To celebrate Pole Heart 3rd anniversary, I invited Marlo Fisken for an interview.
I met Marlo in 2014 in Lisbon and since then I have been learning from her.
Marlo is one of my greatest inspiration in my pole teaching journey. She has a vast knowledge in dance and movement, she is an outstanding and inspiring teacher and also a beautiful person with great values.
First of all, thank you for accepting this interview in celebration of Pole Heart 3rd anniversary.
♡You don’t need to be presented to the Pole Dance community, but can you introduce yourself to new students?
Hi! I’m Marlo Fisken. I’m a lifelong movement lover who has studied dance for 30 years and taught pole for 13 years. I love to help others find play, passion, and flow in their practice.
♡ How and when did you start your journey in Pole Dance?
I took a class out of curiosity after a friend mentioned it. I didn’t love the class, but I immediately knew that I had a future with the pole so I bought one and started practicing like crazy.
♡ How Pole Dance changed your life?
Phew! I consider it the best choice I ever made. Pole brought me to people all over the world I love, it completely changed what I believed my body was capable of, and it allowed me to create a unique career.
♡ What inspires you to keep working with Pole?
So many things...I love the feeling of continuous movement around the pole. I still feel like I have only just begun to explore—that keeps me coming back. I plan on pole dancing for the rest of my life and I am excited to show the world how flowy an old lady can be :)
♡ What inspires you to move and dance every day?
I believe that my role in this lifetime is to guide others into a healthy relationship with their bodies and their environments, which of course involves a lot of movement. My practice is highly motivated by the example I set. To be a great teacher, I must always be researching, growing, and trying things that challenge me. Also, I am a better version of myself when I’ve been moving; my energy is lighter, more present, more patient, and more playful.
♡ What is your life’s philosophy?
“Where is the humor in this?”
Humor, especially when times are tough, requires taking a stepping back and seeing things from another perspective. Humor is a form of wisdom that’s often undervalued because there is a common notion that if there’s laughter and play, it’s not mature or intellectual enough to be “right”.
Humor is one of the most powerful ways for people to connect and understand, and embrace, differences. Yes, of course, some issues are serious and laughter is inappropriate. But far too many trivial things are made unnecessarily serious and pretentious. When humor isn’t an option in everyday situations, everyone suffers.
When we laugh with others, we create a meaningful connection. When we can laugh alone, and see the humor in owr own struggles/suffering, we go out into the world with a better attitude.
I believe that when we choose to explore and see the humor in whatever we are doing we are more connected to the energy that most serves the human collective.
♡ How do you describe your teaching methodology?
“Return to your body and be here, now”
This approach allows me to be fully present with the group. When I’m grounded and in my body, I can be in a movement dialogue with the others in the room-rather than being in my head or making self-centered choices.
This methodology also guides how I craft a class and cue movement. When a group of people is attending to their bodies and sensations, they feel safer, more creative and it allows for a Flow state to emerge in the group.
Also, when we are honest about what our level is today, we are more likely to avoid injuries. I am interested in both pushing against limitations and making sustainable choices that will allow us to move well long-term.
♡ What can someone expect from Pole Dance, meaning why Pole Dance and not any other activity?
Pole dance provides an opportunity to grow in many directions at once. In a single dance, you may do things that will make you stronger, more mobile, more sensuous, and more expressive.
I don’t consider pole a “style” of dance/movement; it is a place of movement. With the pole, you have the chance to grow as an athlete, an artist, and a person.
Plus you get to make circles. So many circles : )
♡ How would you like to see Pole Dance evolve in the next years?
I’d like to see more instructors who are able to teach a wider variety of people, such as disabled, elderly, and fat-bodied people. Even though pole dance is most strongly associated with high-level athletes it is an ideal activity for those who need support or tactile feedback. There are many lower-intensity ways the pole can be used, but those approaches are largely unexplored.
Additionally, I’d like to see the pole dance audience/practitioners/teachers understand that their judgments of others are worth investigating. When someone decides that something is “ugly” or “wrong”, they need to consider how those judgments may contribute to larger societal issues such as ableism, classism, heteronormativity, racism, sizism, ageism, destruction of the ecosystem, and so forth.
♡ You taught a workshop at Pole Heart and you also had some training time; can you share your thoughts and feelings about the experience at the studio?
I think Pole Heart was one of the cleanest studios I’ve ever seen. After teaching in hundreds of studios in 70 countries, that’s quite a statement!). For me, a clean studio is symbolic of the fresh start that the owner wishes to provide the people visiting.
♡ I organize Lisbon Pole Camp and you were the Pole Star Instructor in 2014 and 2015; can you share some memories from those experiences?
I remember a lot of excitement in the huge room we were in. There were people from many different nations, including some places where I had no idea there was pole dance. It was an honor to get to work with and be greeted so warmly by people from all over Europe and the Middle East.
♡ Can you share with us?
A picture that inspires you.
102-year-old Eileen Kramer
A video that inspires you.
Chey Jurado: One of my favorite dancers:
A song that inspires you.
I want this song to continue on for 10 more minutes. interlude by Wafia, Ta-Ku, and Thrupence
A book that inspires you.
I recently read and LOVED “Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World” by Tyson Yunkaporta.
This book brilliantly presents an Aboriginal worldview through the English language.
A fun fact about you.
I began scuba diving when I was 10 years old (illegally). You had to be 12 at the time but they said I looked old enough. My first dives were shark dives in the Bahamas.
Marlo has amazing contend that I suggest everyone to follow on her website https://flowmovement.net/ and social media.
Pole Dance, Movement & Fitness Studio.