I was very excited to be able to do three workshops with Yvonne Smink at the Pole Rocks studio in Bookham this weekend. I had booked it up as soon as I found out about it, and was really excited to go.
I first came across Yvonne Smink when the video of her winning performance at the Dutch Championships in 2014 (video below) went viral and was amazed by her strength, skill and unique performance style.
As it got closer to the event, I saw so many people posting about how brilliant her workshops were, which only made me more excited.
I had a week off pole before these workshops (I needed a post competition break), and these were my ‘back to pole’ classes. It was a three hour drive down there, with a cheeky dog on my lap (I wasn’t driving!) and a few stops to let him have a little escape from the car. I made it down with 20mins to spare and was happily greeted by a few friendly faces I had met the previous time I was there.
I never really know what to expect from workshops – even when you read the description, you are never too sure what kinds of things you are going to be taught. There’s also a difference in levels – one person’s ‘intermediate’ is not the same as another.
I took all three workshops on the day – why not?! One was intermediate to advanced and the other two were advanced. I was a bit worried (as I always am) that I wouldn’t be good enough to do anything, but I always figure that if I can’t do things on the day, at least I know how to practice them when I get home.
The three workshops I did were called ‘Dynamic Tricks ‘N Drops’, ‘Combo & Spin Fun’ and ‘Grip & Flip’. I’m not going to tell you what we learnt but I will tell you this: I learnt A LOT!
Every time Yvonne showed us something, I was amazed – as was everyone around me. You could tell that people were thinking ‘how on Earth am I ever going to do that?’ – or at least I was! But every combo was broken down into manageable chunks that made each move doable.
The thing I enjoyed the most about these workshops were how unique they were. There might have been a move I had tried hundreds of times before, put into combinations that I had never even considered. There were moves and transitions that I’d never even thought about. Each move or combination had a twist that just made me think ‘wow.’
I managed to give every move a go. If allowed (and I was), I always try to film the instructor and then myself (I always film myself) attempting each move so that I can come back to it at a later date and have another go. I’m not too sure that I managed to get anything perfect, but I don’t expect to! I did managed to pull an amazing array of faces though! I love to go along, learn new things and then be able to practice them over and over again at home.
I was especially thrilled to give the ‘grip and flip’ class a go, as I’m usually rubbish at these, as I have no idea what I’m doing… and I get a little scared! I now feel a lot more confident to go and try some flips at home – with a 6’6 spotter, of course!
The best thing about the day was that Yvonne made sure she came around to see everyone doing each move and to help them, or give tips to improve, which is quite rare. It was nice to be able to feel better about each move, or that you are on the right track. I did accidentally give Yvonne a light kick as I was trying one of the more dynamic moves though – sorry!
I learnt so much from Yvonne. I learnt how to give old moves a new twist, and how to attempt new moves that I had no concept of before. There were so many cool combinations and transitions all broken down in a way that made them easier to understand.
I’ve got a lot to work on, but feel a lot more confident in giving them a go. I’m super achey today (the day after) but I’m blaming that on the 6 hour round trip 😉
If you get a chance, it’s well worth popping along to one of Yvonne’s workshops. She’s really lovely, approachable and will tell you which moves are going to hurt! 😀
Thanks Yvonne! I hope to pop along to another of your workshops soon 😀