Interview Special: Sergia Louise Anderson
Ph: Alloy Images
I had the honour to chat with one of my biggest inspirations in Pole Dance for an interview: US National Champion, Sergia Louise Anderson!
Pole Dance Diary: Hi Sergia, thank you very much for your time!
Sergia: I’m so glad we could meet! Thank you for reaching out to me!
Pole Dance Diary: Please, tell us a little bit about you! Where are you from?
Sergia: I grow up in Northern California, I’m actually here now, next to San Francisco. It’s a city called Santa Rosa, it’s in a wine country area. So, my family is from here. My home base is in Los Angeles, but before I moved to L.A., I lived in New York for about 8 years and I head out to Los Angeles in about 2008.
Pole Dance Diary: I saw you also sing, is it like a hobby or do you do that professionally?
Sergia: I used yo sing professionally years and years and years ago, when I lived in New York, but I don’t sing professionally anymore, now it’s just a hobby.
Pole Dance Diary: How long are you practicing pole dance, how did you discover it and why did you want to try it out?
Sergia: I have been pole dancing since 2010. Actually, I was in Los Angeles and I was hosting alifestyle show on TV. I had been doing a lot of ballroom dancing, I used to compete in salsa and chacha. In the show, we had to cover different businesses and one of them was a pole studio. I had never tried pole dance before, but I had to interwiev this studio owner and take a class on camera and I just fell in love with it, like “this is so fun, so hard, this is amazing!” The teacher did a performance at the end and I was just like “Wow, I really wanna be able to do that”. I’ve been dancing all my life, since I was a little girl, so I started with ballet when I was like 3 or 4 years old, I grew up dancing ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, tap, everything and I ended up going to school of theatre and drama in New York City, at New York university, I actually studied acting, I have my drama degree. Then I stayed in New York where I worked as a dancer and an actor and singer. I was in school for three years and I worked for five years as a performer in New York and moved to L.A. In 2008 and that’s when I started hosting that lifestyle show. After this I had to learn pole, it was really challanging and I really don’t do it for any other reason than just for fun, pole for me was just like playing!
Pole Dance Diary: Which are your favourite moves on pole? I see you are very artistic and I really like much your expression when you’re performing, so what do you like best?
Sergia: It’s hard for me to choose favourite moves, because for me, as you were saying, the artistry of how to put the moves together and how to use the articality to push the move forward to make it feel more impactful, I like the moves to be a tool in the end goal of telling stories. So, for me it’s not about having favourite moves that I like to do, but they’re more like favourite combos, because I like to see how they can get forward and how they can move from one to another thing rather than just one still position. I love seeing how movement can be combined to create flow, to create the articallity, to create stories. What I say a lot to my students is that all the dance moves, I’m talking about the dance world, apart from pole even, like in jazz, ballet, modern, whatever, all the moves are not there to repeat them in perfection. They’re only there to give us a vocabulary in that style in which to create and tell stories. For example, a tandue or an attitude, it’s not special to just recreate these moves, it’s more special to find a bridge, how you can put this things together to create art. For me, this is what I’m more passionate about. I tell my students a lot: “Don’t make dance shapes just to make dance shapes, beacause really you use the shapes to make stories, to create connections, to create experiences for the audience to have.
Pole Dance Diary: How long does your studio exist?
Sergia: I opened my studio in 2011. I actually opened my studio before I ever started competing.
Pole Dance Diary: Do you also teach other styles?
Sergia: Yes, I teach many styles. I teach salsa, chacha, latin ballroom, partnering styles, contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, pilates, I’m getting my yoga certification in two months, so I’m starting to teach yoga as well, I teach wedding couples dance, for their first dance. Everything, movements, styles, so for me, I’m a teacher of movement, not just pole, everything (laughs).
Pole Dance Diary: Wow, you must be very busy, how do you still get time to teach workshops in other countries?
Sergia: It’s hard, I mean, most of the time these days I travel and tour. I give a lot of skype privates, like today, I gave five skype privates before meeting you, as you can see, I set up my pole in my parent’s home, so I help a lot of people all over the world, I help them with their choreographies, I choreograph for a lot of their competitions and performances. When I opened my studio, I was not touring, I was not competing, so I thought that I would be home a lot more often than I am now, so now I’m kind of trying to adjust, to figure out how to juggle everything. I need to make sure that the studio is getting the kind attention it needs, it’s really hard when I’m away from it all the time, so I’m trying really hard to figure out where to go next, whether it’s partnerships or whether it is to pass my studio on to one of my students, or whether to bring in some really good management. I have pretty good management now, but I’m always trying to make it better. So yes, it is not easy, I’m trying very hard to figure out how to balance, what the next step is. For the last four years, I have been constantly travelling.
Pole Dance Diary: And how did your friends and family accept the pole dance? Did they like it from the beginning?
Sergia: Well, it’s funny, because they are used to me being a performer. That wasn’t something new to them, I’ve been a choreographer and performer all my life, so creating movement and performing movement has always been part of my life since I was a little girl. When they saw that I started doing pole, my dad was actually a gymnast at Stanford, he was on the college team, so I grew up with a dad who walked on his hands (laughs), so when he saw the pole stuff that I did, he accepted it, he was like “wow, that is really amazing, you gotta be careful with your shoulder”. The way he was looking at it was from the perspective of a gymnast and from a sports man, so that was no problem. My mum didn’t have dance classes, but she has always been an artist. When she raised me, my mum also was finding dance for the first time, so her and I almost grew together. When I was growing up she was very envolved and she would take the dance classes for herself. We kind of grew up dancing together, so she of course understands the dancing, she owns a yoga, dance and pilates studio up here in Northern California. The only thing that kind of bothered her about it when she looked at my pictures, she would sometimes say: “Oh, hunny, that’s a beautiful picture, but I think the lines would look so much better if you wouldn’t wear shoes” (laughs), so I think it was hard for her at first to accept the high heels, but now she loves it all, she’s taken my classes before and she really enjoys it. You know, I’m really lucky.
Pole Dance Diary: What was your best experience with pole dance?
Sergia: I think I will have to say my best experience with pole dancing is this completely unexpected world, community of friends that I have been able to meet and travelling. How many warm and welcoming and supportive people there are all over the world that I get to meet and the parts of the world that I get to see. There was no plan in my life for this, this came out of nowhere, my pole dance career came out of nowhere, I was dancing because I enjoyed it and I went to competition only because my best friend was competing, too. We were each others coaches and we competed together. My best friend, Mary Kolacinsky, who is one of my pole idols, she was one of my first pole dancers I saw on Youtube that I said: “Wow, I love what she’s doing, I want to be like her”. So, when we became friends and we started dancing together, I had no idea but our styles and our artistry combined so beautifully and we were inseparables for our competition careers, and that was really the only reason why I competed, because we did it together. Then when I began to travel and to teach, this was like the cherry on the top! I thought that my dance career was done years ago and pole was what kept me attached to continueing, to be able to create movement and choreograoph and to continue dancing. I’ve been performing for a long time and pole was a beautiful and unexpected way that I was able to know a whole new community of people that I would never be able to meet. It’s all the people and the connections, and getting to see the world! I did a little bit of travelling, mostly in the U.S. Before, but pole has really allowed me to see the world.
Pole Dance Diary: Do you have any advice or message to all pole dancers out there?
Sergia: Yes, yes I do! So, one of the things I get asked a lot by beginning and intermediate pole dancers, sometimes advanced pole dancers is: “How do I get better, I really wanna get better, I’m really stressed about getting better” and my first question to them is: “are you having a good time in class?” The thing is that if you truly love something and you’re really enjoying yourself, you’re going to keep doing it. And if you keep doing it, you will get better. It’s just an accident that will happen. For me, I was never in a rush with pole. In fact, all the times that I was working as a dancer, that I would go to work and I would dance other people’s choreography, maybe in a company show for another dancer, that was work. But after that, I went to pole, because it was for fun, and I really believe that I achieved that goal because I was having a good time. When you are in a situation where you’re not having a good time, whether it’s the people, the teacher or the studio, if you’re not having a good time, if you’re not laughing, if you’re not enjoying yourself, than you won’t actually go back to class. At some point you’ll probably stop going to class very often and you will stop getting better. Really, I think it’s more enjoy the journey, celebrate every single little win and make sure you are continuing to laugh and you’re continuing to play, it should feel like play. When I found pole, I can most relate it to what it felt like when I was a little girl and I would go on the playground at recess in school and I used to make little routines on the swing sets or the jungle gym, and that’s what pole feels like to me! And the friends, the community is what kept me in it again, I competed because my best friend competed. And even until now, in my career, I try my best to continue my training, but I do that because it’s such a treat to train, it’s like: “Oh my gosh, I get to take class now, that’s amazing, I never get to take class, let’s go!”. When you become a teacher and you’re teaching so often, it’s such a treat to be able to take class, it’s just amazing! Trying to find the time to train, trying to find the time to take class, that is all fun stuff for me.
Pole Dance Diary: Sergia, thank you very,very much again, for your time and your inspiring story.