27 September, 2016

Two pole dancers go to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - a review of sorts.

We had the worst seats in existence. I knew this would be the case, because upon booking, I was told, "the view from these seats is obstructed". What I didn't realise; was just how bad they would be. On arrival at this grand beautiful theatre, the absolutely perfect setting for a Harry Potter play, we were pointed up more and more staircases. We made a pit stop at a bar, each wall covered in a variety of interesting clocks, before continuing on our arduous journey. Finally we made it to the top, and hitting my target "floors" on my fitbit, we walked out on to the balcony. The room began to spin as I looked down at our seats, and the stage. Vertigo taking over: my hands full of a g&t, a bottle of water, my bag, my jacket. I had to readjust, re-organise, and grab a banister, before slowly making my way down to our seating. One step at a time. The seating on our floor was near on vertical, and each level of the theatre sits directly on top of the one below. I came to feel a little like the Weasleys at the Quidditch World Cup. Yes, I am an "aerialist" who doesn't like heights, go figure!

Regardless of the awful seats; (and who can complain really, at only £15 per play for the cheapest seats) I was excited. For Harry Potter has been a feature in my life for nearly all of my conscious years. I remember, for example, when the book was first released, and my primary school teacher read the first chapter to us. I didn't take a liking to it, funnily enough, and it took great effort some years later to force myself to try again. I thought of it as a boys book, it didn't seem to hold anything that I was particularly interested in at aged 7. As I got older, as an avid reader I disliked the popularity it got, thinking; if everyone likes it, it must be awful; for most people do not read and have no taste. Luckily I got over that stupidity and, for many of my child and teenage years, each year was marked with the release of a book, or a film. The year I turned 21 the final movie was released, and with it, I branded the mark of the Deathly Hallows on my arm for eternity in ink, to mark the ending of Harry and finally my childhood.

Nearly a year on from buying my tickets; I found myself sat looking down at this stage so very far away, my heart full of expectation for the characters and world I had loved so dearly. It seemed, from the audiences reactions, that not many people had read the script prior to arriving. I personally found that it did not ruin the play to have known what was coming, because it was not in what happened but HOW it happened that mattered. The play is in two parts and each part is as long as a normal play. Seeing both plays on the same day felt like it might be a lot, but honestly, it was so immersive I barely noticed I'd spent the day sat down. The first part had me all goosepimply; my arm hairs on end; tears in my eyes; my heart swelling with the magic that played out. In the intervals I was speechless and could only mostly get out the words, "I can't even...what the...huh". Struggling to stop myself from curling up in a ball and weeping with joy.

I want to tell you all about this magic. I want more than anything to break the secret, but we all promised not to. All I can tell you is that what they achieved on that stage was breathtaking. I gasped, I cried, I laughed a LOT, I couldn't figure out HOW THE HELL THEY DID THAT, and when I could it was so seamless and so beautiful that it didn't matter that I knew exactly how it was achieved. Stage magic, that's real magic. That was some serious serious shit, and one particular moment will stay with me, and haunt me, for near on the rest of my life. To think about some of the wonderful moments they produced brings me to tears, even now; some weeks later.

After a short break outside of the theatre; the second part focused less on magic and more so on the story line. Though, don't be mistaken, there were still some amazing special effects. Unfortunately; I am not a big fan of the premise behind the cursed child. As many have said before, it is very much based on fan theory. Fan theories, that funnily enough, I liked very much when they were exactly that. To have them "proved" and made canon ruined them and kind of is lazy writing (get your own ideas goddamn). Regardless the second play was still enjoyable and emotional. I sat on the edge of my seating, leaning far forward - my previous fear forgotten, waiting for the moment when the whole audience would gasp and scream NO! They did not disappoint. But really, the acting is what makes the whole play just perfection.

The movement of sets and people, meant that everything HAD to be flawless or the illusion would shatter. Every actor had to be exactly where they were supposed to be at the right time or it wouldn't flow with everything else that was going on, but they managed it perfectly. They moved with the sets and with each other in such a wonderful way, it just worked. No illusion was broken or shattered, apart from one tiny moment when a trap door was left open a little too long (opps someone no doubt received a telling off for that one!). Considering the high level of special effects, stunts and set movement, it's a miracle that this was the only one mistake.

These actors knew the characters better, I feel, than the actors, I so dearly love, in the films. These characters were the characters I remembered in the books. Ron, for me, was redeemed and warm and funny and ate a lot and it was wonderful, and regardless of the dumb controversy over Hermiones race; she was perfect. I could think of no better person to play Hermione. It did not ruin my preconceived ideas about her, all it has done is expand them and given them a new life. Harry, as an adult and a father, was exactly as I wanted him to be; flawed, struggling along to do his best as always and mostly fucking up.

This play is just an interpretation of a world. Some will ignore it and refuse to acknowledge it as canon, and I get that, but just remember, that to read the script and to see it played out in front of you in all its glory and beauty, are two very different things. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a perfect continuation of the HP world. No other format or medium would have delivered it in quite the same way. It captured audience imaginations in a way no book or film ever could, and we were encouraged to express and to enjoy, the actors pausing naturally for these moments, so no one missed a thing. We were a part of something special for a day, a long wonderful day. Even with the worst seats in the world; I would do it all over again, and again, if I could. Do not miss out, get a ticket if you can!

There have been tickets released at regular intervals since the first batch. I have no idea if more dates have been added, please check out the website here for more info. Re-sale is through the box office on site, and there is a queue on performance days for these. If you wait you may just be lucky!

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21 September, 2016

"I don't think I want to do this anymore" - a pole break-up story.

Katy, a long-term student of mine, attended her last class tonight. Katy has fallen out of love with pole.

It happened slowly, I suppose, the way it so often does with a loved one. In the beginning your mind is fully consumed with your love, new and exciting as it is. You can't wait to purchase your first pole, you find yourself day dreaming about that new move, your weeks exist solely to fill the time between classes, you wake up dying to remember that awesome pole combination you just dreamt about. It is everything.

Somewhere down the line, months and years on; the excitement wanes, you realise you haven't touched your pole in months, you go to class out of sheer dedication and probably because you love the other students and your instructor. Some classes you come away with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence; others, you want to cry in your car with frustration. Pole got hard. Pole got really hard and one class a week is not enough to progress in the way you want to, and should do. You feel you've peaked, you feel this is the end of the line, maybe maybe just maybe you really can't get any better? Maybe this is it. You're sick of practising the same moves in different combinations. You see the other students in your class, the ones who go to the gym for hours at a time, who practice on their poles every moment they get, who smile with their big shiny white teeth as they perform; looking like they were born to be there. Then you look to yourself.

And you go home each week thinking, I won't go back next week, or, maybe just one more week. Each time it all gets a little harder to continue. You are uninterested, or sometimes even fed up, or upset. Then there's that part of you that is so sad and that wants so so badly to just fall in love with it all over again, but you can't go back, not now.

So, you approach me, and you tell me, "I don't think I want to do this anymore".

And we talk and I tell you the truth, "It's okay, I fell out of love with pole a long time ago".

And I did. I really did. My complex relationship with pole unfolds and you tell me, you never even knew or realised, because how could you?

And what you don't know, or even realise, is how much YOU, dear student, mean to me. Your every little tiny triumph and failure weighs hard on my soul too. To see you sad and frustrated and crying; I want to shake you and say "CAN YOU NOT SEE HOW PERFECT AND WONDERFUL YOU ARE?" Regardless of your fucking pole ability. You ARE a pole dancer, to your very soul. In your mind you are not good enough, or no good, or not a natural.

THIS killed your love, sweet pole dancer.
This is the crime you must pay for.

And you liken this to a break-up, because it is, but in this case, unlike many others; your lover will always welcome you back.
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20 September, 2016

Review: Kitty Velour Workshop!


Date: 16th September '16

Out of 5*

Tricks: (Floorwork based) *****
Choreography: Not applicable, short combinations.
Instructor ability: ****
Length of workshop: *****
Enjoyment: *****

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kittyvpole/

Kitty is just about as slinky, sleek and beautiful as any kitty cat out there. It doesn't get much sexier than this. Every movement, every expression, pure sex, pure kink. This girl describes herself as a "wild child", and whilst this is very very true, her demeanor, as she goes about her wildness, is almost demure and sweet in its nature. Kitty is a sweet heart. 

She tailors her workshop to each group, progressing as slowly or as fast as each class needs, ensuring there is enough to challenge everyone. For me personally; I came away with only a few new movements to work on, but let me be clear, I got a lot of out watching Kitty and seeing her movements in the flesh. From her own mouth: "When I was creating my workshop I really wanted it to be the essence of who I was as a dancer. And I think people remember my movement because of HOW I do things rather than the actual moves, so I wanted to focus on that." And in all honesty, we all attend workshops with our favourite pole dancers, not just to learn their signature moves, but to bask in their style, their personality and feel a step closer to greatness. 

The workshop began with a fast paced floor based warm up and moved on to a mixture of pole and floor based individual moves, and short combinations; each time explaining little tricks of the trade for engaging the audience. Throughout Kitty provides little snippets of information regarding the history and conventions of stripping. The class ended with some panty removing and throwing, which happened to coincide, embarrassingly, with my dad popping his head around the door to say hello (I'm usually packing up at that time). He enjoyed it, to say the least. Note to self; remember to lock the door!

Kitty receives a 4 out of 5 stars for instructor ability solely because she has only been teaching her workshop for a short time and I feel she has HUGE potential. I know from my own teaching that things naturally evolve the more you teach them; this is only going to get better. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and believed her to be a great instructor, but I know this girl is going to bring some intensely awesome shit in the future. Plus, I can't keep giving y'all 5 stars for everything ;).

If you get the chance to attend this workshop, do! It's definitely worth it.
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