Why Pole Dancing is awesome and other things
This month our studio focus has been ‘Free your Style’ October. We’ve focused on free time and freestyling – two things about pole that I love.
But how exactly do you free your style? Or find your style? Or freestyle?
Firstly, I asked our Altitude instructors for their advice. At the crux of it, Michelle Kasey hit the nail on the head –
“At first it may seem that freestyles should come naturally to you. It actually takes a long time to establish your movement pathways so you have a repertoire of moves to bust out. So if it doesn’t come easy at first, you aren’t naturally shit at freestying – it just takes practice”
– Michelle Kasey.
This is it in a nutshell.
It’s like when you see someone post a selfie and they look picture perfect....that shit is practiced! Hours in front of cameras and mirrors finding angles, lights, expressions that show off the things they like most. Freestyling is similar. While some of us might be able to just hear the music and move straight away, most of us hear the music, imagine how we might move in our heads and otherwise stand there. Especially, if there are other people around. The trick is practice, and promptly stopping giving two shits about what you look like, how you feel about what you’re doing and what others around you are doing.
I vividly remember competing in Miss Pole Dance NZ 2011 and getting a beaut 4/12 score for dance. I thought yup fair enough I agree with that and decided to spend the following year working on it. I freestyled constantly, close to most days – at least every time I was in the studio – for about a year. I filmed and filmed and slowly over time I got more fluid in my movement. I don’t suddenly look like I’ve done dance for 10 years, but whatever, it’s definitely better and I LOVE freestyling.
If you have a pole at home, or if you bring head phones to the studio in the free time you have, stick on music you know and like, move to it, film it then watch it. You’ll probably cringe and have a few laughs but you’ll be surprised at the goods in there too. You’ll soon work out what shapes and movements that you like the look of and what suits your body. Keep those movements, do them again, tweak them, find ways in and out of them and slowly but surely build up your “movement pathways and repertoire of moves to bust out”. When you become more confident with this, branching out to things like dancing in heels, trying different dance styles or music or moving in new ways, becomes less scary and more exciting – yet another facet of pole to play around with.
For some extra sweet tips check out what our instructors had to say -
Rosie – Restrict the number of moves to 3-4 so you don’t get a mental block. Just get used to moving, using pause for dramatic effect etc.
Tash – Try dancing with an object, or you’re not allowed to wipe your hands but if you do, it has to be incorporated into your dance e.g. grab a towel mid step around, flick it up and dance with it.
Mel – Try and remember it’s just you in the moment – no one else counts.
Sarah – Create a rule and no matter what move you do, make sure you comply with the rule even if it feels silly. For example: always looking at the audience, always extending your left arm, always blending one move into the next.
Michelle Kasey - Using music you know at first so you can tailor your movement and add extra sassy hair whips, split drops, kicks etc when they are most impactful and feel like a billion bucks.
Ultimately, there are many styles of pole dancing, and you can embrace any which of those styles your mood at the time desires, or that you take the time out to focus in on and become comfortable doing. This is what makes pole dancing so different to anything else; it is not confined to one singular genre of dance. You can pole dance in a way that feels provocative, sexual, flirtatious, sensual, theatrical, emotional, lyrical, comical or acrobatic and badass, whatever floats your boat.
You can be wearing heels one minute, bare feet the next and socks later on and likewise you can be wearing as much or as little as you feel like; going from thigh high boots and something cheeky one minute to fully covered for some slidey fun flow in the space of a few minutes.
Pole, is basically awesome for self expression.
For just a few contrasting styles of pole these guys are great -
Bethany Findlay for gymnastics badassery
Olga Koda for exotic flow, Russian styles.
Marlo for her seamless, sultry, confident flow
Maddie Sparkle for that classic Aussie style
Evgeny for contemporary flow, strength and acrobatics
Elizabeth Carmine Black for oozy sexy flow
Yvonne Smink for static rotation, shapes and creativity
Carlie Hunter for theatrical, often comical performances
And even then, it is worth noting that each one of those dancers, can dance across lots of other styles too – they are never simply confined to ‘gymnastics badassery’ the possibilities are endless.
See, pole dancing is awesome.