Planning to Perform? Then you've gotta read this!
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
This blog was written by Georgia, an Altitude Pole Redwood instructor and performance Superstar! Follow her on Insta @ohnoyeahokay
You have just made the incredible decision to take all of your hard work and turn in into a routine for others to see. Whether you have gotten to the point of filling in that sign-up sheet thanks to peer pressure, personal goal setting, or being impulsive after a few glasses of wine, I want to take a moment to say f*ck yes, you are amazing!
As your adrenaline rush is calming down and you have actually told some friends you signed up, you may be starting to think ‘where the f*ck do I start?!’. Lucky for you, this blog is here to help you turn those work commute daydreams into your own personalized piece of art. You go Glen Coco.
If you are an over planner like me (can you tell from the very existence of this blog?), it might be useful to keep track of all the factors that go into a routine. I am going to start you off by providing some tips that I have found helpful when creating routines or even just choreography for my Pole Dance class at Altitude Redwood.
Tip number one: simply signing up or sending off that entry video is a huge achievement.
You have already taken a big leap just by putting your details on that sign-up sheet so let’s keep that bravery going! While creating a routine, that bravery is going to come and go. You are going to have days where you feel so excited that you cannot stop fantasizing about the crowd cheering but other days you are going to feel like you have made the biggest mistake ever. Trust me, no matter what, your sign-up bravery will always come back, especially when you finally hear the cheers from all your fellow Altitudians when you step on stage.
Who got this? You got this.
Tip number two: find your why.
After reading the first tip you may be wondering how the hell you can get that bravery back? Keep on reading my friend. I am about to tell you.
It is extremely easy to start comparing ourselves to others (thanks society) so when/if comparison rears its ugly head in relation to performing, it can be even worse. You may find your brain thinking about how other people’s routines are ‘better’ than yours or that your routine isn’t ‘tricky’ enough or you body looks ‘gross’ next to everyone else. These are direct quotes from my brain, and they are all simply not true. Your routine will be just like you, wonderfully unique, original, and never seen before. But how can we persevere through these challenges? Let’s remember why we signed up in the first place. Is it because you want to explore your creative side? Is it because you set a goal to get on stage? Is it because you made a deal with a sea witch and now you won’t get your voice back unless you fall in love?
That might be from a different story...
For me performing is about achieving goals, telling a story, and giving representation to curvy bodies on stage. Thinking about why I was going on stage encouraged my every step of the way until the day I performed.
Tip number three: find your music with awkward freestyles.
Okay. So, we have now worked through signing up and getting through this wild ride. How do we make the actual routine?
Choose your damn song! You may be like me and have many playlists on Spotify that I would love to perform to, but how do you pick one? If you are having a hard time choosing a single song, I highly recommend freestyling to a few songs you like and find one that feels good. It can be useful to video yourself and see how your body moves to different songs. If you are new to freestyling it will feel awkward at first but keep going even if it is just pole walking for a full three minutes, you might like the way you walk!
By no means should you be trying to freestyle a whole routine to work out if a song is ‘the one’ but you can absolutely visualize certain moves in those specific moments.
Tip number four: your story will continue to change.
Throughout the journey of creating a routine, the story you are telling will change in many different ways. It is like that the vision you had in the beginning will be very different to what happens at the end and that is okay! You might decide there isn’t enough time for the combo and scrap it. You might change the emotion your character portrays. You might decide to make it up on stage like a crazy person (just kidding, I really admire you).
Embrace the many different paths of creativity your mind will take you down. It will make your routine even more individualized to who you are as a person and the audience will love it.
Tip number five: self-care is key to a positive experience.
No one knows your brain or body as well as you do so it is key that you do what you need to do to for self-care. If you dive headfirst into your routine and train every day, you will put yourself at risk of burn out or injury. It is so normal to think that if you aren’t training every chance you get, you aren’t committed to making your routine. ERRRR (that is a wrong buzzer sound by the way) you have got to rest!
Self-care can be a range of things. It could be having a bath with a ton of Epsom salts to help your muscles repair, reading your favorite book, watching a movie, going for a walk, doing a non-routine related class, spending time with friends, getting a massage or something completely individual to you. Personally, I go on a bath bomb binge and listen to true crime podcasts so I can stress out about potentially being murdered instead. It is important to have something else you can think about instead of letting yourself be all consumed by creating a routine. If you need to schedule your life, I highly recommend scheduling in when you are going to rest and take care of yourself as it is very easy to keep pushing your body until it breaks.
Tip number six: how to balance strength and challenge
Okay so you’re looking after yourself, you have your song, you know why you’re here… what are you actually going to do on stage? I like to consider my move inventory to have a scale beginning with:
moves/combos I am confident with
moves/combos I feel okay about
moves/combos I cannot do yet but realistically could do a month from performance day.
Moves I am confident with are the ones that feel effortless and are easy to do. I can get into them seamlessly and out seamlessly. You will have loads for these from when you first started pole in level 1 to where you are now. These will likely be a majority of your routine. If you need a confidence boost, take a pen and paper to class and right down every move you can do. Dip and lift anyone?
Moves I feel okay about require some concentration and effort to know what I am doing. They also require a bit of tidying up if I were to put them into a routine. These moves will still be a fair chunk of your routine especially if they are your ‘trick’ moments. It can be worthwhile writing down the ones you really like and then you can train those final details in your routine.
Moves I cannot do yet but realistically could do a month from performance day are the moves you may want to run by an instructor. Depending on your skill level, I would only have 1 or 2 of these in a routine. This is for your safety and your sanity! Some people thrive off putting nemesis moves in routines so they have to master them while others (me) prefer to focus on what you can do right now. Being able to do these a month before performance day means that it should transition from this block, into the I feel okay block and then the confident block. There is no shame in leaving a move for the next routine if it doesn’t work out in time. You still have everything else in your move inventory!
Overall making a routine is a fun but challenging experience. Do not be afraid to reach out if you are struggling. You can utilize pole play classes or privates with instructors to boost your routine and spread the load. You are incredible and we all cannot wait to see you on stage!