by Jenae James
I come from a very physically active family and the rule was always that you “do” something. There’s some bike riding, Zumba, quite a bit of track and cross country, basketball and martial arts. As a former Pom girl I decided I wanted to take adult dance classes. Then I heard about pole dancing. It took me a few months to work up the nerve to take a class. I didn’t have any arm muscle, it had been years since I danced…my objections were endless. I dragged my friend Nikki with me and after an hour of girly giggling, fireman spins and hip circles I was hooked. Three days later I was STILL sore and as a chick who loves a physical challenge I became even more determined.
Back in 2010 when I began taking classes, pole dancing was fairly new to Oklahoma. As a result the studios I attended would bring people in for workshops. One of the first private lessons I had was with Estee Zakar and after overdosing on YouTube videos of her I was anxious to soak in and remember everything she had to teach me. She even gave me a few things to work on as homework. I tried to write down as much as I could but phrases like “hook left knee, grab with right arm” and the accompanying stick figures diagrams meant very little to me months later. Trying to decipher what in the heck I was talking about would’ve been difficult even with the pole equivalent of the Rosetta Stone.
This became increasingly evident when the following year when Estee came back and during one of her workshops I glanced around and saw all the ladies pull out their notebooks and start scribbling fiercely. Are they going to even being able to understand what they’re writing down? Will they even remember where that notebook is a year from now? What if they were able to take a picture of this exercise she’s having us do or this move and maybe jot down a few notes? Perhaps the points of contact for the body? Surely there was an app for that.
I looked…but I couldn’t find anything! What I did find was Mark, an app developer at PhoneAxiom, and I explained to him what I wanted and we worked together to develop POLE NOTES. The app is free to download on apple and android devices and allows pole and aerial artists to take pictures of their combos and make notes and post them in their profile. I think of it as journal of my pole moves and a nice place to go for inspiration when I’m creating a dance and need to recall moves I’ve learned awhile ago but forgotten (hello hood ornament!). It’s also nice to see what moves others around the world are posting. I think I felt like POLE NOTES was really helping others the day I saw a Facebook post about the app from 2012 Miss Pole Dance UK herself Jess Leanne Norris!
Since the app’s release last September, there are just over 1000 downloads. Right now you can create a profile and post your pictures to Facebook and Twitter via the POLE NOTES app. I’m excited about future plans to post to Pinterest and upload video.
Pole has empowered me in a way unlike anything else in my life ever has. Four short years ago I watched pole YouTube videos, looked at pictures and thought “I could never do that.” Now I know everything is possible. And any time I start to lose faith in my ability to get something done, I open my POLE NOTES app and look at all the pictures I’ve posted that say otherwise. And the many pictures of my pole family around the world that say they can do it too.