I never watch my own videos – interview with Anna-Maija Nyman
She was a cheerleader, babysitter and promising law student who is now an aspiring pole dancing talent aiming for the top and spares no time, energy or body, as she is a perfectionist. She is the ever-smiling, super energetic Anna-Maija Nyman.
For some reason I though you were Swedish, maybe because of your posts on Instagram…
I am Finnish, but I’ve been living in Sweden for a while now.
How did you end up there?
I went there to babysit and then I decided to stay. I learned to speak Swedish there too. As I was with kids all the time, I wasn’t self conscious about saying something incorrectly or not expressing myself well. So I learned pretty quickly. I even applied to law school. I liked it but when it came time for me to write a paper about a preferred topic, nothing came to mind. I was just sitting there, trying to think of something and realized that law didn’t interest me that much at all. Pole is my passion now.
How did you come into contact with pole dancing?
I saw the first pole video ever in 2011, the one of Oona Kivela’s World Cup performance in Rio. I used to cheerlead but this was something that I fell in love with. I went to my first pole class with a girlfriend, and it was a complete disappointment as we did nothing upside down whatsoever. So the same week I went to an open practice and I somehow forced myself up on the pole into an upside down sort of position. Then I started watching videos and improving myself during freestyle trainings. I still love training, hours at a time occasionally. Better yet, I would love to be paid just to train.
Do you mean you prefer training to competitions?
Sure! I am a perfectionist and after competitions I rarely feel that I did what I wanted. I’m usually disappointed after every performance, sometimes I even feel bad for winning because I don’t feel that I was good enough. So I never watch the videos of my performances.
And yet, you enter a lot of competitions…
Of course, I like competitions, that’s where I can showcase what I know. I never really care what place I end up in, I just want to be pleased with my performance. There was a time that by the end of the routine, my mind wondered off for just a second, so I had to improvise until the end. And improvisation is not at all my thing. Some people are good at it but I only like to go on stage knowing that I rehearsed every last bit. Even if Pole Art Italy included some small mistakes I'm still very happy about the performance because I completely lost myself on stage, so performwise it's my best routine, despite some technical flaws.
You got first place in the elite category of PoleArt Italy this year.
Yes, I trained a lot for that one and everything was practiced to perfection. Sometimes I don’t have that much time tough, like Pole Theatre Greece where I’ll be competing in the Classic category. I will have about two weeks to prepare for that. I’m a bit nervous about it…
(In the meantime, Hanka Venselaar arrives and the girls are so happy to see each other… some of the joy seems to be directed towards lunch. It’s uplifting to see how the stars of the pole world can be happy for one another and support each other. Hanka went to Anna’s workshop, while Anna visited Olda Koda’s and Dimitry Politov’s workshops. )
See Anna-Maija's winning routine here from this year's Pole Art Italy: