Monday, March 27, 2017

Twisted Trainer - Katie


Katie started as a student with Twisted Bodies a few years ago, and she has changed her life and many others since then. It has been exciting to watch Katie conquer her goals and challenges, and we love to see her smile when she helps someone else conquer theirs. From that quiet timid person in the back of the pole room, to hitting the stage at competition and winning People's Choice, to now teaching; it has been one crazy journey. Find out more about Katie and also try her class.....if you can get in, it's always packed full!

When did you first start teaching?
Fall of 2016

Have you always been involved in dance and fitness?No, absolutely not. I have always enjoyed dancing socially, but I really only got into dance as an adult. I took classes in Belly Dance and African Dance for a few years before finding pole dance. Now that I am involved though I plan to keep dancing and achieving new fitness goals the rest of my life. It's an addictive lifestyle. :)

When and how did you decide you wanted to be a full time instructor?

So, funny story. Many, many years ago, when I was a young college student trying to find a career and major, I took a series of career placement tests. The verdict, I could do pretty much anything except work as a P.E. teacher or fitness trainer. I didn't start on this path intending to teach (although I do teach history and government in my non-Twisted job). I really didn't even think that was an option until I had been at Twisted Bodies for over two years. The studio was hosting an Elevated Teacher Training for Level 1 and I just thought it sounded cool. My goal going in was to hone my techniques and hopefully learn some new things. When I walked into the first day of training, to be honest, I was more than a little intimidated. I am not a life-long athlete or dancer like most for the other people in the training, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do all of the things. But I'm so glad I didn't let my anxieties get the better of me, because one of the things I realized through that training was that I had something to offer as an instructor. Not every student is going to walk into the studio in great physical shape or with years of dance experience. Some of them are going to start in the same place I did, as sedentary people trying to become active people. I have lived that struggle. I have wanted to quit and to give up. I have felt self-conscious about being the least fit person in the class. And yet I am still here, fitter than I have ever been as an adult, in part because I am stubborn and in part because I had support from several Twisted instructors who kept telling me I could do it. I realized that I wanted to do that too. Who better to tell people they can achieve their goals than someone who knows their struggle? The day Carissa and Khristen offered me a class to teach, I was absolutely ecstatic. Teaching beginning pole classes is amazing and it feels awesome to know I am doing the one thing I was told I couldn't do all those years ago.

What are your biggest goals as a teacher and student?  

My biggest goal as an instructor is to keep people coming back to the studio. Pole Dance and the other aerial apparatuses can be really difficult when you are starting out and it's easy to get discouraged. So mostly I try to make sure people have realistic goals and expectations for their bodies and I encourage them to keep going. Every student is a little different. Some want to be constantly challenged and told what they need to fix, some need reassurance and praise, some need to break everything into tiny steps and know exactly where each part of their body is, and some need permission to just be in their bodies and move. I really try to have something for everyone in my classes. When I am a student, I try to make sure I am being mentally present and focused. If we are doing something I already know, how I can clean it up and make it better? If we are learning something new, what is happening with the instructor's body? How can I get my body there? If I am struggling with something, what do I need to do to improve? 

What are your biggest challenges? The biggest challenge for me is usually mental. Sometimes it's hard not to compare your progress with someone else's or to feel down about yourself because you aren't able to do something yet. The most useful technique for me is to think about all the things I have accomplished and remind myself that at one point, I couldn't climb or do a basic spin. It's also one of the reasons I suggest that people take pictures and film early in their dance progress. It's incredible to be able to look back and see how far you have come.

Favorite indulgence: Dark Chocolate.

Favorite movie: Totally dependent on my mood. Although I do pretty much always enjoy horror films.

Favorite Twisted class to teach: Intro to Pole is one of the best parts of my week. I love seeing new polers get that first spin or pull-up. When I see someone's face light up because they just made a connection or achieved something they couldn't do before, it makes my day. It's like Christmas morning every Thursday night.

Favorite Twisted class to take:  Khristen's Barre Blast class on Monday is fabulous. Her playlists are awesome and you get a great workout in just 30 minutes. Plus having something to look forward to on Mondays makes the day go by faster.

Hidden Talent: I don't know if this really counts as a hidden talent, but I really love to organize things and I'm very good at it. Scheduling, planning, making order out of chaos is kind of my thing.

What she does when life gets stressful: Epsom salt baths are the best. Give yourself 20 minutes of silence and permission to totally relax. It's heavenly.

Dream Vacation:  Right now, anywhere I could swim sounds just great.

Historical figure she most identifies with: As a former historian, this is an impossible question. I am often inspired by Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was married to the King of France and then divorced him (highly unusual at the time) and married the significantly younger and more handsome King of England (this was considered even more unusual, since usually displaced queens would enter a nunnery). She was well known in both England and France as a patron of the arts and she is often credited with popularizing the practice of courtly love and chivalrous behavior. When her husband, the King fell in love with a younger woman, Queen Eleanor was rumored to have had her poisoned. She was a fierce protector of her children and led a rebellion against the king when it seemed likely that he would disinherit one of their sons. She was the mother of King Richard the Lionhearted, who led one of the Crusades and features heavily in most stories about Robin Hood and also the mother of King John who signed the Magna Carta, one of the foundational documents for most modern democracies including ours. By all accounts she was an intelligent, charismatic woman who used her personal and political assets to achieve her goals.

If there were a soundtrack to her life:  
It would be a bizarre mix of metal, 80s pop, showtunes, and sad, old country songs. 

Beauty product she can’t live without: Chapstick.

Twisted person she is most inspired by and why:  There are so many Twisted people that inspire me. Khristen and Carissa as amazing boss bitches and as a result this studio seems to attract awesome people. There are two people that I think really stand out for me. Kayla has been an inspiration for me from pretty much my first day in the studio. She is such a fierce dancer and watching her work towards her goals, especially over this last year dealing with injury and surgery, has been simply amazing. She is my go-to person anytime I'm feeling unsure about a performance or a combo and she has never steered me wrong. She can pick out exactly what it is that you need to improve on in order to get that new spin or hold. I can't even count the moves that I have mastered through working with Kayla. She is also an incredible performer and I can't wait to see what she does next. I am also always inspired by Jessica Lopez. Jessica started pole around the same time I did and she is always such a pleasure to be in class with. She is incredibly kind to her fellow polers and she seems to know just when you need to hear a compliment or praise. She challenges herself constantly and she is always willing to try that crazy new move in class. I have also been lucky enough to compete and perform with her multiple times and she is simply a wonderful person to have with you backstage. She will check your teeth for lipstick and remind you that you are going to be awesome right before you walk on stage, and she is the first person to start cheering when you walk off.

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