The joys and woes of preparing a pole piece. Mainly woes. Basically woes.
Most pole dancers will put together a pole performance piece at some point in their pole journey. Whether at professional level or student, I reckon that most of us go through the same painstaking, gruelling, soul sucking process. How many do you agree withâ€¦â€¦?
1. Endless Possibilities Stage
This is the exciting part. As in, the part where we haven’t done anything yet. Our imaginations run wild with all of the amazing tricks and death defying flips that we could do that will be remembered by all forever and ever, amen. Sure, we haven’t actually ever tried 90% of the stuff that we plan to include and the other 10% is stuff that we have tried but can’t actually complete to full standard yet but we think, “fuck it, I’ve got aaaages to practice. The show/comp is months away yet so shed loads of time.”
We also think, “I am going to make sure I practice the routine for at least 6 days a week for at least 2 hours at a time”. “I am so up for being like the guys on “Got To Dance” that say they practice for 10hrs a day until they can’t walk. That is soooo going to be me”.
2. Paper Stage
So, that first month of practice time kind of just disappeared somewhere. But it’s cool because there is still quite a while to go til the big day. This is where we start to write the 35 trick combo with flips for practically every spare beat on a nice clean white sheet of paper and a pen with a cute heart dangling from the top. Alongside the Guinness World Record Combo is a list of 25 other tricks that you want to draft in-between everything else. The main issue here is deciding where to put all these extra listed tricks. Right now, you feel spoiled for choice. That’s comforting.
3. Dip The Toe Stage
So another month just came and went without you noticing since you wrote your list. Slight panic but it’s the alarm call to actually take your leggings off and try out the list on your sheet. Ok, session over. What was achieved? Well we sat and chatted about the routine with everyone else for an hour. That’s progress right? Then I watched the videos of everyone else doing the tricks that I want to do. Then I had a little bash at a couple of them. Failed. Did some nice Beginner spins to make me feel better.
4. Realisation Stage
After repeating the previous stage approx 3 times, realisation hits that 80% of the combos and tricks list on that clean A4 sheet with lovely handwriting are just not possible for your body, flexibility, style or in the time frame you now have left. Fuuuuuck. Ok so it’s time to re-evaluate. Commence with scribbling, changing and halving your lovely World Champ routine.
5. Dip The Toe Stage Part Two
Time to try out your new, more realistic sections. Chat a lot, stretch a bit. Leggings off. Grip on. Fuuuuck. Still too hard.
6. Realisation Stage Part Two
Re-scribble and re-write the routine to contain stuff that you know you can actually do with one or two tricks that you may get by the time show day comes. A bit miffed that the one hand somersaulty thing has had to go but at least I can actually realistically perform the new routine.
7. Â Mind Block Stage
How do I go from standing to the floor? How do I go from the floor to standing in 0.2secs? How do I get from this pole to that pole? Why do I have so much/so little time to fill this verse? Why have I forgotten everything I have Â EVER learned/created. All the stuff I loved suddenly seems PROPERÂ shitty. I bet no-one else has mind block. I bet everyone else started their routine 8 months ago. I bet the crowd will be silent with disgust.
8. The Thick Of It Stage
Ok, the routine is practically made (any time between 1-4 weeks prior to show day). Time to run it throughâ€¦. What. The. Actual. Holy. Fuck. Did I just run a 4 minute marathon? Why do I want to die? Why do my limbs feel like they don’t belong to my body? Am I really this unfit/unprepared/rubbish/doomed?
9. Plough Through Stage
The stage of running your routine through as often as possible. Purely so that you can actually get from the start to the finish as non-pathetically as possible. Mental and physical anguish is particularly rife. Not just during the routine. It plagues your free time, your sleep, your meal times and your general daily life.
10. Light At The End Of The Tunnel Stage
“Ok, things are getting better. I was able to stand up at the end of the routine for the last 3 days. So I should just about be ready if I’m lucky.” There is now only 30secs of the song that needs to be choreo’d properly which should be sorted in the next few days
11. Fear And Self Loathing Stage
Nope. Had 3 crappy run throughs in a row. NOTHING is right. Or good. Or passible. I am a joke. Why did I sign up for this shit. Why me?? Cue a good cry and tantrum to whoever is closest. Tell them that it doesn’t matter what they say because it won’t change the fact that you are truly awful and that everyone else is much much better. Even your hamster can dance better. And you don’t even own a fucking hamster!!!
12. Acceptance Stage
The day before the Big Day. You’ve packed your costume so it looks like you’re going to this bloody place. Fuck it. Not much can be done now. Only hope can see you through. And that couple of cool passes that you managed to sort out just in time. And you never know. You just never know. People may just enjoy it.
13. Sign Me Up Please Stage
So you performed. It went amazingly/good/pretty good/ok/not good. Either way- it was all SO SO worth it. So you signed up again for next year. Cue the “Endless Possibilities” Stage and prepare to start all over again. You are defo defo going to practice everything a year in advance, especially that Politov flippy over catchy thing when you get back home. Well, after Dominos and 3 gallons of gin.
Is this you? Share your stories and thoughts on the thread below. Lots of love, Tiff Finney x