This post is written by Body & Pole instructor, Stella Fink! Follow Stella’s pole adventures on her Instagram @stellamybella.
The transition from pole kitten to a well-seasoned prowling lioness can be quite a journey, but once you begin mastering the basics… have fun, put on some good tunes, and explore different ways to express yourself using these tips!
1. Move Slow
When performing a move or transition try to slow down your pace. Think of how molasses pours out of a jar and onto a surface and try to mimic that movement. By moving extra slow you can become more aware of your body and what muscles you are using to accomplish the move. You also spend more time performing that move, reinforcing your muscle memory. Through this heightened sense of awareness you can eliminate extra adjustments and set up transitions more efficiently leading to improved fluidity.
When you perform things slowly you gain the control to confidently speed up your movement while still maintaining fluidity.
2. Enjoy the Movement
As beginner dancers you might be more self-conscious of your body and not entirely comfortable with all the feelings that interacting with the pole may bring. Be mindful of your breath, the action of your muscles, and the placement of your body. This will help shift your attention from insecurities to the empowering sensation of lifting your body into the air.
Let’s try a pole sit! Although painful at first, try to build up time in this pose. Take deep breaths, squeeze your legs together, pull the shoulders away from the ears, and open your chest. By shifting your focus to all the positive sensations of performing such an exhilarating move atop the pole, you will increase your success, which will help you sustain and find a place where you can be comfortable to enjoy the beauty of pole movement as you perform it.
3. Explore Shapes
Creating shapes around the pole is something all beginners can do to develop their style and make pole movement their own. In a pole walk explore placement of the free arm. Caress the outline of your body, keep your hand on your hip or perform an arm wave like a belly dancer. Pay close attention to what your fingers are doing to make the shapes more detailed and intricate. Once you feel more confident with putting your weight into your arms and pulling away, play with positions that feel like a stretch to create length and space between you and the pole.
4. Play with Tempo
Slowing down is a great tool to increase fluidity especially for new techniques and transitions, but once something becomes easy, add a little spice and vary tempo! Changing up the speed of your movement keeps things interesting and is also a fun way to progress the basics.
Put on a song with a good strong beat. As you dance through a sequence select one or two techniques that you can perform at different speeds.
Earlier we explored shapes during the pole walk but now we will vary the speed at which we perform this move. Begin by finding the low beat and executing controlled steps. Then add a swift step in a pattern depending on song structure with rhythmic taps (2-3, cha, cha, cha).
On the pole, say from a simple leg hook position, go for some hip drops, timing your drops to the beat. To perform this action, tilt one hip higher and swiftly release to drop. Doing these in succession can be fun and exciting for you and your audience. See the video above for a sassy version of these.
5. Body Wave
When in doubt add a body wave! Body waves are a fun and sexy way to liven up your flow. Play with small and big body waves and even perform them in a climb position for extra conditioning. One variation, called the surfboard is performed with one hand on the pole at chest height. Position your body in a side pole stance with feet wider than hip width, knees slightly bent. Initiate the wave with your head going towards your inside hand, then continue the wave motion from your chest, belly and hips. It will appear that your body waving side ways like a surfer riding a wave.
Don’t wait! Begin incorporating tips during your next class and let us know how it goes.