Micki Steedman: Marine Biologist Turned Pole Champion

Micki Steedman is a Marine Biologist by trade with a BSc from University of Victora and a Masters of Marine Conservation from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand (NZ). She’s extremely passionate about marine biology and conservation, which is part of the reason she moved from Calgary to Vancouver. She moved to Vancouver to work as an environmental consultant but left that job last year and is currently a teacher at Tantra Fitness and a server and bartender at Timber.

Q: How do you spend your non-Tantra and non-pole time?

A: I don’t have much time outside of Tantra that I’m not working at Timber. I currently volunteer in the wet lab at the Vancouver Aquarium teaching school kids about marine life and I spend as much time outside as possible (when it's not raining ,haha), usually hanging out at the beach or wandering through Stanley Park.

Q: What made you interested in pole dance/pole fitness?

A: I have been dancing since I was a kid doing jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, partnering, Irish dance, etc. I stopped dancing when I moved to NZ for my Masters and really missed it. I was looking for something that satisfied the same side of me while also being something new. Pole is artistic, creative, interesting movement that I had never tried before. I took a free drop-in class and have been hooked ever since.

Q: Why Team Tantra?

A: Tantra was an obvious choice when I moved to Vancouver. It was one of the first pole studios in the world and has a fantastic reputation. They value teaching proper technique and safety above all else which is very important to me. Tantra has a great exotic dance program as well which I was really drawn to. I think it’s extremely important to keep the ‘exotic’ in pole instead of sanitizing it and making it all about pole sport. I knew I was going to Tantra when I still lived in NZ. I asked Natasha Wang when she came to my NZ studio what the best studio in Vancouver was and she said Tantra. If it’s good enough for Natasha Wang, it’s good enough for me haha. I then moved back to Calgary to figure out my life and find a job in Vancouver in order to move out but at least I knew where I was going to pole when I got there!

Q: What is it like taking classes at Tantra Fitness?

A: The classes at Tantra are fantastic. They offer so many great pole, dance fitness and aerial classes. I have been an instructor there for two years and I absolutely love it. The only problem is that I don’t have any time to actually take classes!

Q: What is the best advice you've received for your pole training?

A: To go into each training session with a plan. Have one thing to work on that you can nail in one session, one that might take a few sessions to get and one that is a longer term goal. That way you have the boost of getting something new so you don’t get depressed when the goal moves don't work out. Also, DO BOTH SIDES!!! This is something I still need to work on.

Q: What competitions have you participated in and how did you finish? 

A: I've competed in both CPFA and PSO competitions. I placed 3rd in the semi-pro division of the BC CPFA competition and played 3rd in the level 4 championship division of the Pacific North West PSO competition. Also, this June will be my first competition at the National level.

Q: After competing do you see the sport differently?

A: I have a much greater appreciation for the performances I see in competitions. It’s one thing to execute a trick or combo perfectly and a completely different thing to do a four-minute routine. It’s really hard!

Q: How do you get ready for competitions?

A: I start by making a list of all the tricks and transitions I know and trying to combine them in different ways. I usually learn a new move or two for each routine to add and extra challenge, not that I need to make things harder on myself haha. I then listen to my song a million times and fit my combos to the music before adding the in between choreography. Sounds pretty simple but it’s a lot easier said than done!!

Q: What is your next goal for pole?

A: My biggest pole goal right now is actually improving my flexibility. I have an extremely limited range of motion in my shoulders and it really affects which moves I can execute.

Q: What advice could you give to someone who is just starting, or going to their pole first class?

A: Take it slow, build up your strength and mobility, and do everything on both sides. It’s really tempting to rush through from level to level but it’s very important to be able to easily perform the moves in each level before moving to the next. Ask your instructor if you’re ready to move on and then actually listen to them.

Interested in learning from Micki? Check out our schedule to find out when and where she is teaching. Also, you can watch the talented Micki compete at the Canadian National Pole Fitness Championships which take place June 9 & 10th in Vancouver, B.C. and you can buy tickets here.