- Hey Natty, pole dancing is such a unique passion and we have so many questions. But to start, we must ask who or what inspired you to get into it as a form of fitness?
I had never even heard that pole dancing was a ‘thing’ in the fitness world, until I received a flyer in my letterbox for a free trial class. So I found a girlfriend at work and we gave it a try! That night I was hooked!! I bought my first pair of pole shoes and signed up for an 8 week term. It was love!
- What would you say are some of the misconceptions about pole dancing as a sport or fitness method?
Pole dancing/fitness does and always will have the tie to its roots. Growing from strip clubs and into mainstream fitness, pole dancing can be whatever you want it to be. Over the years people have become more educated around others’ choice of pole training for fitness. Another misconception is that you need to have upper body strength to start pole dancing. We hear this all the time! Starting as a baby poler, I could not lift myself and the idea of going upside down was terrifying. Time, patience and practicing your skills makes all the difference.
- You’ve competed in a few competitions, including Miss Pole Dance VIC 2020, Miss Pole Dance Aus 2020, Aus Pole Champs 2018 and Vortex 2017, just to name a few. Can you tell us more about those experiences?
Being able to work on something you are passionate about and bring it to a stage is an incredible feeling. I’ve always loved being able to perform so this was the biggest driver for me. Winning the titles ‘Miss Pole Dance Victoria 2020’, ‘Victoria Pole Champion 2018’, and ‘Vortex Champion’ was an absolute dream. Australia has a fierce level of competition in the pole world so it is an honour to place and win in these well regarded competitions.
- What is training like when preparing for these championships? Most people are probably unaware of how much dedication and discipline it takes in this particular sport. Can you share some insight?
Song choice is everything for me. I consider this the first and biggest part of my prep. I need a song that the audience won’t get bored with and will keep them engaged but something that when I hear it I can ‘feel’ the routine in my body. Then it is research and exploration of movement to see how I will master my pole work.
I also have to be selective with the tricks that I train to do and those are where I spend my time in the lead up to the competition. Every training session I will work on my technique and execution and make hard decision to ensure that only things that are the best they can be make it into the routine.
In the weeks leading up to the competition I will start aiming to get at least 2 full run throughs in a training session all out. Giving it everything I have. If I can get two in a session and they are executed well then I know I’m on track to have the stamina on the day.
I keep my gym training at my normal 5-7 day training schedule until the last week before Comp where I give my body a chance to refresh and prepare for the demand of performing a routine.
- We see that you are also a professional Pole Dance Instructor. Who are your typical clients and what attracts them to both you and this particular type of exercise?
I spend down time coaching pole dancers for competitions and working on their dream tricks. I mostly have advanced and competitor level clients but I do have a mix of people who attend workshops I may run at various studios and any classes I fill in for.
I am an independent pole dancer in the competition world, so not affiliated with a particular studio. This can make it appealing for people. Some people are attracted by my musicality and choreography, others like my dynamic movement and some want to work on some of the tricks that I would be known to perform in my routines. (Check out a bird of paradise or a fonji :) )
Some people are too nervous just to join a gym, far less a pole dancing class. What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in pole dancing but too intimidated to actually try it out?
The pole community is a very supportive group of people, who have all been in that same position. The nervous walk into the studio for the first time is inevitable, but after that, you’ll be hooked! You don’t have to wear little teenie tiny clothes, we all start out in shorts and singlets, just normal sports clothes. Pole is challenging and exciting and such an incredible way to build self-confidence.
- What’s your favorite type of music to Pole Dance to? Also, what songs are on your exotic class playlist now?
I love dancing to something with an epic beat. And then some days I am in the mood to flow around the pole to something more smooth and slinky. You’ll find tracks from Truth and TroyBoi in my exotic playlists.
- We have to ask - are there any males competing in Pole Dancing as well or is it a strictly female sport?
Yes! Male pole dancers are incredible. I am always amazed at their strength! There are some very inspiring male dancers all over the world who have such different styles!
- What does Natty do in her down time when she isn’t competing, training or teaching?
So I am a normal desk job kind of person. Pole is a hobby that turned into a passion, that I have been lucky enough to be good at! When I’m not at pole, I’m at the gym, another thing I have developed an incredible passion for. I love seeing my progress (#addictedtoprogress) week on week either physically or through my strength or technique! If I’m not doing either of those things, I’m a home-body who has an amazing husband and 2 fur babies.
We absolutely love that you hashtag #addictedtoprogress! What would you say makes you Addicted To Progress?
I love having goals and working toward them. I love seeing changes in my ability to perform a move or exercise and I love seeing my body change with my hard work and commitment. It’s a great hashtag! It is definitely one of my favs xx
- What advice would you give young aspiring Pole Dance fitness competitors?
Be you. Do you. Find what works for you and your body. Find your super power, your strength and use it. Do it because you love it and remember why you are competing. Don’t lose sight of that. Get a coach and be open to feedback. Make sure you stay true to yourself and keep your style. Work at what you want to achieve and it will happen.
Lastly, I read this a little while ago and I think it is quite relevant.
‘Be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy’.
- What’s next for Natty Stephens in 2020? (Note: This Interview Was Conducted in December 2019)
March 14th I will be competing in the first Australian Exotic Generation competition.
March 21st I have been invited to compete in the championship division of the Pole Championship Series at the Arnold 2020.
I will be continuing to coach pole competitors and working hard at my physique this year.
Thanks for your support and interest in the pole world!
Note: All interviewee responses have been stated verbatim to maintain honesty and accuracy in translation"
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