Pole Instructor, Champion and Glamour Babe
Annie Norris to me was just a girl, a girl I had met on a forum one day, who likes to pole dance. [quote float=”left”]She was always very nice and supportive to everyone and always offered sound advice whenever asked, but I didn’t really know who she was.[/quote]
Annie gave an absolute knockout performance which stunned the crowd and she was marvelled at for her unique style and impressively strong tricks. The ‘robot dance’ quickly became legendary and soon everyone was talking about ‘Annie Norris’. Since then she has ranked very highly in National Pole Dance competitions, become an X-Pole girl, been on the cover of countless magazines, had a judging spot at the UK APP competition and offers live performances.
This year at LIW, I managed to pin her down and ask her some questions about life, pole, robot dancing….and those massive boobs!
Candy & Chrome’s Interview:
Tiny: Hi Annie, it’s great to see you here again at LIW 09, as you know I have been doing some interviews lately and would love to steal you away for a little while to as you some questions so people can find out more about who you are. Firstly………how old are you?
Annie: I’m 23
Tiny: And how long have you been pole dancing and how did you first become interested in it?
Annie: Hmmmm….it’s a complicated answer; the answer I’d like to tell everyone is: [quote float=”left”]I have been pole dancing since 2005, after my first lesson with Pantera.
When I was with Pantera, it was the first time I realised you could even go upside down on a pole! I didn’t even know that before then![/quote]I first started pole dancing when I was 16, but my instructor didn’t teach me to go upside down or do shoulder mount or anything like that, so I had been pole dancing a while but actual tricks since 2005 really.
Tiny: Why wouldn’t she show you all that?
Annie: Ah they would mostly just say that it was too dangerous and stuff like that.
Tiny: So do you think that that’s maybe why you have had such a passion for tricks now then?
Annie: Yeah, coz then I saw Pantera perform and thought ‘Oh my god…..what?’ I had no idea any of that was even possible. I remember thinking that I would never in a million years be able to learn that but then now I can do the Aysha no problem, and it’s my favourite move!
Tiny: Yeah…. When I first started to pole there were very few DVD’s on the market, but Pantera was the first one I bought and I put it on thinking I was going to be brilliant within hours but the first trick she teaches was….and Aysha! (Advanced move).
Annie: Yeah I know!, so being with her made me realise that there WAS more, and knowing that I had been held back made me want to DO more!
Tiny: Cool. So….you are self taught mostly yes? A Youtube pole dancer!?
Annie: Errrm….obviously all the spins I can do I have been taught, and I have had lessons from Pantera and Felix but there was so much stuff I just DID that I later found out was an ACTUAL existing pole move…..Like the iguana, I was playing with handstands and I thought that was a bit crazy, then someone told me it was an Iguana move. But I did also watch a lot of videos and got a lot of ideas from that.
Tiny: So how did you progress?
Annie: Normally my boyfriend helps me a lot, and also I do a lot of training with my students, like Hayley who is in the UK Amateur competition.
Tiny: You have since entered competitions in the UK and been awarded second place. How do you train for your competitions?
Annie: I choose my music, sit myself in a dark room for an hour and just listen to it. [quote float=”left”]Because I freestyle a lot (in certain comps), so KNOW your music.[/quote]When I say freestyle though, obviously you can practise with the track on, but I don’t dance to a set routine for competitions generally, so the more you dance the more it all flows together.
With the competitions this year, it’s going to be quite cool because I am doing a load of stuff that I wouldn’t normally put together, I’m not putting in certain overused moves…it’s all been done, so I’m going to do something a bit different.
There are some things I am keeping the same though because now everyone is expecting a robot dance again surely! (Annie Giggles).
The below video includes said robot dancing!
Tiny: I saw that at Pole Diva’s! That was LEGENDARY! What will be the next one you enter?
Annie: The British Isles comp, Miss Essex and Pole Diva’s.
Tiny: I’ll see you again at Pole Diva’s then! So, who do you think will be your toughest adversaries in these comps?
Annie: At Pole Diva’s I think Karen Chaudry, and Sasha Kavaleva, they are both AMAZING with the tricks, they are both tricksters, but the thing that I have that is different from them is that I will be doing a lot more dancing and performing. So it’s going to equal out I think.
And for British Isles and Essex, it’s gotta be Sally Ann. I came second to her last year and to be honest I didn’t mind because there are two main people who have inspired me in pole dance and that is Pantera and Sally Ann, so to come second to her was a dream in itself! So if I come second to her again, that would be amazing.
Tiny: Tell us a bit about your studio Pure Pole, I noticed you now offer tricks instruction? What does that involve?
Annie: Yes, I do group classes, usually mixed ability so everyone can work on what they want but I do also have a group for complete beginners.
We do an hour and twenty minutes work out, it includes a 15 minute warm-up, 15 minutes of spins, 20 minutes of tricks, 20 minutes of practise time and then a cool down.
I also now do routine classes, and I don’t think anyone else really does that. I work on encouraging free styling, like for the first half an hour I would get them all moving and shout out random combinations of moves, then for the rest of the time we stick the music on and I try to get them creating on their own. [quote float=”left”]I think this is better than doing set routines because if you learn a routine….and you forget it, you need to KNOW how to carry it on again without it looking uncomfortable.[/quote]
Tiny; That’s exactly what I tell my girls all of the time, it’s ‘safe’ to build a routine to a set piece but then it’s set to just that one song and if you can’t remember the steps it all gets messy. Then I suppose that’s why you and Sally stand out when you dance, lots of it is so flowing and natural. SO….what are your top tips when learning new and difficult tricks?
[quote float=”left”]Don’t expect to get it straight away, I have been trying out the Yogini (bastard Yogini!) and I had been trying it for weeks with no luck but then suddenly I just got it yesterday pain free![/quote]So just when you think you won’t ever get it, it will come along!
Train both sides too….train the Aysha both sides, then straight edge etc… because other wise you can injure your arms.
Tiny: I suppose if you get used to only one arm you’re sort of limiting yourself really?
Annie: Definitely, and also, for competitions if you do a handspring, then you go around and do another handspring on the other side people will be like…’what’? How amazing would that be?!
Oh and for the 2 knees, lock your knees and point your toes!
Tiny: Let’s talk about your other triumphs…you do a lot of glamour modelling, tell us about that.
Annie: I started glamour modelling when I was about 18, got offered some really good deals but got with a really bad man, so I stopped for 2 years.
Also, obviously the more you train on the pole the bigger you get, and I’m a big girl anyway, got lots of muscle plus I have got fat on me as well, so it was hard to get back into but I did get work – I was on the front cover of 100% Biker Magazine (A magazine published by the very same company that Tiny used to work for in her original day job coincidentally!), I did Loaded and Maxim, Daily Star, Sports tuff so I did do a lot of thing but they are mainly looking for catwalk models nowadays really, rather than curvy girls but I did it and I can say I have done it. But it really is difficult because there are so many girls willing to do it for free now, just for 5 minutes of fame. So not a lot of people get paid for it anymore.
Tiny: And do you have any tips for pole dancers wanting to be glamour models?
Annie: Obviously if you are getting more confident and you want to do glamour modelling, be VERY careful because the comments you can get can be devastating….I have been called ‘fat’ on numerous occasions, they’re quite harsh. So if you’re confident enough that you know you’re not fat, I’m not fat – at all! I am curvy, but not fat……then just go for it, you need to have ZERO inhibitions or hang ups about yourself.
Tiny: By the way are yours natural? I have to ask….
Annie: Yep they are! But when I take this off they go down to my knees! (Annie giggles) they get in the way though!
Tiny: I have to be honest you do get a lot of notice for that in the pole circles a lot!
Annie: Yeah, people tend to grab them quite a lot too! Only for fun never offensively!
But tips for glamour modelling, erm…Never pay out for anything, if you’re on a shoot and someone wants money from you for something don’t give it to them, glamour modelling can be done for free, or they should pay you so NEVER pay out for anything.
Tiny: Not even for the pictures or the make-up or anything?
[quote float=”left”]Nope. Do the make up yourself, flick through magazines, practise, and try out what you like.[/quote] But photographers, good ones you will find on Model Mayhem or something like that because you are giving YOUR time to THEM for free, which means they should GIVE you the pictures as they can then later make money from that.
Tiny: Thanks for that tip. So who is YOUR pole inspiration?
Annie: Pantera! And Sally Ann Giles would be in my top two for inspiration. Sally Ann more for her dancing and I’m glad that she performed in 2007 because there were a lot of dancers following down the same path then, and if not for Sally Ann so would have I.
Tiny: Let’s talk about your moves, what are you working on at the moment?
Annie: Drop splits, but sort of off the pole, in a way that I’ve not seen anyone do before, so I’m hoping that this might almost become a signature move. And also lifting everything, rather than kicking.
Tiny: What do you think the future holds for you?
Annie: Oh I dunno! I would like to gain a little more respect to be honest, just to have that little bit more respect for within the industry for what I do, would be great, and I just love teaching people, that’s my main thing, I love teaching the handspring and the knees.
Tiny: Ah!!! Anyone will tell you that they are my two biggest adversaries! I have got the handspring now but I had a bugger of a time getting it, and I still can’t do the two knees for toffees!
But that’s me so…..What do you think will happen with pole dance in general in the future?
Annie: UNFORTUNATELY I think we are going to see a lot more gymnasts and ballet girls getting into it and it’s going to become out of reach for a lot of people which I think will put a bit of a downer on the whole industry.
So I think for the future of competitions rather than offering people categories to enter in, they should look at background ability, with so many gymnasts and dancers entering competitions, it makes it very unachievable for regular pole dancers now, people who started pole dancing from scratch without any prior training or disciplines. So when my students ask me where to look for inspiration I show them Sally Ann rather than Felix – Felix IS AMAZING, but she does make me want to close my laptop! (Annie Giggles)