As I watch competitions around the world this year, I get more and more sure that the main trend 2014 are the flips. In May it will be the year since I did my flip in Australia. And then I left judges speechless. Of course, flips were done with pole before - Chinese pole, steel pole, but either they were done in shoes or not from the height like this. Now flips are getting that popular, I believe they will become compulsories for the championships. So here I want to answer all the questions I get asked about the flips on Facebook and during workshops. I do hope this little manual will help you in achieving your upside down dreams.
How do I start training the flip?
First of all, please, keep in mind - all flips are different. If you can do one flip doesn't necessarily mean you can do another one. First and basic flip you should start with is... not a flip at all, to be honest. It is the 360 degree invert.
Why it's not a flip? Because flip means that at least for several seconds your body is without any support inverting in the air. While here - you secure yourself with the hand and then just jump down. However, these are details, so not to confuse anybody, let it be the basic pole flip. You can start training this flip if you do handspring. Actually, the flip itself is the handspring-based move - only we use one hand, another grip and invert 360 degrees. Train it with help of your teacher, friend or partner – while your one hand holds the pole, let her or him hold the another one. This flip will help you build up the strength for the next ones and fight the fear of inverts if you have one.
The second flip you can learn, which is very popular, too, is the shoulder mount back flip.
You can start training it if you do the kamikadze (if you do fonji - you'll master this flip in a day!) The most important for this flip is the height and grip. Basically what you do - you jump down from kamikadze with the proper invert.
As you see - these two flips are suitable and perfectly safe for pole dancers. However the next ones demand more skills - to do them on the pole, you need to be able to flip on the ground.
For example, flip from the push. It is a piece of cake for anybody who practiced parkour. If you can do the same flip, pushing yourself with your foot from the wall - go ahead and try it on the pole. For this flip proper height is very important, too. But the most dangerous part of it is the moment you push yourself from the pole. That is why I would recommend to train it on the Chinese pole or with the shoes with rubber sole.
The next one is the shoulder front flip.
To do this one you need to be able to flip on the ground - from standing position. I mean, it's like when you just stand and smile at the girl you like and then boom - do a flip, and back on the same spot you were several seconds ago. Plus you need to do at least a fonji on pole. For this flip you need proper height, proper grip and proper floor. Because if you jump from the height like this and the floor is too hard, you can easily break your leg. Start to train this flip from not a big height, then while mastering it, climb higher and higher, until you feel safe to do jump from the top.
Of course, there are more flips, but I think these - most loved ones are enough for a start. Also, to be honest, I am saving some new ones for myself, sorry!
Can I do the flip if I have never done it before in my life and I am 25 (35, 65) already?
Yes, you can. There are no age limits for the first flip.
Can I learn how to do the flip from the video?
Of course, it's always better to learn flips with somebody who does them. If your instructor can't and you have no possibility to sign up for workshop, then, of course, video is your best choice. But ALWAYS have somebody to spot and support you and as many crash mats as you can! Flips are no joke, nobody does them from the first time. Be safe!
Can I do flips on the high heels?
Yes, you can! But not all of them. The first two flips I have described are suitable for heels, but basic flip is the best choice for you. You can control your body with your hand, so there are less possibilities of falling down, breaking your leg or just looking awkward.
I am very bendy. Can I do the flip?
Yes, it will be easier for you, actually. You won't need to create more dynamic as your bendy back will help you do the invert in and out faster.
What are the injuries most common when you do a flip?
Bruises, pulled muscles, broken legs, and the most dangerous one - broken back.
How do I save myself from injuries?
Always train with a partner and crash mats. Only when you master the flip, you can stay only with crash mats or even without them. Learn how to fall. On crash mats, of course. Whatever position you fall from try to group your body and land on your butt, hips, even arms. Not the neck! Not the back! If you slipped and you lost your height - screw it! Don't do the flip!
How the flips should be judged?
In my personal opinion, judging flips demands as much attention and background search as judging flexibility moves. In short, the flips that demand more effort need to get more score than the ones that demand less effort. It's obvious - you may say. Well, it's not. Usually flips are scored equally. Flip is a flip, what's more? - I heard it too many times. That's pretty much the same if you say - split is a split – whether you can`t get your back leg straight or touch the floor with your butt with feet on two chairs like Van Damm. Also if in splits the lines and angle of over split is valued - in flips the most difficult and important part is time. The slower the flip is, more details you can catch watching it, when it is a little flight in the air - more points awarded. The flip that ends when you blink an eye - is not a flip, it's just a fall. Also the lines are very important in the flips. Though, it's more difficult to judge than in flexibility. When you group your body inside to make the invert - you NEED to bend your knees. Or you need a six meter pole. However when you are already coming down, both your arms and legs need to be straight already. Otherwise you will look like not a dancer but a funky monkey. Flips done in shoes can't be awarded the same amount of points as barefoot flips. Strange, but when ALL competition ban pole dancer with leather or alike materials as they give additional support for the grip, almost no competition now allows gloves, rules concerning shoes are not that strict. Rubber sole shoes for flips are the same as leather pants for a Jade or gloves for a handspring. Makes it easy.
Why when I watch somebody do a flip it's breathtaking and when other person does exactly the same flip - it just looks floppy?
Again, it's all about the speed. You need to control your body in the air. Make the slow motion in your flight. Then the audience will gasp. Control, speed, lines, musicality - only with these four the flip will be worth an effort. If you have mastered the flips, don't push all of them into your routine. Because if you did at least one difficult flip, you can do the rest - everybody gets it. Work on the proper frame for this amazing trick. Only placed and done properly it will become an art not a fall.