Musing on Beginnings

One of the most appealing aspects of the pole dance community is how vibrant and diverse it is. You can be a classic pole dancer, stripper, lyrical dancer, rock’n’pole star, or explore any niche that takes your fancy. Within this, you can also adapt any trick and make it your own. Bend a leg, add a new hand gesture, hold on with your ankle instead of your knee, the innovation is endless and this freedom supports so many people in being able to join and be accepted.

As I find myself in a more aerial world these days, I keep remembering how great this exploration of diversity was. How enlivening it was to just freestyle and play on pole. I cannot wait until I feel as free and creative on silks and hoop that I used to on pole. An old adage is finding it’s way through however, as I realize that it’s not until you know you the rules that you are able to break them!

Being a beginner on hammock, silks, and hoop is an amazing learning experience, but I do sometimes feel trapped by my limited knowledge. With only a handful of tricks up my sleeve, and so much conscious effort going into remembering how to do them, I find it hard to find space to let them flow and evolve. My pole dance background has put me in a position to learn other aerial arts quickly, but as much as hoop and pole, silks and hammock can be similar there are just as many differences and nuances that make each unique and challenging.

“It will all come in time” I keep telling myself, but I’m so eager to return to that space where I used to dance. When all the moves were so familiar that the spaces in between became so much more interesting. That is where the creativity is! I encountered this same learning curve with traditional dance classes. The structures of ballet and the poses of contemporary dance were so overwhelming that I just stopped, completely hindered by my lack of ability to just flow. I know it’s worth persisting, but some days feel easier than others.

I am writing this as a musing of my current circumstances, but also as a reminder to myself as I explore the role of teaching beginners. Too much freedom and too much information can lead to confusion. As a teacher it is important to find a balance between “sticking to the syllabus” so to speak. and encouraging students to make something their own. I don’t want to overwhelm a student with too many rules about how a pose should be. And I think aerial dance is the perfect community to share an acceptance of diversity of body shapes, performance styles, and freedom of expression.

This is still part of my personal experience. I choreographed a silks routine with a friend, incorporating a few doubles tricks and interchanging combos. We both have different strengths and were very accepting that the combos were going to look different when performed by each of us. I am incredibly proud of the end result and believe that the variations in our movements add to the quality of the finished product. I really hope to be able to perform this routine with her once again!

But, there is something nice about tradition, and being able to recognise things that are the same, as markers of your own progress and connections to a community.

I think about my teachers in the past. I followed the same yoga teacher for over 10 years, attracted to his playfulness and innovation. Yes we did Sun Salutations and Warrior poses, but we also did cartwheels, dynamic jumping transitions, and ballet! My favourite pole teachers had a way of making everyone feel successful. They started the class with the aim to teach a move and at the end of class we all had our own slight variations and probably understood the move better for it.

Wearing multiple hats as a teacher may be useful here, and having space to perform for students – and share your creativity – as well as teach, and share the basics. Inspiring students to look beyond the studio and find other dancers that they like is also part of the package, allowing the teacher to gain insight into the student’s motivations and ideas.

Starting a studio was always going to be a huge learning curve. Starting it in Cambodia was only part of it! Realizing what you really want to achieve is the next step.


Check out our studio on Facebook and Instagram, or keep up to date with my dancing on my personal pages –

Mel Nutter as Baudelaire on Facebook and on Instagram

Merry Pole-mas!

Wishing all of my readers and subscribers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. In Cambodia we say “Sua-sdey bon noo-ael”!

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement, online and in real life 🙂 The new year marks the beginning of my sixth year dancing and 2017 is shaping up to be full of more amazing opportunities.

I’ll be heading to Thailand in March/April and then will be back in Australia for a quick visit in October. I am open to traveling globally for pole shows, workshops and tutorials, dance training, and choreography advice, or can come to you via Skype anywhere and everywhere!

If you would like to make a booking or chat about your next routine, drop me an email at mel@melnutter.com with your details.

Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list for lots of extra goodies! I send out 6 emails a year with pole tips, performance advice, links to my favourite pole dancers and cross trainers, and you get exclusive access to my training videos. Click here to sign up now!

Throw Back Thursday: Baudelaire Debut!

My Baudelaire Debut

Two years ago today ….

I performed this routine twice, once for a studio showcase and then a few weeks later for a competition at Sefton Playhouse.

It’s still one of my favourite routines and many elements of the choreography I have used again since.

I am so thankful for being involved in a studio environment that has allowed me to grow as a performer. Looking back on videos, and being able to watch my routines from five years ago too, it’s always a positive experience to reflect on how far I’ve come.

Four years of pole dancing

20151108_200722I have blogged before about my pole journal and how important I believe it is to document and reflect on your dance journey.

I started my journal in 2011, about 6 months after I started dancing, as a way to record my first pole performance.

I still remember the night – The Art of Pole Christmas Party. Held at the Vanguard, Newtown, it was a daunting venue for my first time on stage. The whole night was surreal, sitting in the audience watching the show, then heading backstage to warm up and get into costume, and then in a matter of minutes, resuming my seat to watch the finale. I remember thinking, did I really get up on that stage, that Jamilla Deville is now dancing on? Were the crowd really watching me?

Brad from Vertigo Photography was there and he gave me a few shots from the night, that confirm it wasn’t just a blur of a dream. And they, along with choreography notes are in my journal.

Four years later, I just wrote on the last page in this journal. What a milestone! Over 15 solo routines, countless showcases, 2 Encore! Sydney Pole Shows, and a couple of comps.

Moving into 2016, I’m about to start Book 2. Will it be four years until I reach the last page? In 2020?

What I do know is that I’ll still be dancing 🙂


Obsession – Fabric

fabricIt’s day 26 of the Miss Filly Pole Challenge, and she has asked about #FrillsandThrills – “What’s the most extravagant thing that you love to death?”

So .… I have a confession to make.

Aside from making my own costumes, designing, sewing, and sequinning …  I have a fabric obsession!

So much so that I have choreographed four routines that directly involve dancing with fabric – lacy, long, stretchy, flowy, sensual, enveloping FABRIC!


fabric 2My most excessive was a 6m long piece of stretchy white lycra. The sheer size of the piece meant it was too large to train with properly at home, so I spent hours in the studio flying around at the top of the 4m poles, engrossed in making sails as it spun around underneath me.


JDPS Showcase - August 2013


Slightly out of the box, I also made a dark, stretchy, tube that wrapped myself and the pole inside. Inspired by an article from Lisa Faulkner for BodyBinds.  I wanted a way to impose limits on my movement, and thereby explore the possibilities of freedom within those limits. This is still one of my favourite routines to date, and I can’t wait to further explore this idea.



This year, I also created a beach routine for 5th Encore! Sydney Pole Show, where I used a large beach towel. And for Solotude, my burlesque inspired routine involved a fifties style, large, lacy, flowy night dress.

Maybe this is a sign I should get into silks, but I just love the way the fabric flows behind you on a spinning pole, highlighting your movements and exaggerating it’s meaning. I’m in heaven!

Have you ever danced with fabric?

Keeping a pole journal

journalI’ve been unwell recently, which means little to no pole and lots of lying in bed. The extra time has afforded me time to catch up on a few things though, a forced self retreat, so to speak, and time to reflect.

Catching up on my pole journal, I allowed myself to be taken away to dream land looking at photos and souvenirs from previous performances.

I highly recommend keeping a journal to document your pole journey. Mine has a copy of each routine I have choreographed, photos from performances, group shots with my pole family, and record of special events and workshops with my pole idols.

In this digital age, everyone keeps photos online, on Facebook, in the cloud. But having something tangible, something to curl up in bed with, something to keep you inspired and motivated even when feeling down, that’s something special.