This is the second and final part of Tips and Tricks for a breathtaking Pole Choreography. In the first part, I have given you suggestions on how to select the perfect song, how to decide on static or spinning pole and how to set the basis for a breathtaking choreography by improvisation.
This part will help you to choose the right pole tricks, to structure your choreography and I will tell you a some general tips and tricks at the end.
Have fun and let’s go!
4. The right Pole tricks
(This section applies only to non-competition choreographies because competitions usually request concrete Pole tricks.)
The uppermost guiding principle in selecting the right pole tricks is less is more. Many succumb to the misconception that you have to impress with the most stunning tricks. But, it is much more important to perform your choreography, from the beginning to the end, cleanly and, at least supposedly, lightly. If the mounting, dismounting or the transitions are not performed properly, then each (and no matter how great) trick that follows is devalued. Many think that they have to ‘offer’ something. I admit that at the beginning, I also approached my choreographies the same way. Who wants to see the ‘old’ leg hang which any medium-advanced pole dancer is able to complete? Should you not rather impress with an Aysha? My answer is probably not. You should use only those tricks in your choreography that you perform well or very well. Do not choose any tricks that you succeed only sometimes or which you are just learning. As I said at the beginning, a choreography probably is a complete new challenge for your muscles. So be nice to your body and ask for tricks that he already knows. Besides, there is, also psychologically, nothing worse than when you fail a pole trick during your choreography.
You should also not forget that your audience might not be composed of people who know anything about Pole. Sometimes ‘simple’ tricks impress the audience more than moves that you have worked on for six months. A choreography is less about a single trick, but rather about the consistency of everything that you present. Be aware of this. Stunning trick after stunning trick might be less impressive than if you show beautiful and solid movements and set one or two accents with true ‘shock tricks’. Also, a choreography becomes truly breathtaking when you show how much fun you are having and put expression into your tricks. However, you can only express yourself during a trick that you feel comfortable with and know well. So if you are not an Aysha professional, give the good ‘old’ leg hang another chance.
A good example for my argument is Shaina Cruea. Shaina is unquestionably a Pole goddess and incredibly talented. Yet, her choreographies often consist of a relatively simple repertoire of exercises. (Of course, still too high for us mere mortals, but, for example, compared with a Yvonne Smink or Natasha Wang.) Shaina’s choreographies are always executed with incredible ease and dance-like elegance. She takes her time during every move and enjoys them. I deeply admire her style.
Write down the tricks that you want to include in your choreography. Unless you create a choreography only for yourself, do not include any tricks that you have to learn first. This might cause an extreme shortage of time and can be quite frustrating.
Here are a few sources where you can get some trick inspiration:
Aerial Amy – this blog explains many tricks very precisely. Besides, it offers great inspiration for transitions and trick combinations.
For me, it has also come in handy to not only thinks of tricks, I want to include, but also trick combinations. By the time, you will work out your own combinations, but until then, Dakota Fox or Dirdy Birdy are very helpful.
I also look at championship videos for inspiration. Not for the tricks, but maybe someone uses a variation to get into the leg hang, you have never seen before and continues with a trick you know, too. You could use this combination or a variation of it for your choreography.
Ok, you have everything together: music, tricks, movements – but how do you put it all together for a breathtaking choreography?
First, I categorize my tricks and movements according to their difficulty and effect (shocker-/accent trick? Yes/No). Then, I see which moves would work well as a combination and write down like a basic choreography. A long period of trial follows this step. Do the tricks really work together? Is there a problem somewhere?
Add further tricks and movements to your basic choreography. You will maybe realize that some tricks do no longer work the way you thought initially. In this case be flexible and rewrite your choreography. (You will probably have to do this several times). It might also happen that you have to drop certain tricks. Do not try to artificially hold anything in your choreography. Be open to this process of change. A breathtaking choreography is like a flow, in which one movement/trick flows into the other. It will be obvious if you forcefully try to keep a trick in your choreography.
If this is not your first choreography, try to break with known trick combination patterns and try to discover new ones. Also, always write down each step and each trick combination. You will forget about it if you do not write it down.
For beginners, I recommend alternating between more tiring and less tiring tricks. Give your body a break with some lighter spins, steps, or floor work.
Possible choreography structures could be:
Introduction, tiring pole moves, floor work, spins, final
Introduction, spins, tiring pole moves, spins, floor work, final
Introduction, tiring pole moves, floor work, tiring pole moves, spins, final
You decide how many tricks you want to include in the individual parts and how often these parts alternate. Try it out, depending on your tricks, your style, and your preferences. Yet, do not overdo it. Make sure that throughout all parts, you are still able to perform your choreography cleanly.
6. General tips and tricks
Finally, a few general tips and tricks for your breathtaking choreography:
- record your choreography
Probably you will think that you look worse than you do. Under these circumstances, recording yourself can be a great motivational boost. Sometimes, however, we think that an arm position looks amazing and in reality, for example, you are holding your hand a little funny. You will notice such details only when you record your choreography. In general, I recommend recording your training sessions. In half a year, you will look at the footage and be surprised how much you have progressed since then.
- take a deep breath and hold each trick five times as long as you think
In the excitement, you will run through your choreography, as if it was the goal to finish first. You will think you are holding each trick for an eternity, but in reality you will hold it for about 3 seconds. At the end of the choreography, there will be still a lot of song left. In a moment like this, I already had an improvisational blackout and speeded around the pole in endless rounds with always the same chair spin. It was not my finest pole hour. Thus, look out for your musical clues during the song. Or if this does not work, you could also count trough your tricks and for example always hold them for 5. To avoid a situation like mine, consider preparing two tricks or more that you could add to the end of your choreography when you finish too quick.
- exaggerate every movement
your movements will look smaller and faster than you think. So exaggerate every movement and make it larger, slower and more accentuated. For the audience, it will look just right.
- have fun
For most of us, pole dancing still is ‘just’ a hobby. So have fun during your choreography and do not over obsess. This comes from the heart of a perfectionist, who has had some desperate workout session. Everything will be fine, I promise you. In my experience, you will be a lot better during the performance than during all your training sessions. The immense adrenaline rush will give you exceptional strength and grip was rarely an issue for me. If you happen to make a mistake, that is just human. And hey – you are a pole dancer. With the easiest spin, you are already greater than all couch potatoes together :)!
Did this series help you? Did it answer some of your questions? I am looking forward to your feedback. Feel free to send me your choreography videos and I will simply admire it or could give you some feedback, if you wish.
Talk to you soon and happy pole-ing!