So, we are on Countdown to our Showcase! Three months may seem a good while away but it really is not. So, for those thinking about performing, I thought I would give you some trader tips for preparing and creating your routine so that you can do yourself proud on the day. Please note that this is for ALL levels from beginner to expert. We want variety in styles, abilities, music and performance…
Preparation is essential! Here are some steps that should really help through the whole process from today right through to your bow at the end of your performance:
Ooh, should I do it or not?
Firstly, you need to think now. If you would like to perform, be brave and just say ‘yes’ now. Waiting and umming and ah-ing will take up valuable practice time to the point that you won’t be prepared enough to be comfortable on stage on the day. Most of you will be thinking that you would love to do it but are afraid that you will look silly or rubbish in comparison to others. Many will also question if they are confident enough to do it. At my first showcase, I had 4 classes of pole experience under my belt. I shook like a leaf before and during my performance. I did 4 tricks, one harflick and one body wave. This was around 60 seconds of my song. Then I stood up, smiled and walked off because I didn’t know enough to do a full song. I couldn’t believe how much everyone cheered throughout every movement I shakily performed. The audience will be fellow pole students and friends and family. They are on your side. So, do you want to think ‘bugger it, I’m just going to do it and accomplish something big’ or ‘no way, the thought of getting a cheer for something I have tried hard at fills me with dread’? If it’s a YES then reply on the comments thread and you have a space.
Ok, Im doing it. What next?
So, now you’ve decided that you are going for it, there are 3 main elements that you need to decide on:
Music– What song just makes you want to dance? What genre brings out the best in you? If you don’t have a song in your head already then youtube your favourite genres, e.g., “Dubstep 2015”, “RnB classics”, “Soft Rock playlist” etc. You may want to dance to a popular song or an underground song. So search “best selling songs of the decade” or “underground dubstep” etc. You may have an idea of props that you want to use, e.g., a chair. Therefore you could youtube songs containing lyrics that relate to chair dancing.
Costume– Be as wild or as reserved as you like. You may already have a costume that you have been dying to wear for a performance. This means that you could search for a music genre/song that ties in with your costume, e.g., last year, I had a costume with money printed on it so I chose the song ”money make her smile” after you tubing ”money songs”. You may have a song already and now want a costume. If the song is a classical or contemporary song then you may want to have a flowing dress or simple top/bottoms. If the song is down and dirty then go for a down and dirty outfit!
Style of Performance– I would think about this before music and costume. My advice, especially if it is your first time performing, is to stick to a style that you feel comfortable. If you are a natural booty shaker then go all out on this style rather than doing a contemporary piece. This will allow you to have that comfort zone. When it is your first time, it is enough of a challenge to get up in front of everyone as it is without giving yourself the added stress of performing in a way that is unnatural for you. Something a lot of pole dancers feel is that they dance conservatively but have an inner stripper dying to get out. In this case, get that inner stripper out!! Or do a mix of the two. For seasoned performers, you may be used to dancing a certain way. You can use it as an opportunity to change it up or just amp up your favourite style.
Marry your elements
Twerking to Miley Cyrus in a gown doesn’t quite go (unless you’re doing a comedy routine of course). Make sure that your costume, song and style match. You will feel much more comfortable this way. It will make you feel in character and therefore more likely to bring out the best in you. Here are some examples that would work to give you an idea:
1.Music: I work out/LMFAO – Costume: Gym gear (with sparkle for stage) Style: Fitness based tricks and dance
2.Music: Shut up & Drive/Rhianna- Costume: Sexy Formula 1 outfit- Â Style: Sexy
3. I will always Love You/Whitney- Costume: Negligee/Teddy- Style: Contemporary
Making your routine
So you have chosen your music, costume and style. Now the hard work starts. It feels like a mammoth task. This is where time is key. The more time you allow for practicing your routine, the better you will feel on the day. Some lucky people are happy to freestyle. I am not one of these people. I painstakingly rehearse every routine. There are different methods that people use all over the world but if you have absolutely no clue then I have outlined some useful guidelines to help..
Tricks– Pick your favourite tricks/spins/floorwork that you have learned in your time at Pole Physique. If you are in Level 1, pick your fave parts from the routines you have learned. You can put them together in any order to fit your song! If in Level 2+, pick your faves from Curriculum, Exotic and Just Tricks. Write them all down on paper. Make 4 columns: Tricks, Spins, Dance and floorwork.
Combos– Using your columns, put a few together in combos/sequences. Eg if Level 1- Windmill – hair flick – pole sit – drop squat- nadia side spin. If level 2+- Wrist Roll – climb – invert- butterfly- flatline – superman – drop split.
Flow– Choose tricks/spins/floorwork that naturally go from one to the other rather than something that would require an awkward movement to get into. If you are in a squat, cat stretch up or hold onto the pole to get to slide to the floor rather than awkwardly reaching your hands down to the floor to sit on your bum.
Don’t feel the need to put in your hardest tricks that you haven’t mastered yet. Your audience, and yourself, will much prefer watching you nail a simple spin rather than watching you struggle to get an invert that you haven’t quite got the hang of yet. It will also add to nerves which is unnecessary. However, its always good to have a couple of tricks/spins that you struggle with written into your routine so that you have extra ammunition to practice them. If they aren’t ready by 2 weeks before your performance then be sure to have an simpler alternative that you can do in its place. Being over ambitious with your routine will leave you frustrated, de-motivated and disappointed. Remember, it is NOT a competition. We just want to see you do what you do best. Those tricks that are just out of reach will be perfect for the next showcase. Rather than balancing your trick and dance ratio, you may choose to only do a few tricks and mainly dance. Or all tricks and no dance. Either is great as long as you stick to the same rule: A perfected simple spin is more appealing than a shaky climb.
Using the music to your advantage
BEATS– Listen to the music. Is there a really cool loud beat just before the chorus kicks in? If so, DONT ignore it. USE it! Choosing to use beat will make whatever trick/spin/hairflick you are doing to the beat look 10 times more epic! If you have written a routine on paper, be prepared to change it to fit the music. Don’t just think “well I need to do my climb here” I can’t change it now. It is absolutely essential that your trick/spin/dance fits the music. Instead of doing the climb, use the beat by doing a high kick or a heel bang and then climb. Or hair flick on the beat during the climb.
LYRICS– This is such a simple and effective technique. Use the lyrics and your movement will be amplified ten fold. For example, a lyric may so, “over and over and over again”. Use it by doing something over and over and over again such as a hair flick, knock knees, kicking your leg over in a butterfly over and over again. If a lyric says, “stop” then you could stop too by doing a drop squat, stop half way through your trick on the lyric before carrying on etc. These are often the most memorable parts of a routine. A few months ago in Vegas at a professional level competition I watched, one competitor was crazy amazing. But the one part we ALL remembered was when she was upside down and a lyric talked about “time moving by” or something similar. She moved her fingers like the hand of a clock. Sounds silly and not impressive at all but when you see it in person, it makes all the difference. She won by the way.
Involve your audience. Nothing beats being in an audience and a performer catching your eye. Think about plays/comedians/dance shows you have been to. The thought of the performer looking at you is amazing! Also, looking out at an audience will make them feel comfortable watching you. No one wants to see someone that looks like they have been forced on stage by gun point! I get so nervous performing. Even if you don’t feel like smiling/pointing/engaging the audience then fake it. It is so worth it!
Practice Practice Practice
So now you have a sort-of routine. You have to perform it over and over. You can use our Pole Practice Drop in for this (see deets on the Pole Physique- Class Types tab) It is very likely that you will need to change parts of your routine, take parts out and add some in. Practice is also essential in order to build up the stamina to get through your routine without running out of steam less than half way in. If you are saving a tough move for the end then practice is needed to have the energy saved for this. Even the most elite of pole performers practice like mad for a performance.
Extra classes and Private Tuition are great for your routines (see Pole Physique- Class Types Tab). They help with inspiration, will give you more content for your routine and you can get unique tricks/ideas/choreo/combos that no one else will be performing on the day which is a great feeling. Also, the more time you are on the pole, the fitter you will get and the more stamina you will build. It will also give you much greater chance of getting “that trick” nailed for the big day.
When it gets tough
Unless you are only part human then self doubt is part and parcel of performing. Self doubt tends to creep up when a show is just around the corner. We put so much pressure on ourselves to perform perfectly that we forget that it is supposed to be fun! We run through our routines and everything goes wrong, we are too tired to finish, we have wardrobe malfunctions and endless other things. We just have to remember that it is not like this on the day. When the lights are on, the music is loud and an audience is cheering you on, you become invincible. Everything that looked a bit rubbish in your head will look really cool on stage! Use the ‘Pole Physique Student Community’ Facebook group to chat to others. Guaranteed they will be having the same joys and woes as you no matter your pole skill level!
The short and curlies
So in summary, choose your song, costume and style. Then write your favourite moves/routines from your classes and try combos out to your song. Attend more classes or Private Tuition for extra inspiration if you need it. Practice practice practice and really pay attention to the beats and the lyrics. During the rehearsals, remind yourself that nerves and self doubt is a completely normal part of the process that we all go through! The feeling you will get when you have been on stage and the admiration that will come your way from your audience is phenomenal. You will be bursting with pride and desperate for the next show. Anyone that didn’t perform will wish they had too. Then you can also purchase photos and videos of your performance too that you can hang up on your wall and have proof of how amazing you really are.
Reply on the thread if you are in!!!!!