Interview with Zandalee by Sara Wielenberg
When Zandalee got engaged in November of 2018, she wanted to lose weight for the wedding and decided it was time to try pole dancing. All it took was one class to get hooked. “I was so sore,” says Zandalee, “but I was so excited to think one day I could possibly do ‘that’. I didn’t know what ‘that’ was because I was just watching but it was amazing. I felt the work out and I felt accomplished after seeing what I was able to do.” Although Zandalee didn’t lose a lot of weight like she thought she would, she gained muscle and so much more.
About two years before starting pole, Zandalee fell through a porch and partially dislocated her shoulder. She tried physical therapy and working out at the gym in the traditional way. “Nothing helped,” she says. “I couldn’t lift a gallon of milk without being in pain. Just being able to climb the pole was a huge first step.” Now she can use her arm again. She says pole conditioned her arm for everyday use instead of repetitive motion—the way one trains at a gym.
“I’m not your average size pole dancer you normally think of when you think of pole dancing,” she says. “I have short arms, big boobs. [My instructors] have helped me learn to move with the type of body I have. I have a very strong knee pit grip. They were like, ‘You can drop into inverts no problem.’ They’ve really helped me become more confident in what I do and who I am.” Zandalee began inverting by lowering into position and she hopes to soon have a consistent invert from the ground.
Constantly in competition with herself, Zandalee always seeks new challenges. She competed for the first time last January at the Land of Lakes Pole Festival and says, “It was so terrifying but such a rush and so much fun.” She wants to see more beginners entering competitions. Beginners often think they can’t do anything stage-worthy yet. “You think, ‘It’s not like I can do anything cool.’ Which is something I still struggle with,” says Zandalee, “but what you’re doing is a goal for someone else…You have so much more to offer than you realize. What you may find easy, others may find difficult.”
On October 24th, Zandalee performed an exotic piece for a virtual Halloween show. “I never thought I would do exotic…I don’t consider myself sexy.” Now she thinks she may have fallen in love with the style. She still plans to try other categories to see what else she likes. “I always like to give myself the push outside my comfort zone.”
Zandalee often hears the same excuses when she asks others to try pole, but she says, “You don’t need to be a skinny Minnie or super strong to start pole dancing. You’ll get the strength. Pole is for everyone.”
You can follow the lovely Zandalee on Instagram: @zandalee_may