There are various reasons for a pole choreography. Perhaps you plan a performance, maybe you take part in a competition or you just want to create a choreography for yourself.
Whether you want to compete/perform or not, I recommend creating a choreography sooner or later during your pole career. A choreography has many advantages and will bring you well ahead in your training. First of all, a choreography enhances your endurance at the Pole. If you usually train your moves isolated, completing 2 or 3 moves in a row will be a completely new challenge for your muscles. A choreography requires also coordination, concentration, and the ability to improvise under stress. All these skills are important, even if you pole for yourself.
The first part of Tips and Tricks for a breathtaking Pole Choreography will help you to choose the right music, to decide for static or spinning mode and to create the basis for a breathtaking choreography through improvisation.
1. Find the right music
Music is the foundation of your choreography and it is vital that you feel comfortable with your music. I myself have overthrown a complete choreography a few days before a performance because my music just did not feel right. When I changed the music, I quickly achieved more training success than during the whole preceding period.
So what is the right music?
The right music is love at first sight. When you listen to it, you immediately think about 2 or 3 moves that you could perform, your legs feel the urge to dance and you want to get on the Pole right away. You should also have no problem listening to your chosen song about a 100 times.
Time: You need to consider the length of the song during the selection process. If it is your first choreography, I recommend a song which is about 3 minutes long. If you are more used to choreographies, I would recommend music pieces from 3.5 to 4.5 minutes. From there, of course, there are no limits. You will notice that a song can become quite long. Do not underestimate how exhausting a choreography is. Perform rather 3 breathtaking minutes than 5 tormented.
But, your absolute top favorite song lasts seven minutes? Listen to it carefully; you might be able to cut it at some point.
Tempo: Of course, everybody likes different music and we know many different music choices from the professionals. Still, I recommend to a beginner, within the preferred music genre, to start with a slower song. If a song is too fast, you might have trouble to perform your moves clean. You might lose the beat or your breath in the middle of the choreography. A song that alternates in pace offers you a great opportunity to set accents by signature tricks or spins. A song with a rather subtle beat makes improvisation easier when you miss or ‘mess up’ a trick. Improvisation under stress is hard enough, but it makes it easier when you do not have to look out for the beat. Even your ‘mistake’ which makes you lose the beat, is probably less obvious.
Here are a few music proposals which I have used for my choreography:
2. Decide on static or spinning
No decision has to be final, but it is important to decide whether you want to perform your choreography on static or spinning Pole. Competitions ask for static and spinning Moves, so, if you plan to perform this step is a little less important for you. Yet, you should take some time to determine which moves you want to perform in static in spinning mode.
In general, everyone has a preferred mode and my advice is to choose this mode for your first choreography. The choreography will challenge you already in enough ways, so make your life a little easier and choose the more familiar mode (at least at the beginning). You will be unnecessarily frustrated when you cannot succeed with the moves, you are normally good at, any more and you might lose your joy. If you have already performed a choreography, why not embrace the challenge of the less favored mode?
You have the right song, you have chosen a mode – now, you should take some time to listen to your song carefully. The first few times, listen to your song without dancing or pole-ing. Pay attention to changes in tempo, pauses, volume, etc. In short, pay attention to all the little musical clues that allow you to orient yourself in your choreography later. You should be able to memorize your song. If you make a mistake during your choreography, this helps you to figure out how much time is left, for how long you have to improvise, and when/how you have to continue your choreography.
If you are familiar with your song move on to the Pole. Feel the music and draw inspiration to movements from it. You may close your eyes during the first improvisations, but really leave yourself to the music. At this point, it is not important that your movements are ‘correct’ or elegant. At this point, there is no good and bad and ‘mistakes’ sometimes create the most beautiful movements. At this point, as Natasha Wang has mentioned, it is rather a question of finding yourself and your own style through the music. If you like a movement, you have just come up with, write it down. You might want to use it for your choreography.
For me, it has worked to start with improvisational dancing, then some floorwork and finally to include some Pole tricks. Especially, if you already know which tricks you want to perform in your choreography, it makes sense to include these also in your improvisation.
I cannot stress enough how important the step of improvisation is. A choreography is then particularly personalized and expressive if it truly represents you. Do not fall into the trick-trick trap and believe that you need to impress the audience with the most difficult moves. It is much more important that your movements are in harmony with the music and yourself.
Tracee Kafer is my personal improvisation crush. Check out her videos. Perhaps this helps you to better understand what I am getting at.
I hope these tips have helped you. I will upload the second part of Tips and Tricks for a breathtaking Pole Choreography in the next couple of days. If you are having any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I will be very happy to help.