Workshops are a chance to bring a diverse learning experience to your studio, no matter where you're located.
Bring my expertise to your people.
First and foremost, when I travel to teach, I always work to cater to the needs of your community. A successful workshop is one where all the students take away skills they can keep working with on their own, for a long time after class has ended. A workshop should be an investment in skills, knowledge, and empowerment for the long haul. Below are my specialties, and they can all be tailored to your community and your curriculum. Let's discuss how I can work with your students and teachers to create an amazing workshop experience! Click here to discuss booking.
Bendy Pole: Flexibility Focus
1. Finding Active Pole Flexibility
So here's the thing. Being able to sit in a contorted shape on the ground doesn't mean you'll be able to show off that shape up on the pole. When you're working aerially, against gravity, you must have proper strength and muscle engagement to pull yourself into a beautiful pretzel. And if you think you're too strong and stiff to ever be a beautiful pretzel... You might not be giving yourself enough credit. If you're strong enough to use 100% of your flexibility up in the air, you may actually have the same amount of active flexibility as someone you'd consider "much bendier." This workshop focuses on how to engage the necessary muscles to find your full up-the-pole active range of motion.
2. Ultimate Active Pole Flexibility
OK, my already-bendy people. You wanted it, and now you're getting it. Come learn the tips and tricks for achieving the most sought-after classic flexibility tricks. We're talking Jade, Jallegra, Cocoon, Eagle, Russian Split, Spatchcock... Let me know your ultimate flexy trick requests in advance. These types of shapes that take a long time to build up to, but I can guarantee that if you practice the building blocks I'll teach you, you *will* get there. A solid split and bridge on the floor are required, as well as the ability to aerial invert.
3. Flattering Straddles
Are you ready to spreadie like the pros? In this crotch-centric class, we'll focus on stretching into your flattest straddles yet, and activating your hip flexors to take those beautiful shapes up the pole. Skills covered include flattening your legs in choppers, shoulder mounts, box splits, and more. The same principles of straddle flexibility can then be applied to all kinds of pole moves already in your repertoire.
4. Radical Straddles
Taking it up a notch - this class could alternately be named "Ultimate Spreadies." Come and get it, straddling fiends! We'll focus on beginning to stretch oversplits and front bending off the pole, before moving into complex contorted moves such as Spatchcock, Anarchy, big big big Body Spirals, and more. A completely flat pancake on the floor is required, as well as the ability to aerial invert.
5. This Is Spinal Wrap
Backbending on the floor is one thing, but doing it up in the air while wrapped around a steel rod is a whole other world. And do it right after the previous workshop, so your back is super happy and warm!Good news: the pole is actually your friend when it comes to making space in your back. When used properly, it assists you like a good friend, lengthening the spine. This workshop discusses the fundamentals of backbending on the pole, and how to "wrap" your body around it to lengthen and deepen your shapes. Target poses for the workshop will be Cocoon and Eagle, but you do not need to be an advanced backbender or poler to learn the techniques. Open to all levels.
Beastly Pole: Strength & Power Focus
1. Intro to Dynamics
One of the dangers of our Instagram-world is the high visibility of advanced acrobatic tricks on the pole, without a lot of teaching of the fundamentals. If you don't already have a background of years of gymnastics, circus, parkour, or a related practice, your body and your mind need to be prepared before literally jumping in. Finally, here is a class that gives you an accessible starting point. Come learn the basics of momentum, proper muscle engagement, spots, and bails.
2. Building Your Own Dynamic Combos
So you've started to add drops, flips, and power spins into your practice, but there is still so much mire that seems out of reach. This workshop focuses on overarching principles of keeping momentum on static pole, and how to build your own dynamic combinations that feel great for *your* body, rather than trying to mimic what you see working on other people's bodies.
3. Save Your Shoulders: Ayeshas, Handsprings & Deadlifts
There's hardly a poler who isn't working on going after some version of a handspring move. Unfortunately, these days, there's also hardly a poler without shoulder pain. These moves can cause some of the most damage to our shoulders when done incorrectly. In this workshop we will focus on learning these moves, but ALSO the nitty-gritty details of proper shoulder alignment, cross-training, and both pre-hab and re-hab exercises that will get your shoulders healthy and keep them way for a long, long time.
4. Save Your Shoulders: Spins on Static Pole
Kablam pow! This workshop will be all about making big spins happen on static pole, without killing your body. First we'll start with the principles - finding your scapular control to keep your shoulders safe, and working with tightening and loosening your grip to allow for maximum rotation. We'll work with floating "runs" around the pole to prepare the body, 1-arm body spirals, double cub grip spins to various shapes, big leg flares, and for those who want to work towards it, uber-power spins like Phoenix. Get ready to *safely* fly in a big way, and wake up the next day without feeling like you've been hit by a truck.
5. Fake It Til You Make It: Strength Tricks from "The Strong Man"
Once upon a time, as I started competing and performing regularly, I kept getting the feedback that I just didn't have enough strength and power on the pole. As someone who built my pole strength very, very slowly and struggle-bus-y, I decided to devote myself to figuring out how to fake it. You don't have to have a leopard onesie or a foam barbell to fake-out your audience. This workshop teaches the art of fakery in handstanding, arm balancing, planching, and general power-posing on the pole.
Sexy, Nerdy Pole: Focus on the Details
1. Bang Bang: The Art of Heel Clacks
Strap on your heels because it's time to WERK. This fiercely fun workshop centers around the art of the heel clack. Nothing commands a room quite like it, amirite? We'll be making all kinds of noise: heel on heel, heel on floor. You'll learn many flourishes and variations, both on the floor and up the pole. Single clacks, double clacks, triple clacks. You'll leave ready to immediately turn heads anywhere you go. And like the goddess of sexy Annemarie Davies once said, "The higher the heel, the louder the clack" - so bring your biggest, baddest platforms!
2. Shameless Freaks
This class is focused on being completely, utterly, offensively sexy. No more holding back. Let it all out, and let your freak flag fly up to the sky! Learn a freakishly fun piece of choreography, and then begin to tweak and style the moves to make them your very own.
3. Spinning Shapeshifting
Advanced Beginner and up
Learn new spinny tricks and transitions that will step up your spin pole game. We'll be working on controlling your speed, moving in and out of shapes, and special details that look extra beautiful as you rotate. Pole shorts are essential, and the ability to stay up the pole for at least 30 seconds.
4. Playing Footsy
The secret is out: I love using my feet on the pole, in all kinds of crazy ways. This workshop covers all kinds of footsy tricks you may have never even thought of. We'll cover circus climbs, prince stands, "K" handstands, Russian splits, and using the feet to assist dynamic movements such as deadlifts and jumping on and off the pole.
5. Pole Nerdery: Body Alignment, and Learning How To Feel What's Right For Your Body
There has been something of an injury epidemic in pole dancing. Especially shoulder injuries. I think in large part this is because students aren't taught how to feel the difference between a "safe" grip in a joint and an unsafe, unengaged "hang". And the fact of the matter is, all bodies are different. Some moves are just not right for everyone. By learning the difference between good-alignment feels and bad-alignment feels, you can learn when to say "Yes" to a pole move, and when to say "No." We will learn these feelings by practicing different grips and alignments in common moves, and observing different shapes and proportions on each others' bodies. The goal of this workshop is to become empowered to make the right choices for your own body, avoid injury, and continue poling for a long, long time.
Flexibility, Yoga, & Injury Prevention
1. Save Your Shoulders
If you're a pole dancer or an aerialist, you either have a shoulder injury, or are terrified you're going to develop one because you've seen so many. I've been through all manner of shoulder rehab, prehab, physical therapy, and ultimately neck surgery. There IS a better way. This workshop teaches pre-emptive exercises for you to build your shoulders in a healthy way and correct imbalances that may have already developed. Let's all keep poling for a long, long time, and poling without pain!
2. Rolling on Toys
Our pole dancer bodies are a collage of knots, strains, and tight spots. Myofascial release is one of the best ways to combat this constant problem, and lord knows there is an amazing array of toys, products, and torture devices out there to try to loosen up. I'll be bringing my extensive personal collection, as well as my favorite exercises to deal with common pole tight spots. This workshop will be set up circuit-style, with each participant rotating from one toy station to the next after several minutes.
3. Access Your Upper Back
Let's talk about one of the hardest things for pole dancers, aerialists, and basically all stressed-out adults: opening the non-cooperative Upper Back. In backbending, when the shoulders are tight, the upper back stays flat as a board. And when the upper back doesn’t move, the lower back over-compensates. (Exhibit A: The top-left photo.) If this pattern is repeated over and over, it leads to lower back tenderness, pain, and eventually injury. Liz will teach you another way: the way of the including upper back. Are you ready to get bendier than ever, and healthier than ever?
4. Access Your Splits & Oversplits
You can never have a big enough split, amirite? Whether your goal is to get flat to the ground, or to go beyond 180 degrees and find your oversplit, I'm here for you. There are many tricks to getting your hips and hamstrings to obey your command. As with all stretching, the key is to work with your body, rather than fighting against it. In a stretching flow rooted in rhythmic gymnastics training methods, we'll get you into your best splits yet, as well as understanding the principles of how your legs will continue to unlock over time with regular practice.
5. Essential Cross-Training: Yoga for Pole Dancers & Aerialists
Love it or hate it, I'm here to tell you that if you're doing pole or aerial, you should seriously consider having a yoga practice as well. We spend most of our upper body work on climbing and pulling techniques, and neglect the muscles for pushing. Over time this leads to serious imbalances, and eventually injury. You know what involves a lot of wonderful pushing exercises, as well as shoulder stretches, and uses both sides of the body equally? Yoga! And Yoga's focus on working together with the breath, calming the mind, and learning to to listening to your body more closely, are all skills we can use a little more of. Come learn yoga in a whole new way, as an essential complement to your pole life.
6. Totally Blissed Out Stretching: Flexibility Training with a Partner
One of the hardest parts of deep flexibility training is learning to relax certain muscles at the same time as keeping others engaged. Partner stretching gives you both a mental and a physical break, as you suddenly have another person to assist you with balance, alignment, lengthening the body and applying resistance. This full-body stretching class will leave you hitting your deepest bendy shapes, as well as feeling overwhelmingly relaxed. Expand your limbs and your spine, decompress everything, and enjoy.
Booking Bendy Beast
You want workshops, and I'm ready to come visit.
Are you a pole, aerial, or yoga studio owner? Or are you a student who'd like to bring these classes to a studio near you? I'd love to figure out how we can work together. I'm currently booking US and International teaching engagements for Fall 2017 onwards. Contact me for full pricing details and student minimum requirements.