WA Pole Camp Day 3: Bruises Galore

2014/02/25 Posted by MsAJL

Continued from WA Pole Camp Day 2: Drop Til’ You’re Dead

On my final day of Pole Camp, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck that backed up and ran me over twice. I was covered in every pole bruise you’ve ever had all at once – tops of the feet, behind the knees, inside the thighs, under the arms, around the forearms… you name it – I had it.

My workshops were meant to begin with Evgeny Greshilov‘s Masterclass, followed by a full schedule of advanced tricks & drops… and although I was in the habit of filming every combo taught so that I could revisit them once I had recovered from camp, the mere thought of slamming my bruises against the poles for another 5 hours caused some throbbing.

Luckily, Steph at Registration took one look at my bruises and asked: What do I need to switch? It was a dream come true considering I hadn’t been able to choose any of my workshops in the first place. I had registered for camp only one week in advance, so it had been too late to make any schedule changes to the package I bought. But glorious Steph let me switch from Evgeny’s Masterclass to his Contemporary Pole, in which he taught this awesome choreo (to the right); she shifted me out of Drop It Like It’s Hot with Miss Filly (who thankfully, I can visit anytime in Melbourne at Pole Divas) and into Phoenix Kazree‘s Signature Tricks – which, although entirely pole-centric, was at least one less drops class (I still had Lisa D‘s Drops & Dynamics, which I adamantly did NOT want to miss because she executes the most unique transitions and I just had to see how her brain works!) Meanwhile, Phoenix Kazree turned out to be the most effective teacher – clearly naming, demonstrating, and breaking down every trick like a BOSS. I can’t wait to train with her again during her upcoming stay in Toronto

For good measure, I also tried to switch into Michelle Stanek‘s Work The Floor! This class was technically full, but Steph mentioned that some campers had been skipping workshops due to exhaustion… which seemed slightly crazy to me given the high calibre and cost of the training. Honestly, if these pole stars were teaching in the middle of the night on a street corner with a lamppost, I’d have been there. So, Steph advised me to just hang in the back of class and if there weren’t too many other students, to join in. It gloriously paid off as evidenced in this video posted from the workshop:

In similar fashion, I decided to try my luck at Marlo Fisken‘s sold out FlowMovement Flexibility class in hopes that as a floor workshop in a banquet hall, there would be plenty of space. Truth be told, the open-concept of the workshops led to some overcrowding, especially early on at camp. I apologize for contributing, particularly to any students legitimately registered, who may have felt robbed of Marlo’s attention while she gave adjustments… but I must admit: I do not regret seizing the moment to join in (or for that matter, camping out in the middle of the banquet hall at 8am with my little notebook, eavesdropping on Michelles Stanek & Shimmy‘s side-by-side workshops that morning). And it turns out, Marlo Fisken is the chillest cat in town – her flows were the perfect remedy for all the aches and pains.

The only other workshop I did not rearrange that day was Venessa Clack‘s Master Class. After her Tumbling & Drop class the day before and attending a handful of workshops along side her as a student, I had become an admirer of her hard-working, yet humble nature. If you happen to swing by Johannesburg, I highly recommend looking her up for a workshop

By the end of WA Pole Camp, battered and bruised, I was completely satisfied – having trained with my bucket list of pole idols, armed with dozens of new tricks and drills. I had hours to kill before my midnight flight and passed the time with fellow campers, revelling in our well-earned delirium and prized experiences.

When it was time to part ways at the airport, I settled in to wait for the check-in gate to open, wearing my only remaining clean shirt – a slashed Cleo The Hurricane Rock’n’Pole singlet. To my utter delight, as I headed to the check-in line, there was Alex Shchukin with his luggage, on the phone presumably with his wife, about whom he has blogged ever-so romantically. Unsure whether he would have recognized me from his Flexibility and Tricks & Combos workshops, my Cleo top was definitely the dead giveaway for soliciting that infectious smile and nod of his. I didn’t see him again until we were waiting at the gate and I was absolutely dying to talk to him, but the better part of me thought: after such an eventful weekend, he’s probably aching for some privacy and relaxation… so instead, I dozed off at a cafe table next to my phone charger.

After a brutal flight of awkward footsies in the empty middle seat with the sniffling guy by the window, I disembarked the plane and finally seized the opportunity to chat with Alex Shchukin. We didn’t talk about anything in particular, but if I’d had the wherewithal at the time, I would have told him how he made my Pole Camp experience – bookended by that first workshop with him and this chat on the way to baggage claim, along with all the moments in between when he danced around the hall with his big grin and huge personality.

In the weeks since Pole Camp, as Alex headed back to his home in Kiev, I’ve been following his posts on the violent protests in the Ukraine. Despite the crimes committed against his people and the unrest they are enduring, I am amazed by the outpouring of love and support from the pole community as we rally around our Champion. A country that brings the world an artist as loveable as Alex Shchukin deserves our ongoing respect and support.

Alex, we love you.

Andrea James Lui with Alex Shchukin at Melbourne Airport

One Response to WA Pole Camp Day 3: Bruises Galore

  1. Pingback: Andrea James Lui | WA Pole Camp Day 2: Drop ‘Til You’re Dead

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