Tagpole idols

The Best of the Best!

Great pole dance is often so subjective. A dancer’s choice of song, their style, heels no heels etc etc. Some performances strike a chord depending on when you saw it and what else might have been going on in your life. Occasionally, there are standout favourites that everyone agrees upon, and each dancer usually has their own personal treasures that they revisit time and time again.

 

As I get ready to release my own February Favourites (for all subscribers!), I found time to reflect on my favourite performances from the pole world from last year.

I love the innovation in these routines. The dancer’s ability to turn themselves inside out on the pole, not just in a flexi way, but in a way that expresses creativity and understanding of poses to link them together in a new way. I love seeing old tricks put together in new ways. And I especially love a dancer who expresses a new sense of musicality, hitting beats and finding flow in a way that draws you in, silencing everything else around you as you watch!

If you are still adding pole goals to your list for 2017, perhaps these routines will give you inspiration to think outside the box.

 

Natalia Tatarintseva – I stopped watching a lot of pole dance from the Ukraine and Russia, feeling overwhelmed by their gymnast bodies and apparent mastery of flexi tricks. Then I saw Natalia Tatarintseva who blew me away with her innovation and dance style. I love her use of the prop as well, integrating it into her spins and tricks! Prepare to watch in awe!

 

Elizabeth Gerrard and Nicola Burke – As well as being incredibly in sync, these girls offer new twists on old combos. All coupled with great connection and expression which helps tell the story of their performance. I love their simple gestures emphasised by musical beats.

 

Ke Hong – This guy has amazing flow, grace, and strength. And OMG his pointed toes! I love the drama of pole dance to classical and orchestral music. I’ll be watching what this guy does in the coming year.

 

Kristy Sellars – For all those polers who were hiding under a rock in 2016, Kristy Sellars changed the game in pole dancing forever! After her “Alice in Wonderland” performance, she created “The Abduction”, a collaboration of dance, visual effects, and amazing imagination! I love to share this routine with people who are not pole dancers. It really brings the art to the world stage and sets a new standard for the possibilities of pole dance.

 

Did I miss anyone? Who were your favourites from 2016? And who do you have your eye on for this year?

Let me know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and continue the conversation!

Flip it and Reverse It

Bouncing off an article I wrote last week about flipping tricks upside down, I was so excited to hear about Natasha Wang’s training tip!

“take a combo you’ve been practicing and reverse it”

For ease of explanation let’s refer to a simpler combo.

Usual Combo In Reverse
straddle inside leg hang
outside leg hang push to butterfly
butterfly outside leg hang
sweep to inside leg hang straddle

Already just from word choice (sweep to as opposed to push to) it can been seen that the technique components and flow are different. Working with gravity and the spin or working against it, challenge your strength and possible contact points.

Just like trying things on your goofy side, certain combos are going to feel completely whack when reversed!

Similarly, some transitions in reverse are going to look smoother than others, but in terms of creative choreography this would be a great way to spice up a routine and surprise a pole familiar audience.

I gave it shot this week during my home practice.

Forwards…

 

and in reverse ….

 

Tag me in your videos on Instagram and Facebook! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Learn from the Best

 

I have been blessed on my pole journey to have had the opportunity to train with many pole superstars. My first introduction to pole dance was from Jamilla Deville, who personally ran the eight week beginners course from her then studio, Art of Pole.

Additionally, I have taken workshops with Natasha Wang, Michelle Stanek, Amy Hazel, and Kristy Sellars. Sydney Pole is also well decked out in terms of instructors, including Mr Pole Dance Australia himself, Chris Talbot, Mr Pole Dance Australia runner up David Aeon, and professionals Missy, Bailey Hart, Ryder and Cynthia Xu. Local superstars and now owners of their own studios, Dallas Dee and Elle Lacroix were also involved in the beginnings of Sydney Pole.

I understand that everyone does not have such access to such an array great dancers, choreographers, and inspirational people. Home polers, especially can find their practice isolating, needing extra motivation some days to get up and dance.

BUT…..

Instagram and social media can be your friend! Most of the Instagram accounts related to pole dancers are personally managed by the dancers themselves. And in my experience, every single one is absolutely lovely! They respond to your questions, reply to comments and will support you in your dance journey.

Just the other week I tried out a combo from AerialAmy, who also trains in her own home! After watching and re-watching to work out all the points of contact and technique, it was not only rewarding to have nailed a new transition, but it made it even more special to hear from AerialAmy herself as she commented on my post.

Most people in the pole community are supportive of collaborating and trick sharing too. Just make sure you credit the name of the trick/transition and share the love. Dirdy Birdy even has a second account that is purely focused on sharing work from other dancers.

The monthly pole challenges that lend themselves to the Instagram format are also great ways to connect to the pole community, learn some new tricks, and locate inspirational dancers.

There’s no more excuses! Start watching and start dancing! You may even find you inspire someone yourself!

New Year, New Pole Goals

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream.”

10547553_10154477041425425_4923286836691610026_nAs I opened Write Monkey to begin this post about pole goals, this was the quote presented to me.

I’m definitely a dreamer when it comes to pole goals. There is research to suggest that visualization and dreaming are useful tools when setting and working towards goals. You probably do it too when you waiting for a bus or sitting in traffic, a song comes on and you drift away to the performance space in your head where you are flying around the pole nailing your nemesis trick.

There is always a lots of talk about pole goals at the beginning of the year. Bad Kitty have two articles offering advice to keep you on track and motivated when times get tough, and even United Pole Artists share their take on charting your progress.

It’s fun to joke around and set far out goals. Phoenix? Sure! Bird of Paradise? I wish! Rainbow Marchenko? I must be dreaming!

But I think sometimes pole dancers forget that the professionals we swoon over who can accomplish these tricks, are PROFESSIONALS. A home poler, or someone who dances in the studio two or three times a week, unless they have super human flexibility, are unlikely to be able to rainbow marchenko any time soon.

It is also cause for concern when dancers set goals that are too high and set themselves up for injury by skipping over the foundations that would help them get in to the move safely.

I’m not saying don’t dream big, but perhaps use your pole goals as baby steps to reach those dreams.

For example,

Dream move: Phoenix

Baby steps: Regular static pole practice
Ragdoll
Ayesha / Static V
Iron X Controlled descents
Handsprings with variety of grips (cup, split, twisted)
Cartwheel mounts
One arm spins
Chucks

Off the pole conditioning: Handstands, shoulder strengthening,
core work, breath work.

 

You could even put these smaller goals on a timeline and chart your progress. Rather than just attempting a phoenix every pole practice, failing and getting demotivated and then not trying it again for months, the smaller successes will help you stay on track and ensure you are always moving forward towards the end goal. By recording the baby steps and including them in your regular pole practice, you will likely have more strength, control, and understanding of the trick to nail it when the time comes.

The initial quote suggested you need action as well as dream to accomplish your goals. Create an action plan and your dreams will soon be your reality!

What to do when you don’t have a pole

This Christmas break my partner and I are cat sitting at a friend’s place down the road. It’s a lovely house with air conditioning which made the move an easy decision for this time of year. But I don’t have my pole 🙁

What’s a dancer to do?!

DANCE!

I’ve been watching YouTube clips of Merce Cunningham and revisiting some of the ballet technique I learned in my class. The back room of the house has amazing wooden floors so I indulged, rolled back the rug, put on my thigh high socks and flirty dress and spun around to Chino Merino’s new album. Bliss!

 

The nature of floorwork is changing in poledance, gaining influences from contemporary dance and hiphop. Working on carpet at home, it’s hard to come up with new things. The floor boards gave me real freedom to slip and slide and just flow, throwing a little bit of Marlo Fisken in their too!

It has been wonderful to have time to revisit my yoga practice too. I took my mat out onto the grass and down dogged with the ants and creepy crawlies.

The softer grass offered a safer lander for me to work on some freestanding headstands. At home I practice against the pole or the wall, but here wall space is limited. Learning to roll out safely and find balance away from the wall is challenging, but with so much time off on holidays, I was able to dedicate a whole afternoon to refining my practice.

The outcome? I haven’t missed my pole as much as I thought I would. We still have a week or so left here so I still might get withdrawals, but it’s been an enjoyable and productive break. If I had just been at home I probably would have focused on tricks and new transitions, but it’s been great to work on dance, floorwork, and balance. Hopefully I can bring some of this flow and headstanding, back to the pole when I return home.

How do you find ways to still train when away from pole?

I Hear Jingle Bells!

xmas pole challengeXmas Pole Challenge – Volare Magazine

This challenge has some of my all time favourite pole artists, and is sponsored by some great pole brands! In the lead up to Christmas with no more comps and only a group showcase to go, it will be great motivation to get on the pole and try and smash those pole goals before the end of the year!

I wrote about pole challenges before, suggesting they are a great way to learn new tricks and try things outside of your normal pole routine. Considering this list, many of the tricks are familiar – Layback, Pike, Jade Split, Crescent. Some I have heard of but never accomplished – Remi Sit, Sneaky V, Kelly Tilt. And others are completely new – Dragon Fly, Trapped Runner, Back Split?

With such big names in this challenge, and big sponsors, I can see this as a great chance to network between pole champions and those poling at home in their lounge room. It’s not often I praise technology, but this kind of social networking is amazing!

Join me for the challenge! And help me work out how to do a Dragon Fly!