Get to know your Instructors: Nate James

Everyone has a “Pole Story” in what brought pole into their lives and how pole has helped forge their path. Here we will be sharing those stories and answers to questions that all of you want to know about your favorite Oakland Pole and Dance instructors and how they got to where they are today.


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What does your training bag look like? What are the things you never leave home without when you go to train? 
My vibrating foam roller and peanut!!

What are your favorite things to do in your warm up? 
Active Flexibility drills to get my body open and warm and ready to werk!

Right before you go onto to stage to perform what  do you do to get hyped up? 
I still get butterflies every time I perform, so, I like to ground and center myself with a little self-affirmation meditation.

How many takes does it really take for the awesome videos that you post on Instagram?
Omgoddess! Like, 100 at least!! Like everyone, I’m perfectionist and it’s NEVER perfect! Even the videos I post, usually, I’m like, “Well, hopefully no one notices! 🤷‍♂️”

What is your favorite trick that you like to do on the hoop?
I anything spinning super fast! My favorite position, however, would have to be inverted Bird of Paradise.

What inspires you most? 
I’m inspired by so many things! My students inspire me to be innovative and look at things with new perspectives, my incredible friends inspire me with their dedication to their craft and determination to succeed, I’m inspired by nature and all her beauty, and also human interactions and the connections we all share. 

What move has given you the worst bruise? 
My worst bruise every come from stretching actually! I was being pushed in an over split and tore my hamstring and the whole back and inside of my leg was black and blue for weeks!!


What has been your favorite aerial/pole performance? And why? 
Rachel Strickland’s “Petri Dish” act was probably the single most inspiring moment that led me to want to make art and perform it and tell stories with my work.

Who is your biggest aerial/pole crush. 
Ugh this is soooo hard!!!! Pole-Seanmichael Rau Lyra-Rachel Strickland/Sylphie Ariella/Stephanie BaileyRope-Alex AllanSling-Dan SaabStraps-Patrick Wood/Elena SandersTissue-Leela MasuretJust to name a few! 

What is the most difficult thing about keeping up with your training? Most rewarding?
Learning new skills! I get so comfortable with my same old tricks I rarely go outside my comfort zone and learn new things. The most rewarding is how much better I feel when I keep up with training in my body, mind, and soul.

How are you trying to shape aerial/pole arts as it is emerging as a more mainstream form of fitness?
By trying to help my students be mindful, form good training habits, and learn to listen to their bodies by developing a deep mind/body connection.

Would you ever date another aerialist? 

How long does it take you to choreograph a piece? 
It varies depending on the theme. Sometimes it takes an hour other times it can takes months!

Do you do cross-training on other apparatuses as part of your conditioning? Pole, pilates, etc. How much time do you train outside of aerial/pole? 
Soooooo much! I’m a firm believer in cross training I spend at least half my training time doing things outside of my aerial training.

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What was the first trick you got on pole/aerial? 
My first “big” trick was a salto-star drop on aerial rope/tissue

How much time do you put into flexibility training per week? 
I spend at least 2-3 hours 6 days per week (total=12-17hrs/week) on flexibility training as I said it’s not something that comes easy for me so I have to really work to maintain it.