The last weekend saw us hosting Erika Lemay, internationally acclaimed circus performer and acrobat at Studio Sands. Apart from gracing us with her presence, she conducted several private workshops which helped the lucky few go further in their quest for improved flexibility.

*thank you to all who have attended the private sessions with Erika Lemay!

The relationship between pole dance and circus might seem far-fetched as compared to lyra and hoop (common circus acts). But I felt the similarities and connection between her body expression and choreography and what pole dancers do. A good circus act and pole dance performance tugs on the audience’s heart strings through a relatable theme/story. And that is precisely what Erika Lemay does.

Backed by a classical background, the best acrobatic education and strong charisma on stage, Erika Lemay is known for being a true Physical Poet. In the pursuit of a real challenge and a true connection with her audience, Erika Lemay launched ANIMUS FEMINA; a full ‘One Woman Show’, a first of its genre, starring only a solo performer for the full length show of Physical Poetry. She has appeared as a Guest Star in the most important Cique du Soleil events, private galas for celebrities, Royal Families and World leaders.

Poetry doesn’t have to be expressed in words.Erika Lemay, Physical Poetry

She amazed me not only with her expressive performance and grace but also her courage to chase her dreams, complemented by her strong faith in her abilities. We learnt that it was not a bed of roses for her to get to where she is. As she had to overcome the odds and gruelling training to eventually surpass the multitude of talented circus performers to land lead roles in her early career and eventually establish a brand of her own. Her story reinforced what I have always felt – that there will always be people better than you, but the game changer is in the person’s tenacity to strive to achieve what they want. And this applies even in the realm of pole dance on this tiny island.

From the moment we met, we talked about politics and the world in general. The conversation never ceased and every moment I found myself enriched by her experience and wisdom. Even with a simple question of “what did you have for lunch?” she launched into a mini lesson on food. Of course, I walked away feeling guilty about all my indulgences (especially all that alcohol and snacks tucked away in the fridge for the bachelorette party that night) but thank goodness for my lack of body consciousness, I was good to roll into another conversation about yet another thing I know less about.

The impression she left on me still lingers and I am reluctant to remove what is left of her presence from the studio. Some time back, she became a source of inspiration for me not just because of her technique but also her artistry. What she embodies comes as a timely reminder now as I find myself gravitating towards choreography and expression, eagerly seeking out any form of innovation (as we are increasingly less impressed as we many of us have viewed all sorts of pole performances all over the internet).

Having had such an inspiring interaction with Erika Lemay, it reinforced my belief that for our pole dancing industry to grow in a more dynamic way, there needs to be exchanges and sharing of knowledge and expertise. Confining and restricting the flow of knowledge serves a commercial purpose. But the truth is, for a small developing industry, combining forces and expertise will bring forth more opportunities and growth.

Fuelled by this collaboration with Erika Lemay, Studio Sands will continue to seek out ways to collaborate and serve a purpose that is greater than our own. And we hope that more would come and join us on our journey.

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