Getting to Know Jeni Janover – Co-Founder of Liquid Motion
UPA: Tell us how long you’ve been pole dancing and what types of activities or exercise were you involved in before pole?
JJ: I have been pole dancing for three years this March. I was a competitive figure skater when I was young and that’s probably why I don’t get dizzy on spin pole. And I am classically trained in ballet and Jazz. I credit my very strong legs to growing up jumping and dancing. After college I became a gym rat, trying to lose that “freshman 15”.
UPA: What was is specifically for you that drew you into pole dancing?
JJ: Well …..I was in my mid-thirties and I had just finished losing the baby weight from my second son. I was feeling SO frumpy, and I had forgotten what it was like to be a sensual “wild woman”. My life was diapers, daycare, and poop. I am also happily married for 8years, but at that time in my life sex or any other sort of physical contact was off the table. I was either too tired or feeling undesirable. A friend of mine thought I should take a pole class after I had mentioned it in passing. It was something different and since I used to be a wild woman, I gave it a shot. It saved my life physically and mentally, it saved my marriage and gave me purpose beyond motherhood. I found what I loved and what worked for me as a normal every day stay at home mom, and I felt I needed to give back. I am convinced that if I hadn’t taken the big first step (I’m sure your readers know what I mean) I would be lonely.
UPA: There are times lately where you feel like “you want to throw in the towel”, can you tell us a little more about that?
JJ: Oh yes. I recently injured my shoulder, quit badly. I have a new business and lots of tour dates, I was training and getting ready to expand. I had lost sight of the future I wanted and started to get wrapped up in the “new trick fix”. I had some health issues when I was younger that left me with some long term damage, and consequently, I am very prone to injury. So BOOM! I injured my shoulder. I got greedy, if you will, and NOT for money. I wanted that next trick. I wanted to be like the 24 year old girl who started 6 months ago and had passed my level 100 times over. I forgot what I had loved and what I teach!!!!!!. I forgot where I had come from, and how I was doing things at one time in my life when I could say “If I can just do that I will be amazing!” and that was enough for me. I lost my focus, and paid the price. It’s now been 12 weeks I still can’t use my right arm, and I might need surgery. This is something I have to come to terms with, and I will figure it out. I cry all the time wishing it would heal. I have good days and bad. Because of this last injury I have wanted to throw in the towel so many times these last few months. Thinking how will I ever come back from this? Thinking I’m not good enough and feeling lost in a sea of tricks and very strong young bodies. But then I taught a Liquid Class ….. And there it was right in front of me: why I love what I do. I help people realize that they can also be amazing. I sweat, I yell and scream through my class “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!” I was the drill Sargent of free movement. Then they danced and I cried. I cried because it was so beautiful to watch them grow because of what I taught them. Sometimes injury or hardship makes us really look into ourselves and see what we really want, and what is really possible given our circumstances. Do I still want to throw in the towel every time I wake up and I can’t use my right arm the way I need to? Yes. But do I give in to it? NO NEVER.
UPA: Pole dancing is hard sometimes. What challenges have you had to face recently? When you first started pole dancing, what types of challenges did you face then?
JJ: Well I did have a lot of health issues starting out and with the help of my good friends and peers I have gotten through it. But I deal with the things we all do, the balance between life and pole, Family and pole, and drive vs obsession or as I like to call it …….LIFE. Yes, LIFE got in the way of my pole LIFE. I live in CT with my husband and 4 and 6 year old boys. I have an 18 year old sister and two very wonderful but very involved parents. I made choices. I teach, I started and run my own business, and I am a stay at home mom. This does not leave a whole lot of time to train. I fall into the FB trap, I compare myself, as we all do, to the girls or guys who just get in what seems like no time at all. But then I think, “Wait a second, considering all the other things I do and the amount of time I can logistically put in, I’m doing great!” I realized that my biggest challenge is myself. As for the pole stigma, sure I deal with that all the time, and now I just say “Screw it”. I don’t have time to deal with society’s shortcomings. No lap dances for them ….. Just kidding.
UPA: What would you say to someone who is feeling like “throwing in the towel” when it comes to these types of challenges that you have had to deal with?