10 Questions for Pole Championship Series Finalist Ember Ashe
The Pole Championship Series is happening tomorrow at The Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio! Over the past few months United Pole Artists has been getting to know the competitors better. Read on to learn more about the final competitor in this series Ember Ashe, owner of VAMPS in Austin, Texas. Make sure to follow UPA on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates and results from the competition.
How did you first discover pole dancing? What drew you to it?
I was traveling abroad in Buenos Aires Argentina soul searching when I discovered pole dance. I did a lot of research on tango dancing classes prior to arriving and an article on a pole dance studio came up that peaked my interest. Always loving the more sensual dances I made sure to put it on my list of places to go to during my visit. After a couple of weeks of being there I finally got the courage to take my first pole class and literally fell in love with everything about it. Something clicked once I felt my feet lift off the floor during a fireman spin they were teaching me. It was so challenging and freeing at the same time. It was if the universe slapped me in the face and said, “hello, and welcome to your future!” The rest of my time there I took as many classes as my body could handle.
After coming back to the states I knew that I wanted to share my love of pole dancing with others and learn more as a student. Sadly, I found there were no actual studios near Austin at the time like the one I took classes at for 3 months in B.A. I learned as much as I could via YouTube and researched the heck out of anything pole as I started piecing a business plan together and figuring out my place in the industry. Step by step and little by little everything came to be what VAMPS is today.
I must say the experience was a shock and mind boggling. I had a routine that was very special and emotional to me, so my only goal was to go out and perform it as best I could and have it be as a letting go of some heartbreak from the previous year. There was no thought of even placing so I was the least stressed out and anxious about a performance than I had ever been. I also came to the conclusion that night that I was ready to stop competing and was going to concentrate on running my studio 100% so I was happy knowing that this was going to be my last time to compete and told myself to enjoy it as much as I could. Like the year before I soaked up hanging backstage with the other competitors joking around and helping each other out with our hair and makeup. There was so much support and love going on I felt simply lucky to be a part of it. When they said my name as the winner and I realized I would be competing at PCS it was as if the universe slapped me again and said, “we are not done with you missy!” and so here we go again. I must say, I am freaking nervous but excited. I am trying to get myself back in that zen, no stress state I was in at MTPS and can’t wait to hang out with all the other competitors.
Due to time and schedule restrictions I have had to be very creative in my training for PCS. I have done more training in my mind than anything else along with watching video on my laptop in my bed of my past pole routines and overlaying music to see if things will work before actually going in and physically trying it. I know clearly what my strength and weaknesses are when it comes to pole dancing, so I have been physically training what I know in the studio 2 hours at a time when I can and going through floor work at the local YMCA. I have opened myself up to new movement that I am not familiar with preparing for this competition. I have learned some parkour and capoeira moves as well as taking on help from fellow dancers around me who have thrown a lot of modern dance moves my way. In reality though, not having my whole routine set, let alone not even being able to run through it once a week prior to showtime is normal for me when it comes to performances. A huge thing I also take on during training is taking better care of myself. No alcohol, eating lots of protein with as much sleeping as possible and surrounding myself with positive supportive individuals helps prepare me just as much as physically training!
You have been a company member of Blue Lapis (an aerial dance company) since 2009. What has that experience been like?
Blue Lapis Light is responsible for the performer I am today and like a second family. I started as an aerial silks student taking beginner classes and after a year I auditioned to become a performer for one of their shows in 2009. Since then, I have blossomed spiritually and emotionally both personally and professionally with the guidance of Sally Jacque and Nicole Whiteside as one of their company members. They have mentored, believed and seen so much potential in me I never would have known was there without their loving push to make me into a better dancer. Every performance year after year brings more challenges and I always grow and push past a new personal barrier. The experience with them has been simply life changing because of the environment they create and I can’t speak highly enough of the individuals that make up the dance company that I hold very close to my heart.
|Ember Ashe in her winning Miss Texas Pole Star routine.|
Who are your biggest influences?
My life is my studio, so I am constantly surrounded by my amazing instructors, students, performers and individuals who are also passionate about creating art in the world. I feel like everyone influences me daily on how I see the world, movement, dance, and the industry we are in. I really don’t have any main person who influences me. I truly am blessed to be immersed in an abundance of positive inspiring individuals everyday.
My favorite pole move right now would have to be a same side double knee hang. If leaves a simple pretty shape!
I have repeat on the song “As Much As I Ever Could” by City and Colour this week. I usually like mellow sad songs or soul music.
I think if it is added it won’t look like the pole dance the majority of us know pole dance to be. I see both sides of the coin when it comes to this topic, and I feel like there is space for all sides of pole to be seen in the world whether it is showcased or competition. The more pole dance individuals are exposed to (exotic, fitness, acrobatic, artistic, etc) the better in my mind, so why not?
It makes me so proud of where the industry has come in the the last few years in the USA and to be part of it is really mind blowing. I know there will be people in the audience and festival who will see pole for the first time and start pole dancing because of it. How amazing is that?! I feel so honored to be a small representative of pole fitness and dance.