Meet Kaya Zakrzewska – Kaya teaches regularly at Pole Flow Berlin and is one of our core team members. Just a few years ago Kaya started taking classes at Pole Flow, and now she is sharing her on growing knowledge with dozen of pole students all around Berlin.
Kaya (29, she/her) is a pole dancer, teacher and performer. She has been teaching Pole Dance for about 2.5 years, out of which approximately 2 years teaching at Pole Flow Berlin.
Kaya’s classes are known to be exciting, fun and creative. With her bubbly personality Kaya makes everyone feel welcome, and mostly not to take themselves too seriously.
Kaya began her career as an actress, then fell in love with Pole, and since then it’s become a major part of life and is now both a full time career and passion.
But where did it all begin? We sat with Kaya to ask her a few questions about her Pole Dance teaching and performing story.
Before you started pole you were mostly working as an actress for tv and commercials. When did you first become interested in Pole and who were some of your first teachers?
It was a complete zufall (*coincidence) that I came to my first class (at Pole Flow!); a friend (Larsie) convinced me to come with him. I had vaguely wanted to take aerial classes while I lived in Los Angeles, having harbored a childhood desire to join the circus, so I found the idea thrilling but also totally foreign. My very first teacher was Lee Tom and the second was Annie Whamond. I remember my first class: I crawled across the floor (to get water because I was so exhausted by the warmup I thought I was going to throw up? Or perhaps because when given the opportunity I instinctively travel with my butt up and head down?). Lee Tom said I was a natural. Look, I even crawled in an exotic way! I was so flattered that this hot, terrifying(ly), talented woman thought I was a natural(!). Pole dance is exactly how my body wanted to move. Realizing I could be a dancer the way I wanted to do and not be a ballet dancer/more traditional kind of dancer, was such an enlightening moment. Before discovering pole dance, I had a very narrow view of what constituted a professional dancer, I thought it had to involve international touring, modern dance companies and Lincoln Center or prima ballerinas or Broadway.
Writer’s note: Kaya’s mother is a professional Ballet and Modern dancer and teacher. Much of Kaya’s earlier knowledge about dance was influenced by growing up in this environment of the professional modern dance world.
At what point did you decide you wanted to become a teacher and what was your motivation? What other careers did you experience before?
Lee Tom was the one who suggested I could become a teacher and I liked the idea. One day a friend had me cover her classes while she was on vacation. Even Though I had a slight panic attack before my first class, I did really enjoy it! I was an actress before (and during and now and forever, because once an actor always an actor) but less professionally these days. I still do occasional projects directed by friends, some commercials and voiceover work. I was a little lost and unsure whether I wanted to continue in that direction so pole dance gave me a new focus, a new form of creative expression and a new way to perform and explore a skillset (dance and movement) that I had ignored for many many years.
What is the best part about teaching pole for you? Which classes do you enjoy teaching the most?
The pole dance community is one of the most inclusive, supportive, creative, exploratory, kindest, craziest communities I’ve ever encountered and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of it.
I love all of my classes and the students who attend them. Each class serves a different function and gives me a different joy! My beginners classes are wonderful because it’s so powerful to be able to light the spark of pole love for someone for the first time and guide people in the beginning of their pole journey. My more intermediate classes are so, so fun to teach, and to prepare for, because I learn things too, and my exotic classes are deeply personal and help foster my own creativity, which is exciting.
What is a challenge for in teaching?
Writing my rechnungen (*invoices). Time management. The importance of instagram and social media. Toeing the line between presenting something new and challenging and the importance of repetition in learning. Remembering to keep learning myself and integrate that new knowledge into my warmup, my classes, my own practice.
How has your experience as a teacher affected your pole dance career?
Being a pole dance teacher has connected me to a community of creatives and collaborators, dancers but also people in all kinds of fields who bring their unique abilities to the table; it’s all very inspiring and has been very fruitful for me artistically, personally, professionally…
Quite apart from who I am as a pole dancer, being a teacher has given me a lot of confidence and made me confront my discomfort with responsibility. I never felt like I could be an authority on something, I was always more of a team player so to be responsible for other people’s safety and learning is a tremendous gift and privilege that I take very seriously.
I teach quite a bit and it can be challenging to evolve as a pole dancer and develop my own skills simply because I don’t always have the time or motivation after teaching to train on my own.
How do you feel your knowledge and experience in acting has affected your teaching style and performance?
I am very theatrical and enjoy musicals and storylines which has been a great help whilst choreographing and creating. It has informed the kind of choreos I enjoy making. In the future I would like to meld the two principles together and do more pole theater pieces.
Teaching as well is for sure a mini performance, so experience in acting and being on stage was very helpful in terms of that.
What is your #1 tip to students who are just starting with pole?
Try not to judge yourself, or compare yourself; have fun and don’t be afraid to be silly or to fail or fall. You are in a safe space and even if you don’t feel wonderful in the beginning, try again and again. It will all pass and change and soon you might actually feel wonderful. There is no prescribed way to dance sexy or be strong so this is all yours and your expression.
You have been teaching at Pole Flow for about 2 years. How has been your experience teaching at pole flow so far?
Pole Flow is my home and my community and it is such a pleasure and an honor to teach here. Pole Flow is where I was born as a pole dancer so it holds a special significance in my life. It was my gateway to another Lebensbeginn (*Life beginning) and where I met many of my dearest friends and met one of my soulmates: the pole.
What other activities do you enjoy doing when off the pole?
Talking, listening, socializing, reading reading reading, writing (rarely), drawing, kissing, shopping, cuddling, dancing, escaping and experiencing and dreaming.
Thank you Kaya for the wonderful talk and beautiful insight into the pole teaching world. We were intrigued by your answers.
We feel so lucky and grateful to have you in our team!
If you enjoyed reading this interview you might also be curious to check her wonderful classes at Pole Flow Berlin: every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
If you have any more question or comments to Kaya feel free to comment below or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org