Eco Pole Dance Project - Featured Dancer Julianna Yau
For many of us, Christmas is a time of over-indulgence and over-consumption, but there are easy things we can all do to reduce our environmental impact.
Aerial dancer Julianna Yau and upcycling artist Michal Hochberg are teaming up to raise awareness of the impact of waste, and to share tips for reducing excess over Christmas.
In the spirit of the adage “one person’s trash, is another person’s treasure”, the co-project will see Julianna aerial dance over a work by Michal: a Christmas tree constructed entirely from recycled bottles. In Hong Kong, where both Julianna and Michal are based, over half a million glass bottles are buried in landfills every day.
Michal uses her art to encourage creative upcycling of the things we own, rather than throwing them away simply because they’re no longer good-as-new. All her work is created by repurposing furniture, glass bottles and other discarded materials. For this upcoming project, the duo wishes to inspire a new perspective on Christmas and show that you can enjoy the season with a greater awareness of the environment.
As part of the project, Julianna will be wearing the Christmas collection from ‘Just Fly Pole Wear', a sustainable brand that uses minimal packaging and pledges to plant a tree for every order made for the Christmas Collection. We spoke to Julianna to find out more about her pole dancing journey and her passion for the environment.
What year did you start pole dancing?
I started in 2013.
Where do you currently train?
I used to train at studios but have been training at home since I installed a pole last year.
Has your pole journey been negatively affected by the pandemic?
I think I’ve actually made more progress in the past year than in the previous 7 years! Before, I used to take classes in studios about once a week and the progress had been relatively slow since I wasn’t strong to start with and an hour a week is not really enough. But since installing a pole at home, I can train more often (about 4-5 times a week).
What sort of pole do you usually train on?
I use a 45mm Chrome X-Pole.
What's your favourite pole move?
I love Ballerina as there are so many variations that you can play around with and it also works (and looks good!) in a dress/ skirt.
What's your pole nemesis?
My pole nemesis is Russian Split. I was trying to work on it with the wall bars at the gym but strained my hamstring in the process. It took me over a year to recover and I haven’t tried it since!
Do you prefer static or spinning?
Personally I prefer spinning because you can always ‘take a break’ by just hanging there in your pose while the pole is spinning but I like static combos too when I feel strong on certain days.
What made you decide to team up with Michal?
Sustainability has always been close to my heart and I was planning to do a Christmas photoshoot. When I met Michal at an event, I thought it’s just the perfect match! I described my idea to Michal and she constructed this most beautiful Christmas tree entirely from recycled bottles. In Hong Kong where we are both based, over half a million glass bottles are buried in landfills every day. Through this eco-dance project we hope to raise awareness on reducing waste and to encourage creative upcycling of the things we own.
Have you worked on any other environmental projects?
I have made creative pole videos for various eco-organisations, such as promoting biodegradable eco-straws made of sugarcane, wheat and even edible pasta, and eco-shoes made of all-natural materials, like tree fiber, beans and algae.
What other tips do you have for helping to save the planet?
For Christmas, we can consider giving the gift of experience or edible gifts to reduce our carbon footprint. Making Christmas decorations from scratch is also fun and adds a personal touch! Use recycled materials, and spare craft supplies to create your own little masterpieces.
Find out more ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the pole dancing industry.
Aerial Dancer | Julianna Yau @julianna_pole
Upcycled Artist | Michal Hochberg @upcycled.by.michal
Outfits | Just Fly Pole Wear @justfly.polewear
Studio | Studio Hollow @studiohollowhk
Recycled Bottles | Baguio @irecycle_baguio