK: What do you feel are the contrasts and similarities between the two disciplines; Kung Fu and pole?
J: They are both physically and mentally challenging and rewarding. Practicing Kung Fu is following a very specific tradition and it's extremely formal. What I love about pole dancing is that it's so feminist and empowering and it's non-traditional. It's a growing discipline so I can make it whatever I want and need it to be for myself. Plus, I've always liked to dance and felt a need for something more exciting and personally expressive.
LK: What keeps you attending classes at Brass Vixens?
J: Aside from goals I still have to reach and the community, it's the constant feeling of growth. I changed my whole lifestyle around pole dancing and I'm healthy and strong.
LK: What are your pole goals?
J: Flow! I want to be able to create my own sequences expressing my creativity and imagination. I never want to touch the ground! LK: Do you have a favourite class?
J: The performance troupe experience is my favourite! I love working together with the group toward a common goal. We get to grow and bond, sharing the hard work and committing to the process. The performance at the end is something fun to look forward to when all the hard work pays off and our family and friends can celebrate with us.
LK: What are your top three reasons to recommend pole dancing?
J: One, It's a process of self-discovery and a practice of self-love. Two, health, strength and flexibility. Three, Community. I know I've listed community last but it's because you can't achieve strong community without achieving the first two. If I'm healthy and happy and loving toward myself then I can extend that to others. LK: How has pole dancing and being a member at Brass Vixens affected the rest of your life and sense of self?
J: Aside form having so much more confidence, it has expanded my social life and community. I walked in on my own but now every time I leave I have a bigger and bigger family! It extends beyond the walls of the studio. I feel so empowered and so feminine! I leave class feeling like a giant of men!!
Thank you Jennifer for being such an awesome Vixen!
Deciding what to wear is one of the first challenging choices we make everyday. Deciding what to wear to your first, or your 20th pole class, should not be as challenging.
FACT: Dressing appropriately for a pole dance class does not mean exposing large amounts of skin. You’re going to dance not to tan, and there are plenty of options if you prefer to stay more covered up. The outfit breakdown below outlines how you can do that, and why you should pick a tank top over a t-shirt, and socks over yoga pants. We stock a lot of these things at the studios, so check in with our friendly office manager before, or after class and we can get you set up to dance safely and in style.
Huge thanks to Ms. Dawn for modelling the perfect pole outfit! and read up on the details
A positive approach - Comfortably approaching your pole class is 90% attitude and 10% what you’re wearing. Exercise, including pole dancing, generates endorphins that can help boost your mood, so if you aren’t feeling absolutely excited about class, don’t worry - you will be by the time the warm up is done.
A tank top - We suggest a fairly close fitting racer back, or full back tank top for a couple of reasons. First, you will need the skin of your arms and underarms to provide traction as you grip the pole. If you’re wearing sleeves it will make executing certain spins and grips a lot more challenging. Second, the full back coverage will protect the skin of your spine and shoulder blades from pole burn when you’re doing squats or other moves with your back against the pole. P.S. Don’t worry about germs - we sanitize the poles with an alcohol spray between each use!
A hair tie - It doesn’t have to be an ‘80’s scrunchie, but we encourage those! You’ll want to keep your hair out of your face while you learn the moves. You can let it down and shake it out when you dance it out in the last 10 minutes of class.
Short shorts - We love short shorts, for the same reason we love tank tops - they expose enough skin on your thighs to provide the necessary traction to grip the pole while protecting areas that need to be protected from pole burn. If you’re wearing tights or yoga pants you increase the chances that you’ll slide right off the pole instead of gripping it. That means you’ll have to work a lot harder to prevent injury. Not sure where to get a pair? We have them at the studio - just ask.
Knee pads - These are crucial if you have sensitive knees, bruise easily, or if you intend to do a lot of floor work. Since knee caps are fairly mobile we strongly recommend you buy a pair to ensure that your knees stay safe and you can keep dancing for years to come. If you ever arrive for class without yours, let us know ASAP. We may have an extra pair that we can loan you.
Socks (or leg warmers) - Your shins and calves will be making a fair amount of contact with the pole as you dance and spin. One of the best ways to prevent pole burn and bruises is to protect those areas. If you like having your feet covered, go for a pair of socks. If you prefer to be barefoot, leg warmers are great - or you can always double up and wear both.
Heels - It’s toe tips or no tips here! Pole dancers always point their toes. Take some of the stress out of your joints by wearing heels to ensure your toes stay pointed. They don’t have to be dramatically high when you start, but as you get comfortable, you’ll find that the extra inches can help add that extra height to your spins, and more drama to all your other moves. NOTE: Make sure your heels have ankle straps, or are boots. Otherwise, you might accidentally kick one off when you’re dancing. That would be tragic!
Other accessories to consider:
Mighty grip - If you have moist hands, use a lot of lotion, or just have trouble gripping the pole, stock up on some mighty grip. Ask the office manager for a bottle the next time you come in.
Socks with grip - If you opt not to wear heels, socks with grippy bottoms will help you find traction on the floor, and on the pole while providing a little extra protection for your feet.
Elbow pads - If you have sensitive joints, or find yourself bruised in this area, consider a pair to protect your elbows.
Do you have questions about this list? Did we miss your favourite accessory? Do you want to see a “What to Wear?” post for a specific class? Let us know in the comments, and share pictures of your favourite workout outfits with us on Instagram!
You signed up for your first pole dance class - congratulations on taking the leap! We can’t wait to see you in the studio! As you take the plunge and try something new, it’s completely natural to be a little nervous. To help calm your butterflies and ensure you’re excited when you walk in the door, here’s a quick list of things to know about your first class.
Fitness Level - Everyone, including your instructor, wasn’t as strong or as coordinated before they took their first class. Once you start taking classes regularly you will build the strength and flexibility to start working on more challenging moves. Your instructor is there to support you. Let them know about injuries or concerns you have before class.
Wardrobe - You don’t have to reveal any more skin than you’re comfortable with. We recommend wearing a tank top and shorts so you can get the traction you need to learn the moves, but there are lots of fun ways to cover up. If you have a favourite pair of heels that helps you feel super confident, bring them with you! You can find ideas in our What to wear to class post.
Timing - Our classes start on time, not five or ten minutes after the hour. This ensures that they end on time so you can get to your next event, or back to the office. Please arrive 15 minutes before your first class so we can take care of any paperwork, and answer your questions. It will also ensure that you have enough time to change and get settled.
Instructors - Our instructors represent a range of ages, personalities and fitness levels. They also have unique areas of focus and styles of teaching. It’s why we recommend you try a range of classes (buy an unlimited pass to make it easier) to find someone who suits your favourite way of learning, and is passionate about teaching things you’re interested in learning. Read up on our instructors here Brass Vixens Staff
Classmates - Your classmates may be at the beginning of their journeys, or may be returning from some time away from the studio. They might also be more experienced dancers looking to perfect the basics, or to build strength before moving up a level. No matter where they are at, they are there to focus on their experience, not to judge yours. They are probably just as worried about looking silly, missing a move, or falling out of a spin. You may find that they become your biggest supporters and cheerleaders as you take classes together and learn more advanced moves.
Ambiance - All of our classes are safe, relaxed spaces (even our conditioning classes which may seem more intense). We encourage all of our students to have a good time as they learn to move and express themselves in new ways. Classes usually begin with a mix of slightly nervous, excited energy. There are generally peals of laughter towards the middle as you practice your first spin, learn basic moves and discover that you can hold your body weight.
Music - Music tends to be a personal choice. Your instructor will pick music that reflects their style and the tone of the class that they’re teaching. If you have a favourite song that you really want to move to, feel free to let your instructor know before or after class.
What you’ll learn - You’ll learn to stretch and warm up safely through a series of connected movements, or a routine. Once you’re warm your instructor will walk you through some basic moves, grips and best practices. About half way through the class you’ll learn your first spin, and maybe practice a strength hold or two. You’ll end the class by performing the routine you learned, or building your own.
Cool Down - Please remember to take a few minutes after class to do your favourite full body stretch. You’ve probably used a number of muscles you weren’t sure existed. Also remember to rehydrate. It will help combat any muscle soreness you feel in the next few days.
Do you have a question about your first class that we didn’t address? Did we miss one of your favourite parts of your first class? Let us know - and share your memories of your first class in the comments! We love hearing from you.
LadyKori: What is your profession? Jennifer: I'm an intensive care nurse by training and I also work as an educator within the healthcare system, developing initiatives, creating healthcare apps... I guess I have two jobs!
LK: When did you first hear of pole dancing? J: It was in 2013 while I was on vacation in Vancouver. I met someone who did pole dancing, doubles and triples pole and they showed me videos of what they could do. I was amazed! I thought it was the coolest thing ever!
LK: Did you try it while in Vancouver? J: No! I ended up too busy working! ...typical! Lol!
LK: When did you finally have the chance to attend a class? J: Once I was back in Toronto, I got a voucher from Groupon for classes at Brass Vixens. I still remember my first class! It was a Pole Beginner 1 on Saturday at the Bloor West studio. I was hooked right away!
LK: Do you have previous dance or fitness training? J: I did Kung Fu for 10 years and then more recently tried ballet but it wasn't for me! I found it too restricting. I was still attending ballet classes when I started at Brass Vixens. I remember looking at my ballet shoes and my pole shoes side by side while deciding which made me happier! Pole won! Lol!
LK: What do you feel are the contrasts and similarities between the two disciplines; Kung Fu and pole? J: They are both physically and mentally challenging and rewarding. Practicing Kung Fu is following a very specific tradition and it's extremely formal. What I love about pole dancing is that it's so feminist and empowering and it's non-traditional. It's a growing discipline so I can make it whatever I want and need it to be for myself. Plus, I've always liked to dance and felt a need for something more exciting and personally expressive.
LK: What keeps you attending classes at Brass Vixens? J: Aside from goals I still have to reach and the community, it's the constant feeling of growth. I changed my whole lifestyle around pole dancing and I'm healthy and strong.
LK: What are your pole goals? J: Flow! I want to be able to create my own sequences expressing my creativity and imagination. I never want to touch the ground!
LK: Do you have a favourite class? J: The performance troupe experience is my favourite! I love working together with the group toward a common goal. We get to grow and bond, sharing the hard work and committing to the process. The performance at the end is something fun to look forward to when all the hard work pays off and our family and friends can celebrate with us.
LK: What are your top three reasons to recommend pole dancing? J: One, It's a process of self-discovery and a practice of self-love. Two, health, strength and flexibility. Three, Community. I know I've listed community last but it's because you can't achieve strong community without achieving the first two. If I'm healthy and happy and loving toward myself then I can extend that to others.
LK: How has pole dancing and being a member at Brass Vixens affected the rest of your life and sense of self? J: Aside form having so much more confidence, it has expanded my social life and community. I walked in on my own but now every time I leave I have a bigger and bigger family! It extends beyond the walls of the studio. I feel so empowered and so feminine! I leave class feeling like a giant of men!!
Thank you Jennifer for being such an awesome Vixen!
Q: What is your profession? A: I work in web design and digital marketing... So, if you ever need help with anything like that...! Lol!!
Q: When did you first hear about pole dancing? A: Last summer when I first moved from Ireland to Toronto. I had tried a pole fitness class back home but there was no focus on the dance element. It really stressed the sport and fitness aspect to the point that I really didn't find it fun at all!
Q: What made you decide to try it again? A: A friend, whom I'd met through my sister once I'd moved to Toronto had been following Brass Vixens on Instagram and really wanted to try some classes. I had decided it was my year of saying "Yes!" so I agreed to go along with her!
Q: What are your top three adventures that have resulted from saying yes this year? A: Working at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand for six weeks, moving to Canada, and becoming a member at Brass Vixens! Each of these adventures changed my life dramatically.
Q: In what way have you felt that pole dancing and joining Brass Vixens changed your life? A: It comes down to the community I found here. It's so open, supportive and welcoming. I've always been very shy so it's often been quite difficult for me to meet people and build friendships but at Brass Vixens I have found such a strong connection with the other students and instructors. I've never experienced such a bond with other women before! I love it here! It's changed my self-perception and my view of life.
Q: How has pole dancing at Brass Vixens impacted you? A: I feel really bad-ass and am getting so strong and confident! I now know what I'm capable of physically! I also love that I get to explore and express different sides of myself and my personality through pole dancing in such a comfortable and supportive environment. I surprise myself sometimes! The physical challenge and discipline are awesome and super fun but ultimately, for me, it's the community of people that keeps me coming back.
Q: Did you have any negative preconceptions or erroneous ideas about pole dancing? A: No, not in general because I was aware of pole as a fitness movement. In Ireland they make such an effort to take the sexy out of it and just make it really serious and boring and all about fitness! They try too hard to disassociate it from stripping! I can dance on a pole without stripping and I can strip without a pole! The two don't automatically go together!
Also, I followed pole dancing blogs and various pole stars through social media so I was educated about it for a long time before I tried it myself.
Q: Did you have any trepidation about taking your first class at Brass Vixens? A: Yes! I thought everyone was going to have attitude and be super hard core and competitive! Instead, my first class was so fun! There was so much laughter! I was a little overwhelmed at first and unsure of what to expect but I also felt excited... definitely not sexy at first but excited!
Q: Do you have a favourite class? A: First it was Erotic Chair Dance, then it was Pin-Up Pole and now it's Pole Choreo! There's always a new challenge to fall in love with! I love the growth. Pin-Up helped me become more aware of my body and expressive in my movement... and the fact that I have a bitchy resting face! Lol!! Choreo is challenging me to find more flow in my dancing.
Q: Do you have any pole goals? A: Continuing to improve my dance flow is important to me... Getting my inside and outside leg hangs and being able to release my hands from the pole! Inverting terrifies me but I love it! I want to be able to do even my basic invert without my heart racing and my face turning bright red!
Q: Final thoughts? A: It's funny, a friend and fellow Brass Vixens student recently brought me back down to earth when I was getting too frustrated about struggling with an inversion move. She kindly reminded me that six months ago I couldn't even execute a Windmill or Fan Kick! It's important to enjoy the journey. Goals are great and necessary but don't forget to stop and appreciate where you are now and how far you've come.
Q: What is a Brass Vixens moment you will remember forever? A: Performing for the first time in the Love Machine Valentine's showcase! I'll never forget how much fun it was and how special it felt to be performing with so many fantastic women. I felt like I was on Broadway! We did it and it was proper amazing!!
Q: What is your first reason to recommend someone attend classes at Brass Vixens? A: To get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself and surprise yourself! To get out of your head, leave the job and troubles behind and be in the moment. Pole dancing is both physically and mentally rewarding. It's awesome!
Introducing Ms March! Irina Shipilova, Vixen of the month!
Q: What is your profession? A: I'm a Forensic Pathologist Assistant.
Q: How long have you been pole dancing as a student at Brass Vixens? A: 15 months!
Q: What inspired you to try pole dancing? A: I was intrigued but nervous when I first heard of pole dancing, not knowing what kind of people do it, what the studio environment would be like, if it would be all about stripping... Lol!! Then a friend of mine purchased a Groupon voucher to attend classes at Brass Vixens. She was so excited when she spoke of her experience I decided to purchase classes as well and give it a try.
Q: What was your first student experience? A: I had my first class at the Queen Street West studio. The instructor asked if I was a dancer or gymnast! I said gymnast and she replied that she could tell by the way I move! I loved it and was hooked right away! The classes provide a combination of dance and athletics. This is a mix I had been searching for but not finding anywhere until I came to Brass Vixens and tried pole dancing. I've gone to the gym for fitness and continue to go occasionally but it doesn't provide me with the experience I'm really looking for and am familiar with from my childhood. Gyms are too boring for me!!
Q: Do you have a favourite class at Brass Vixens? A: NO! One of the things I love is that there are so many different classes and instructors! I benefit from the diversity. In the different classes with different instructors I get to learn a greater variety of dance moves, tricks, warm-ups, stretches etc.
Q: Do you have any pole goals? A: Yes! I want to condition my body to be able to do sequences and combos up the pole without fear! To trust my strength and abilities and not be scared!
Q: What are your top 3 reasons to recommend pole dancing and attending classes at Brass Vixens? A: Number one for me is that it is an absolutely non-judgmental environment. Anyone can come attend classes no matter what their fitness background and find what they need and are looking for. There are stretch classes if someone wants to improve their flexibility, there are conditioning classes if they want to focus on strength, there are dance classes, pole classes...
Two: It's an amazing workout! I promote it all the time! Because my job is very physically demanding I was getting injured often, especially in my shoulders. Since I started pole dancing I haven't had any more injuries. My whole body is stronger and I am more diligent in looking after it, getting massage therapy and making sure I can continue to dance and improve! I feel a greater sense of responsibility toward my body!
Three: Confidence! Not just in my dancing but in life. Since I started pole dancing I have developed a completely different view of life and of myself. I know how strong I am inside and out and determined! This experience provides moral and emotional conditioning as well as physical! I know what I am capable of and feel like I can do anything!
Thank you for being a Vixen!
Brass Vixens would like to congratulate Irina on recently completing her Pole Beginner 1 instructor training!!
Q: When did you start taking classes at Brass Vixens? A: I took my first class in June 2015 at the Yonge studio.
Q: What inspired you to try a pole dancing class? A: It's really popular in China and my mom wanted to try it so I went to a class with her! I was so young though and had no strength! That first experience was intimidating but I knew I wanted to try again someday. In 2015 I quit my job and went travelling on my own for the first time. When I returned to Toronto I decided it was time to try pole dancing again, to commit to something new.
Q: Did you have any preconceived ideas about pole dancing? A: No! Because it's so popular in China, I've always thought of it as really cool! I understood it's not all about stripping! Though I'm not one, I was excited to be mistaken for a stripper once!!
Q: How did you find Brass Vixens? A: I found out about the studio online. I bought a single class but let it expire because I was too nervous at first!
Q: What made you feel nervous?! A: Even though I knew I wanted to try it, I was unsure of what to expect; the environment, instructors, other students and whether or not it would be really hard. I finally tried it after buying the Intro Month Offer! I committed to a whole month without even trying a single class first so I thought, now I have to go, now I have to do it!
Q: What was your first impression and experience? A: Immediately after my first class I knew pole dancing was going to become my new obsession! Actually it was right after the warm-up that I knew!
Q: What was/is your favourite aspect of the Brass Vixens experience? A: It's an exciting environment and an amazing platform for self discovery and expression. It's so inclusive, like a family of amazing people! We all share and embrace each other's differences. You can be really authentic and feel celebrated and supported. That experience can be hard to find in daily life. It's a second home. It brings pure joy!
Q: Do you have a favourite class? A: All of them! Lol!! No, seriously, my favourite is Pole Choreo because it doesn't matter what level you're at, you can still dance, express yourself, put even simple moves together and create something beautiful. I'm not always strong enough for the tricks but I can always dance. I can put on my heels and be sexy and tell a story. That's magical. To dance the way you want to dance.
Q: Do you have any pole goals for 2016? A: Simply to continue on my journey.
Q: What are 3 reasons you would recommend Brass Vixens? A: 1) The spirit of the studio and the human experience. It's the intangibles that can't be found elsewhere. Everyone has trials and issues and is seeking something when they walk into the studio for the first time. Brass Vixens is a safe and welcoming place. 2) Everyone from the instructors to the students is amazing and encouraging! 3) There is so much variety in the classes. It's not just about pole dancing. You can fall in love with burlesque or aerial or chair... there are so many ways to express and explore yourself!
Q: How long have you been a student at Brass Vixens? A: It's almost my 1 year poleaversary!!
Q: What made you decide to try pole dancing? A: Watching YouTube videos of pole dancing championships! I was amazed and inspired by the strength and ability of the dancers. I don't like going to the gym so I Googled local pole studios and found Brass Vixens.
Q: What were your first impressions of Brass Vixens and the community here? A: Everyone was so friendly! The staff made the biggest impression. They're all so amazing and nice! Lol! The interactions felt personal. You showed interest, concern and affection. I felt appreciated and recognized and that kept me coming back.
Q: Was the class experience different than you expected? A: Definitely! I thought all the classes would be really advanced and hard core because of what I saw online but the curriculum was broken down and taught really clearly so I was able to learn.
Q: Do you have a favourite class? A: Yes! Chair Dance! ... But don't tell anyone! Lol!!
Q: Why has it become your favourite? A: Because I can express different facets of myself so freely. I can be conservative with the movement or really trampy if I feel like it and there's no judgement. I become very uninhibited and dance like no one's watching!
Q: How do your friends and family feel about you attending classes at Brass Vixens? A: They are actually very supportive! At first they thought I was learning how to become a stripper but then I showed them videos of my dancing so they could see what it's about. They were willing to learn and are now very proud of me. My mom does chair dancing better than I do!!
Q: Has attending the pole, chair and other Brass Vixens classes provided you with an outlet and how so? A: Oh yes. It's become my place of sanctuary and healing. Something I do just for me. Before I began taking classes the man I was in a relationship with passed away and then my Step dad also passed. Dancing made me happy, made me feel stronger so I could be a support to my mother and little brother. It's my church. When I'm dancing I'm confident and can stop thinking or worrying about anything else.
Q: Given your experience, what are the top 3 reasons you would recommend taking classes at Brass Vixens? A: One, the openness and friendliness of the community and the loving and accepting atmosphere. It's so supportive here. Two, it helps improve body image, self esteem and confidence. Three, it's a journey of self discovery, awareness and expression. You will learn to feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Thank you Kerry-Ann for sharing your journey and being a Vixen!!