Our 1000th Graded Pole Dancer - PDC Approved 3 star pole dancing instructor April Krijger.
In 2010 the Pole Dance Community introudced the Advancement and Accreditation Programme (AAP) to help both pole dancers and pole dancing instructors to follow a clear pathway for development. Last month we recorded our 100th graded dancer.
April Krijger is a PDC Approved 3 star pole dancing instructor who runs Pole FX in New Plymouth, New Zealand. We sent April a special award for being our 1000th graded pole dancer and we asked her a few questions about her pole journey and her grading experience.
What made you decide to do the PDC grading?
New Plymouth is a small city nestled on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, so geographically I was at a disadvantage with the closest studio where there is another trained and skilled instructor being a 2 hour drive away. Therefore I didn't really have anyway of someone else gauging my skills and giving me finer points to make me a better poler without spending a whole lot of money on petrol and accommodation. So when I saw that PDC did on-line pole grading with detailed feedback, I thought that was a perfect economic solution to my problem.
"Also, putting 10 moves into a routine is exhausting. Stamina must be built to achieve that and then remembering to get them all in there as well! Not easy... but well worth it."
How was your grading experience?
Awesome! Quick turn around on results, detailed feedback.. all in all an excellent and professionally run grading system.
Would you recommend the grading process to others?
What was the hardest part of the grading?
Performing the moves on a static pole and remembering how to line myself up properly for the camera to pick up the best angle to be judged on. (In the end, I had to put the move list just out of camera sight lens specifying how I needed to position myself to launch into the move) It's easier on a spinning pole because you just hold the move whilst the pole does the work turning you around! Also, putting 10 moves into a routine is exhausting. Stamina must be built to achieve that and then remembering to get them all in there as well! Not easy... but well worth it.
Do you have any more pole gradings in the pipeline?
PDC level 5 is next...(gulp!)
How long have you been pole dancing?
I started in February 2010.
What got you into pole dancing?
An advert on the radio. The local strip club was advertising pole dance classes (maybe in the hopes of recruiting some girls for their club) but also making it clear that it was a fun way to get fit. Each time it played I would say to my husband "I should try that" until one day he got sick of hearing me say it and said "well for god's sake ring them up then" and handed me the phone. I never would have dreamed that moment would change my life but neither have I looked back!
What did you do before you started teaching pole dancing?
Mainly administrative roles through my work career, but also did a stint in real estate for 5 years.
What is your favourite pole move?
Marley (or Bird) on a spinning pole. You literally feel like you are flying. When I was a child I always wanted the super power of flight... now I got it!
What made you start teaching pole?
The local strip club where I was learning closed down. By then there was a hard core group of us that wanted to keep going but nowhere to train. By then I had my own pole at home that I spent hours training on at home, so once or twice a week we all kinda congregated at my house. As word spread about our jamming sessions, others would join in and one day... someone paid me! At the time I refused to take her money but it planted a seed that maybe I could charge for my hard earned skills. It has just grown and grown from there.
Have you entered any competitions? If so tell us about your experiences?
No I haven't entered. You wouldn't think it, but if I am completely honest about that, I am just too chicken! It's one thing to perform pole in front of people that don't see it everyday, but a whole different ball-game performing in front of people who know exactly what they are looking for, it's just too nerve wracking!
Which pole dancers inspire you?
In my early days of poling I watched Dirdy Birdy like a hawk because I thought she was incredibly fluid, sexy and was doing moves that she just simply and without effort made look cool. But then Dirdy Birdy progressed so rapidly and high into moves that are just not even possible for me anymore and I got a bit disheartened. My middle aged bones and muscles had just about reached their limits. So whilst I admire the elite dancers it's really not down to one individual that inspires me as such anymore but groups of people. People who have overcome adversity, disabilities and even good old fashioned age related problems. Being no spring chicken myself I now look to my peers and get inspired by 50 something 60 something women and men and think.. well here I am in mid-life and if they are still doing it... then so can I!
What move is your Nemesis?
OMG, how long have you got... the list just grows and grows as pole develops. But I guess it depends on the definition of "nemesis:. Nemesis to me means that I absolutely adore the move but for one reason or another the body REFUSES to allow it to happen either by way of slippy hands, legs or a back that won't bend enough or arms not strong enough to hold me up. I adore Jade but legs won't split all the way down, I love Titanic but the butt/leg squeeze grip isn't there. Deadlifts of any sort I think are amazing but arms not strong enough. So much to do still.
Do you enjoy any other sports/hobbies?
My next passion is theatre - acting in local drama productions and have also directed 3 shows. I am slated to direct a production early next year.
I enjoy playing Scrabble and going to the movies with my husband. Gathering with friends for cards and wine or lunches out. I try to get up and walk the many gorgeous tracks of our beautiful mountain on our doorstep... Mt Taranaki and take some much needed rest from pole.
Do you have any pets?
A black puss named Ruby. She enjoys being the class stretch buddy.. almost always making an appearance near the end of the class to supervise our cool down/stretching, even going so far as to rub around us as we lower our torso's to the floor in a straddle or bunting someones face with an encouraging purr as we do our cat/cow back stretches. Sometimes it's been a bit embarrasing as she brushes past some of my students more personal spots but everyone just giggles as the afflicted student shuffles into a different pose.
What is your preferred footwear for pole dancing?
Barefeet. There's just something about a pointed toe that I believe polishes the move (maybe it comes from my ballet days) that you just can't quite get the same effect in heels or pleasers.
Do you prefer 38mm, 42mm, 45mm or 50mm poles?
38mm to 42mm are my preferred size. Affords a much better hand grip in inverts and my thighs being relatively big cope quite well with the smaller diameter.
Titanium, chrome or stainless?
I havent tried Stainless. I think Titanium has got an edge on chrome over that all important grippiness.
Static or spinning?
Any fun student stories?
I do have a fun story but not really student related. I was approached by a charity to provide a pole dance private lesson voucher that they could auction off on their charity night. I was more than happy to provide one and went to some effort to make it look snazzy. The following day after the auction, one of the organisers called and thanked me profusely. Apparently the voucher was one of the hottest items of the night... a one hour private lesson with a value of $40.00 fetched $400.00 as bidding went crazy for it. She also added that she knew the couple who won it and here is the kicker... they are an elderly couple in their 70's. "Expect to hear from them too April" was the parting comment. "They are a fit duo!"
Do you use any grip aids or gloves when you dance?
The only product that seems to suit me (that I have found so far) is dry hands. Gloves are great whilst learning a difficult inverted move but don't necessarily give you that feedback of grip if that makes sense. I like to feel my skin gripping.
What are your plans for the future?
Plenty. I want to get my Advanced teacher training completed with Vertical Dance. At some stage I also want to buy/build a property that has a dedicated (rather than shared) studio space. But even more importantly than that, continue to look after my body so I can keep teaching well into my 60's and maybe New Plymouth may even have a 70 year old pole dance teacher in time. How cool would that be? A little old lady cracking the whip at the 20 somethings.