Pole Dancer Natasha Wang
Natasha is the 2010 USPDF West Coast Champ! Way to go, Natasha!!
How did you first get into pole dance?
A girlfriend dragged me to an intro class at S Factor about six years ago. I felt, in a word – RIDICULOUS. I giggled nervously the entire time, and just wasn’t comfortable with my body and sensual movement of any kind. But I kept at it for the female camaraderie and exercise, and pretty soon and much to my surprise, I’d turned into this pole-scaling monkey. I LIVED for that once-a-week class. My dad’s a martial arts instructor, so it’s probably in my blood, but I was not an athlete growing up. Pole dancing was my way of fulfilling those childhood dreams of being a ballerina or a circus acrobat, and because of its subversive element, it was like having a secret no one knew about.
I was a once-a-week student for about 4 ½ years. It wasn’t until I joined Be Spun two years ago that the real addiction started. Now, barely a day goes by that I’m not at the studio. And if I’m forcibly taking a day of rest, I’m still coming up with choreography in my head on my way to work or as I’m going to sleep. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s classified as an addiction!
How do you learn (pole dancing classes, DVD, Youtube …)?
I don’t think there will ever be a point in my pole dancing journey that I want to stop being a student. I’m learning constantly – whether it’s from my teachers, other students, YouTube, Jamilla DVDs, workshops – I recently took a few Chinese pole classes with a circus performer in San Diego named Steve Gale who’s opened my eyes to a whole different world of pole performing.
You are a member of Girls Next Door, a pole dance troupe. What has that experience been like?
The experience has been so fulfilling creatively. I’ve met an amazing group of talented women who give so much to the show – they’re literally baring their souls on stage every month. We have a really tight Girl Next Door sisterhood.
Being a part of the show has been so key in helping me develop as a performer and dancer, and I consider my very first Girl Next Door performance in March a huge turning point. I danced to a song by Lykke Li called “Time Flies” that explores a pretty heavy subject – a mother’s heartbreak and lost youth. Building the story around that song and finding a way to emote that on stage was the moment I discovered who I was as a dancer. After so many years trying to adopt a style that wasn’t me or trying to fit into a category, I’d finally found movement that sat well with me.
What do you like to do when you’re not pole dancing?
I work in public relations, a life I keep completely separate from this one! My colleagues are so supportive though, and have seen me perform. They see the beauty and athleticism involved, so they definitely get it, but society can still pass judgment, so until I can mention pole dancing in a business meeting without getting snickers, I’m keeping this hobby on the down-low professionally for now.
As for hobbies outside of work and pole, my fiancé and I are huge cinephiles. His tastes tend to run more obscure – think German and South Korean art house films – while I have a guilty pleasure for period flicks and anything from Merchant Ivory.
What is your dream for yourself in pole dancing?
I think every pole dancer dreams of being recruited to join the circus!
Favorite makeup tip:
Classic red lipstick never goes out of style and looks great on stage and on camera.
Barefoot, sneakers, or platform heels?
I’m of the barefoot camp, but had to re-learn how to dance in heels for my compulsory round at USPDF and I have to say, it’s rekindled my love of the high heel! There’s a power and sex appeal that comes with wearing “stripper shoes.” And while I still prefer to go barefoot (I do a lot of tricks that use the soles of my feet) I’ll bust out with the 7-inchers if I’m feeling playful or badass.
Favorite grip enhancer:
I got a sample of Dew Point in my goodie bag at Tri-Pole Challenge and it’s been my go-to product ever since, but I still rely on Firm Grip on certain contact points if I’m doing particular moves in which having a good grip means the difference between a perfect routine and face-plant disaster.
Pole dance move that made you proudest to learn:
It was a huge coup when I finally got the twisted grip lift! I think I squeed for weeks afterward every time I did it successfully.
Pole dance pet peeves
This isn’t too original, but flexed feet. Nothing ruins the lines more.
Favorite treatment for bruises and sore muscles:
Arnica gel and lots of rest.
Favorite music to pole dance to:
Arcade Fire, Ray LaMontagne, Jonsi, Florence and the Machine, Hot Chip, Cat Stevens, Queen, LCD Soundsystem.
Weirdest place you’ve ever poled:
A girlfriend rented out a bondage club for a birthday party a few years ago that had theme rooms, like a hospital room with an operating table and a school house complete with those torturously small desk chairs.
Listening to my iPod and running the routine in my head over and over. And lots of slow, deep breaths when I get on stage.
Who would you most like to have in the audience when you pole dance?
My fiancé Brett.
Who is your hero or role model?
In the pole dancing world, Oona blows me away with every performance. I get really emotional watching her. In the “real world,” I love the poet Sharon Olds. She’s my hero because she explores weighty subjects in her writing – relationships, abortion, female sexuality – but in real life, she’s like this quirky happy woodland sprite oozing positivity. I admire people who can make difficult art but who aren’t sad sacks in real life.
What are your favorite words of encouragement?
Since this is a pole dancing interview, I’ll make this pole-related. As hokey as it is, whenever I get on stage, I actually say to myself, “Be one with the pole.” It helps me connect to the pole as my instrument or dance partner, and keeps me from being nervous about having to perform in front of an audience.
Favorite pizza toppings:
Soy cheese – it sounds disgusting, but melted, it’s like béchamel sauce.
Cupcakes or ice cream?
Strangest pole dancing question/comment you’ve ever received:
(Eek – pass. Too many opportunities to open a can of worms here!)
What do you like to do when you’re not pole dancing?
Sleep. It’s my reward for the toil I put on my body. And I like to dream.
Anything else you’d like to share:
Just that I freaking love this sport. I didn’t grow up doing gymnastics or dance and I consider myself a fairly late bloomer as far as fitness is concerned. I didn’t start exercising until I was 29, and this was after years and years of doing literally nothing. The closet thing I got to exercising was elbowing crowds at a sample sale! Now, at 35, I’m winning my first titles and physically pushing myself further than I ever imagined. It’s pretty unbelievable.
Natasha Wang gives a pole dance performance you won’t want to miss – catch her at the 2011 USPDF or see her at Girl Next Door.
And, if you liked this interview, you should also check out the interview with Kelly Yvonne, founder of Girls Next Door.