February 17, 2020
*waves arms* Jessica here, I had the pleasure of meeting Candi backstage at PSO's 2019 Northwest Pole Championship. We were competing in the same category and chatted briefly while warming up. All the usual niceties - Where are you from? What do you do, etc. Except, I had already searched Candi's stage name on YouTube and I already knew she was an incredible performer and mover. Her Low Flow piece that day did not disappoint. She wound up taking a very well deserved first place and I had cheered myself hoarse. When we started listing out inspirational movers we wanted to know more about her style and strength were definitely at the top of our list.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Candice or Candi Marie ( @candancetv )! I discovered pole when I was 18 and a Freshman in college, but I wasn't able to afford classes at the time. When I was 23 and working full-time, I took up pole again as a way to make new friends and find a new hobby that would allow me the freedom to dance and workout at the same time. Now at 29, I've been pole dancing for seven years, teaching for 6 years. When I'm not pole dancing, I work as a behavioral health program manager and spend my off-time with my cats, playing video games, exploring the city and museums, attending concerts, and traveling.
What kind of mover are you?
My style has evolved over time. I started as a power and pole sport dancer to connect to my love of gymnastics. I eventually discovered sensual movement a couple of years later. I attempted to combine the two over time. As of now, I blend a heavy mix of static rotational flow with slinky floor movement and basework with the occasional power trick mixed in between. My goal as a mover is to never stop moving. My flows never quite have an ending or a beginning, and a lot of movements flow into each other.
What motivates you to move?
Music. I'm not exactly sure what came first: My love of music or my love of dance. I find that the two are intrinsically linked. I tend to connect emotionally to music first, and that connection creates a feedback to my body.
What are your go-to warm-up and cool down rituals?
For warmup, I always have to do a full-body, head to toe warm-up. I tend to do an active stretch warm-up that combines both strength and stretch, but I treat it like a dance routine. If I listen to slower music, I move so slowly I feel every muscle stretch. If I listen to fast music, I tend to move faster and throw in more cardio. I also make sure to foam roll and do trigger point release. For cool down, I tend to do more passive, static stretches and some floor movement, kind of like a mix of yoga meets sensual floor work. It keeps me grounded. I always like to turn the lights down and put on softer, more melodic music. It helps me focus on my breathing too.
Who has previously or is currently inspiring you in movement? And why?
Marlo Fisken has been and continues to be a huge inspiration for me. I'm a huge fan of static rotation, and her innovative transitions and low flow has inspired my own love of low flow. Other dances that have had a huge impact on my style development is Crystal Belcher; for the emotion and intention she puts in her movement; Dalijah Franklin; similar to Crystal in that her emotion and intention in her movement has inspired my own artistic intention, along with her creating the BGP movement; Phoenix Kazree; another influential dancer who inspires me with her strength and grace in her movement and tricks. Sasja Lee Fierce; for her strength and her grace in combination with her sensual movement; Elizabeth Carmine Black, for her technique regarding isolation and sensual movement; Heather Williams [Butter & Filth], for her watery, buttery flow that has inspired my own watery flow; Bendy Kate, for her insane handstand work and fluid trick transitions on pole; Yvonne Smink, for her insane, inspirational style and transitions. And that is just to name a few.
Can you tell me about a favorite movement moment you experienced and what made that moment so special
In 2018, I did Champ Level 4 and won first place. I remember feeling somewhat unsure of how this routine would be received as a championship routine since the focus wasn't on insane tricks per se, but how the routine flowed as whole and evoked emotion. The very first moment of my routine included a flow where I went from standing next to the pole to a backward pirouette down to the floor, then a toe rise from the floor. It was the first time as a dancer and a performer that I really think I found my specific style of flow. That particular transition I reused in several routines after and influenced my particular style from that moment on.
What is one thing you never go to the gym/studio without?My headphones. Sometimes I really need to remove myself from my external surroundings to focus and will pull them out to listen to music to get more grounded in my movement/workout.What does diversity and inclusion in your movement practice mean to you?As a black female pole dancer and mover, it's really important for me to be seen as that. I don't intend to be a standout, but I do find it very important to highlight that that black pole dancers be seen as innovative movers and influencers in the community.
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