Exclusive Interview with Karol Helms

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Of course, as all of the people in my life know, Karol Helms is my pole IDOL!

Some of Karol’s pole achievements include USPDF 2012 Pro Championships 3rd Place, USPDF Miss Sexy 2010, and USPDF East Coast Champ 2009.

When I got the chance to do a Q&A style interview with my idol, it seemed like I was asking the questions as much for myself as for other PoleFreaks readers!

I know you have a variety of music interests. How do you go about choosing a song for a performance?

First, I find songs that speak to me in some way. That all can depend on the mood im in at the moment! lol For me, a good performance song should have a few different levels and/or tempos that you can play with to make your routine as interesting as possible. Sometimes, just because YOU love a song, doesn’t mean it will be interesting enough for an audience to watch you dance to for 4-5mins! haha

How do you practice technique while also being safe and not totally hurting or wearing down your body?

PoleAthlete.com has a great approach to practicing pole technique properly. And I really recommend reading all the articles Alvin has posted on his site. Essentially, just GO SLOW! You have to learn to walk, before you can run, and you have to learn to run before you can sprint! Proper warm ups and cool downs are essential, as always just listen to your body! Just because you want to do a move, doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is built to do that move!

When you are performing do you have something that you focus on? Do you have a special place in your mind that you go to?

Do you have a special tradition before taking the stage? Hmmm, well as far as special traditions, I have crazy sweaty hands and feet so right before I go on stage im always layering on Tite-Grip and DryHands and patting my hands with a dry rag!! haha! When im on stage I think I focus the most on the music and how it makes me feel and letting that come out through my choices in movements.

Because of the stigma against “pole dancing” how do you handle explaining to “outsiders” what you do? What are their reactions?

Back when I started competing, it was always a struggle to explain to a “non-pole” person what the real appeal to pole dancing is, or even to get them to realize that there were regular people all around the world who pole dance for fitness was a far-reaching task. Nowadays, its better. I think we all have to credit a lot of people for that, (Alethea Austin, Jenyne Butterfly, Felix Cane, just to name a few) but I think Steven Retchless being on AGT was a huge, huge, deal for our lil Pole world. It seems to me that before that, only women polers had been featured on the show, and no matter how amazing their performance it was always put into the “sexy stripper” box, OR, not even shown at all. Steven changed that by showing america the “artistic, dancey” side of pole, and that it can be as amazing as any other style of aerial dance. Steven was a guy, “not a female sexy stripper” and that was different and made people take notice and appreciate pole on a different level that they had before.

What helpful hints and suggestions would you hand down to other polers? What advice do you give the non-professional who just do it without the hopes to perform. In other words, why should they keep poling?

Don’t compare yourself to other pole dancers. Period. Pole for YOU and YOU only and compare yourself to YOU! Im guilty of comparing myself to other pole dancers that I think are amazing, then beating myself up. But then you need to remember, that everyone is different and you should just strive to improve yourSELF and showcase your own strengths, not strive to be like someone else. Everything worth having comes along with hard work, sweat, tears, bruises and pain..! When shit gets hard, keep going!

How do you keep enthused about pole dancing? What motivates you?

I go through slumps with my pole dancing. I think a combination of things motivate me. Seeing all my lil baby polers starting to enter competitions, seeing the hard work of others keeps me working hard as well. Music motivates me too..!

I know you’re extremely active in other areas of your life. Do you do any other sport besides pole?

Growing up I was a dirtbiker, rollerblader, and I ran track in Jr. High and High School. Now, besides pole, I still love to rollerblade (although no ramp jumping or rails these days!). I am in love with Fly Gym right now, as well as cross training on Lyra (aerial hoop).

A lot of women have difficulties with flexibility, what advice can you offer those of us that are not bendy?

Again, don’t compare your progress to the progress of others. Everyones body capabilities are different, but if you train and stretch properly, anyone can increase their flexibility. Will I ever be able to stretch enough to be as flexy as a Valentino brother…? No, but I can work with what I have and again, showcase your strengths and things you DO have!!

I know you enjoy cooking and painting. When you’re not doing those things or poling, what do you do for fun and entertainment?

Hmmm, well there arent many days where my life doesn’t somehow revolve around pole every waking moment, but I love to camp, hike, and just be outdoors in the woods with nature. That’s relaxing to me. Im not a huge party animal, so I would pass on a night at the club to stay at home and cuddle with my kitties on the couch watching Game of Thrones, or TrueBlood or some other show im addicted to at the moment!!

What have you found to be the most rewarding part of pole dancing?

The most rewarding thing about pole dancing for me is accomplishing things that you never thought you could do and finding that strength to conquer every challenge that arises. It’s a great life lesson. When shit doesn’t go right, try it on the LEFT..! 😛

How long do you plan on being in the Pole dancing spotlight? And which do you enjoy more, the performance or the anticipation?

Well, I never anticipated being in the “pole spotlight” this long. But I am humbled that I have the opportunity to continue to be a part of the pole community as it continues to grow and change and evolve! I feel like the pole grandmother, now watching all my baby pole dancers grow up and take flight and become SO amazing!! It really does make me feel whole.
I definitely enjoy the performance more.

I’ve taken a workshop from you and learned a lot. What do you benefit more from, workshops and group classes or do you think private lessons are more conducive to learning?

It just really depends on what youre comfortable with. Some people take workshops and learn a lot of fun new things to practice and work on, but its usually not super specific to what “you” need to personally work on. So in some cases privates can be better to get more one on one attention. I feel like you learn more in a private that is specifically catered to you, where in a workshop or group class, there is usually an existing curriculum that is taught (with a few variations depending on student skill level).

You are known for the slow and intoxicating way that you effortlessly move and the stamina and strength that radiates from your dances are overwhelming. When did you embrace your sexy, sleek and slow technique? How did you “find” it?

Hmmmm, well, a lot of people may, or may not know this about me, but I found pole dancing as an exotic dancer in the clubs. Growing up I was a tomboy, so when I first started dancing in the club it was hard for me to “be” sexy, much less keep from falling flat on my face in those heels! I watched other women, and tried to emulate little things that I found sexy in them while trying to also make those things feel sexy for me and my own body and how it wanted to move. Eventually, I began to explore on my own, creating moves and movements often times by mistake! I did this the hard way, by being thrown on a stage and told to be sexy. So do it the easy way; put on a good playlist of some sexy grungy rock (or whatever) and light some candles, have a beer (or 2), and dance like there’s no one (or an audience with dollar bills) watching!

Lastly, and for my own personal knowledge… How do you make falls look so easy? How do you practice falls?

Falls are actually a contradiction! Most of them never really involve “falling” in the traditional sense; its all about control!

I really want to thank Karol for her time. When I was first introduced to pole, I gravitated towards her style and you quickly became one of my all time favorites in the industry. I want to thank her for being such a positive role model. Karol, your fans adore you and it’s clear that you adore them.

For information about Karol’s upcoming events – visit polepraxis.com. or her Facebook Page.

Contact Karol directly here to arrange private pole tuition.

Category: Interviews

About Stefanie Decker

Hi! My name is Stefanie Decker and I Pole Dance.

I have always been into fitness. Having taught Pilates for 3+ years, I was in excellent shape. I was seriously injured in a car accident and had to stop working out altogether because I could barely walk, which resulted in low self esteem, depression and overall poor health.

I was invited to a 'Pole Party' a coworker was having. Feeling obligated to go, I did. I'm thankful I did because I've been addicted to Pole ever since. Poling is one of the hardest workouts I've ever done. The cardio in itself is ridiculous. The strength I've gained is immeasurable and the confidence is ever growing.

It's fun, it's challenging, it's different and it's instant.

Pole has changed my life in so many ways. I'm confident in my own skin, I pay more attention to my body, I appreciate myself and I not only feel like I'm AWESOME I know I AM! :)

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One Comment to “Exclusive Interview with Karol Helms”

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