INTERVIEW WITH @POLEMONKEYS
We got the chance to interview Matilda Wiklund and Leonie Liljefeldt who are the girls behind the instagram account @polemonkeys – a page where they share great pictures of pole doubles. In this interview they share their pole dance journey, why they recommend the workout and some of their future goals. A special thanks to photographer Jocke Fransson (@jfphotos_net) for all the beautiful pictures!
Names: Matilda Wiklund & Leonie Liljefeldt
Ages: 24 & 22
From: Sundsvall, Sweden
Occupation: Engineering student & Graphic design student
How did you two meet?
We actually met at the pole studio last year. Feels like we have known each other forever so it’s a bit strange to say that we barely knew each other one year ago. The pole studio we used to train at arranges a pole show after each term for every student to participate in. We were the only ones in our group that wanted to perform, so we ended up doing it together. It wasn’t long until we discovered that we shared the same kind of humour and that we enjoyed to create pole choreographies together. We still remember that performance as one of the funniest things we have done together, and it also sets the start for our friendship. Now we see each other more like sisters than friends.
How did you first hear of pole dancing and do you remember your first pole class?
Leonie: I remember that one of my classmates in high school suggested that we should try pole dancing, but that never happened for some reason. After I graduated I took things in my own hands and finally booked my first pole class. Trying pole for the first time was beyond exciting, it was so different from all the other sports I had tried. I think that I expected pole dancing to be much harder, I don’t mean that pole dance is easy but when I started I thought that everything was going to be extremely hard. I had this idea in my head that it was all about strength and flexibility, but I soon realised that it’s also a lot about the technique you use for different moves. I quickly saw progress with my training and I think that’s what made me want to come back and develop even more.
Matilda: For me it was more of a coincidence that I bumped in to my first pole class. One day I accidentaly came across an Instagram post saying something like “One last spot left, beginner pole starts tomorrow”. So I just booked that last spot thinking it could be fun to try something new. I turned up to the studio the next day with no expectations at all and I had no idea of what to expect from a pole dance class. It felt a bit strange to even hold the pole at first, and even the easiest spins were hard for me to do. It was not easy in the beginning but it still was so much fun at the same time. I saw it as a possibility to challenge myself and as a fun way to workout and to get stronger. I had never even done a single push up in my life before and I had never been flexible. Seeing all the talented and strong girls in the studio really got me motivated. The other thing that kept me going to the next classes were all the nice people I met there and all the fun we had together during the classes.
What inspired you to start couple pole dancing together?
We both came to a certain point where we felt like we weren’t developing as much as we would like. We wanted to do something more with our training so we decided to start an instagram account together and figured out the name @Polemonkeys. From the start the idéa was to share the fun things we did together and our first post was a video of us doing pole doubles. After receiving so good response we started to realise that pole doubles could really be our thing° Today our account only consists of pole doubles we’re doing together. We often recreate things we see other pole dancers do, but we usually make our own versions of it. We love to share the things we do and that we are able to inspire others.
Do you have a favourite pole trick?
Leonie: I don’t really have a favorite pole trick but I love doing flexy tricks and drops. The reason I like drops so much is because they give me a bit of an adrenaline rush. I also enjoy creating flows and combos with simple and beautiful shapes that are less painful.
Matilda: I love all tricks that requires a bendy back. One of my favorites is Russian Layback but I also love Allegra. It’s Impossible to pick just one and I change favorites all the time. I always prefer to dance on a spinny pole so all tricks that will keep the speed up are also in my favor.
Have you ever done a pole performance? If so, how was it?
Leonie: I’ve performed a couple of times at the pole studio. It’s in a very relaxed environment so you don’t feel the same kind of pressure as if you would go up on a big stage. I would love to perform more outside of the pole studio as well, I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to come along.
Matilda: Actually I had my first pole performance besides the ones we had in the studio recently. I performed at a nightclub event as a little surprise for their guests. I’ve been wanting to perform for real for so long now so I’m glad I finally got to do it. I received so good response from the audience that watched my performances and I also got so many nice comments from both girls and boys. Of course can the nightclub environment become a little messy but it was still one of the most exciting things I’ve done when it comes to pole and I would love to do it again° Next time I hope to share stage with Leonie, I’m sure that it’s not that far away in the future for us now.
How has pole dancing positively affected your life and why would you recommend it to others?
There is plenty of reasons to start pole dancing. To start with, none of us have never been as strong or as flexible as we are now. Being able to do things we never thought we could do is so empowering and it keeps us motivated. Let’s not forget to mention all the amazing people we have met, and if it wasn’t for pole we would never have met each other° We would highly recommend pole dancing for anyone that are looking for a fun workout, or for anyone that might be searching for new friends or for anyone who wants a challenge. Pole dancing is such a good sport since you always have goals to work towards, and when they’re reached there’s always new ones. The feeling of nailing a new trick, or to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you thought, is priceless.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pole dancing but might be afraid to try because of either their shyness or body self-image problems?
Trying something for the first time can be a bit scary for all of us. If that’s what keeps you from trying pole dancing, ask a friend to go with you. It always feels a bit better to have someone that knows you by your side. If you are afraid that you don’t have the right body type, please don’t be. You don’t ever have to worry about being judged by anyone, going to your first pole class you will meet all kinds of different people. Pole dance is a sport for everyone, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. Whether your conditions are, pole dance will bring you progress both physically and mentally. So, if you want to try pole dance, please make sure to do it. Whether you like it or not you’ll be proud of yourself for trying something new. And if you do like it, you might have find yourself a new passion in life – just like we did!