Finding YOUR Pole Style
No matter your level, be it student, instructor or travelling pro, we all crave and evolve our own pole style constantly. To truly get the most benefits from pole, you have to find your style and go hell for leather with it. Here are my 10 steps on how to do just that…
1. Try every pole style
Now people know that I am not going to make you weep with the emotional life changing story that I portrayed in my performance. It’s just not my bag. However, it’s not to say I haven’t tried other styles, because I have. I really appreciate many contemporary and artistic pole performances and am in absolute awe of them. But I knew, after being challenged to perform a Teddy pose with a story-telling-edge that it just wasn’t happening- but I am still glad I tried. Teddy, for me, is just one big leg opening extravaganza. But you won’t know until you try!
2. Look outside of the Pole Dance Bubble
As with music and art, dance is inspired from dance. All types of dance. Period. A huge portion of pole tricks and movement has been inspired by non-pole dance genres. Most of my movement inspirations come from hip hop, dancehall and even ballet. I scour mainly for non-pole dance genres and always think “wow, that would look ace up on the pole”. Felix, a hero for many pole dancers, is a professionally trained ballet dancer and I’m sure she used those incredible skills to apply to the pole in a way that had never been done before. Nadia Sharif- I mean, god knows what she is inspired by! But it’s brilliant.
3. Follow The Trend
Now, I’m not usually an advocate of blindly following- BUT – if everyone seems to be following a particular pole movement trend then there is probably a reason! For example, the term “pole flow” is being bandied about like a goodun’ this year. It’s all about linking and movement. Now, I’m all up in this shit. There is something great about not being able to “name” everything that is so refreshing. Its just a natural flow from one movement to another. However, other past and current trends such as Handsprings and big aerial combos etc are just as cool to get involved in because you never know what is going to feel good for your mind and body until you try it!
4. Don’t Follow The Trend
I know, I know. If you have tried other pole styles and are definitive with the genre that “gets you” (whether it be exotic or gymnastic or whatever genre you wanna call it) then go full pelt with it. As pole dancers we spend too long worrying about including the tricks that will please the trend. That can’t be fun! It’s supposed to be fun. Dance is supposed to be about expressing who YOU are and not what you think everyone else wants you to be. Also, if your heart isn’t in it then no one will buy it anyway.
5. Get yo choons on
What music just makes you want to move? To dance? Record yourself and dance to these songs without using the pole. This way you can’t think about tricks. You just have to move. If you let yourself go, your body will create lots of movements that may surprise you. Watch it back and see what works and apply it into your routine. If you’re not working on a routine then just try to work on the “highlights” of the freestyle. This could lead into so much. And because it’s come from your own body and its natural reaction to the music, you know it’s all you and your style.
6. Don’t be afraid to do the same shit
If you have particular movements or tricks that you know feel good, then keep on doing them! Then develop them. If it feels good to do then it probably looks good too. If it feels awkward then it probably looks a little awkward. Therefore, if it feels good then it means you’re enjoying it. Which means that the people watching will enjoy it and you will be more inclined to push it even further.
7. Don’t Label yourself
I suppose I’m seen as a sexy style dancer. However, instead of labelling yourself as one particular style of pole dancer such as “fitness”, “sexy”, “contemporary”, “art” and whatever else, just go with the flow. I don’t think, “ok, I am a sexy style dancer so I will make sure that everything I do is defo sexy”. Don’t be afraid of letting your body do what the hell it wants.
8. It’s ok to share a unique style with other people
I know this is an oxymoron. However, you can share a uniqueness. I’m sure you can think of two aspirational pole dancers that dance and perform in an uncannily similar way and within the same style genre. But at the same time, both will have their own unique qualities. For me, there is room for an infinite amount of shoe bangers, extreme tricksters and tear jerkers.
9. Know your limits
I’m all for pushing people to reach for the stars (usually from my couch) and preaching that if you want that Rainbow (Marchenko) then go and get it. However, sometimes you need to be realistic. Genetics, lack of motivation, injuries, life and other things may pose too big of a hurdle for you personally. For example, my knees are pronounced and I will never get that bow in my legs that ballerinas have. Therefore, my lines aren’t that aesthetically pleasing. So, I worked on a middle split instead as my body felt and looked better in this position. So I throw my legs about in every conceivable middle split possible! It helped me to create new ways of using this shape to my advantage.
10.Â You are entitled to change your style
It’s ok to be into one thing this year and something entirely different next year. As people, we change. So as dancers, performers, athletes, students, pros- we change, evolve and revert. Just let it be in a way that feels good. Not bad.
I’m still evolving and enjoying finding my stye. Have you found yours? Let me know your thoughts!