Solotude PosterWhen you train at a studio with a high caliber of experienced dancers, and two of those dancers are also skilled in event management, what happens? Solotude happens!

I’ve been training hard these past few weeks, adding the finishing touches to my performances and collecting props and costumes. The vibe at the studio is amazing as everyone is nailing their tricks with extra motivation to get their choreography solid for the show.

I have already written about the benefits of entering showcases, so I’d like to use this post to talk about how I put together my performance (and to plug the show for all my Sydney readers!).

Being a showcase, there is no pressure to put in all the best strength and flex tricks into the routine as you would in a competition. There is space to tell a story, pare back the tricks and emphasise the aspects of making it a show.

Over the years, I have worked hard on my stage presence and engaging with the audience. With each new routine I try to choreograph gestures, facial expressions, and points to connect with the audience. It’s hard, and daunting, but it has helped me improve.

The routine I have started for Solotude begins with me talking to the audience. I found a clip from the end of a Yu song of an elderly woman with a thick Boston drawl reminiscing over old photographs. In my 50s lace night gown, hair in rollers, and reading glasses dangling off my ears with a gold chain, I mime the lady’s story and share the photographs with the audience.

As the music starts, Count Basie fills the stage with burlesque class and I am drawn to relive my days as a younger dancer.

The props and costume for this routine were as vital in telling the story as the pole tricks and poses. I also had to think about how the older woman would have danced, did she break free of her nightgown and reveal a sexy lingerie set highlighting body rolls and hair flicks? Or did she emerge from her gown slowly, like the unfurling of a memory, only to be completely immersed in her recollection at the end of the song?

Thinking this way made sense for me. I didn’t want to just separate the two parts of looking through the photographs and then dancing. They had to transition and be threaded together. It’s a story, it has emotion and feeling, not just a sequence of tricks.

A picture tells a 1000 words, and this will make more sense with a video. I’ll post it up after the show, but if you’re in Sydney and keen on seeing some Pole Drama next weekend, come on by to The Vanguard!

Oh! And guess who’s derriere is on the poster?!? *wink*