Kitty Velour is a splittastic, glitter covered filth monger who is taking the world of authentic pole dance by storm. Having won the Professional Category at last year’s Authentics competition, Kitty has been teaching workshops, dancing in music videos, modelling and generally being an all-round, ass shaking winner. Being the eager beaver (and slightly kiss ass) fangirl that I am, I caught up with Kitty to ask for her tips on how pole dance helped her develop from a country bumpkin into the Queen that she is.
- Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start pole dancing and what made you want to start?
I started pole dancing when I was 16 (in 2012) and I really wanted to learn to dance, and I tried a few different styles of dance – ballet, jazz, contemporary – but only really fell in love with pole! I’d also seen this video on YouTube of Leigh Ann Reily and I was so obsessed with it, and I just knew I wanted to move like THAT.
- Throughout your pole journey, at what point did you really feel yourself coming into your own as a dancer and finding your own style?
I started stripping when I was 18, and I think all of that stage experience made me into the dancer I am now. There’s nothing quite like freestyling on a stage every night for an audience that pushes your dance skills to the next level! That and wearing seven inch Pleasers for eight hours straight, it makes you pretty good at dancing in heels haha! So I think since then, and since I found heels – I just came into my own. And even before I had a pole, I’d always dance in my bedroom on the floor and slide around.
- How would you describe the Kitty Velour style of pole dancing?
It’s incredibly sassy, splitty and stripper style of course! I’m really inspired by Dancehall and that raw U.S. stripper style of pole dancing that you find in Atlanta and Miami. It’s funny because other pole dancers will describe my style as very raw and sexual, but Dancehall performers I’ve worked with think I’m very elegant and ‘pretty’ haha so I guess I amalgamate the extended lines, and grace of more Classique pole with grittier elements like twerking and flexed feet!
- What experiences during your career as a dancer helped mould and shape your signature style?
Well as I already mentioned, stripping massively! I think I’m quite a visual learner, so by watching other girls on stage I would try and mimic, and experiment with aspects of their movement. Dancing for someone when you’re trying to seduce them is such an intense thing too, and that’s really molded the very sexual and saucy part of my dance style. Dancing for music videos is pretty much always freestyle too as there isn’t set choreography, and when I perform for club nights in London that’s also freestyled as it’s often long sets of improvised movement to music you’re not familiar with, so all these things have pushed me to be very good at thinking on the spot and working my dance around what the audience responds to.
- You’re an absolute natural on stage! What tips do you have to us pole folk who are still finding our feet when it comes to performing? Have you got any do’s and don’ts?
I love performing! I think you have to remember that when you’re on stage that you’re a QUEEN – you are in control and enforce that. If it’s freestyling then it’s just practice practice practice, so you can learn to adapt in any situation. If its choreography, then you need to rehearse it until it becomes muscle memory so when you blank (which we all do!) then your body just takes over and knows what to do. I’d say DON’Ts DON’T stop! If you fuck up – carry on! & don’t let it show in your face. No-one will know! Besides you come to realise that as a performer your routine will hardly ever go to plan, that’s the nature of performing – it’s unpredictable! You might blank and forget the routine, the stage might be smaller/bigger than anticipated, the pole might be a 50mm instead of a 45mm, you might accidentally kick an audience member in the face (okay maybe that last one has just happened to me haha) but it’s how you recover carry on from these unknown factors that makes you a true performer! DON’T beat yourself up or criticise yourself post-performance. I know it’s easier said than done, but remember for the 10% of the routine you might have not quite nailed, there is another 90% that you aced! DO’s DO have fun with your routine! Breathe, enjoy it! Slay! DO embrace your nerves – it means you care and its okay to feel that way. Channel that!
- Along the same lines as performing, what tips do you have for dancers who are trying to find their own unique style?
It’s all about experimenting with different styles! Go to workshops with dancers you admire so you have a foundation to work with, and from there learn to understand what your body does and does not like. For example I LOVE splits, so I utilise them all the time, it’s about playing to your strengths. Although that’s not to say you shouldn’t push yourself out of your comfort zone now and again. I think workshops are great to begin with, but I find now that I’ll learn something from someone else and think hmm this doesn’t feel like me, this feels like someone else’s movement and not my own! Freestyling on your own is the best way to discover your own style, and this may take some time and that’s okay. Your style will grow and change and evolve. You just want to expose yourself to as much content as possible and play around.
- What advice do you have for dancers who don’t feel their making any progress and may be at risk of losing their Mojo?
We all lose our mojo sometimes. I lost mine massively when I stopped stripping cos I just didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t a stripper. But it came back, and it’s these times that you have to ride it out and it makes you relationship with pole stronger. At times when I feel stagnant I like to go and do something else like aerial hoop or take a dance class, sometimes this break helps me to shift focus, and then I come back to pole re – inspired!
- When in your dancing career did you really fall in love with pole and want to take it up professionally?
I don’t think there’s a defining moment when you become a ‘professional’ although I’ve had to compete at professional level, due to stripping before I could even shoulder mount! I think when I moved to London in 2015 is when I really wanted to spend all my time dancing and make it a career. I left everything behind that I’d even known, and moved to the biggest city in the country from a teeny, countryside village in Devon! I always wanted to do it, I just didn’t know how. Making pole dance a full-time career is something I’m still working on, it’s a journey!
- How do you feel about being an inspiration to amateur dancers who are just starting out in their pole careers?
I feel like it’s such an honour! And I’m so glad that I can be a source of inspiration to help others pursue their passions.
- Finally, what do you love most about the pole universe?
I love the power that pole dancing enables us to have; the self-love and sexual ownership of dancing! It moves me so much when people tell me that my workshop them made them feel better about themselves or that one of my performances inspired them to take up pole dancing. It’s such a precious thing to have be able to have that effect on people, and I treasure that the most about the pole community – the way we build each other up and inspire one another to be badass as fuck!