I judge a competiion at least once a month. Also I sometimes check videos from championships on YouTube. And I usually make a big cup of coffee for both matters. You know why? Because after third routine you get so bored, all the jet legs, sleepless nights and thoughts about rent and taxes kick into your mind. This is sad. Because I being a competative pole dancer do understand how much effort was put into each trick, move, music choice, make up and costume. But I am sorry, guys, it just doesn`t work.
When I started pole dancing two years ago, I was excited that this dance style (or sport) gives the opportunity to everybody bring their own personality on stage. Ballerinas, gymnasts, acrobats, break dancers, housewives, buisness women, mothers, crazy party girls - all brought their own style on the pole. One had unhuman flexibility, the other danced like and angel, one had a body to die for, another - tricks that made you shiver. I was a break dancer. I put my skills into handstands and flips, slow motions in routines and freezes. Because that was what I personally do and like. The flip I was doing got so popular it amazed me. I understand why the flips from poles, even though they did exist before, became an obsession. I opened to the pole world a huge secret - flips are not that difficult, they are not a privilage of the chosen ones. In a matter of several months more and more pole dancers started flipping. Then they started teaching flips on their workshops. Then the flip became some kind of obligatory move. So are the fonjis, forty variations of handsprings (switch from cup grip to normal grip to elbow to other elbow to pinkie etc...), standart splits and few fast moves - just to get over it - between the poles. Well, guess what, everybody does it. And when people ask me - what do I do wrong? I do flips, fonjis, splits but why I don`t place, why I am not popular? I try to explain - pole dance, whatever you call it now, pole fitness, pole sport - originates from pole DANCE. Not pole tricks.
I wrote the whole article on flips in this blog, what kinds are there, how to do them. It just kills me how many people teach flips and can`t normally do them themselves, which causes if lucky - just an akwardness in execution, if not so lucky - severe injury. And 80 per cent of people who read it didn`t get to the last part, where I said - the flip is like a picture that needs a frame. It`s not enough to bite your lip, close your eyes, and do that sh*t without any regard to your music or story. You risk for nothing. The hair flick into the accent would be much and much more appreciated.
I won my medals not because I did the flips. I won because I danced and told the story. That`s it, that`s my secret. Please mind, I usually do only one flip, maximum - two. Do you think that`s all I can? No. I just don`t want anybody to get bored. I hate routines where pole dancers go on stage and do - look, I can do this, and this, and this, and like that. Even more I dislike people who do the edited videos wih millions of tricks. Their camera positioned so that nobody sees the safety mats under the poles, the quantity of takes - a huge secret. They don`t compete, they can`t do these tricks in the routine where you have no right for mistake. But they provoke other people, that tend to think - damn, if I don`t do forty handsprings I don`t deserve to be called a pole dancer. This is a show off not a show. If you can do one cool flip, you can do all others, if you can do fonji two times, you can do them one hundred more, if you have crazy oversplit in several tricks I get it - you can do it everywhere.
It surprises me that when i have several workshops, one of them is Pole Artistry, most of Advanced students pack their sport bags and leave. They want only tricks, dancing is for looseres - you can read on their faces. And then after the announcment of results of the competition they start crying - why life is so unfair? Why did that looser win? What has she got except for stupid pointed toes? She didn`t do that much on pole! She danced and smiled, while I did eight fonjis in a row!
So what can you do to get yourself out of the vicious circle of crazy tricks that brings you only exhausted body and no medals, no fame, no grace? Dance. Dance wherever you can, when you can, whatever you can. Dance all the dance styles, to all the music. Sign up for classes, dance alone, improvise, dance on the parties at the bars and night clubs.
I don`t miss any opportunity to dance. I dance latina style in Argentina dance club, I dance hip hop on LA street, I don`t miss any class at the Dance Expo I get invited to as instructor (twerking included!), I dance when my baby is born... You need to go to dance style class where you will feel yourself awkward, something you never did before. tDon`t listen to anybody, do what you want, what you like, what you feel. Don`t be afraid to risk with unusual music, tell any kind of story, and the most important - FIND YOUR OWN STYLE. And only then choose the tricks. They need to be like the diamonds in very expansive jewellary, not lots of them, carefully selected, polished to perfection and skillfully framed, your own tricks - the ones you are good at, the ones you like. If your style is actually doing lots of strength tricks, flips and switches, let it be it. If it is the sexy high heels style with one-two splits - great, you can work with it! Only then, when pole dance switches it direction from producing alike machines with standard tricks range it will become popular among other people. Not that many people care that you hold the handspring for 5 not 4 seconds and have weird grip. But a lot of people remember you if by your movement, facial expression and story told with your dance you make them cry. Or smile.