My doubles partners and I messing around with the Trust Triangle variation that we saw at Pole Show LA 2013.
You can read and enter at Kris’ Blog. The scholarships’ entries will be accepted during the month of April, so be sure to submit and win yourself some pole lessons!
The first ever one-armed fonji by Alex Magala, debuted at National Aerial Pole Art 2013.
Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong WILL go wrong. It may not be on competition day, or it might be. The best you can do is prepare well in advance for the unspeakable to happen. Here’s a list of things that commonly go wrong during a competition program and how you can avoid them.
If you’ve found a top and bottom but are in need of inspiration to dress it up, I highly recommend building a pinterest board with makeup, hair, and costume ideas. It’ll help you get an idea of what you can do within the limitations.
Be mindful that some competitions have specific rules about how short your bottoms can be and if you can remove excess clothing during your routine.
Costume malfunctions are heavy deductions at some competitions. Even with all the checks in place—on competition day, take a roll of double stick tape and line the inside of your costume. That way, you can focus on everything else going on. The costume should be the least of your worries!
Hair up or down? That is the question! If you are deciding to compete with your hair down, be sure to train with it down to get used to it. Hair can sometimes obstruct your view, cockblock a move, or even get pulled (I’ve gotten my hair stuck in my armpit in an Allegra before. It sucked!).
If you’re planning to perform with your hair up, hairspray and bobby pins are going to be your friend! Preemptively plan for a secure hairstyle. French braids rarely come apart, as do double pony tails, and cornrows. If your hair does come apart, ROCK IT (If Nadia Shariff can do it, you can too).
In the weeks leading up to the competition, you should be able to run your piece multiple times a week without getting too tired. You may also want to try training with a pair of ankle weights on so that you get used to the endurance necessary to run the routine.
Before you go on stage, try your best to calm down and get your heart beating at a normal pace. Take a deep breath give your hands a small massage and do some jumping jacks. It’s important not to go on and hyperventilate.
Maybe you went too hard during the first half of your routine and now you’re completely tapped out of energy. To finish strong, remember all the points in your music that you took to breathe and use them. They can be moments where you’re looking at the audience or during a pause. Move slowly and thoughtfully and try to inhale as large as you can. Remember that your routine is only 3-4 minutes long! You can make it!
Say you blank on stage and forgot what you were supposed to be doing. First of all, DON’T FREAK OUT and look at the audience. They’ll know because they will sense your panic.
If you think you can recover because you will catch the choreography at another point in the music, your options are to either freestyle until that point happens or go into a “time suck” move. Time suck moves are safe moves that you can use to hold the audience until the right moment that your choreography comes back to you. For example, a nice long pole sit while extending your arms and legs full out can save you a good 5-10 seconds.
If you’re really lost and definitely will not remember your choreography, freestyle it. It’s important to take away the key points in the music and still make them look big. The audience won’t know you’ve forgotten anything if you keep them entertained!
Every big trick you do should have a bail out move. For example, if you feel slippery on your extended butterfly, bail safely into your inside leg hang. This may already happen for you unconsciously!
The audience won’t know when you mess up, only you will. An often cited example is Jenyne Butterfly’s performance at Pole Sport World Fitness Championships 2010. Many argue that it was a terrible fall while most say that it was a dramatic ending to the piece. She keeps the tone of her performance and smiles super bright. No one will ever know besides Jenyne!
April is going to be such an awesome month. Still riding high off the PPC train, I’ll be performing in a few showcases in the coming weeks. I’ll be a featured soloist in The Secret’s Semi Annual Grand Showcase on April 20th and performing in The Vertitude’s Student/Instructor Spring Fling Showcase on May 5th!
I’m elated to be dancing again so soon after competition, and to two completely different pieces. I’m going to be resuming my Saturday early-morning training sessions as well as twice weekly stretch classes. Have I also mentioned that this is also a month of firsts for me? I attended my first ever gymnastics class (since.. childhood?) last week and will be starting ballet in the coming weeks. I LOVE cross training in new sports!
My seasonal Pole Dance Goals list has also seen some progress. The Marion Amber and Reverse Fonji have been officially crossed off. Now for that Batwing, Cheba Split + Release, and Janeiro!
For the past few days you may have noticed any of these little morsels lying around. Every other day I’ll be posting new GIFs to the blog to highlight the best moments in pole performances. It’s a wonderful tool for research and they’re pretty to look at. You can access them easily again by clicking on “Pole GIFs” on the sidebar. I hope you guys enjoy them!
My group’s rehearsals went extremely well last night! This is the first time I’ve ever done group choreography. It really just gives me the warm and fuzzies that they’re putting their all into it—the doubles tricks I incorporated are not easy and they’re even harder to time with poles so close together.
They’ve been working so hard. I can’t wait to see them up on stage fully costumed in front of ~500 people for our studio’s spring showcase.
Aw thanks, hun!
In South Bay, I really like Pole Moves, which is run by the lovely Rebekah Hennes. It’s a smaller studio that is specifically for pole and pole training. Rebekah is RIPPED (6 pack? 8 pack? She’s made of steel!) and also very knowledgable and welcoming. There are other studios nearby that double up as aerial yoga or fitness studios that have pole on the side, but they are smaller, less frequent, and the classes are more expensive.
If you’re willing to travel a little farther north, there’s The Pole Garage in Santa Monica which is run by the fabulous Drea Roers and she has a great community there. Classes are run in series, so you commit to go every week at a scheduled time. It’s nice because you really get to know your “classmates” and focus on progressing together. Drea is also kind of like a pole fairy godmother, if you can’t figure out a trick — she makes an adjustment and POOF! It just happens! She’s magic.
Lastly, there’s The Secret in Culver City which is also farther north than South Bay. Their schedule consists of pole dance with lots of progression levels in between and sensual movement-based classes like booty shaking, swag and exotic dance. I also teach intermediate/advanced and spinning pole there (not a plug, promise!). The hours are also really easy since there are two pole rooms and a mini-gym; there are LOTS of options.
Hopefully this list helps! I’ve only listed studios that I’ve been to or know the owners of, so if you go somewhere else definitely tell me how your experience went. I’m always up for hitting up new studios :)
This is a follow up to my unexpectedly popular Stretching for Splits post! I got a lot of requests for center splits exercises.I myself do not have my straddle split, but you can see some of my progress here — these stretches do work!!
As with all stretching, make sure you are warmed up (5-10 minutes of cardio should do it — jogging, dancing, jumping jacks, running up and down the stairs, whatever!)
Wall Sits are a great way to increase your flexibility in your straddle! I like to do mine on this wall with the mirror as it gives me a point of reference for how I am progressing; when I first started, my feet were on the mirror! I also have a wall at home where I marked my starting point with pencil and update it every few weeks. Seeing visual progress is a good way to keep motivated and it’s easy to do with this stretch series!
Some great stretches for loosening up the hips and legs before trying a wall sit:
Froggy - Butterfly - Happy Baby - Pigeon - Floor Straddle
You will be using gravity and the wall as resistance in a few different positions. Try to hold each position for at least 1 minute (feel free to hold for longer).
- Lie on your back with your butt against the wall, legs pointing up and flat on the wall. Slowly begin to open your legs in a V. Keep sliding your legs wider until it starts to become uncomfortable. Now here’s the fun part: HOLD! Let gravity do its work and pull those legs closer to the floor. Don’t resist! Try to relax! Breathe :)
- Without moving your bottom, try to push yourself up onto your palms to press your chest toward to the wall. Depending on your level of flexibility, you may not be able to sit up all the way. You may need to begin with resting on the forearms rather than the palms. Hold. Relax. Breathe.
- Without moving your legs, begin to slowly slide your butt backward. Your feet will slide down the wall until they are on the floor. You will sitting up in a straddle with your feet against the wall. Here’s the fun part again: use your palms to press yourself forward into the wall, letting your legs stretch wider as you push forward. If you are flexible enough, once you get a good amount of resistance/stretch, you can rest your face, shoulders, or chest against the wall while you hold, relax, and breathe again :)
Optionally, while you are holding these stretches, try alternating pointing and flexing the feet every 15-30 seconds or so for another challenge.
A straddle split is usually harder to obtain than a front split (though for some people it’s the other way around) so again, PATIENCE! I’m still working on mine too, but I have made a LOT of progress! Good luck :)
Middles. I want you.
HERE IT IS!!! At last! The video of my performance for the Pacific Pole Championships 2013. I competed in the Championship Level 2 Junior division and placed third. Not too shabby for my first competition and first experience dancing on stage.
I am really surprised I like this a lot more than I thought I would. I’m really proud of it; I feel like all my hard work really paid off and I have grown by miles as a dancer. Though I’d like to clean up some technical things about my form and I wish I could have held some poses longer. Next time I won’t try to cram so much in and let things breath. And yes, I definitely plan on there being a next time. :)
(Also, is it me or was this shot at a high-ish frame rate? I swear I’ve never seen myself move like that…)
Work it, girl! There’s some exceptional moments in your choreography. <3
The full results of Pacific Pole Championships are now online! Stoked to see my name on the internet somewhere, haha. I’m still waiting for scans of my scoresheets to come in as well as Alloy Images’ recording of my performance.